5 More Essential SEO Strategies for Improving Your Traffic
After the positive response to our previous post that shared 5 essential strategies for improving your SEO, we decided to take a few chunks of the mountain of information this is SEO and condense them into 5 more.
If you’re just about to start optimising your site, these strategies are an excellent place to start. If, on the other hand, you’ve been at SEO for a while and haven’t got the results you’re after, these principles could finally allow a few pennies to drop and cause your site to scale the search engine rankings.
So, with the goal of more traffic and increased profitability in mind, here are 5 more essential SEO strategies for improving your traffic.
Write Longer Content
There’s a bit of a misconception that because of the increased number of ways to consume information, like podcasts, videos, infographics, etc., as well as its sheer volume, people won’t read long passages of text. And while it’s certainly true that it’s harder to keep people’s attention nowadays, there are still several advantages to writing longer content.
First and foremost, people will still commit to reading longer, or “long-form”, content if it’s what they’re looking for: if it answers their question, solves their problem, helps them find their desired product or service, etc. It’s up to you to produce quality content that keeps them reading.
Further, depending on the subject, longer content will help your visitors more. Sometimes, a short answer will do, but in some cases, a user is looking for a step-by-step guide or a ‘how-to’ and appreciates a deep dive.
Secondly, the longer your content, the more time people spend on your page. This is known as the “long click” and signals the relevance of your page to search engines, positively influencing your ranking.
Although there’s no upper limit on what counts as long-form content, 1000- 1500 words is generally considered the lower limit. However, long content doesn’t mean long walls of text – consider the user experience. Break your content up with sub-headings, images (pictures and infographics), videos, etc. You could also add a table of contents at the start, with links that take readers to different sections.
Essentially, you don’t want to be writing long content for the sake of writing long content. The important thing is depth; cover your topic thoroughly, and don’t worry too much about the word count.
Take Advantage of YouTube SEO
If video is part of your overall content strategy, it’s highly advantageous to understand how YouTube SEO works and use it to your advantage. For a start, YouTube itself is a search engine in its own right. In fact, it’s the second largest search engine, after Google, who happen to own it!
The first way to take advantage of YouTube SEO is by optimising your video listings as you would with content on your site. This includes:
- Researching the most appropriate keywords for the video and including them in the video’s title, tags, and description.
- Including your own closed captions by adding an SRT file.
- Using an attention-grabbing thumbnail – that features your keyword.
- Using cards that point users towards other relevant videos and include calls to action (CTAs).
- Using an end screen for CTAs.
Put links in the description and reference them in the video, i.e., tell viewers that there are links below.
- You can use YouTube in the same way as your website to collect details.
- Offer them during a video, via a link in the descriptions – and capture their details.
Secondly, there are the advantages you get from embedding YouTube videos on your website. When you embed a video, you have the opportunity to rank on both YouTube and Google. When you click on the video tab on Google, it shows all the videos relevant to your search. However, if that video is embedded on your site, the result will take the user to your site, as opposed to YouTube.
Better still, you can mark up the embedded video with schema code to encourage rich snippets to appear in organic search results, which can increase click-through rates. Adding video schema will better communicate information about the videos to search engines and enable them to display video-specific details in rich snippets in the SERPs. If you’re using WordPress, this is really easy with the use of a plugin like Yoast or Rank Math.
Also, embedded videos allow visitors to watch them while remaining on the site. This encourages them to stay on your site longer, increasing your session time, reducing your bounce rate, and making your page look more relevant. Plus, it lowers the chance of them getting sidetracked on YouTube and forgetting what they were originally doing!
Create A Diverse Backlink Portfolio
Here it is! This is the single most important part of SEO; Digital PR. It’s followed very closely by creating content, but getting that content and the other pages of your website out to the world requires more than just building them.
Fundamentally, Digital PR is about getting other sites to link back to content on your site. These are known as backlinks. Backlinks boost your SEO as when other sites link to your content, search engines take this as a signal that your website is relevant and valuable. Plus, the higher the rank of a site that links to you, the bigger the boost. It’s essentially a voting system. The more votes, and the better votes you can get, the better your position will be in search. It’s a bit more sophisticated than this, but this is the general idea.
Here are some ideas for creating a diverse backlink portfolio:
- Above all, create high-quality content that people draw value from and choose to link to.
- Design and create handy infographics that site owners feel compelled to share and embed on their pages.
- Network: establish relationships with influential people in your industry.
- Start with sites that your site links out to.
- Submit guest posts to high-relevance sites. Before you submit one, however, get to know the site owner and the kind of content they frequently publish.
- Look at the top referral sources of your website: the sites that already link to your content. If they’re a quality site, reach out to see if they’d be interested in a guest post or two.
- Use tools to look at your competitors’ backlinks to get ideas for who to target.
Growing a high-quality backlink portfolio is time-consuming and can result in a lot of rejection. Having high-quality content on your website will dramatically increase the chances of acquiring a link from another website. More often than not though, businesses opt to hire an SEO agency to approach suitable websites on their behalf.
Don’t Overlook Technical SEO
Overlooking technical SEO is a common mistake made by business owners because it appears overly complicated. Many of your competitors will be intimidated by technical SEO, so you’ll reap the benefits of doing what they won’t.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to technical SEO, which we cover in our guide, ‘What is SEO’. We don’t want to scare you, so we’ve just covered some of the basics here:
- Indexing Issues: Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, webpages aren’t actually being indexed by search engines – so they’re not showing up in search results! Tools like Google Search Console reveal which pages aren’t being indexed and why; this can make a huge difference. In fact, you can use Google Search Console to request that Google indexes the page.
- Secure Pages with HTTPS: Search engines favour sites with HTTPS, that is, those with SSL (secure socket layer) certificates over their non-secure counterparts, so your site won’t rank as highly without an SSL one installed. Most hosting providers will now offer this for free.
- Fix Duplicate Content Problems: Duplicate content within your site can confuse search engines, as well as your visitors. Worse, some forms of duplicate content are seen as attempts to manipulate search engine rankings. A common issue is when your site has multiple versions. You can check this by putting in your website url with the www, then without the www. You should also check whether your site can be accessed via http:// vs https://.
Target Local Searchers with Landing Pages and Listings
If you are a local business, or want to show up in a local area, it’s wise to focus your efforts on local SEO. The most defining feature of local SEO is that prospects will search for a product or service along with the name of a place.
Here are a few effective tactics for targeting local searchers:
- Claim and/or improve your Google Business Profile: Ensure all your details are filled out correctly. This includes your address, phone, number, opening hours, etc. This will help your business show up on Google Maps. Also, keep them up-to-date, particularly if your opening hours vary for whatever reason.
- Create A Location Page: Create a Dedicated location page for Each Product or Service You Offer with the location in the URL, headings, and main content. If you only serve in one location, use your existing service/product pages as your location pages.
- Create Content Based on Local News Stories or Events: Take advantage of the fact that local people will be searching for them. Naturally, you need to be quick on the draw when it comes to this kind of content. You should also make it relevant to your brand. If you’re a computer geek trying to talk about a sporting event, and you’re not into sport, it won’t come across as authentic and will have the opposite effect.
- Get Regular Reviews and Testimonials: Reviews are important, especially when they’re included in your Google Business Profile. People read them, they make decisions based on them, and Google pays attention to them as well.
SEO isn’t magic, but it does require considerable effort. It’s important to remember when tackling the topic of SEO that you’re trying to get into the ‘free’ listings in Google. One method you could use whenever you’re considering SEO is to think, ‘Does this deserve to be in the first position’. If it doesn’t, go back and change it.
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Steve Jaenke has been involved in the digital world for over 2 decades. Seeing the power of SEO early in the market he pivoted his business to focus on assisting SME to understand and leverage the power of Google. He is a recurrent judge for the Australian Web Awards awards.