As I mentioned in my previous post, I often get asked how to improve website search engine results rankings. The topic is incredibly broad, but I’ve laid out a few tips which will help you get started.
Michele Martinelli is a London based writer, you can follow him on @Greatbites.
Keep in mind that Google and its peers are living, breathing organisms, and that as such they change their minds. Algorithm updates happen regularly and you need to keep on top of these to make sure an SEO tactic you’re employing now doesn’t suddenly cause you to get hit by a penalty.
You have been warned!
1. Integrate long tail keywords
Google and other search engines are constantly looking to adapt to their user’s ever evolving behaviour. In this context, long tail keywords are increasingly relevant for writers. What are long tail keywords? Well typically they are longer keywords which attract fewer searches but also less competition. An example of a long tail keyword would be “how to fly a kite”, as opposed to “kites”.
Why are they more important now? Well people’s behaviour on search engines is changing. We are more likely to treat Google as a human and ask it questions than we were before. Add to this the growing popularity of voice search, via tech such as Siri or even Xbox One’s Kinect, and it’s clear long tail keywords are a great way of attracting eyeballs.
While we’re on this point, just a quick word about Google’s Knowledge Graph and how it is evolving to deliver content in line with this new user behaviour. Launched in 2012, this graph aims to understand what users are looking for, but also provide Knowledge Graph boxes. The latter allow Google to display relevant answers whilst potentially robbing websites of traffic.
To give you a basic example:
However, now Google also displays more complicated answers to common questions:
The impact of these “step by step instruction boxes” on user behaviour is not yet clear. Nor is how Google decides which site’s content to display. However, the impact on the number of people visiting your website could be huge. For more on the potential impact of step by step instructions check out this post.
2. Use good quality, relevant images
Do you rely on low resolution images from your iPhone to illustrate your blog? Do you have inconsistently sized images all over your website? Does every section use the same photo? Cue an instant loss of credibility.
The internet is a hugely competitive market place and regardless of whether you’re selling wallets or managed services, it is essential to make sure your offer stands out. The easiest way not to do this is by recycling tired, poor quality images. There are plenty of websites offering free images across the internet and a limited budget is no excuse for not having good quality pictures throughout your website.
Once you’ve got your image, name it and tag it in line with your targeted keywords. Search engines don’t just crawl your words, but also the file names of your images. Are you using an image of a Labrador to illustrate your article on training Labradors? Use a file name that explains what the image is i.e. Golden Labrador Retriever Puppy, and add an appropriate alt tag. An alt tag is what will appear if your image fails to load or if you run your cursor over the image. The alt tag should by keyword rich and descriptive. This will maximise your chances of appearing in a Google image search.
Finally make sure your images are the right size. Don’t just dump a huge image onto a webpage ad use the source code to make it the right size. This will massively increase loading time and time is money. Make sure your image is the right size before you insert it.
3. Make your content easy to share
I’m not going to launch into a tirade about how social media will make or break your business. Depending on what sector you’re in this may or may not be the case. However, for many companies making content easy to share is a no-brainer.
Put very broadly, if you work for a B2C company, Twitter and Facebook may well be the best platforms to reach your clients. So make sure there’s a button for each network available on every one of your articles. If you work for a construction firm, LinkedIn might be the network your clients are most likely to find your content on. Some people like sharing content via email, so make sure you include the option of emailing the piece as well.
So where’s the SEO benefit? Well aside from the obvious fact that if more people see your content then you’re likely to get a greater number of links, search engines see social shares as proof of your content’s quality.
Of course this selection of tips only scratches the surface of creating SEO friendly content, but should serve as a solid basis for anyone looking to drive more quality, organic traffic to their website.
Do you agree or disagree with any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below.