The world of SEO is intriguing and complex. If you’re a marketer, small business owner, or digital entrepreneur, SEO is probably an important part of your entire digital marketing strategy.
In case you’re not familiar with the term, SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is the “practice” that allows webmasters to improve their search rankings, which ultimately gives them the chance to acquire organic and targeted traffic.
Since most of us use Google to seek information, the stakes of SEO are quite high and the competition is truly significant.
Effective SEO starts with a plan and a set of guidelines. Just like any business needs a good plan before the startup phase, you’ll have to craft a good SEO plan that follows healthy guidelines.
Understand Your Target Audience
SEO is all about people, or more exactly, about what people search for. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all the rest of the search engines are bridges between people and information.
Your job as an SEO practitioner, marketer, or webmaster is to lay the right foundation of the right bridge for the right people.
Simpler put, you need to figure out several aspects:
- How your audience thinks
- Your audience’s needs
- Your audience’s problems
- Age, gender, religion, political view, etc.
- Financial and social status
- Their intent
SEO is a fine art that involves many possible strategies. First of all, discover what your audience is truly like. The second step is to perform a qualitative keyword research process that will help you refine your current knowledge and understanding of your target personas.
Once you know what your prospective customers are looking for, you’ll be able to write and promote the right content in the right places!
Focus on Your Users’ Experience
It’s all about user experience!
If you take a step back and look at all the algorithms developed by Google in the last several years, you’ll notice that they all lead to one simple objective: user experience.
A few years ago, Google has developed an AI-based machine learning tool called RankBrain. Currently, this tool allows Google to identify and capture different patterns whenever users visit your website and click on your links.
Simpler put, RankBrain monitors the activity and reactions of all the users who interact with search results and “judge” or rank the results according to the analysis performed on the interaction itself.
The purpose of quality content is to deliver value, so the user will spend more time digesting your website. Loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and error-free pages. If you pay attention, all of these ranking algorithms are supposed to improve the user’s experience!
Therefore, remember this. If you want to run a successful and creative SEO campaign, start with the most important principle, which is “the user comes first”.
As a small piece of advice related to RankBrain, you should focus on optimizing your highly qualitative content with medium-tailed keywords.
Publish Detailed, Evergreen, and Authoritative Content
Long-form content is definitely the way to go.
Nowadays, Google promotes websites that are not shying away from delivering comprehensive and in-depth information that completes the whole picture.
Generally, 500-words blog posts aren’t enough to cover a topic of the discussion entirely. That is why the recommended word count is approximately 2000 words. That way, you can cover way more semantic keywords and deliver much more value.
That doesn’t mean you can’t write shorter articles too, especially if you’re running a website in a niche in which short content works perfectly. Do both!
Another aspect that you should keep in mind whenever you brainstorm the topics is the evergreen aspect.
Evergreen content is information that will always be relevant. For example, niches like sports, beauty, health – they will all be present and relevant in our lives. However, trends and temporary popular stuff is going to be forgotten at one point or another.
Therefore, you’ll want to focus on creating content that never expires. When it comes to authority, you should always write about facts and always mention when you’re providing opinions. Back up your content with statistics and reputable data that proves your points.
Google wants to send people to websites that offer quality information in a professional and transparent manner. Be that website and you will definitely rank in the long run!
If you’re not a good writer, I would definitely invest in a professional assignment writer that can materialize your ideas and provide quality that you could never provide.
Update and Repurpose Your Old Content
Why write new content when you can easily improve the old goldmines? Better yet, why not do both?
Many webmasters forget about important pieces of their equations. I’m talking about evergreen content that they’ve written a long time ago. These forgotten pieces of content can be updated, optimized, and republished, or/and repurposed.
You can save a lot of time and money by using this strategy and it will also help you improve your SEO rankings.
Always Aim for High-Quality Links
Links, links, links. Why do you think that links are so important?
They’re among the top 3 ranking factors, and they’re probably the hardest aspect that SEO practitioners have to deal with.
Gaining high-quality backlinks means obtaining the trust of high-quality professional entities and webmasters. You can easily obtain them if your value proposition is strong enough, if your content is truly qualitative, if your products look good, if you are connected with influencers, and much more.
Authority plays a huge role. Important websites (in every industry) prefer to link to highly-authoritative and well-trusted sources because they want to offer their users the best possible experience. Therefore, you need to position your brand properly and become an authority on your own.
Since backlinking is also a complicated process, you should take advantage of all the possible SEO tools that can make your life easier. For example, there are many relevant keyword research, backlinks, and on-page optimization tools that help webmasters improve their SEO strategy and ultimately results.
Many tools will give you the chance to get something that would be impossible to get if you were to perform manual tasks.
Create a Smart Interlinking Structure
If backlinks are an important pole, interlinks are the pole that completes the equation. An interlinking structure is a strategy that allows you to connect your website’s pages to each other, thus delivering great user experience.
If people read a post about “how to lose weight” and in that post they are able to open a new tab to another article of yours named “how to eat in order to lose weight”, you’re probably going to retain all the people who are interested in a healthy lifestyle and correct nutrition.
If they click on the link that leads to a different spot on your website, Google’s RankBrain will immediately detect and note down that information. In Google’s terms, interlinks that are getting clicked are proof that relevance and value are provided.
Link back to your old posts, create mini-series, study highly effective SEO practitioners (check their websites) or big brands and pay attention to the interlinking patterns in order to learn more.
Use Power Words in Headlines
For people to reach your website, they have to click on your search result in the first place. Therefore, you have to figure out a way to attract the attention of your prospective visitors in a matter of mini-seconds.
To do that, you’ll need to “work” with their subconscious mind and deliver certain words that will immediately impact the way they think and feel. Some words are stronger than others. For example terror, power, love, incredible, free, new, exclusive, etc.
These are called the “power words”, which are nothing more than words that generate a strong emotional impact. Therefore, depending on your topic, intention, and purpose, you should leverage different power words for different purposes. Here’s a comprehensive list that you can use now and in the future.
If your headlines aren’t strong, you may as well do everything right but people will still avoid clicking. That is because the human mind works faster and faster and we instantly interpret search results based on past experiences. It’s all psychology.
If you want to tap into your target audience’s mind and emotions, you need to get used to power words. Use them in your blog posts, on social media, and throughout your conversations. Notice the results and decide for yourself!
Search engine optimization is not a trend that comes and goes, but an essential marketing strategy that is here to stay. Since Google is constantly changing the search and ranking algorithms, you need to stay in touch with all the important details and updates that might be relevant to your growth.
Take today’s strategies into close consideration and start testing them out. Even though some of them look basic, they often produce better effects than many other “new” guidelines. Have patience and be consistent!