Quick question for you – how’s your SEO doing?
Are you happy with your results, or is that something you’re still trying to conquer?
If the latter is true, you’re definitely in good company. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of making a website more friendly and rank higher for search engines (without alienating human readers in the process). It can be a tricky item to master, especially when you’re just starting out as a blogger or website builder. And just when you think you’ve got it pinned down, the most often used search engine, Google, releases a change to their algorithm making everyone with a website panic and wonder how it will affect their ratings.
There are a ton of SEO tips out there for sure. And some of them are fantastic. Others are, well, created by people who would like to think of themselves as experts <grin>.
In all honesty, though, much of what makes up good practices for SEO just isn’t that hard. It’s not something magical, and it’s not something reserved for a select geeky few. I’m here to walk you through 7 tips for improving your SEO that you can start putting in place today.
Want to know how to boost your ranking on Google?
Just like any blogger, when I start a new post, I start with a subject or theme that I’d like to cover for that day. Maybe I find something in the news that catches my interest, or there’s a trending topic on Twitter that catches my eye, or a change to Facebook that needs some attention to make the information understandable and useful.
But once I have a topic identified, I don’t just go at it. Using the Google keyword tool, I take some time to do some research to identify keywords that are relevant to the subject at hand. And lest you flash back to some in depth research for school, let me assure you this kind is easy: you simply use the Google keyword tool, enter words or questions related to the theme you’re considering, and examine which ones are frequently searched by people on Google, using what keywords.
When you do this, you’ll get a table back with a bunch of related entries, and you might throw up your hands in despair. Don’t. Simply click the competition to organize the entries and make it easier to find what you want, particularly if you’re new to performing SEO research for your blog: A keyword phrase with high traffic and low competition.
This is perhaps the most important of the seven tips: content matters. No matter how great your ranking is, the most important tip you can use to improve your search engine ranking results is to provide content that is rich in information, engaging, and moves your readers to take action.
Quality of content matters, and it matters a lot.
But so does quantity. You’ll also want to make sure that you aren’t taking months to churn out one perfect post. The more often you create quality content, the more often the search engine spiders will crawl (visit each page) on your site.
Some people say content is king, and this is one of the top reasons that creating quality content regularly is the single best tip for improving your search ranking.
Want Engagement? Engage with Other Blogs
Reading other blogs in your niche is a great way to keep your mind fresh and give you new information and ideas (to produce more of that great content you’re writing regularly, see above).
Commenting on other blogs in your niche gives you an even better gift – links back to your blog. Links pointing in to your blog (aka inbound links) increase your relevance to the search engine crawlers I mentioned earlier. What do you get? An increased ranking is what you get. If you’ve picked sites to read that are closely related to your content, the links back have increased value to your own rankings. (I’ve always heard it was better to give than receive!)
Sitemap – The Map to Better Search Rankings
Do you know what a sitemap what a sitemap is? If not, that’s okay. But having one is an easy way to boost your search engine ranking.
Creating one is easy. Assuming you’re on WordPress (you are on WP, right?) there’s a plugin you can grab here that does all of the work for you.
To give you the nitty gritty details: You need a sitemap. You want both an XML and an HTML sitemap. For an example of an HTML sitemap, click this link and visit my site’s sitemap. http://assistsocialmedia.com/sitemap. And just a side note – having a sitemap makes it easier for those new visitors you’ve snagged via your SEO efforts to go back and read your prior posts, too.
More than ever, social media sharing is playing an increasing role in determining how pages rank on Google. Why? Quite simply, the role of a search engine is to bring you to relevant, useful content. One of the ways to measure relevance and usefulness is to see what people are sharing on social sites most frequently.
When you create content, take the time to link to it from multiple social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and the big one – Google+ (Google seems to have a preference for content provided by authors with Google+ profiles).
One of the things that you might not have considered in optimizing your site to be found by search engines is the loading speed of your website. Regularly check your website’s loading time, and make sure that any photos have been optimized for the web.
You’ll especially want to double check your website after loading any plugins, as plugins can dramatically change your website’s loading time. If you suspect that one of your plugins might be affecting your site’s loading time, you can check this by disabling all of your plugins, and then enabling them one at a time to see which one is the culprit.
When it comes down to it, all of these strategies for optimizing your site for better search engine rank consistency is huge. SEO isn’t a destination, it’s a journey, and it’s one that can quickly go the wrong direction if you aren’t consistent with your efforts. All the SEO strategies and tactics in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you’re doing them in fits and starts instead of a little bit every day. It’s like exercise – you can’t make up for a lifetime of bad habits the first time you work out. You can’t start a website, try a few “magic” tricks and expect to be the #1 result on Google.
Remember the old fable about the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise won and the moral of the story applies here too: slow and steady wins the race every time, SEO included!
Let us know what you think we would love to hear from you. What are your favorite SEO tips? Any other easy tips that you can add to this list? Leave us a comment below.
About The Author:
This article was contributed by one of my Social Media Apprentices at www.assistsocialmedia.com. Elizabeth Maness is the owner and CEO of Assist Social Media, a marketing company dedicated to increasing your online presence through social media, SEO, blogging, and email marketing.