Do you want to learn the ropes on how to improve SEO?
Getting indexed in Google is no big deal, but ranking for the right keywords definitely is.
In fact according to statistics, 93% of online activities start with search engines. And based on HubSpot’s 2018 report, 61% of online marketers state that SEO is their top priority for their inbound marketing this 2019. This is obviously because a page has a higher chance of being visited if they are found within the first 3 pages of SERPs. Well, not unless that user has a lot of time scrolling up to the 10th page.
But regardless of what you think about improving SEO, it isn’t as simple as it used to be a decade ago. Today, reaching to the top of the search engine result pages requires you to do more in every way.
Deliver more value. Strive for more engagement. Add more content. It’s more, more and more to improve SEO.
But once you get it right, there’s no looking back. You can keep building on your success, and move up the SEO ladder.
And today, you are in for a surprise. We are going to tell you, step-by-step, how our SEO Agency helps small businesses earn top organic rankings.
Whether you’re a local business trying to get more organic traffic from the search engines or an established e-commerce website wanting to improve SEO rankings, the following guide will help you take the right steps to reach your online marketing goals.
Tips on How to Improve SEO
#1: Do Effective Keyword Research
Finding the right keywords is crucial to improve SEO rankings of your website. It not only allows you to drive more organic traffic but also helps you understand your customers better. Which ultimately gives you an edge over your competition.
Here are four common mistakes people make when researching keywords:
1. Not aiming for long tail keywords
2. Not using relevant keywords
3. Not evaluating the popularity of the keywords
4. Not focusing on more than one keyword
Creating and executing a solid keyword strategy will help you solidify your position in the search engine result pages. And if done right, it can help your website receive search traffic for a long time to come.
Here are the basic steps we take to help you find the right keywords to target:
Step #1: We make a list of niche topics related to your business
Before we can discover a list of specific keywords to optimize your website for, we find a few niche topics that we feel are important for your business. These topics are general in nature and broad enough so that we’re able to find relevant keywords.
If you’re a web designer, the topics we choose could be as broad as “website design” or “create website”. We believe the best way to figure out the right topics is to think from your customer’s point of view. And that’s exactly what we do.
Step #2: We come up with keywords related to those niche topics
Your target customers are frequently using Google to look for a service similar to what you are providing. By breaking down your niche topics, we would be able to pinpoint keyword phrases that they are using to search. For example, if the chosen niche topic is “flannel sheet set”, the related keywords could be:
We think deep on questions like, what would your prospects or customers be typing in the search engines? What kind of phrases or questions would they be using? What would be their search intent? The keywords that we find are not random, but specific to your target audience.
Step #3: We look into Google’s related search terms
In order to improve SEO, aside from finding keywords on our own, we also look for keyword ideas using Google and making a note of related search terms. These show up right at the end of the search engine result pages.
The best part about these suggested keywords is that they’re super-targeted. And people are actually searching for them. Next, we drill down these search terms by finding keywords related to them to get more keyword ideas.
Step #4: We narrow down the list using the Google Keyword Planner Tool
After finding a bunch of relevant keywords, we cut down the list so that we’re left with the best keywords to target for your website’s SEO.
Using the Google Keyword Planner Tool, we are able to get some crucial data about the keywords at hand. What we are mainly interested in is how much search volume these phrases generate along with the traffic estimates.
As we go through the list, we strike off broad keywords that have a lot of search volume to avoid too much competition. We also eliminate keywords that are too narrow to have any considerable search volume. The curated list of keywords that we are left with is the final list. This list is what we use to improve SEO for our clients.
As you can see, finding the right keywords is not complicated. It just takes a bit of time and patience.
#2: Perform SEO Competitive Analysis
Wanting to improve SEO for a certain keyword is not the same as actually ranking for it. It might take time, effort and a budget to reach the top. A lot of websites fail at the SEO game because they aren’t realistic in their approach and also don’t focus on the basic steps to rank well.
Nevertheless, from our experience, ranking for your chosen keyword is possible by performing a strong competitive analysis and creating a practical strategy.
We have already covered keyword research where we come up with a list of keywords that can be realistically ranked for. With this list in hand, we:
1. Identify Main Competitors
We use the created keyword list to search and find competing websites that appear on the first page of the SERPs. Some of these sites may be ranking for one specific keyword and others for multiple keywords in the same niche. We add all of these websites to your list of competitors.
We use a tool called SEMrush to find out how many ranking keywords a competing website has in Google. If a domain is ranking for many popular keywords, it denotes high authority and will be difficult to compete with.
Your competitors in the truest sense of the word are those websites that are in your “rank”. In other words, if you run an eCommerce store selling physical fitness books, it wouldn’t be fair for your site to compete with, say, BarnesandNoble.com.
We focus on targeting long tail keywords for your website so that the competition you face isn’t impossible to beat.
2. Understand Competing Sites
We know that knowing your competitors isn’t enough. So we go a step further and actually work on understanding your competition in a better way. This gives us a vivid view of their profile.
We do this by:
a) Analyzing the number and quality of backlinks the competing website with Ahrefs
b) Looking into the site’s topical trust flow using Majestic SEO
c) Knowing industry averages with the help of LinkResearchTools
#3: Conduct Backlink Analysis
Running a successful SEO campaign for a website is not as difficult as it sounds. But it does take some work since there are a lot of moving parts to it, such as backlinks.
Building high quality backlinks is a crucial element to improve SEO rankings, and will always be. So in order to make a firm foundation for your link building activities, we conduct effective backlink analysis. This arms us with the needed knowledge to help your site attract targeted links.
Here are the elements that we take into consideration when conducting backlink analysis of a website using the Open Site Explorer:
1. Total Backlinks
We look at the total number of backlinks to a website to get a rough idea about how competitive the site is. If the website is reputed enough, most of these links can be considered legitimate. We understand that it is not difficult to achieve a high link count by spamming activities such as commenting on blogs, building social media profiles, etc. Which is why we don’t lay great emphasis on how many backlinks a site has.
2. Unique Domains
Root domains or referring domains are more authentic when it comes to counting links. Why? Because having links from multiple unique domains has more SEO value than multiple links from a handful of domain names.
We analyze the linking domains to get a better idea about the quality of incoming links and how much effort would be required.
3. Anchor Text
By clicking on the “Anchor Text” tab, we get a list of all the anchor text terms linking to the competing website — both, total number of backlinks and unique domains.
We work on analyzing how the competing websites are optimizing for the anchor text terms, and see how we can do better.
We consider anchor text over-optimization a mistake. So you won’t find us doing it.
We try to diversify the type of anchor text we use for best results. We try to use different variations by having a healthy mix of your primary keyword, secondary keywords and your brand name. We also avoid using any anchor text that we feel has been overused by the competing sites.
4. New Backlinks
The “just discovered” links are new links that were recently found. Which can be viewed by clicking on the “Just Discovered” tab.
Having data about fresh links at hand helps us:
– Understand what kind of strategy is being used by your competitor so that we can formulate our own
– See if the competitor is using any suspicious or unethical methods to gain links
– Find out if a large amounts of backlinks have been gained in a short period of time.
If and when we see a competitor building a huge number of links unnaturally, we view it as suspicious activity — especially when it is a small, niche site in question.
5. Page Performance
Knowing how many backlinks point towards the popular pages of the site is as important as knowing the number of links to the domain. We believe this is necessary to understand how the website is performing and why it is being linked to.
By discovering any low-performing and high-performing pages we will know what kind of content we should create and in what direction the link building campaign should point.
#4: Optimize the Title Tag
The tag of a web page is an important element to improve SEO for your business. From our experience, here’s why:
– Compared to other tags, the title tag has the most authority in terms of SEO
– It is the first element to be noticed in the search engine result pages
– It lets you describe the content of your page in a few words
Given the role thetag plays in helping your website make the most of SEO, you might think that it obviously gets all the attention. However, in many cases, it is simply ignored.
Search engines lay great emphasis on thetag if it is well optimized. Otherwise, not so much. By putting in effort into crafting a solidtag, we not only help you impress the search engines, but also attract relevant search users.
Here’s how we optimize the title tag in the best possible way:
1. We avoid placing more than onetag and see to it that it is used only within thetag.
2. We place your primary keyword in the beginning of thetag, and the secondary keyword after that.
3. We place your brand name at the end of yourtag
4. We limit the text in thetag to 70 characters for best results.
5. We keep thetags on each page unique and meaningful.
6. We don’t stuff yourtags with keywords no matter how relevant they are.
We craft the righttags for your pages so that the search engines find it easier to rank your site better than others.
#5: Optimize the Meta Description
When you Google something, you see a list of websites with relevant titles and a summary of the page content, which is called the meta description. You often find that the meta description contains the keyword that you searched for. Which gives us a strong reason to optimize it.
The purpose of the meta description is to inform the search user about the page and get them to click through to the website from the search engine result pages.
While meta descriptions don’t directly help your website rank above others, they do help you generate a higher click-through rate. Which is an important metric to improve SEO in the eyes of Google.
So the better your meta tag descriptions, the more people click on it. And the more people click on it, the higher you rank for the said keyword.
This is how we optimize your page’s meta description.
1. We try to practice brevity when writing your meta description as it may get cut short by Google if it is too long. We think anything below 160 characters is just fine.
2. Since we want people to read your meta description and click on your link, we write it in an active (actionable) voice, rather than passive. Here’s an example of how a good meta description looks like:
3. We try to include a call-to-action in the meta description so that people have a reason to click.
4. We match the meta description to the content of your page, so that people don’t hit the back button and increase your bounce rate — which Google sees as lack of relevancy.
5. We use your primary keyword in the meta description so that it gets highlighted in the SERPs.
6. We write a unique and informative meta description for each page.
#6: Optimize the Page Heading Tags
A heading tag is nothing but a piece of HTML code that encases the headings and subheadings on a page. There are six heading tags in total – H1 to H6.
Besides breaking down your content and giving readers a great experience, heading tags also help the search engines deliver relevant results to users.
The most commonly used tags are H1, H2 and H3. So by optimizing these tags effectively you help the search engine crawlers understand how relevant your content is, which can improve SEO rankings for the page.
In order to effectively optimize the heading tag for the search engines, we make sure to:
1. Use one H1 tag, two to three H2 tags and H3 tags for rest of the subheadings.
2. Use relevant keywords phrases in the heading tags but create variations.
3. Keep each tag short and to the point.
4. Start the heading tag with your main keyword.
5. Add relevant content below each tag.
6. Place each tag in the right order.
The heading tags may not seem important at first, but if you look at them from an SEO point of view, they hold real value.
#7: Optimize Anchor Text
Just like any other reputed SEO agency, we strongly believe in the importance of anchor text when optimizing your website for the search engines.
In simple words, anchor text is a clickable hyperlink that links to another page or website. It helps the search engines understand what page you are linking to.
When used properly, anchor text has the power to consistently push your website to the top of the SERPs. If done carelessly, you can lose your ranking and also get penalized by the big G.
Here’s how we focus on optimizing anchor texts on your site so there’s no trouble for you in the future:
1. The anchor text we use is relevant to the content that you’re publishing.
2. We avoid using the same anchor text over and over again. Because, according to SEMrush, you should distribute the anchor text around the site and have enough variation.’
3. We focus on linking to reputed sites that have an authority in your niche. Linking to any spammy website or a link farm just for the sake of gaining a backlink is a strict no-no in our books.
4. According to our experience, using keyword rich anchor texts for internal linking on your website can do more harm than good. Which is why when using anchor text for internal links on your site, we use long tail or a more diluted form of the main keyword.
5. We keep a track of the anchor texts we’re using with the help of a monitoring tool. It helps us find out which of the anchor texts is performing the best and remove the under-performing ones.
Gone are the days when you could use an exact-match anchor text and get better rankings. Today, you need to build links organically and use anchor texts that are more natural/relevant.
#8: Leverage Blogging to Improve SEO
Search engines want you to build a strong relationship with your visitors. They want you to give them enough value on a consistent basis. Because it’s not just about attracting traffic, but it’s also about retaining it.
Having a blog should be be your topmost priority if you want to impress the search engines and deliver real value to your visitors. When your blog gets updated regularly with fresh content, you start getting more visitors, grow your reputation and build your brand.
Let’s look into three practical reasons a blog can boost your SEO strategy:
1. Fresh, Updated Content: Search engines want to deliver the best value to their users by connecting them to content relevant to what they are searching. So when a website publishes quality content regularly, it sends a green signal to the search engine spiders. Because ultimately a website that is updated is much better than a site that hasn’t seen any updates in a long time.
2. Better Keyword Targeting: Keywords when woven in the right content can help a page rank well above the others. Without a blog, a website may end up adding keywords to the content in an unnatural way. But with a blog, you’re able to create valuable content around niche topics/keywords without losing context. The bigger the blog post, the bigger the opportunity to optimize the content.
3. More Backlinks: The best way to build backlinks to attract them. In other words, organic link building almost always beats the artificial method in terms of SEO. Google still sees backlinks as a strong vote, as long as they are from the right sources. With high quality content published on your blog, you give other related websites and blogs a reason to link to it.
Adding a blog to your website not only makes your website look more professional and helpful, but also gives the search engines and its users exactly what they’re looking for.
We, at Lyfe Marketing, are committed to help you make the most out of blogging and SEO, so feel free to check out our pricing and see how we can work together.
#9: Use Email Outreach to Build Links
Gaining high quality backlinks can give your website a huge SEO push. However, if you wait for links to appear on their own, it may take a long time before you see any big results. Which is why it’s important for you to reach out to bloggers/influencers and get them to link to your content.
These are some basic steps we take with our email outreach:
Step #1: We use a link analysis tool such as the Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs to find backlinks of a competing website
Step #2: We work on finding the email addresses of all those websites that are linking to your competitor and who we think would be worth contacting.
Step #3: We send them a personalized email asking for a backlink without sounding spammy.
Don’t let the simplicity of this three-step method fool you. It can and will help you get more links to your site. Period.
#10: Drive More Social Engagement & Improve SEO
Contrary to popular belief, Google doesn’t see social media shares as a ranking factor. However, what can influence your rankings is social engagement.
Here’s what the Moz blog has to say about social engagement and SEO:
“Perhaps the relationship is that the social posts that get very high engagement rates (which leads to high numbers of shares) come from the same content that get above-average click-through rates in organic search results pages, which we know tends to result in better organic rankings.”
We help you improve your social engagement by:
- Sharing relevant video content
- Tag or mention other bloggers and influencers
- Share valuable social media content with your followers
- Write enticing headlines to increase shares and CTR
- Post new content on a regular basis
- Use hashtags wherever appropriate
- Share images that resonate with your target audience
- Start a Twitter chat to grow your follower count
While you won’t see an immediate effect in your SEO results with more social engagement, you will see improvement in your rankings over time.
Final Step: Implement Your SEO Campaign
Whether you’re a local business trying to get more organic traffic from the search engines or an established e-commerce website wanting to improve SEO rankings, here’s how working with an experienced online marketing agency like Lyfe Marketing can be beneficial for you:
1. Knowledgeable Manpower
Building or hiring an in-house team to handle your SEO needs is not at all easy. Right from sifting through a ton of resumes to interviewing, the whole hiring process can drain you. By leveraging an agency, you’re able to tap into real knowledge without worrying about hiring the wrong people for the job.
2. Proven Track Record
A reputable online marketing agency doesn’t build castles in the air. No, it actually works towards building and growing a proven track record, which can be seen in the case studies. For example, you can check out our case study where we helped a small business generate $96,664.98 worth of SEO Results in 5 months.
3. Easier to Work with
The difference between working with an agency and an in-house team or a freelancer is how easy it is to manage your work. When you hire an agency, you can actually talk to them and discuss anything related to your project during the business hours. They’re accessible by phone when you need them. It’s that simple.
4. Optimum Reliability
SEO companies perform exceedingly well because their clients count on their performance. This is why they have the “do whatever it takes” attitude, which makes them highly dependable and reliable. And reliability is something that you cannot compromise on.
Watch this short video of how we helped a small business increase revenue by over $95,000.00!
Feel free to check out our SEO pricing to learn more about how we can help you improve SEO.