20 Proven SEO Strategies To Outrank Your Competition
If you are a business owner with an online presence, you will know what SEO is. For those of you who don’t, it’s an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a series of techniques executed to keep a website on top of the list in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Doing it the right way will earn you rewards from Google and improve your rankings if your website is not at the top yet. Poor SEO or sometimes called black hat practices will lead to Google issuing penalties and will cost you, your rankings. Keeping your website on top of the list is extremely important to have a booming business.
When it comes to searching, Google is Emperor Supreme! Folks in Google frequently release updates to keep things competitive and challenging for the people in the SEO business. Past year they released multiple updates to their search algorithms, namely Panda, Penguin. Then, they delivered a major blow by changing the game.
The Hummingbird algorithm of Google changed the way how searches happened. Before, you could get away with keyword density and land on top of the SERPs. But now, boom! No way. The focus is on quality of content and reader experience.
Nowadays to be on top of the SERPs food chain, the content’s quality is everything. You can’t get away with stuffing your pages with high traffic keywords or phrases. You have to deliver content high on quality all the time. This will bring back writers to the top of the SEO food chain for sure. Why so?
As long as your content is unique, genuine, authentic, informative, entertaining, etc. It will be highly shared, and you will be the top dog. You got to give the audience what they want. The more shares a page has got, the more genuine and unique the content is likely to be and the higher ranking it gets.
People share content they trust because those content are informative. That’s why Google is indirectly relying on people to identify quality content and those content always get great search engine ranking.
It is a major Google update to their search engine. But don’t worry, this doesn’t change how SEO has been up until now by much. The significant one being is that of keyword stuffing is no longer effective. Come on, it’s about time for some quality and entertaining content to be around all of us. Won’t you agree?
Know the following and absorb the fundamentals of SEO.
#1. Know Thy Audience
You must know your audience before creating any content or any ideas for it. Better targeted and more interesting content can be created once the target audience is known. What they like, dislike? What interests them? What issues/problems they are facing, if any? What solutions can you provide to make the issues/problems go away? Have an online social presence. Make a conversation with your audience. Follow their responses and reward them. Use them and their insights to gather information in order to create great SEO contents. At the end of the day, you and I fall into this category; we are the people and the bottom line is we like what we want to see and read.
#2. Keywords Are Still In Play
Think of this in terms of Cake. Keywords are the frosting. Good, well-written content is the main part of the cake. Keywords are still in play but not to the level that drives your rankings up. Instead, they draw attention to you but your content does the rest of the work. As algorithms become smarter and smarter, keywords diminish in importance and content is the centerpiece.
#3. Word Count Matters
Earlier we were under the impression that less is more. Guess what? We were wrong. When it comes to content people prefer to be well informed, and more information comes from more content. So move away from short and sweet content and make long informative content. Research shows that people liked the content that provided them with a complete picture. Content that has more than 2000 words were shared more often than the content that had lesser words. Even in the case of microblogging sites like Twitter, articles with higher word count (more or around 2k) were preferred by users. So when you make content now on, spare no detail.
#4. Be Relevant
Always be relevant. Don’t bother creating content that is irrelevant to your audience. For example, while you are targeting a marketing audience you will have to churn out marketing related content. Instead, if you focus on gaming-oriented content, you will end up with little or no audience. So make it a priority to being relevant to your audience pool while making content.
#5. Be Informative
It always pays off to be informative. After all, information is all we seek. It is your responsibility to provide your audience with all the information they need that is relevant to you. The appropriate amount of information will help your audience pool in discerning whether to choose your product/service or not. It’s a major deal breaker. So always be informative.
#6. Be Compelling
You have to make a compelling argument which is convincing to your audience pool. By doing so, you captivate your audience and keep them interested. Making them feel very much involved. It gives them something to connect with you. You have to build trust and to win over their confidence with your content. By doing so, it will give you a loyal following. Something money can’t buy.
#7. Properly Written Content
If you are aiming to be on top of the SERPs, you have to write content that adheres to the rules of grammar, punctuation and formatting and spelling, etc. Failing to deliver these will result in your audience losing confidence in you. Eventually, you will have no following left. Moreover, Google will penalize you by moving you down on the SERPs. The simple fact is, properly written content gets precedence.
Social Media is Important
Social media attention is gold. The more the attention, the better the SERPs standing. Study conducted by Tasty Placement, Inc. shows that social media popularity of your content increases the SERPs standings. So the more shares per article, the better your search engine ranking. People know what is better. They share what is relevant and what they trust. Google makes use of the popularity of your article/content and factors it in while judging your position in the SERPs. So make sure that you include plugins from all the widely used social media sites likes Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. Such plugins will help you as people will be able to share your content from your page right away.
#8. Social Media Engagement
Engaging with your audience in social media shows not only that you have an interest in your customers but also care about what they have to say. So, create a page. Start thoughtful and insightful conversations with your audience and observe their actions and stay involved. Be relevant to your niche and brand and do what you aim to achieve. Promoting yourself, your product/services to your audience on social media goes a long way and pays for a long time.
#9. Social Media Lead Generation
You need to use your social media prowess for more than just promotion for yourself. Spread the love. Enter into big-time lead generation through social media. Flavor up your content by adding offers, webinar and downloadable stuff that are of interest to your audience pool. Even if you don’t own the downloadable stuff. This practice will lead to a boost in lead generation as you will be promoting the other party’s stuff (webinars, content, downloadable material). It will be a bonus for your business when the other party reciprocates this, you get increased exposure and over time new audience.
#10. Social Media Frequency
In-order to have a great smile you ought to regularly brush and take care of your teeth. Similarly, in order to have a great following in social media, you need to post updates in social media frequently and pay attention to your audience pool. Stir up topics and keep the conversation about your brand alive. That will have a persistent effect among your followers as they get regularly reminded of your presence. Keeping your brand alive in your audience pool is the goal of great necessity and social media frequency ensures it.
#11. Social Media Display Value
To be frequent doesn’t mean that you can spam your audience pool. Be relevant, be informative, provide alerts about important updates, etc. It’s very easy to increase your frequency, minus the value. But this will cost you your audience pool’s trust and eventually, the following will thin out. A larger following is always rewarding. So, don’t spam. Only add value.
Link Building & SEO
Link building is still in. But don’t be irrelevant (spamming). Follow SEO best practices to build links in order to improve your rankings. Irrelevancy and building links for the sake of the same will lead to severe penalties from Google, and you will end up in the ‘Google Offenders’ list.
#12. Building Links
Building links is simple and Google recommends it to be done the right way. The way of blogging. Publish informative and relevant material and build links to your posts by sharing them on social media. Over time enough links will be available so that your SERPs are improved. It’s a time-consuming process, but the best way to gain Google’s attention.
#13. Be Newsworthy
You have to make yourself newsworthy. Offer promotions, hold free giveaway events, encourage your audience to participate eagerly in the conversation with rewards and discounts and vouchers and other similar gifts that you can think off. Keep the excitation level of your brand up. The more exciting (juicy) you are, the more newsworthy you will be and more and more people will join in and talk and share about yours. Promotion and more of it is the ultimate goal, and newsworthiness achieves it.
#14. Be Inspirational
Be inspirational. Everybody loves a melodrama. By making your post melodramatic and inspirational, you improve the chances of getting people closer to your post. This will result in increased following and natural likeability towards your posts. All the while increasing your newsworthiness in return and in turn your popularity.
#15. Encourage Linking
You like many others like to show your support to your favorite football team or the team of any sport that you support. It shows loyalty, dedicated following. It is good to tap into this. Create partnership badges that can be shown off by your followers. These will also act as links that come to your homepage and increasing the weightings of your site in SERPs.
Make Use of SEO Tools
There are several free tools that are out there waiting to get discovered. They aid greatly in your SEO activities. All you have to do is find and make use of them.
#16. The MozBar
It’s a toolbar designed to make SEO easier. It helps in choosing top-level links for your content very easy. It has an extremely friendly user interface and provides in-depth SEO about a website or page. It’s free of cost and a great tool worth downloading. While performing link building, it will be invaluable to a beginner and experienced user alike.
Though keywords don’t play a significant role like before in today’s SEO. They still have a need in order for people to identify and locate your posts on the internet via a search engine. Wordstream is a great tool for keyword research and will improve your productivity.
#18. Tools from Google
In addition to the above two tools, you can make use of great SEO tools from Google. Tools like:
Google Analytics – It lets you measure your sales and conversion rates and to identify your visitors’ behaviors, identify the success of your social media programs and provide statistical insights to better target your ads.
Google Webmaster Tools – It gives you information about how Google’s search bots crawl and index your website. You can identify any problem if any and know about the various statistics related to the queries leading to the discovery of your site.
#19. Maintain Originality
Originality goes hand in hand with uniqueness. Let’s face the reality. All original contents are unique. Being original is like being on the goodwill side of the Gods. Here search engines are Gods. You have to make it your mission to generate original content to be competitive and rank high in Google rankings. Make use of software to check for the presence of plagiarism and ensure the originality by eliminating even the slightest hint of it. Copyscape is one of the best plagiarism checkers available.
#20. Get Professional Assistance
Get professional assistance whenever possible. With search engines focused on quality content, a professional copywriter might just be the right companion for you to find content.
SEO hasn’t changed dramatically yet. But these little changes will have huge ripples in your SERPs standings when not adhered to. So you have to alter your behavior and accommodate to the changes in search algorithms. In the coming years, search engines will get smarter and smarter and even greater changes will have to be incorporated to succeed.