What would 500 more visitors a month mean for your website and your business? Chances are you already have great content on your website—content that is interesting, engaging, and that—ultimately—converts users on your site into paying clients. But, is your content doing enough to drive traffic to your site? How do you drive more traffic to your site without creating new content?
seo optimization basics for your existing content
Writing a new piece of content takes a lot of time and effort, both of which are scarce commodities when you run a small business. Instead of spending hours a month creating new content for your site, let’s work on improving your existing content by optimizing it for search engines. By doing so, you increase the likelihood that interested users will see your content when they’re searching for your product or service on a search engine. But how do you optimize your content for search engines?
an engaging, concise page title
Your Page Title will be the first thing a user sees when they encounter your brand on a search engine results page (SERP). This may be your one and only chance to catch their attention as they search for a solution to their problem. Make an impression by creating a Page Title that is engaging and catchy, but concise and brief (Google puts character/pixel limits on Page Titles, so you’ll need to keep those in mind).
As you go through iterations of your Page Title, be sure to include your primary keyword (or a close variation). When a user types in a keyword and sees that keyword in a Page Title, they will be more likely to click on the result because they perceive a high relevance to what they are looking for.
descriptive, informative meta description
Immediately following your Page Title on a SERP (search engine results page) is your Meta Description. Just like its namesake, your Meta Description needs to describe the contents of your web page. But more than a reiterative description, your Meta Description needs to give users a reason to click on your listing. What are you offering that others aren’t? Is your content worth their time? This needs to be evident in your Meta Description.
One of the most important components of your Meta Description is the use of your primary keyword. When the keyword that someone’s searching for appears in your Meta Description, that keyword gets bolded. Guess what that does for your site? It increases the likelihood that the user will click on it!
an affirming h1 tag
Your H1 Tag is the first piece of text that someone sees when they finally arrive on your page from Google. Because of this fact, your H1 Tag needs to reinforce the expectations that you have set so far (from both your Page Title and your Meta Description). It’s not enough to just get someone to your site—you need them to stay and engage. If they visit your website under the assumption that your site talks about handmade jewelry and they see the words “Best Smartwatches of 2018”, you’ve lost trust.
Another important thing to remember when writing your H1 Tag is that you need to refrain from simply repeating your Page Title. Instead, your H1 Tag should be different from your Page Title but complementing.
primary keyword use
In theory, you should have done plenty of keyword research to identify keywords that are searched, relevant to your product or service, and have potential to drive qualified traffic. Assuming that you’ve done that and identified your primary keyword with which you’ve built your content around, it’s now time to ensure you are using your primary keyword throughout your content in a way that’s sensible and beneficial.
There’s no magic number or ratio, but it’s a good rule of thumb to ensure that your primary keyword is in every third paragraph. But be sure that you don’t sacrifice commonsense language with keyword usage. In other words, don’t place your primary keyword in a sentence that doesn’t fit, just to meet some “quota”.
You also want to be sure that you’re using synonyms for your primary keyword and close variations. Close variations could be industry terminology or jargon that can replace your primary keyword.
ditch the generic anchor text
Whenever you link to a page on your own site (internal link) or a page on another website (external link), be sure to avoid using generic anchor text like “Click Here” or “Read More”. Instead, explain in a complete sentence what the page you are linking to is about. For example: We wrote an interesting piece on writing effective anchor text.
When you link to other pieces of content, you are enhancing the experience that someone has on your site. By providing avenues to different subject matters, related topics, and interesting resources, you’re increasing the likelihood that the person who came to your site will find exactly what they are looking for.
real image file names
You should be adding images to your content. Not only are images pretty, they enhance your content by providing visual aids that complement your words and provide a necessary break from reading. However, you can’t just simply upload images straight from their source—whether it’s from your photographer or your camera. You need to give your images REAL File Names. Don’t upload DSC2984542.JPG to your content. Instead, rename DSC2984542.JPG to summer-beach-wedding-123.JPG.
Google relies on your Image File Names to understand what your image (and your content) is about. When you fail to provide life names that lack real words, you diminish your chances of having your images appear in an image search.
add alt image descriptions
Another place that Google will look for clues to understand what your image is about is the Alt Image Description. Just like it sounds, an Alt Image Description is a description that you can add to your image. While this won’t drastically improve your SEO, it’s part of the foundation that we’re building.
get your word count way up
While there is no magic answer to the question, “How long should my content be?”, Google has been shown to give preferential treatment to long-form content (content that’s lengthy). A study back in 2012 found that the average content length of each of the top 10 results was more than 2,000 words. Even more telling, the average number of words for the content in the #1 spot was 2,416. Does that mean that your content has to be 2,000 words or longer? No, but it does mean that the longer your content is, the higher your potential is of ranking on the 1st page of Google.
More content is also beneficial for your users and their perception of your brand. When you have lengthy, interesting content, when you delve into subject matters to provide clarity and depth, your audience is more likely to view you as an industry expert. They’re more likely to trust your advice, which can translate into more sales for your business.
format with h2-h6 tags
Know who likes to scroll through thousands of words to find content that’s relevant to them? No one. H2-H6 Tags are HTML formatting tags that allow you to design headings and subheadings that arrange your content in an easy-to-understand hierarchy. format your content in a way that increases readability and improves the overall experience someone has with your content.
H2-H6 Tags are extremely important to use in your content for 2 reasons. First, users will have an extremely hard time navigating your content (which remember, should be around 2,000 words) without headings and subheadings. To increase readability and the overall experience someone has with your content, H2-H6 tags need to be added. Second, search engines use H2-H6 tags to further understand and categorize your content. A tip for your subheadings is to use secondary keywords in them.
internal link building
Are there any pages on your website that should be linking to this new content you’ve developed? Go through your site and find relevant places to link to your new content using some great non-generic anchor text. Internal links are important because they help to build connections between all of the content on your site so that a user can easily flow through your website.
share on social media
Social Media plays an integral part in SEO. Your website may not be ranking all that well on Google, but, if you have developed a nice following on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, you need to take advantage of that reach and share your new content on Social Media. And when you share that content, find ways to encourage engagement with your content. The more links and shares and reach your content has, the better it will perform on search engines like Google or Bing.
external link building
Links are one of the most influential components of SEO. They’re like a referral from other websites. And the more of these referrals you get, the more reputable your site appears to Google. And the more reputable your site appears to Google, the higher your rankings will be. In short, links are a necessity if you want to rank well.
Creating great content that’s optimized is the first step to ranking on the first page of Google. Seal the deal by reaching out to bloggers and website owners to ask them for a link to the phenomenal piece of content that you’ve just optimized. Here’s an example of what an email to a website owner or blogger might look like:
“Hi there John,
I subscribe to your newsletter and love the business tips that you share with your audience. They’re extremely helpful and applying some of them have made some huge changes in my business.
I recently wrote a piece of content titled “Growth Hacks To Double Your Profits Without Doubling Your Costs”. I think it would be a really interesting piece for your audience because I know everyone is thinking about growth right around the New Year. A link from your site would be tremendous. Thanks for considering my content.
get your free seo optimization checklist
We’re created a nifty little checklist that will serve as a guide when you begin to optimize your existing content. Give your content the oomph it needs to take your business to the next level!