If it often feels like search engine optimization success is a lot like trying to hit a constantly moving target… that’s because it largely is. Google is the biggest search engine on Earth and they’re constantly making adjustments to their site’s algorithm that throw rankings into a constant state of flux.
But rather than looking for that one “silver bullet” technique you can use to get to the top of the SERPS, it’s best to just forget all that entirely. Instead, focus on those small-yet-essential SEO moves that, when taken together, add up to something more powerful than anyone could ever be on its own.
Case in point: what follows is a list of some of the most important SEO tips for you to utilize in 2020 and beyond. All of them bring something unique to the table and all are certainly worth a closer look.
Understand What Matters… and What Doesn’t
One of the most important things to understand about the current state of SEO is that things are essentially in a constant state of flux. This is largely happening by design, as Google is always trying to close loopholes and stop people from taking advantage of the system they’ve worked so hard to build in the first place.
Therefore, it’s almost more important to know what doesn’t matter in terms of modern-day search engine optimization best practices than it is to learn what does. Running afoul of Google won’t just get you penalized – it could potentially get you delisted altogether if your violations are egregious enough.
Case in point: keywords. Gone are the days when all you really had to do to rank highly was cram your page with as many “relevant” keywords as possible. Google in particular has been very clear over the years that to rank highly, your content needs to provide something of genuine value to those who will be consuming it. Not just Google’s search engine “spiders” – but real, living human beings.
Now, that’s not to say that keywords aren’t important – because they are. In addition to including relevant keywords in the title tag and meta description of your content (so that people can quickly confirm they’ve landed on the type of page that they were searching for), you should still include them in the body as naturally and as organically as possible.
But don’t start with the keywords and try to work your way backwards to the content. Instead, head to a site like Respona to see what real people are searching for and what topics they’re interested in. Then, craft content around those ideas and add something tangible to the discussion that they may not otherwise have had access to. If you build your content around these hot-button topics, you won’t have to worry about finding ways to jam in as many keywords as possible after the fact. Your high quality, relevant and valuable content will have already essentially taken care of that by design.
Infographics: More Powerful Than Ever
Everyone knows that it’s a good idea to create social media graphics because this type of content is naturally more popular (read: shareable) on sites like Facebook and Twitter than something that lacks relevant visuals. Infographics, on the other hand, are your opportunity to take these effects one step further by helping to build brand awareness and increase your SEO prowess at the exact same time.
Infographics are essentially your opportunity to have your cake and eat it, too, as they still allow you to tell a full “story” with your content but you get to express as much of that narrative in a visual way as you can. However, there are still a few rules that you should keep in mind the next time you sit down with a tool like Visme (which I founded) to create that next compelling Infographic.
- The most shared Infographics tend to have an average word count of about 396 words. So don’t assume you can get away with only visuals, but also don’t assume that there’s no such thing as “too long” for the accompanying text.
- The average size of the most popular Infographics are around 3683 pixels by 804 pixels. In other words, don’t make people scroll too much and make sure that your content can be adequately consumed on devices with smaller screens like smartphones and tablets.
- Roughly 73% of all Infographics use some type of identifiable color scheme – meaning that you need to use every tool in your arsenal to really create the impression you’re after. An Infographic is more than just a black screen with pictures and white text on it. You need to think about the color choices you’re making for each element and how they all tie back into the main theme that you’re going for, narratively speaking.
Even More SEO Best Practices
Finally, there are a number of major elements you’ll want to account for to help your site rank as highly as possible – all of which have less to do with the content itself and are more about the way that content operates on the web.
These types of tips are especially true if you’re focused on WordPress SEO in particular, as that particular service essentially gives you complete control over the architecture of your site from top to bottom.
For the absolute best results, remember to:
- Use SEO-friendly URLs. As a rule of thumb, try to make your URL something that is easy for an actual human to remember. Sure, a Google spider may be able to make sense of “www.mywebsite.com/998eeuroiiua7”, but an actual person is never going to be able to remember that and it certainly won’t help your organic traffic.
- Use the most mobile-friendly website design that you can. If your site doesn’t look perfect on a smartphone or tablet, you need to make some significant changes. Google has been incredibly clear that mobile-friendliness is a major part of their current algorithm, which means that you need to care about it, too.
- Improve page load speeds as much as possible. The vast majority of all people who come to your site will slam that “Back” button and never return if your page takes longer than three seconds to load. With a bounce rate that high (and a time on page rate that low), Google will immediately take notice – and your rankings will suffer as a result.
- Use the right tools. WordPress, in particular, has all sorts of social media plugins that you can use for social media promotion, and tools like Yoast SEO are great for adding keywords, titles, meta descriptions and more.
Provided that you follow all of these top SEO tips for 2020, your ranking won’t be something you have to worry about for much longer. Your visibility will go sky-high and at that point, your website will be able to speak for itself – exactly the way it should be.
How to Boost Search Traffic Using Long-Tail Keywords
Are you tired of trailing behind on the search engine results pages (SERPS)?
I get you. Nobody likes losing out to competitors. But what should bother you most is when you invest effort and money in SEO but don’t get the desired results.
If that sounds familiar, you’re reading the right article.
Your SEO efforts may be failing if you are investing in outdated SEO techniques, like targeting short, popular keywords.
You need to revamp your SEO strategy and start focusing on long-tail keywords.
Actually, it’s a sound strategy, backed by research and successful use cases.
In this post, I’ll explain how you can take advantage of long-tail keywords to top the SERPs.
But first, let’s talk about what long-tail keywords are and why they matter.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords and Why Do They Matter?
Long-tail keywords contain three or more words. They are very precise but unpopular search terms. By “unpopular,” I mean they generate fewer searches than corresponding shorter keywords. Then, why do I recommend using them?
That’s because long-tail keywords convert exceptionally well. They closely resemble the actual search queries that people type in search engines. Since they match user intent so precisely, they get more clicks and your website gets more targeted traffic.
One of my blog posts about Instagram Spaces is getting a lot of traction on Google. I compiled the keywords it’s ranking for, and here is what I found:
Note that “how to space out Instagram captions” (a long-tail keyword) beats its shorter counterpart (“Instagram spaces”) in most aspects. It’s generating more clicks, click-throughs (CTR) and gets me to position two on the SERPs.
Though it’s lagging in impressions, that doesn’t impact my website traffic as much as the other parameters.
If you’re still not convinced about the efficacy of long-tail keywords, take a look at their main advantages below.
1. Long-Tail Keywords Have Low Competition
There is fierce competition to rank for short keywords. But their targeting is not as precise as long-tail keywords.
Fewer marketers target long-tail keywords, though the trend is changing after Google’s Panda update. Lower competition means more opportunities to rank as well as more cost savings (more on that later).
Image via Instapages
To verify the low-competition claim, I did some keyword research of my own.
I compared the keyword difficulty (KD) of three semantically-similar keywords (LSI): “lose weight,” “how to lose weight,” and “how to lose weight fast.” Take a look at the results:
Image via SEMrush
The longest keyword had the lowest difficulty score (KD%). That means you can reach the top of the SERPs faster if you build your content around longer keywords. That’s good news as moving up one spot on SERPs can improve your CTR by nearly 30.8%, according to Backlinko.
2. Long-Tail Keywords Help Drive Qualified Traffic
I already mentioned how content that is optimized for long-tail keywords satisfies user intent.
What exactly is “user intent” or “search intent”? It is what triggers users to turn to devices (the web, in this case) in search of information. User intent can be transactional (buying-type), informational (educational-type), or navigational (locational-type).
If you understand a searcher’s intent, you can present them with content they are looking for, which can push them down the sales funnel.
Long-tail keywords help you align content with user intent.
When a searcher types a query like “affordable camping gear in Texas,” (a long-tail keyword), you know they are ripe to convert. You can serve them listicles of top suppliers or tools to search for vendors, or to your own product pages (if that’s relevant).
For doing this, you can create SEO pages with exact-match keyword anatomy. You can include the long-tail keywords in the page copy, meta-tags, and images so that Google crawlers don’t miss your page. You can create an SEO friendly landing page using the best landing page software.
If your content is insightful and high-quality, there’s a good chance that the searcher will engage with it. Being broad terms, shorter keywords don’t have scope for such precise matching. That’s why long-tail keywords are more effective in driving targeted traffic organically.
3. Long-Tail Keywords Are Cheaper
Now, we come to the best part about long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords have lower cost-per-click (CPC) compared to their shorter peers.
Image via Instapages
CPC is the actual amount you pay when you invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. If you build your Google ads around long-tail keywords, you incur lower advertising costs since these keywords have a low CPC. As a result, you can draw more mileage from your advertising spend.
Refer to this image from the “lose-weight” example we saw earlier.
Each click on Google ads that target “how to lose weight” will incur you a cost of $1.21. The cost goes up as the target keyword gets shorter.
In short, long-tail keywords can help you excel at organic as well as paid searches.
How Can You Use Long-Tail Keywords to Drive Website Traffic
As you can make out, long-tail keywords can help you win the coveted top position on Google. No matter how often Google algorithms are updated, targeting long-tail keywords remains the preferred strategy of experienced content marketers.
Yes, long-tail keywords are the secret weapon to win more website visitors. But that doesn’t mean that you should stuff them in your landing pages and other pages. After Google’s RankBrain algorithm, such marketing ploys can get you a red flag.
Here are five ways you can use long-tail keywords naturally in your website content.
1. Write Keyword-Rich Headlines
Your page headlines grab the attention of Google crawlers first. So, front-load your long-tail keywords in your page titles.
If you’re wondering how to write catchy headlines, use Google’s Keywords Planner, Just insert your target keyword and hit the “Get Ideas” button.
Image via Google Keyword Planner
Google will list variations of your target keyword.
Next, identify the search intent of the keyword variation you select. Simply, copy-paste the keyword into Google’s search bar and click on “Enter.” Analyze the kind of pages ranking on the SERP. You will learn what kind of content Google indexes for the keyword.
Image via Google
In this example, I can see that service pages are topping the charts for the keyword “affordable search engine optimization.” So, I can either create a new, optimized service page or keyword-enrich my existing service page.
Whatever format you select, ensure that the keyword should fit naturally in your headlines and sub-headings. You can try LSI keywords in the Related Search section or auto-fill suggestions.
2. Write Long-Form Content
When we compare long-form and short-form content from an SEO perspective, longer content wins, hands down.
Why, you ask?
Because longer content offers more opportunities to add long-tail keywords. Your page’s keyword density increases. Plus, they allow you to deep dive into the topic and deliver value to consumers. All these factors add up to make your page attractive to search engines and visitors.
Since our key concern today is attracting website traffic, you need not worry about losing social audiences who don’t have the patience to read lengthy content. You can also use tools like LinkedIn automation tools, Facebook tools, etc to get best results for your social audiences.
3. Optimize File Names
Lastly, don’t forget to add long-tail keywords to your page URLs. Enrich your image URLs as well. The Backlinko research I cited earlier shows that if your page URL perfectly matches your target keywords, the organic CTR soars.
Image via Backlinko
Even Google recommends this. Their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide says that site URLs should resonate with the page content, which is molded around keywords.
Image via Google
Are You Ready to Be a Long-Tail Pro?
Long-tail keywords are effective but underrated. However, seasoned marketers vouch for their effectiveness, especially for driving organic traffic. Today, I’ve explained how they can help you excel at PPC marketing as well.
Do you have any questions about SEO for website optimization? Leave them in the comments below. I’m always happy to answer.
How to Stay on Top of the Game by Staying on Top of Search Results
In the digital business space, getting to the top of search results is a make-or-break situation. After all, the higher your rank in search results, the more likely people will visit your site. It’s no joke: sites that appear on the second page of Google’s search results see 95% less users than websites on the first page.
So what can you do to get your website to the #1 spot on the first page of search results? Well, it’s not a question that has a clear-cut solution (heck, there’s an entire industry that revolves around doing just that), but there are a few ways that you can D.I.Y yourself onto the top.
Optimize Your Website
There’s something to be said about clean, easy-to-use websites that put them right at the top of search results, and there’s a good reason: an accessible website gets more traffic because people prefer using it, and it helps if Google can find it with SEO, and it helps even further when that website can be accessed anywhere at any time.
There are tons of techniques you can do to optimize your website so it’s more likely to appear on search engine results, and while it’s always best to rely on your professional digital services provider, you could work on it with your company’s web development team. If you’re going to work on optimizing your website on your own, here are some things to keep in mind:
Clean Up Your UI/UX
UI/UX refers to ‘user interface/user experience’ and it’s a concept in web design that forwards the idea that a digital tool’s user interface should be intuitive and easy-to-use so as to positively impact the overall user experience. Basically, if a website makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for and easy to navigate, it makes their experience of your website positive and, ideally, enjoyable.
This means a few things: first, you need to make sure that your site’s sub-pages (e.g. your About Me, products and services pages, Contact Us, etc.) are neatly organized into easy-to-read tabs and categories. This goes a long way into creating a site map that’s easy to navigate and overall better for users and search engines.
Don’t Forget Mobile
One more thing: make sure your site is accessible both on desktop computers and smart devices like smartphones and tablet computers. Remember: more than 2 Billion people access the internet via their smartphone, which accounts for 51% of all internet users. That’s a pretty big customer base that you shouldn’t alienate by having a website that isn’t accessible via mobile.
Of course, if you want search engines to find you (and believe us, you want search engines to find you), you’re going to have do a little bit of SEO.
SEO is the Way to Go
SEO refers to “Search Engine Optimization” and it’s a series of practices that involve making your website more visible to search engines. SEO refers not just to a single discipline, but rather, a collection of elements that web developers need to think about in order for search engines to find your website better.
Here’s how search engines work: when a website is created, it’s logged into the registry of a particular search engine. When an internet user searches for something, the search engine uses a program to sift through the registry to find the most appropriate website. For the search engine to know what the “appropriate” website is, it matches certain words (called keywords) that are present in the website and compares it to the words that a user searched for.
Once the search engine finds websites that match the keywords used by the internet user, it then makes a list of these sites and, using a few other factors, determines which sites go to the top. It’s a complex discipline and it’s best you rely on a dependable SEO services provider to help with your SEO needs.
But what exactly are these ranking factors that Google and other search engines use to find websites? Well, the exact details of that are kept a secret (don’t believe any digital marketer that says they have the one-and-only way to rank!) from the general public, but there are certain factors that have been proven to work, both for ranking websites on Google search results and providing customers with a positive experience.
One of the most important aspects of keeping your website at the top of search results is activity; that is, the more active your website is, the more likely Google will place it as number 1. Active websites are websites that receive a high volume of internet traffic –whether it’s site visits, comments on your blog posts, or constantly updated products and services pages –on a regular basis.
Refresh Your Pages
Google loves seeing websites that get a lot of traffic because it tells them that people like your website, they like what they see, and they trust what you’re giving them. One of the best ways to do this is to refresh the pages of your website with fresh content as often as possible. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to change everything about your site on a daily basis; rather, make sure that your pages are constantly up-to-date with relevant information.
But perhaps one of the best ways to have constant, high-volume internet traffic on your page is to maintain a blog. With a blog, you can create content that’s relevant to your customer’s needs and can link back to your main website. More on this later.
Engage Your Customers
Another ranking factor that Google appreciates is engagement; that is, Google likes it when a website interacts with its users, and vice-versa. The more users engage with a website, the more a search engine thinks that the website is relevant for a particular set of keywords and other ranking factors.
But how do you engage customers on your website? There are tons of ways to keep them engaged, and you are limited only by your creativity: start conversations on your blog by having a comments section, site surveys of what customers want to see on your website, heck, some websites even have mini-games. Whatever it is, however, just make sure it’s still relevant to what your customers want and it doesn’t interview with good UI/UX.
Keep People on Your Site Longer
One of the main goals of engaging content and fresh pages is to keep people on your website longer. The amount of time people spend on your time is measured by digital marketers in terms of ‘bounce rate’, and it refers to the number of people who leave (i.e. bounce) the site rather than staying. The lower a website’s bounce rate, the better, because it means people are staying on your website, and the longer they stay, the higher your chances of converting them into leads, and potentially, turning them into customers.
It also looks good on search engines: in particular, Google loves websites with low bounce rates because it lets their algorithms know that the site is relevant to a user’s needs and is engaging enough for people to stay, which ultimately means that the site is trustworthy.
Content is Always King
So now we know that your website needs to be optimized and it needs to be active, and that to do those things, you need content that is relevant. But what exactly does that mean? Well, to put simply: your website needs content that people actually care about. In the 21st century, marketing collaterals that exist solely to advertise a product or service simply don’t cut it anymore.
Rather, consumers in the digital age want more than just being told to buy something, which means your content needs to be able to address key issues and pain points they have about a particular topic. Having a blog in your website is one of the best ways to not only drive traffic to your site, but it also works to increase your website’s trustworthiness and overall value for your customers.
Of course, no one can accurately predict every single your customers will have about a particular issue that your company is involved in, but there are certain types of content that remain ‘evergreen’, which means it will be forever relevant to what your company does and the kinds of issues your customers face.
Take a good, hard look at your products and services and the most common pain points and issues people have about the industry you’re in and create content that addresses them. Remember, this is better than creating post after post about topical issues that would be irrelevant to users in the future.
Personal Value = Engagement
The more value your content offers your customers, the more likely that they’ll be engaged, which ideally leads to them being more likely to patronize your website. Again, the digital age has made marketing much more customer-centric, which means consumers are looking to buy products that add value to their lives; the age of ‘brand-centric’ marketing is over, and people want products that have use rather than prestige.
It’s one of the reasons why evergreen content is important: it’s the type of content that answers important questions and issues people have over a particular topic, and if you’re able to provide that in a concise, informational, and overall enjoyable manner, then you’ve already won half the battle of coming up at the top of search results.
Getting your website to the top requires a complex series of disciplines that professional digital marketing service providers can do for you, but if you want to do it on your own, just make sure you have the bandwidth to learn as much as you can about these ranking factors to, ideally, get your page at the top of search results
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