Even so, there are some things you can do that will usually help your search rankings as well as increasing customer engagement and often bringing traffic from sources other than the search engines. If you want to improve your search engine rankings, keep this checklist handy to steadily grow your traffic.
For Your Off-Page SEO
These are things that will affect your search engine rankings from outside of your web page. These are very important for growing the overall popularity of your site and make it easier for you to rank well for your chosen keyword phrases.
- Create excellent content because it affects the following:
- How much your content is shared on social media…this provides important clues to search engines about the quality of your content.
- How long a search engine user stays on your site. If searches on a search engine and finds your site, but clicks back right away, it will tell the search engine that you may not be very relevant for that phrase.
- How often your content is linked to. If you have good stuff, people will link to it…but beware, search engines can detect quality links, so old self-linking practices are dead.
- Ways to ensure you’ve got quality engaging content that attracts users and search engines:
- Each page should be on one unique topic.
- Your navigation is clear and all your content is easily found by humans and search engines.
- Use relevant, attention-getting headlines to grab your visitors’ attention and so they know they’re in the right place.
- Make your content easy to read by using short sentences and paragraphs. Keep your words simple.
- Break up your copy with subheads and bullet points, so viewers can scan it easily…instead of having them click away.
- Use images to draw the eye in and tell a story with your content. Humans are visual creatures and photos and other images can help retain their attention.
- Don’t forget to connect with other website owners in your niche. Friends tend to share the content of others, so this is just a win-win for all of you.
For Your On-Page SEO
In addition to the big overall picture of creating great content that makes its way around the web, there are things you can do on each page you post to your website. Here is a list of some of the things that can affect your rankings, but remember…don’t overdo it. Keep your optimization natural and make sure it makes sense. Otherwise you might alienate both your visitors and the search engines.
- Make sure your content is at least 300 words long. I usually aim for 500 – 800 words.
- Conduct keyword research to find a highly targeted phrase that gets decent traffic, but doesn’t have too much competition. Try a tool like WordTracker.com or the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
- Use your keyword phrase in the title of your post and in the title tag, but make it sound natural to human website visitors. Don’t repeat the keyword – just use it once.
- Use your keyword phrase in the description tag for your post. Make sure the description not only includes the keyword phrase, but is interesting enough to make people want to click. Although the description tag probably does not affect how your site ranks, it may be shown in the search results and affect how many people click to visit your site. Make sure it includes your keyword phrase and an accurate description of what is on the page.
- Incorporate the keyword phrase into the URL of your page. For example: fun-family-vacations.html
- Add the keyword phrase and other useful description to your images with the use of ALT tags.
- Employ the use of H2 and H3 tags. They make your content easier to scan and are also a good place to include your keyword phrase and variations of it. The H2 and H3 tags are for headings. They tell both human visitors and search engines that content within the tags is especially important.
- Include the keyword phrase and variations of it in a few places in the body of your content. Try to include it in the first paragraph.
- Show you are a hub of useful information and link out to a related page on another website, especially authority sites.
Keep track of your rankings and tweak things as you go along. Just remember, it can take a bit of time before search engines update their listings, so give your changes time to come into effect.