For your business to be a success, a website that ranks high with search engines helps a great deal.
Search engine optimization, however, doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even those who work hard at SEO sometimes can't keep up with the changes.
Fortunately, several methods to boost your SEO actually work. They may take a bit of time and effort, but if you employ them successfully and get rid of any bad SEO habits, your website will fare better with search engines.
Choosing the right keywords isn’t just about finding the keywords you believe best fit your business. Think about them strategically, as they are the most important element of your SEO campaign and play on other tips for boosting your SEO.
One of the biggest SEO mistakes many companies still make is going too broad with keywords. Choosing a generic phrase means you’re facing too much competition. It makes more sense to focus your keywords and tighten your phrases.
Keywords and phrases should be specific to your company.
The phrases you choose must make sense when used in the content you create. Awkward phrases, even if they contain all your keywords, don’t sound natural. Instead, your content will look and read like poor marketing material because that's exactly what it is.
Take the time to thoroughly research your keywords and keyword phrases. Moreover, you need to think about your SEO as a marathon rather than a sprint. Continue creating quality content using your keywords, and soon, you’ll see your rankings increase.
It will not happen overnight, but it will happen.
If you realize that your keywords simply aren't working, go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate.
In the world of SEO, originality means avoiding duplicate content on your website or blog. You can't use the same text on two different pages, or it will harm the effectiveness of your SEO.
You also can’t copy content from other sites:
Before publishing content on your website, make sure it’s original. Use online plagiarism checkers like Copyscape to check for duplicate content. If you find any, rework your content and run it through Copyscape again.
When it comes through as clear or 100 percent unique, go ahead and post it on your site. Make sure that every piece of content you publish on your website reads well.
All items on your page must be optimized for SEO to work effectively:
Some people argue that these aren’t as important today because of Google’s new algorithms. This is dangerous thinking, particularly since optimizing your content is relatively fast and easy to do.
Other items on your page that you should also take the time to optimize include:
Social media is now widely used as a communication channel between brands and customers. Needless to say, your company must have a social media presence, more so if you want to reach your target audience and create a lasting relationship with them.
Accounts on popular social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn ensure you have access to a large number of people.
Also, Google and other search engines consider social behavior when ranking a site. In fact, according to an article on Search Engine Land:
“Social signals are emerging as ranking factors as search engines determine how to leverage our social interaction and behavior.”
Having optimized social media content, along with links pointing back to your site, helps improve your SEO ranking, and many feel it can boost your search rankings faster than simply adding more content to your site.
Just as with the content on your website, the content you put out on social media should be high-quality.
Also, make sure that the content on your website has share links enabled so visitors can easily share your content to their own social networks.
Remember: The more your content is shared on social media, the better for your site and brand.
One of the worst experiences you can give your visitors is a website that’s awfully slow. This is enough to turn away most visitors.
A Kissmetrics article quoting a survey by Akamai and Gomez.com stated, “Nearly half of web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within three seconds.”
Check your site's load time using speed test tools such as:
These tools provide information about which elements of your site are causing slowdowns, so you can focus on optimizing them.
In some cases, you may find that the best way to reduce your website’s load time is to change Web hosts from shared servers to dedicated servers.
In the past, the more external links pointing to your website, the better your search ranking.
These were during the early days of search engine algorithms, and many people tried to game the system:
Search engines, thankfully, have become smarter. The algorithm changes introduced by Google over the years made search engines more adept at detecting suspicious links.
For your website to continually do well with search engines, no matter how many more algorithm changes are introduced in the future, links from high-quality sites are the key.
To earn those links, create high-quality, natural content that readers find engaging, helpful, and worth sharing.
Keyword density is no longer as important as it once was. To stay relevant, you want content that engages your readers. If a sentence sounds awkward just so you can insert a keyword or a keyword phrase, rework it and make it flow naturally.
With quality content, readers are more inclined to return to your site and more willing to share your content with others.
Businesses that are unable to write and create the content on their own can hire outside writers.
Despite the algorithm changes and the growing prevalence of social media, SEO is very much alive and kicking. After all, most people still use the search engines to find relevant content.
SEO as an industry is still growing, and most businesses hire SEO specialists to work on their websites’ rankings. But if you’d rather do it yourself, consider implementing the above tips to boost your site’s SEO.
Red Akrim is the CMO at Cloudswave. Passionate about the business software industry, Red is also knowledgeable in entrepreneurship. He has created and sold two companies in China. Connect with Red on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.