A lot has changed in the world of search engine optimization.
However, certain fundamental principles remain unchanged.
For example, targeting keywords with the sole intent of improving organic rankingsno longer works with search engines, but keywords are still essential.
Beyond getting SEO juice, keywords reveal a lot more about users and what they’re struggling with.
With so many SEO techniques, it’s become almost impossible to determine which ones to stick to and which you can safely ignore.
Is link building a thing of the past? Should you devote your time and energy to on-page SEO? How can you write a title tag to drive your rankings with search engines? Where do SEO and social media intersect?
And, seriously, what are the truly best SEO tips that’ll lead to results?
You can keep the handy cheat sheet to recall these 10 most Important SEO tips when you need them most.
Both B2B and B2C marketers want more search leads, because they carry a 8.5X higher chance of conversion than an outbound lead.
Brian Dean did a fabulous job when he created a post showcasing 200 Google ranking factors. The post went on to become extremely popular, generating thousands of new leads, from organic search, for Brian.
This article may not be as in-depth as Brian’s. Nor will I be answering all of the questions raised above. Instead, I want to show you the 10 most important SEO tips that you need to know right now.
Let’s get started:
1. Remove anything that slows down your site.
Page speed is a critical factor in SEO.
In the past, you could get away with a slow-loading site. I can recall a time when I had to wait for about 5 minutes before a popular news site fully loaded.
I’m sure you can relate to that.
That’s never a good experience, but it’s the kiss of death in today’s marketplace. A slow page can frustrate the user experience and ultimately discourage people from buying your product.
Data from Strange Loop shows that a 1-second delay in page load time can yield a7% loss in conversions.
In the mind of potential buyers, a slow site is an untrustworthy site. Period.
Page speed is vital, both to users and to search engines. According to eConsultancy, “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.”
As businesses become more aware of the opportunities to generate targeted leads and increase revenue through search engine optimization, there is a huge demand for speed.
On April 9, 2010, Google included site speed as one of the all-important ranking factors.
This means that if your pages are slow, you’re fighting a losing battle for top organic listings, regardless of the quality of your content or your professional website design.
According to the search engine giant’s internal studies, when a page loads slowly, visitors spend less time there. On the other hand, faster loading pages reduce operating costs and improve user experience, among other benefits.
Get rid of non-essential elements that slow down your site. If you’re a WordPress user, consider deactivating plugins you may have installed and activated but don’t actually need.
Also, declutter your sidebar and put only essential widgets there.
To learn how to get more out of search engines by improving your page speed, see the resource pages below:
2. Link to other websites with relevant content.
Linking out to other blogs is critical to growth,
says Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media.
To most people, linking out to relevant and authoritative content pages is bad because it takes people off your page.
But, I don’t think so. Link building remains a fundamental part of smart search engine optimization strategy.
According to Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz,
Linking out sends trackable traffic, it makes your site a more valuable and scalable resource.
If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll notice that linking out to other sites is my custom. Whenever I write a new post, I reference other trustworthy sites, where appropriate.
You can’t expect to get from others if you’re unwilling to give first. For example, if you’re looking to get inbound links from authoritative blogs, one of the easiest ways to do that is to show your willingness to link out to those blogs from your own content.
Of course, you should only link out to content pages that offer tremendous value. It’s a good SEO practice.
More important, you can notify an influencer when you link out to them, and, if your post is valuable, they can link back to you, share the post or even email it to their huge email subscriber list.
Link building is also all about quality, not quantity. You’ll build more trust in your niche if you have a few authoritative links rather than a dozen poor quality links.
3. Write for humans first, search engines second.
Lately, I’ve noticed that more and more bloggers and content creators are going back to the old method of SEO, wherein keywords meant to drive search results surpassed the real qualities of engaging, valuable content. If that’s you, it’s absolutely time to change your mindset.
Many people still aren’t capitalizing on long-tail keywords, preferring instead to attempt to manipulate search engines.
That’s the wrong approach.
Don’t prioritize search engines over the actual humans reading your work. Instead, write content for the user, people who have eyes to read and credit cards to purchase your product. Search spiders are just scripts — they don’t buy products, they don’t engage with you on social media, and they won’t become a loyal customer.
Copyblogger is my #1 go-to site, when it comes to putting readers first. No wonder Brian Clark is so successful at content marketing. He’s even turned Copyblogger into a multi-million dollar digital marketing company.
It all happened because a marketer like you was passionate about helping people.That’s what drives me, too — and maybe you, as well.
So, what does it mean to write for users first, before search engines?
Well, it’s simple.
Funny enough, when you put users first, you’ll actually write helpful content that search engines will reward, because search engines follow users. It’s not the other way round. At the same time, you’ll be enhancing the user experience and building trust with your audience.
4. Encourage other trustworthy sites to link to you.
To a large extent, inbound links are still the lifeblood of search engine rankings.
When you combine dofollow and nofollow links, you get a natural link profile that even Google will reward.
Content marketing is all about creating high-quality, engaging content and creating in people the need and urgency to link to you and share your content on social media.
Do you know why so many bloggers link to my posts on QuickSprout.com and NeilPatel.com?
The major determining factor in my success is that I invest a lot of time, money and resources into creating a single post or other piece of content.
How much effort do you suppose when into creating, “The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand”?
When you’re at the forefront of your industry, creating useful content and linking to authoritative blogs, you’ll find that more people will link to you naturally. This is the essence of effective link building.
5. Have web analytics in place at the start.
After defining your search engine optimization goals clearly, you need software to track what’s working and what’s not.
Tools like CrazyEgg also show you where your site visitors are clicking, and how they navigate away from your site.
You should have these web analytics in place, even before you send the first visitor to your site or landing page.