Using SEO Best Practices to Increase Web Traffic, Boost Search Ranking and Power Your Brand
These days, search engine ranking is everything. The higher your brand ranks in Google, the more visible and accessible it is to consumers. And the higher your visibility, the easier it is to drive traffic to your website and turn visitors into paying customers.
But the effort to improve your Google ranking and increase website traffic isn’t always easy. In fact, getting any sort of traction for your brand in search rankings can be an outright struggle, particularly without the right SEO tools in your marketing arsenal.
That’s where SEO best practices come in.
Here’s a look at some of the more common SEO best practices out there and a few we believe can really help boost your brand ranking in 2020.
What are SEO best practices?
SEO best practices are generally agreed upon methods for optimizing your content and improving your brand’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs). A key part of your digital marketing strategy, these best practices can provide the boost needed to ramp up your Google ranking, increase website traffic and gain an important advantage over the competition.
When properly applied, such web traffic enhancement tools not only put your brand front and center in Google and get more traffic to your website, but also allow your business to answer user queries before your competitors.
And with content that ranks and addresses customer searches quickly, your online cred goes up—along with your ability to cultivate customer sentiment and nudge people a little closer to the point of purchase.
What are common SEO best practices in 2019?
An extensive menu of SEO practices is available to marketers aiming to increase website traffic and Google ranking.
Five common SEO best practices in 2019 include:
- Creating high-quality content. Google prizes meaningful content that delivers answers quickly.
- Focusing on user experience. Marketing strategies that focus on user happiness cause bounce rates to go down and engagement to go up.
- Building industry authority. Cultivating trust and demonstrating expertise strengthens your search presence.
- Onsite optimization. An optimized website anchors your business and puts your brand on the map.
- Keyword research. Fleshing out the right keywords is the difference between search visibility and online obscurity.
These five provide a solid foundation for improving your search engine ranking and driving traffic to your website.
But the truth is there are a number of ways to take your SEO marketing approach to the next level.
Here’s a few ways to increase site traffic, improve search ranking and lockdown that crucial competitive advantage for 2020:
Build more content around longtail keywords
Longtail keywords are longer, more specific search queries consumers often use to find an exact product, service or piece of information. Building a content strategy focused on answering those queries can help not only improve your Google ranking for those unique terms, but deliver an increase in website traffic that may actually boost your sales margin.
Longtail keyword strategies are key to improving SEO in 2020 because:
- Nearly 7 of every 10 Google searches are performed using longtail keywords. This means that while more people may be searching for “banana bread” then “how to make delicious banana bread at home,” the vast majority of queries made every day more closely resemble the latter.
- Competition for longtail phrases is low. Because longtail topics are much more narrowly focused, there tends to be much less content that answers those queries directly. And less content means lower competition, meaning it’s much easier to rank for those searches and position yourself for an increase in web traffic.
- Google is thinning out the herd. Recent algorithm updates like Hummingbird (2017) and BERT (2019) have further solidified Google’s focus on contextual search, pushing weaker posts further out of SERPS and creating a need for more content that delivers exact answers to longtail queries. By equipping itself to better understand the nuance and context of longtail phrases, Google aims to provide more accurate results to the user.
This means the better your content addresses specific questions, the more likely you’ll rank for the things your customers are searching for.
What’s more: longtail content is over 2.5x as likely to convert than pages without narrow focus—something to think about when building your digital content strategy.
Quick Tips for Finding the Best Longtail Keywords
- Think about your business. What makes you unique? What do you do best? Knowing your value-add can help reach the searchers in need of what you’ve got.
- Use an online keyword tool. Platforms like SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest can provide ideas for long keywords appropriate for your niche.
- Try Google autocomplete and related search. Experimenting with Google’s predictive and related search features may offer possibilities you’d never thought of.
Create Original Content for EVERYTHING
One of the most overlooked best practices of SEO is making sure every piece of content is original and provides value to the user.
Too often will digital marketing teams put content development for things like titles, meta descriptions, captions and image alt text on autopilot, getting stuck in a vicious ‘copy and paste’ cycle that can be highly detrimental for your Google page rank and your push to increase website traffic.
In fact, Google has explicitly stated its distaste for duplicate and valueless content. And getting on the search giant’s bad side can’t be good, particularly with search visibility being such an important competitive advantage.
As you gear your content marketing approach for search optimization, be sure that you’re generating quality, value-add SEO content for the little things—the so-called supplementals that can often provide a crucial lift for Google ranking and visitor volume.
Title tags help Google and other search engines understand what each page is about. Each title should be unique, compelling and relevant to its corresponding page, include your focus keyword and be no longer than 60 characters (to ensure optimal display in search results).
Properly optimized, well-written meta descriptions not only provide users a succinct summary of each page on your site, but have also been shown to have a positive impact on your site’s clickthrough rate (CTR), which, by extension, improves your ability to increase web traffic. Descriptions should be both unique and kept within 160 characters or less.
Images don’t always need to include captions. But when they do, they should be original, optimized and provide the reader an accurate and snappy descriptor of what is featured.
Alt text is descriptive text provided to the visitor when the image itself can’t be displayed. Each image you use on landing pages, blog posts, etc., should include short, 1-2 sentence alt text that is both accurate and incorporates the primary keyword for the page it’s located.
Video Meta Tags
Optimized video meta data is crucial to getting that product tutorial or executive awards ceremony on Google’s radar and shared across social. HubSpot provides some helpful tips for beefing up your meta data and boosting your YouTube content on Google ranking pages:
Eliminate 404 errors
A few 404 errors here and there won’t devastate your search ranking or web traffic. But when left to linger, those digital dead-ends can hurt the overall experience users have with your site, creating a surge in your bounce rate and ultimately affecting your Google page rank and performance.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools out there that can help you identify and eliminate broken links and quickly restore some positive flow to your site.
- Google Search Console. Google’s free search console tool allows you to locate and fix 404 pages throughout your website.
- AtomSEO Broken Link Checker. This 404 error detection software scans your webpages for broken links either onsite or via Chrome extension download.
- Dead Link Checker. You can use dead link checker to detect bad links on just one page or throughout your entire site.
There are also a number of ways to detect and correct 404 pages manually. But whichever method you choose, ridding your site of dead links can be an effective way to give your search ranking a shot in the arm and increase traffic to your website.
Speed up your site
Slow website loading speeds hurt both the user experience and how you rank in search engine results. Not only will visitors leave your site quickly if it fails to load fast (40% when more than 3 seconds!), but Google will punish your website for load delays with lower search rankings, ensuring you fade out of the first-page position needed to reach your audience.
Removing the sludge and ramping up loading speeds is one of best SEO best practices available for optimizing your search engine ranking, not to mention preventing early exits and driving more traffic to your website.
There are many ways to lower site loading time, including:
- Reducing the number of page redirects that often add seconds to visitor waiting times.
- Improving server response time by identifying slow routing, sluggish database queries and insufficient memory issues affecting performance.
- Optimizing images to ensure they’re in the right format and no larger than needed.
- Changing how long you want site information cached.
If you suspect your site to be on the slow side, free site performance tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom and WebPageTest may come in handy. Most speed test services will provide a page performance score as well as reports detailing problem areas and where to address issues.
Guest blogging done right can be a great way to build brand awareness and expand your audience across the web.
But it can also be a powerful tool for organic SEO, as well as increasing traffic to your website and creating more opportunities to turn clicks into conversions.
Publishing high-quality content on relevant, authoritative sites can further reinforce your own industry authority and provide a new addition to your online footprint. By delivering something useful outside the confines of your site, you’re not just expanding your brand’s reach, but cultivating a higher level of credibility and thought leadership that strengthens your position in Google SERPs.
Offsite blogging also offers a golden opportunity to provide readers value while promoting your website and products from a respected industry platform—the ability to supplement existing SEO marketing efforts and grow brand awareness while establishing trust with consumers.
Additionally, guest blogging on quality sites allows you to develop assets that aren’t only shareable but linkable, making it easy for bloggers, journalists and others to find and reference your material and link back to your brand instantly.
And through the cultivation of backlinks, you begin to strengthen your own brand authority, move up in Google rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
In short, guest blogging can help:
- Build industry authority
- Grow your reach
- Position you as a thought leader
- Provide your customers value
- Cultivate trust with your brand
- Create positive associations with your business
- Develop shareable assets and grow backlinks to your website
Promote your brand on social media
Looking for an amazing way to promote your brand and increase website traffic?
What’s more: 4 out every 10 consumers go on social to research brands and products, a number expected to grow significantly in the years ahead.
And chances are good your competition has caught on, as over 90% of businesses now use social to increase awareness and reach customers on the web.
If you’re not sharing useful content and promoting your brand on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, you’re missing the chance not only to educate people on who you are, but also a powerful way to get more traffic to your website.
And because social gets prominence in search, a smart, active social presence is likely to fire up your Google rankings and push you past the competition.
Start building a dominant digital presence that gets results for your brand. Call Marca Global® today at 720-378-5024.