Simply having a live website doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to generate traffic.
The reality is that you can’t rely on people navigating straight to your website. The vast majority of Internet users find websites through search engines. In fact, 93% of all Internet experiences start with a search engine.
Think about your personal Internet browsing behavior and habits. When you want to find something online, you Google it—right?
Well, your current and prospective customers are doing the same. That’s why organic search traffic needs to be a top priority for every website in 2019.
Once you’re able to understand Google’s search algorithm and how it works, you can make adjustments to your website by launching specific strategies to improve SEO (search engine optimization).
So, exactly how important is a high search ranking?
75% of all clicks go to page one of Google’s SERPs. Roughly 33% of all traffic goes to the top search result.
So for those of you who aren’t ranking on page one for your targeted keywords, nearly eight out of ten people won’t even see your website as an option. But if you’re the top search result, you can expect more than 3,000 visits to your site for every 10,000 searches for those same keywords.
Now that you understand the importance of SEO, it’s time to learn how to boost your SEO ranking in 2019.
As an expert in this space, I’ve identified and explained the top 7 SEO tactics that actually work. You can easily apply these methods to your own website to benefit from higher rankings.
1. Increase Your Blogging Frequency
Does your website have a blog? If not, you need to start a blog right away.
Blogging is arguably one of the best long-term SEO strategies that you can begin using immediately. Aside from your blog being a great way to generate leads, it’s also the easiest way for you to publish long-form content on your website.
Studies show that longer content tends to rank high in SERPs.
As you can see from the graph, the average word count of the top ten page results are all over 2,000 words, with the top six positions all over 2,300 words. No other landing page on your website will be quite this long.
It’s worth noting that Google doesn’t just automatically rank content with lots of words higher than other pages. But the length of a 2,000+ word blog post gives you more opportunities to appeal to search engine crawlers.
Blogs are a great way to add internal links, build backlinks, add images, optimize heading tags, and keep users on your website for longer periods of time.
All of these factors are great for SEO purposes.
The more often you blog, the better off you’ll be. According to a recent study from Orbit Media, 63% of bloggers who publish content on a daily basis report strong results. This compares to just 32% of bloggers who publish content weekly, and 18% who publish blogs monthly.
2. Improve Loading Speeds
Google penalizes websites that don’t load quickly.
But user experience also plays a huge factor in your SEO ranking. If your page loading times are too slow, people will abandon your site at a higher rate.
Bounce rates more than triple as page loading times go from two seconds to seven seconds.
Faster websites have better engagement metrics as well.
When page loading time is two seconds or less, the average visitor views 8.9 pages per session. This drops to 5.5 pages per session when pages take four seconds to load, and 3.3 pages per session for sites that take eight seconds to load.
Google rewards websites with higher engagement metrics because those are perceived as higher quality websites.
If users are enjoying their browsing experience, they’ll stay on pages for longer periods of time. As a result, Google boosts those rankings to send more people to that site.
3. Eliminate Broken Links
In addition to analyzing the content and keywords on any given web page, search engine crawlers also analyze hyperlinks.
If they discover dead or broken links on a page, your search ranking will suffer.
First of all, dead links are bad for user experience. If someone clicks on a link and they are redirected to a 404 error, then it’s obviously not ideal. This can happen if you’ve made changes to your site and removed pages without setting up proper redirects.
Alternatively, if you link out to other websites on your blog, it’s possible that for one reason or another some of those links have gone dead too.
You need to remove those broken links as soon as possible.
But for those of you who have tons of content on your site, monitoring every single link manually can be nearly impossible. Even if you only publish one blog per week, you’d have more than 150 new links per year if each post contained just three links.
So how can you keep up with this? The dead link checker is one of my favorite tools for auditing a website’s broken links.
It’s a free resource that’s super easy to use.
The tool will identify any links from a single web page or an entire website. After seeing the results, you can make any necessary changes to remove or fix any broken links.
I’d recommend running an initial audit immediately. Then set up an auto check to have reports run on a regular basis. You’ll be notified via email each time a new report is generated.
4. Build Authority Backlinks
Let’s continue talking more about links. Any time another website shares a link to your site, it’s known as a backlink.
Google rewards websites based on the quantity and quality of their backlink profile.
For example, if a website like Forbes, CNN, or the New York Times shares a link to your website, it’s worth more than a backlink from some no-name blog that was started last week.
Rather than just waiting around, holding your breath, and hoping that you can get more backlinks, it’s much more effective if you can go out and find them.
Remember the dead link checker I just showed you? You can use that tool as a resource for building backlinks as well.
Run the software for high authority websites in your niche. If you discover any dead links, simply contact the webmaster and inform them of your findings. You’re doing them a big favor since as you now know, dead links can harm search rankings. So offer a link to one of your relevant guides or blog posts as a replacement.
There’s no guarantee that they’ll say yes, but I’ve had a pretty high success rate with this strategy.
Another way to build quality backlinks is by writing guest blogs.
At first, it may not seem productive for you to write content for another website. Of course, you’d rather focus your efforts producing content for your own site.
However, in addition to getting more exposure from a wider audience, this is a great method for scaling your backlink strategy.
For example, check out this blog post that I wrote for HubSpot.
HubSpot is an authoritative source in the digital marketing world. According to MOZ, HubSpot has a domain authority score of 91, which is extremely high.
Aside from their blog, the company is known for its CRM software for marketing and sales.
Needless to say, I was happy to contribute to their blog. In doing so, I was able to get an author profile, with a quick bio that includes a link to my website.
This type of backlink is great for SEO purposes.
So look for websites in your niche that are accepting and publishing guest posts. Reach out and offer to contribute.
It’s more than likely that they’ll be happy to accept your submission. It’s a win-win scenario for both parties.
The website benefits by publishing more content without having to do any work. You benefit by getting more exposure, increasing your traffic, and by improving your backlink profile.
5. Optimize Content For Mobile Devices
It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how often I consult with businesses that still don’t have a mobile website.
If you have a website that’s not mobile optimized, it’s likely doing more harm to your business than if you didn’t have a website at all. OK—that might be a bit of a stretch. But let’s just say it’s very bad.
Fortunately for you, this is something you can fix quickly. Start by taking advantage of Google’s free mobile-friendly test. Simply put your site into the checker and test the results.
Why is mobile optimization so important in 2019?
As of July 2019, mobile-first indexing has become the default option for new websites.
Search engines don’t rank mobile and desktop searches the same way. That’s because the way that people search for content from each device is different.
So if your website doesn’t appeal to mobile users, then you can’t expect to have high mobile search rankings.
6. Target Long-Tail Keywords
Keyword research is a crucial component of any effective SEO strategy. But knowing which keywords to target can make or break the success of your campaigns.
It’s in your best interest to go after the low hanging fruit, or niche keywords in your category.
Long-tail keywords are more specific, and therefore better for SEO value. Allow me to explain.
Let’s say you have a law firm. If you’re trying to rank for the word “lawyer” it’s going to be nearly impossible. I just quickly searched for lawyer on Google and was given more than 761,000,000 results.
Now if I search for something specific like “criminal lawyers in Gloucester Massachusetts” I get 6,610,000 results.
Sure—it’s still a big number. But it’s 115 times smaller than the first search. The competition for this long-tail keyword is much lower, so conversions will be higher.
Overall, fewer people search for long-tail keywords. But the people who are searching for them are more likely to convert because the phrasing is so specific.
If someone’s searching for a criminal lawyer in a certain city, it’s unlikely that they were looking for a movie about lawyers or the salary of a lawyer, which could be the case for a broad one-word keyword.
7. Write Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions summarize the content of a web page. They are an HTML component of your site, which means they are embedded within the written code of your page headers.
There is no limit to how long your meta descriptions can be. But it’s worth noting that Google will usually display roughly 150-160 characters in a search result.
Here’s an example of what our meta description looks like.
It’s worth noting that the keywords used in a meta description don’t actually boost your SEO ranking. Google announced this in a webmaster blog ten years.
However, your meta description acts like an advertisement or pitch to prospective website visitors. It tells them what’s on your page and can ultimately influence people to click on your content.
Your meta description can help produce more clicks and drive more traffic to your website, which does have a significant impact on SEO rankings.
In short, it’s definitely worth taking advantage of this opportunity. If you don’t write your own meta descriptions, Google may just pull lines from the content on your pages. However, the lines they choose may not be the best portrayal of what you’re offering. That’s why it’s in your best interest to write these on your own.
Improving your SEO ranking doesn’t always need to be that complicated.
I just explained seven simple solutions that will improve your site’s position on Google. None of these strategies involve any major website construction or anything like that.
SEO is a long-term game. I don’t expect you to implement these tactics overnight.
You can’t publish two year’s worth of blogs in one week. You can’t build an authority backlink profile in a month.
But you can start to take steps in the right direction immediately by focusing on these tips and tricks. If you’re interested in a customized SEO strategy that involves more advanced tactics, contact us here at McDougall Interactive.
We’ll show you how to bring your SEO strategy to a higher level.