All organizations strive for that golden ticket to high volume, high quality web traffic: appearing in the top three search engine results. There are tricks and tips everywhere that claim to guarantee a website will appear at the top of Google search results. But tricks aren’t long-term solutions. And tips only get you so far.
So is there a way to crack Google’s code and rise to the top of page 1?
Search engine optimization (SEO) has changed a lot since the Internet first came on the scene. Back in the early days, site tags—also known as meta tags—were hidden within the page header and used to inform search engine bots of the page’s content. However, that strategy was abandoned because it was too easy for people to lie about their website’s content and trick search engines into directing traffic their way. For example, you could search for a used car and see a result for a fine dining restaurant simply because someone in charge of the restaurant’s website placed a meta tag on their page that listed the keyword “used car” in the fine dining restaurant’s page description. Weird, but true.
This is why meta tags no longer matter for SEO. Can you still use them? Sure. But they don’t impact results that much anymore. These days, there are more important factors to consider.
The new rules of SEO
Instead of wondering “how am I going to trick Google, Bing, or Yahoo?,” website owners need to take a deeper look at the content they’re publishing. When crafting content, ask yourself whether it’s the best possible content you can share with your audience, honing in on the subject matter, keywords, and timing.
The following six steps will help you answer that question, improve your organization’s SEO, and rocket your website to the top of the Google search results.
- Demonstrate expertise through website content. Your website is often the first place where prospects look for information about your organization. Make it easier for prospects to recognize your expertise by showcasing your knowledge and talent via how-to articles, reviews, service descriptions, and other pieces of valuable content.
- Only cover one topic per page. Focus your content to one topic per page to stay on message. The more pages you have on a specific topic, the more search engines will view your website as an authority on that topic which will in turn place your website higher on search results page.
- Write more. Longer content (between 1,500-2,000 words) increases your SEO score for a few reasons. First, there are far more opportunities to sprinkle keywords into a longer piece than in a short 300-500 word post. Second, the longer a reader stays on your page, the better SEO your page will have. And lastly, longer content tends to be shared at a higher rate than shorter content.
- Promote your website to your target audience. This sounds like a no-brainer, but keeping the bounce rate low on your website is critical to improve your SEO. What’s a “bounce rate,” you ask? If people who visit your website don’t like the content, they’ll leave… err, “bounce.” That’s why it’s important to make sure your content is reaching the right people; their interest in the content you’re providing will compel them to stay on your website for a longer period of time, reducing your bounce rate and improving your SEO.
- Write often. Search engines love new content, so work toward publishing new content weekly if possible.
- Cultivate relationships with websites that will link back to your content. Further validate your website content and increase your SEO ranking by making it easy for others to share your content. Brush up on your PR skills and comment on other articles and websites, distribute press kits, and guest write articles. And of course, add social share buttons to encourage visitors to share your content on social media.
By starting a little at a time and working your way through all six steps for improving your website’s SEO, your organization will begin to see increased quality web traffic in no time.
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