SEO is vital to getting your website visible to customers in Google and other search engines. When you follow best practice, your efforts will be rewarded with higher rankings, leading to more traffic and increased sales.
The best way to attract customers is by creating quality content. In fact, Google does its best to keep poor content out of reach.
So with this in mind, here are seven useful SEO tips any marketer can use to keep their content up to scratch. While a couple may seem basic, they are often taken granted, so pay attention.
#1. Don’t Go Overboard On Keywords
Keywords are important for telling search engines what the content is about. A previous SEO tactic was to shove as many of the same keyword into the content as much as possible to make it relevant.
This technique was known as “keyword stuffing.”
The idea was, if you were ranking in the middle of page one for a keyword you used a couple times, you could improve the rankings by doubling or tripling the number of times you used that same keyword.
But this didn’t last long. Google is smarter now than it was five years and punished marketers that tried to manipulate search results this way. One of the things Google will now look at is the ratio of keywords to the amount of content you’ve published on your blog. If it believes there are too many keywords and repetitions, it will simply penalize your content algorithmically and never push it to the much desired top search result.
Bottom line: “keyword stuffing” is a massive no-no in today’s world of SEO.
Instead, focus on using latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords in your content. Sprinkle a couple of your shorter main keywords in, but then add some other KSI keywords to support them.
#2. Avoid Competitive Keywords
Do your keyword research as normal but just remember that the most relevant keywords won’t always work for your website. The more competitive the keyword, the harder it is to rank for.
So, for smaller businesses looking to compete with the big guns, find similar keywords, or better yet, unique keywords that are just as relevant as the originals. These will be a lot easier to rank for and won’t take as much effort.
For example, the keyword “healthcare marketing” may be close to impossible to rank for. But “healthcare marketing tips for clinics” or “healthcare marketing for private practices” is a lot easier to rank for. In addition, there’s the clear benefit of you ranking and creating content for a much more targeted audience than if you’re simply creating an article on a general keyword like healthcare marketing.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should avoid competitive keywords at all, but you should use them as synonyms to your unique keywords.
Note: if you want to target competitive keywords, use the Skyscraper Technique to gain an edge. For reference, it involves creating similar content to high ranking pages but making them better. And then you reach out to platforms who’ve linked to your competitor’s page and ask them to include your content as reference.
If you try this approach though, make sure your email distinctly explains to a publisher why your content is much better than what they’ve already linked to. For example, you may say: my content has more updated statistics, we’ve included a handful of great infographics, or we’ve interviewed a certain number of experts that your audience would love to learn more about.
#3. Create Unique Content
One useful SEO tip always makes use of unique content.
Useful, informative and well-written content is just as important for SEO purposes as all your other efforts.
Think of it this way: if it’s not good, no one is going to read it. And when no one is reading it, Google isn’t going to rank it above content that people are checking out.
If you can create something completely unique that people are searching for, then you’re onto a winner.
The other thing to consider is this. There used to be a time when Google would simply index the newest content at the top of the search results or the content with the largest number of backlinks. But in recent years, Google has added a new parameter to its algorithms: how long content your content is.
It may surprise you to hear that the average top search result in Google is almost 3,000 words. That is a LOT of content. But it is a new parameter. So many sure your content is both unique and long-form. That way you set yourself for success and improve your odds or ranking high in Google.
If you’re creating content around popular topics, then it must be high-quality stuff. It can’t be the same regurgitated content as it doesn’t provide any extra value to the readers. As noted by iBrandStudio, if you’re just posting the same ideas from an already high ranking page, your target audience can just get the same information from them and ignore you.
#4. Don’t Use Low-Quality Links
External links in your own content are just as important as building incoming links.
Only like high-quality content in your own posts. Don’t use low-quality links in your content just for the sake of using external links.
How will a customer feel if they click on an external link in your content and it takes them to a broken site or a poor-quality page? Needless to say they won’t be happy and you’re Google rankings will feel the impact.
Don’t rush your external links. Choose those that are the most relevant to the content topic and from trusted sources. Google will reward you for your efforts.
The best thing to do here is to invest in tools like Moz or SEMRush. When you reach out to various bloggers and ask them to feature your content, make sure their SEO metrics are solid. In other words, that their domain rating or domain authority is, in an ideal world, higher than your website’s. That way any link you get to your site will automatically improve your own rankings as well.
In addition, if you do not follow this practice, you may even end up with Google penalties, either automatic ones or manual ones. Google has done a better job over time at spotting domains that receive low quality links. And they may simply deindex your website entirely if they think both your content and the links you’re getting are spammy.
So do yourself a favor an invest in a high quality SEO tool which tracks critical metrics about both your own website and the sites you’re trying to do guest posting on. After all, getting one backlink from a great site is worth ten or more low-quality backlinks.
Last but not least, avoid linking to competing content. You don’t want to give them link juice and show Google their content is worth linking to.
#5. Regularly Update Your Site
Ever been on a site that looks like it hasn’t touched for the best part of a decade? Were you there for very long?
If you’re anything like most internet users then the answer is probably a resounding no.
So, the useful SEO tip here is to be active on your site and keep things fresh. Inactive domains will not rank better in Google and other search engines.
Don’t forget to update existing content too. There are all sorts of articles out there that have been “updated for 2016” or to that avail.
If you have posts on your site like this, then you should update them for today as soon as possible. You’d be better served making them evergreen if possible.
Analyze your content and see what’s not working.
#6. Follow Google’s On-Site Optimization Guidelines
Google is always looking for ways to improve UX, so make sure you’re up to date with what they’re doing. Most of their updates are small but it’s still important to be aware.
Some small changes can have a big impact, such as if they devalue URLs with certain keywords. If this happens, you should ensure your URLS don’t include any of these keywords.
This particular example probably won’t happen but it stresses the importance of being in the know.
#7. Check Your Site Speed
This is the final useful SEO tip any marketer can use. Your website should be quick and responsive. And this extends to the mobile experience.
Now, some would argue that page speed isn’t an important SEO metric. Ask yourself this question: if it didn’t matter, why would Google bring out AMP?
Exactly. If Google thinks it’s important, then so should you.
Check your site speed on a regular basis. If you notice that the speed starts to slip, you need to figure out what’s going – and quick!
Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom to spot anything that’s causing your site to slow down.
About the Author!
Marina Turea works as content manager at Digital Authority Partners to take brands to market and bring their stories to life.