One thing that every website owner wants is traffic from search engines. And it is not just traffic, its targetted traffic.
For example, a restaurant taking food delivery orders online delivers only in the local area. But the website is receiving most of the visits from other areas.
Is this traffic useful for the business?
The answer is simple, No. Although the site is getting visits, these visits bring minimum value to the online business.
To make an online business successful you need a target audience. And SEO is the only technique that you can use to rank higher on search engines and target the right audience for your online business.
What is SEO?
SEO is also known as Search engine optimization is a set of techniques webmasters can use to optimize their websites in order to rank higher on search engines and drive organic traffic to the website.
Search engine optimization is the only way to generate organic traffic.
According to research3.5 billion searches are made daily on Google Click To Tweet
And this number is huge. That is why online marketers pay so much attention to it.
Moving forward, as technology is changing so has the search engine optimization process, but the basics are still the same.
Earlier content was written for the search engines to rank higher but now the focus has shifted to the users. The content produced these days is focused more on providing more and more value to the searchers.
SEO may seem like a complex process if you are a beginner but it is the complete opposite. It is totally logic based. If you understand the user intent and follow basic rules you will be able to rank your website higher.
In this article, I have compiled a list of SEO techniques that will help you improve positions on search engines.
11 SEO Techniques to Rank Higher On Search Engines
1. Use of longtail keywords
Longtail keywords are long phrases, questions or sentences that searchers use to find information on the search engines. These keywords are more specific and target the right audience.
This means there will be less competition and less traffic. But you will find the exact audience you are looking for. Using these keywords you can rank easily on search engines and your conversion rates will go up.
For example, there is a Women’s clothing store dealing only with Women’s clothing. If the website is optimized for the keyword Clothing store.
First of all, there will be high competition and the site will receive visitors looking for male, female and kids clothing.
And you don’t want this. Your target audience is just Women.
Now, if you target Women’s clothing store as the keyword will generate more specific visitors.
To make you understand this concept, let’s say this women’s clothing store is based in New York. In this case, you can add the location to the keyword which will make it even more specific as you are targeting the location as well.
The keyword you will be optimizing for will be Women’s clothing store in New York. The traffic on this keyword will be even lesser but it will be local to the New York area.Less but specific traffic equals better conversions Click To Tweet
Also, another benefit of using longtail keywords is the growing voice search feature. Voice search brings a whole new experience and concept to the search.
The users can ask direct questions and the search engine will provide relevant results. The user here is asking direct questions generally, long queries or phrases which is longtail keyword.
2. Prefer HTTPS over HTTP
While browsing the internet these days you may have come across a green padlock on the address bar of the browser. That is because the website is running is using an SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer) and running over HTTPS.
Websites using HTTPS are dominating the search engine results page. You can see this for yourself. I searched for easy to cook vegan recipes and here are the results.
As you can see above every website is using HTTPS.
With that said, let’s first understand
What are HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP is also known as the hypertext transfer protocol. These are a set of instructions that govern the transfer of data between the user and the website.
And HTTPS is the hypertext transfer protocol secure. This protocol uses an SSL certificate to encrypt the connection between the user and the website. The transfer of data is safe and secure.
To make the internet a better and safer place for users, Google declared HTTPS as a ranking signal and followed it up with an announcement stating with the release of Chrome 68 at the beginning of July, Chrome will mark all websites running on HTTP as not secure.
In the above image, you cannot see a padlock instead it says Not secure.Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected Click To Tweet
Considering the user’s point of view, no one wants to visit a not secure website. The padlock on the address bar is also a trust symbol.
And building trust with your users is the most important and helpful thing in the growth of your website.
3. Increasing the page speed
No one wants to visit a website that takes too much time to load. Gone are those days when it took forever for websites to load.
What happens when a website takes time to load?
When a website is slow loading it frustrates the user. It negatively impacts the user experience and will increase the bounce rate.
The visitor will take no time in moving to another website and you will be on the losing side. In today’s world where everything is available on your fingertips, time is of utmost importance and value.
According to an announcement by Google, page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches. Keep this in mind mobile searches are on an increase. And you cannot ignore this.
Here is an infographic by Google on Page Speed.
With that said,
How can you improve the loading speed?
- Compress the images- When you use images in a blog post or a webpage make sure you compress them. This will reduce the size. Large images take too much time to load and have a negative impact on load times. You can image compression plugins or online tools to help you with this.
- Use a cache plugin- In order to reduce the page speed, you can use a good cache plugin. When you use a cache plugin, if a visitor revisits your website, the browser will serve the cached page and does not have to reload the page again.
- CDN- CDN is also known as content delivery networks. CDN stores your website on its servers on various geographical locations. When a request is made it is automatically routed to the nearest server which reduces the load times.
- Pruning the plugins- In case you are not using some plugins, it is advised to remove them as these can also contribute to slow loading times.
- Reliable and fast host- If you are facing the problem of slow loading site it can also be due to the hosting service you are using. Use a reliable and fast hosting provider.
4. Responsive and Mobile Device Compatibility
Before we discuss how responsive or mobile compatibility impacts SEO. Let’s first understand
What does responsive mean?
A responsive website is the one that can resize, shrink and enlarge according to different screen sizes. The website will adapt to any screen size you are using.
In the above image, you can see I just performed the Mobile compatibility test and the website was compatible with mobile devices.
This is a very important factor as mobile searches are on an increase. Although most websites these days are mobile-friendly in case it is not, make sure it works seamlessly on devices such as smartphones and tablets.
According to a study by Google,Nearly 40% of people use smartphones to search for anything immediately. Click To Tweet
And here is an infographic of how people use various devices on a day
I can easily say we love our mobile device. And keeping that in mind you just can’t ignore the mobile version of your website.
Moving forward, mobile compatibility does have a huge impact on the rankings of the website. On 26th March 2018, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing. Before this change, Google’s crawling, ranking, and indexing algorithms were using the desktop version of your website.
The change was made in order to prioritize mobile searches as they are on a continuous increase.
Here are some reasons why mobile compatibility is important.
- It will be difficult to rank if your website does not adapt to different screen sizes.
- Increase in traffic as your website will be compatible with all devices.
- Having a responsive website will save you from duplicate content issues as there will not a second version of your website.
- As you know user experience plays a big role in SEO, this will surely boost it.
- This will also ensure users can share your content easily on various social media platforms.
Make sure your website is Responsive and Mobile compatibility as these are industry standards.
5. Create unique and engaging content
The one thing that will make you stand out from the others in the content. Good content is something which is
- Easy to understand
- Contains images, videos or other relevant rich media
- Solves a problem
- Includes personal experience
- Produced for the users
Include these qualities in your content. You may be thinking this is asking for too much, but trust me producing a good piece of content takes time and effort.
RememberIt's quality over quantity and not the other way around Click To Tweet
You have to give your visitors something of value so that they keep coming back for more. This is what will build a good brand name and trust.
To move in the right direction, here are a few things that will help you create unique and engaging content.
- Define the objective– This is the first step when you are looking to create content. Ask yourself a very simple question, what is the purpose of this content. Are you trying to sell a product or educate the readers? In case you are trying to sell a product, define the product in detail and if you have used the product, share your personal experience. Create a proper call to action so that if someone is looking to get in touch or buy the product can do it easily.
- Keyword Research- To write a good article the very first thing you need to do is perform thorough keyword research. Find the keywords that you want to rank for and create your content around them. When you doing the research keep the user point of view in mind. This will help you understand what a user can type and what they are looking for. Based on this you can provide them with the information they are looking for.
- Maintain consistency- Share content on a regular basis. Maintain a consistent schedule. With this, you can maintain a regular connection with your audience. To help you with this you can create an editorial calendar that will help you plan content and schedule updates for the future, give you time to think about new ideas and provide a proper structure.
- Updates- Google loves fresh content and this shows that you care about your website and the audience. You will be sharing a new perspective with the existing as well as the new audience. Also, Google displays the last updated date on the SERPs and searchers want recent and updated content. There are also chances some old posts may not have too much information or may contain grammatical errors. This will give you a good opportunity to change all that.
- Adding rich media- Rich media makes content easy to read, unique and attractive. If you are writing an article or blog posts it acts the same way as a bulleted list. It breaks the content into smaller parts. When you use rich media users can easily share them on social media increasing the engagement.
Using these tips you can create content that your audience will love.
6. Optimizing the title and description
Whenever we search for some query, the first thing we see on the search engine results page is the title and description of the page. For searchers, it is the first impression of your website.
You can see how the title and description are displayed on a search engine results page. Now, there are some other places as well where the title of your page can appear in
- The tab of the browser.
- Shared post on social media.
You can see the title on the post I have shared on Twitter and also it displays the description. Although, Title is a ranking signal, having a good title and description also increases the CTR (Click-through rate).
Both of these play a vital role in making users click and visit your webpage.
Things to keep in mind while optimizing titles and description
- Add your focus keyword in both title and description. Don’t stuff keywords else it will look spammy and meaningless.
- Keep the length of Title up to 65 characters and meta descriptions up to 155 characters. If you exceed this limit, the extra part will be replaced by ‘…’ on the search engine results page.
- The title and description should accurately describe the contents of your page.
- You can add your brand name to the title tag. It’s good for branding purposes.
7. Image optimization
Images are a very important visual component of your webpage. Like I said before, it makes a block of text easy to understand and appealing.
This is one of the techniques that is often missed while optimizing pages.
If you are not optimizing your images you are missing out on the traffic from image searches. Also, you may be facing higher load times due to large image sizes.
You can find image searches in all major search engines be it Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine.
In the above image, you can see image searches in various search engines. Images are very valuable assets that need to be optimized in order to produce results.
Moving forward, here are a few steps to optimize images
- Name of the image– The first thing you have to do is name the image correctly. In case you are using a default image name such as DSC001.jpg, it makes no sense. Name the image appropriately.
- Compress the image– Images are generally large in size and if you don’t compress them it will make your site slow.
- Adding alt text– Image alt text tells the search engine about the contents of the image. Describe the contents briefly. You can add keywords but don’t stuff them.
- Using relevant images– Use images that visitors can relate to while reading the article. Think about a scenario where you have written an article on pet dogs and used the image of a cat. Makes no sense.
- Copyright– At any cost stay away from using copyrighted images like these can get you in trouble.
These are a few tips that will help you optimize your images. Remember search engines cannot read images you have to optimize them in order to get resultsIn SEO, an image can only say 1000 words if it is optimized. Click To Tweet
Recommended Read- On-Page SEO Cheat Sheet
8. SEO friendly URL
The uniform resource location or URL is also known as the web address. It specifies where the resource is located on the World Wide Web in simple human-readable form.
Protocol, domain name and path together make a URL.
Here is an example.
In the above screenshot,
- Protocol- HTTPS
- Domain name- GeekyPlug
- Extension- com
- File Path- how-to-start-wordpress-blog
There are various other things that can be a part of a URL, this is just for simplifying the concept. In some cases, you may have seen these URLs can also contain folders and subfolders similar to the example below
Looking at the above example you can see a URL contains very valuable information about the webpage.
Not only will it tell the search engines about the contents of the page but also provide a hint to the users. This improves the user experience.
In the above results, just by looking at the URLs you can know the webpages contain information about the best dog food. This also acts as a ranking factor.
You can also see the efficient use of the focus keywords. The URL is short but descriptive. While optimizing the URL use the focus keyword wisely, do not add too many keywords or it will look spammy.
When you are optimizing URL’s keep these point in mind
- Avoid the use of underscore ( _ )
- Try to stay away from using numbers.
- Keep the length short
- No keyword stuffing
- Do not add keywords that are not relevant to the content.
9. Removing broken links
Have you anytime encountered a situation in which when you click on a URL and it returns a 404 error?
This is an error message you receive when you visit a broken link.
You can encounter broken links in 2 scenarios
- Mistyping of the URL
- The page was removed or relocated without proper redirection.
Think about a scenario, when you are searching for some information and click a broken link thinking it contains information you need. I m sure it will totally spoil the experience and you will most probably visit other websites for the information.
At times its also possible that you may have linked to a source or a reference URL that was working at some point of time but now is not available. It will give the same error 404 error to the user.
Like we have discussed above that user experience is a crucial part of SEO. When visitors encounter a broken, they will spend less time on your website and it creates a negative impression and can impact the rankings.
Also, keep in mind the main purpose of optimizing your site is driving engagement and conversions. If the users encounter broken links, it will lower the conversion and engagement rate.
You will be losing customers and revenue.
In order to take care of broken links, perform regular website audits. By doing regular audits, you will know where the broken link exists.
Based on this report, you can either replace the broken links by the new links or completely remove them.
It is always adviced if you are creating an updated version of the content, try to update the existing rather than removing. Also, if you have moved the content to a place make sure you properly redirect. So that visitors don’t land on a broken link.Broken links can negatively impact user experience hence driving low conversion rate Click To Tweet
While we are on the topic of linking, let’s discuss a very vital topic which is creating backlinks in SEO.
Backlinks are the links that point to your website from other websites. These links help improve the credibility of the website.
For example, recently near your workplace or home, you notice a new cafe. After a few days, while reading your favorite magazine you find a well-known food blogger has written a positive review.
Now, this review will create a positive impression in your mind and I think you may be little inclined towards visiting the place.
In SEO, backlinks work in a similar way. When an authority website links to your site, it tells the search engine crawlers or bots that your website is the real deal.
And this can boost your rankings on the results page.
The more the number of relevant and quality backlinks, the better will be the authority of your website. With that said, while building backlinks, give top priority to quality and relevance.
To understand this let’s consider the above example of the cafe, think if that review might have appeared in a tech magazine. It makes no sense right as both these categories are not relevant to each other.
Similarly, if you are a tech blogger, to build your credibility and authority and to rank better on search engines you need backlink from sites in the same or related categories.
You can use SEMrush as your all in one Digital marketing tool.While building backlinks, always go for quality over quantity Click To Tweet
You may like to read – SEO link attribution update- nofollow, sponsored, ugc
11. Promote actively on social media
When you think about promoting anything online, the first thing that may come to your mind is using social media platforms.
Social media is a very powerful tool for online promotions. It is used by people of different demographics making it a very useful medium to increase the reach.
If you are wondering, why I am discussing social media in this article?
The answer is simple, at times while searching for something online you may have seen the results page containing links from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms alongside other websites.
I was able to find this link from Facebook on the third page of Google. But the first page was dominated by YouTube videos and there were some videos on the second page as well.
With that said, videos are a very prominent in search results these days and personally speaking I have seen videos from Dailymotion and other video sharing platform in these results as well.
As social media is growing at a rapid pace, by using these platforms you can create an audience for your brand. If you have content that people like or find useful, it will definitely generate social shares and people will link to it.
With that said, platforms like Pinterest are growing rapidly. More and more marketers are using this platform for increasing their audience.
According to eMarketer, Pinterest has seen an increase in its user base by 5 million which more than Facebook and Twitter combined.80% of new sign-ups on Pinterest come from people outside the U.S Click To Tweet
Now if you are thinking about starting to use Pinterest, I have written an article on Getting started with Pinterest for Business.
This does not mean you should focus only on one platform. Facebook and Twitter both have a huge and very active user base.
Looking at these figures it is safe to say social media is a great asset for any online marketing campaign.
A good online strategy should focus on both Social Media and SEO using search engine optimization as the long term approach and social media for getting your name out there quickly and building a connection with your audience.
Also, it is important to keep in mind social media is not a ranking factor, but it is an amazing way to promote, grow and build your brand online.
Bonus Tip- Creating a well-defined site structure
By now we have established how important are links for performing well on search engines. And for this reason, people focus on getting more links from other websites and forget to work on building internal links and proper site structure.
Although these links do not work or as powerful as backlinks pages that do not have internal links pointing to them tend to underperform on search engines.
Below are some more benefits of internal linking
- Defined hierarchy amongst pages and posts
- Clear cut site structure
- Establishing a relationship between content
- Distributes link juice
- Offers better overall user experience
By using an internal linking strategy, you can point links to your cornerstone content from related or similar pages.
For example, the first article on our blog was How to start a WordPress blog. The internal links pointing to this article are from articles such as Benefits of blogging, and tips for choosing a domain name for your blog.
These are related pieces of content one will lead to the other. Keep in mind, the links are from relevant pages only and most importantly users should find them useful.
Once you implement a good internal linking strategy it simplifies navigation. The information is much more easily accessible and it offers a lot of value to the users.
These are some basic Search Engine Optimization techniques to improve your rankings on search engines.A good SEO Strategy is a series of small steps executed perfectly Click To Tweet
Make sure you execute these steps. Also, let us know in the comment section which of these steps you were already implementing and if possible do share your results and experiences.
You may like to read next- How to add nofollow links
I hope you find these quick SEO tips helpful. Don’t forget to share it with your friends. Follow us on social media and Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with our content.