Search Engine Optimization or better known as SEO has been in existence since the dawn of search engines.
Some covet it, some think it's all mumbo-jumbo that doesn't work.
The true believers have done something right and experienced positive results with SEO, while the non-believers probably haven't done SEO the right way and thus have a negative experience with it.
What we can tell you is that Search Engine Optimization does indeed work, but it takes a lot of work for it to bring you positive results. SEO is not by any chance a miracle pill which you can swallow and see results the next day.
SEO takes effort to build up, it takes time to manifest, but when it does, then it will be smooth sailing from there on.
Gone are the days where you could just keyword stuff your pages and see traffic pouring in. It also doesn't pay to play the Black Hat game, as once Google penalizes and blacklists your domain, it's as good as dead in cyberspace.
Today, we'd like to share with you 7 simple steps you can follow and implement to increase your traffic through Search Engine Optimization.
Let's get started shall we?
You first start out by listing out a list of keywords you would consider as the main keywords your target audience would most likely use to search for your business.
These are preferably short-tail keywords, usually comprised of 1 - 3 words.
There may be stiff competition for the keywords that you have chosen, accept it as a challenge as SEO is not new, Google is 20 years old now.
However, sometimes you may get lucky and stumble across less competitive niches. If you happen to be in those niches, then congratulations, your SEO journey will be much much easier.
For the rest of us though, we will need to employ some creative strategies to secure streams of traffic, that's what the rest of the steps are for after all.
Now remember, take the stiff competition as a challenge and go after your chosen primary keywords. As your site grows stronger, content targeted at your chosen primary keywords will start to rank.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves yet, for now identify the top 5 primary keywords in your category using the following guidelines:
You used to be able to use the FREE Google Keywords Planner in Google Adwords to get search volume data. However Google has reduced the accuracy of its estimates over time, thus making the data inaccurate these days. Which is why we recommend to use an SEO keyword research tool such as SEO Tester Online's Keyword Explorer tool.
Our screenshot above shows the keywords we picked:
Once you feel your chosen primary keywords describe your business well then move to the next step.
You could spend countless hours or days brainstorming every keyword or you could use your competitors to give you the answers.
By using the Copy Metrics tool in SEO Tester Online, you can identify the keywords that your competitor is ranking for.
Simply click on Copy Metrics to bring up the tool then find your competitor's page which you'd like to research and paste the link in the URL bar. Click analyze and you will be presented with all the topics your competitor is ranking for as seen below.
You can emulate the success of your competitor's page by seeing what keywords they're using and evaluate if they're suitable for your business.
If the list of topics are not enough for you, simply click on the Keywords tab to reveal even more keywords your competitor is using. You get information like the frequency the keyword is used on the page as well.
This is a goldmine of information for search engine optimization
Primary keywords usually have big search volume and match your business really well. This also means you can expect high volumes of quality traffic from them, however it is usually very difficult to rank for them as there's stiff competition.
However, don't fret, that's where the long tail keywords come in. You will use long tail keywords to supplement your primary keywords and bring you traffic. Being a secondary keyword, expect the volume to be lower, but the plus point is that the competition will be lower as well.
You can leverage several long tail keywords to bring you multiple traffic flows.
Using the technique above, create a list of 20 long tail keywords that match the following criteria:
Now if you have 20 long tail keywords for each primary keyword,
5 primary keywords X 20 long tail keywords = 100 keywords
This list will easily give you 100 long tail keywords to work with and will be a great keyword bank for you to refer to later on as you create your first pieces of content.
Up till this point you should have the following ready:
As you filter your list of keywords to just 10, you'll need to keep in mind your topic authority that your site is already ranking for. Make sure they're within the same topical areas as you will be able to rank for those keywords a lot easier since Google already trusts your authority in that topic.
As your authority in the main topics increase, you can slowly expand into other topics, however it will take significantly more time to rank for a new topic.
For the 10 keywords we recommend to pick:
2 Primary Keywords - these are the most ideal keywords that fit your business. Even if they're competitive, over time you will be able to build up your authority for them. The goal right now is to start planting content seeds into Google. These seeds will grow over time to bring you extremely valuable traffic.
4 long tail Keywords for each Primary Keyword - these long tail keywords will supplement your primary keyword. They need to be a good fit for your business and are focused on niche topics that aren't as competitive. These keywords will grow your traffic instantly, helping your primary keywords gain momentum over time.
They need to have similar search volume and also closely related to your primary keywords, preferably these are keywords that you feel excited to write about. That will make the following steps more fun and less tedious to complete.
Alright, now you have 10 keywords to work with, 8 of which should be easier to rank and be able to bring you traffic instantly. Let's move on to the fun stuff.
Now that you have your 10 keywords to work with, it's time to start writing content around those chosen keywords and publish them.
We recommend writing one article for each of your 10 keywords, you will end up with 10 solid pieces of content which you can publish and rank for.
But why 10 pieces of content? I thought two primary keywords meant two articles only?
Well the reason is to increase the odds that Google will at least rank half of those published content. Nothing is certain when it comes to search engines and Google can be quite picky these days.
To increase your odds of success, you should produce content in batches. This way we are certain to get some winners to increase your traffic. Out of the 10 pieces, Google may only rank 5, or 2 or if your content is really good and a bit lucky you may get all 10 pieces of content ranked on Google.
People always say quality over quantity, however for Search Engine Optimization, we need both quality and quantity.
Now don't sweat your pants just yet, you don't need to produce all 10 pieces all at once. In fact you can drip them out over time, we recommend 1 piece per week to keep it consistent.
If you're feeling all pumped up and can push harder, feel free to pump out as many pieces as your time permits.
Here are some on-page SEO tips that you may want to take note of:
Once you have published all 10 articles, give each piece about 2 to 3 months time to get ranked. Search engine optimization is a game of time, be patient and don't panic if it takes a bit longer than expected. If you're lucky you may see results as early as 30 days!
With a good batch of content like this, we hope to see at least 50% of the content get ranked on the first page of Google by the end of the third month. That would be a good indication that you're on track and that our strategy is working.
Rinse and repeat the above steps, keep building more content around your list of 5 primary keywords and 100 long tail keywords. Over time as you build more content, expanding topic by topic, you are guaranteed to see your traffic increase.
Alright, you've published your first 10 articles, now what? Search engine optimization is an on-going process that brings you long term results. Nothing will continue to bring you results if you stop working on it, just as how you need to eat to function, the SEO machine needs to be fed with quality content constantly to bring you results continuously.
For a start you can look at publishing one article per week, you should be accustomed to this schedule after the initial 10 you churned out earlier.
As you get better at keyword research and writing, you may consider to increase your output to two articles per week and continue from there. If you are able to churn out an article a day then you are guaranteed to dominate your niche.
Now remember, keep producing content consistently on a weekly basis, and up the output as and when you are able to. The faster you put out quality content, the faster you will see results.
Finally we've come to the final step of this SEO guide. Sure you've put out quality content on a consistent basis, search engines are picking up your keywords and serving your pages on the SERPs. This process may be a bit slow, how can you amp up the process so that you are able to get results faster?
As with anything, be it a product, service, business or even an article, you will need to promote it in order to get even better results. Shove the 'Build it and they will come' mentality out the window.
There are over a billion websites on the internet, and as Neil Patel puts it, that would average to 7 websites per person, which is way too many for comfort.
The amount of content available online today is just overwhelming, what are the chances of your content getting through to someone if it was not promoted? In fact, what are the chances of someone to use the keyword you selected to search on Google?
Well we can know this from the search volume naturally, but what are the chances of said person clicking on your content over a competitors? The odds are usually stacked against us, unless you are as famous as Neil Patel or Gary Vaynerchuk.
The natural solution to this is to promote your content on all of your available media channels, it could be social media, your email list, or simply through paid advertising.
We recommend you start with the FREE channels, social media networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter are great platforms to promote your content. You could even use Instagram if you're good at creating great visuals for your content.
Next is your email list, if you have one, consider sending your subscribers an update every time you publish a new article. At the end of the month you can send a newsletter that compiles the updates of the month to remind them of your great content.
If you have the budget, then you may consider using paid advertising, but then it would defeat the purpose of doing search engine optimization in the first place. It can however get you instant results.
The key is to continue to promote your content over at least six months, don't just share your content on social media once and forget about it. Reshare it every two weeks or every month, nobody will remember that it was shared before, and with the amount of content on social media, it may take you a few shares to reach that single person.
Unless your content is time sensitive, we highly recommend you to reshare your content as many times as possible, but don't post the same content every hour, that would make you look desperate and have a severe lack of original content.
We recommend SEO Tester Online as the tool of choice to do your search engine optimization research work.
It is one of the best looking tools out there and is simple to use, plus it gives you a ton of useful data.
We did a review of the tool recently, you may checkout our SEO Tester Online review to learn more about it's other cool features and functions.
You can also check out their official website for more details, but if you do decide to subscribe to the tool, we have a an ongoing partnership with SEO Tester Online that grants users who purchase through us a 20% discount off the shelf price for the first year which we are happy to give to our readers. Just contact us via our contact page and ask for the discount and we would be happy to set it up for you.
We hope you learned something from this guide and are ready to start your SEO journey, if you need any help in SEO, Web Design or Digital Marketing in general be sure to contact us for a FREE consultation and find out how we can help your business out. Until the next one.
Google's latest update on its 'How-to' structured data markup is worth taking note of if you produce lots of 'How-to' content.
Learn how to leverage Google's latest guidelines to it's 'How-to' structured data markup to avoid some common mistakes and make your page eligible to appear as a rich result in Google search.
You may be puzzled and ask what is this 'how-to' structured data? Well it is one of the many types of Google Snippets which marks-up your content and tells Google that this piece of content is a 'How-to' article.
The reason you'd want to have rich snippets set up properly is because Google has rich results on the search engine results pages (SERPs) which shows more content in unique layouts to suit each type of rich result.
In this article we are specifically looking at the 'How-to' structured data as such we will only show how the rich results for it will look like.
Below is an example of how your content may appear in a 'How-to' rich result. This is a basic text based layout and a more visual variant may be displayed if your how-to content contains an image for each step.
This next example is a how-to page with images for each step. Users are able to see a preview of the how-to with a carousel of images for each step.
You will need to follow Google's latest guideline to make your page eligible to appear in the SERPs as a rich result.
We have made a summary of what has been added to the new Google guidelines for the 'How-to' structured data below:
Below are some content guidelines from the updated Google guidelines for quick reference:
imageproperty. This image may be the same as the one marked up for the last step.
Recipe structured datainstead. Articles and general advice content that is not a specific set of instructions are not appropriate for 'How-to' markup.
*Content guidelines sourced from Google's 'How-'to' guidelines page. View the full Google 'How'to' Markup Guide here.
If you are using WordPress, you can easily setup Google Snippets with the RankMath plugin.
Currently RankMath supports multiple types of Rich Snippet Markup which includes the following:
It is unfortunate though that RankMath does not currently support the 'How-to' rich snippet, but after communicating with them, they have confirmed that they will be adding the 'How-to' snippet in the future to RankMath.
So until that happens you will have to do it the 'hard way' if you really need to make use of this snippet.
You can download the RankMath plugin directly from their website or install it right from your WordPress Dashboard. Just go to Plugins > Add New and type in RankMath in the search bar and search for the plugin.
That's all for this simple guide on using the Google 'How-to' structured data, we hope you've found it useful. Do follow us on social media to get more information and sharing on digital marketing, seo, and web design.