We've talked about some of the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) in this space before, but here are a few more advanced tips and tricks to get you started.
First off, focus on user experience. While your site may be optimized well enough to appear on page one of the SERPs, it's not going to convert if people don't even know that you exist. If you're not showing up in local searches or in social media posts, then you need to make sure your business is visible everywhere else. Start with good design and user interface, build out an awesome content plan, use all the tools available to you, and let search engines help you spread the word.
Overhaul your "almost" first page posts
As we discussed last week, there are hundreds of different types of posts that can rank in Google. Some will perform better than others depending on what your goal is, so you should take the time to review your current post types and determine which ones are performing best. A great way to do this is by using Google AdWords keyword tool, which allows you to see which keywords people are searching for when they type into Google. You can also check out Moz Pro's keyword research feature where you can enter a number of keywords and see how many times those terms are being searched for.
Once you have determined which post types you should optimize for, start overhauling the ones that aren't ranking as well as you'd like them to. The biggest mistake I see small businesses making is simply posting something once or twice a month with no real intention of updating it over time. It doesn't matter if it's an article, a blog post, a video, or any other format, if you don't update your content regularly, you'll lose your audience eventually. Not only does it make readers lose interest, it makes Google less likely to index your pages and show them to searchers.
Tapping the potential of video
Video is a big trend right now among marketers who want to boost their conversions, improve customer engagement, and increase overall sales. There's nothing stopping you from creating videos today; however, most business owners are still hesitant to invest money in high-quality video production. Luckily, you can easily create short videos with just a smartphone camera and editing software programs like iMovie and Adobe Premiere Elements. For example, I used my iPhone 6s to record a quick video explaining how to navigate my website, and I posted it on YouTube and Facebook. Within hours, it had been viewed thousands of times!
There are plenty of other ways to use video on your website without having to hire a professional. You could embed it directly onto your landing pages or posts, or try adding it to your blog posts or ebooks. Even posting it to your social media accounts and sharing it throughout your network can drive traffic back to your site. Just remember that the quality of the video matters far more than the quantity. Don't skimp on the lighting or sound effects, and make sure the person speaking is clear and audible.
Rank for featured snippets
If you're looking to increase your visibility and boost your rankings, you should definitely consider including featured snippets on your website. This is a new type of snippet that shows up under certain headings and in certain locations on the SERP. While you might think these snippets look like ads, they actually come from websites that Google has deemed relevant to the question asked. So if someone asks, "Who owns Domino's Pizza?" for example, Google might show up the featured snippet from Wikipedia, and if someone were to ask, "Why did Apple choose to move its headquarters from Cupertino to Silicon Valley?" Google would show up the featured snippet with Apple CEO Tim Cook answering the question.
It can be difficult to find sites that provide featured snippets, but you shouldn't give up hope because there's a simple workaround for how to get featured snippets on your own pages. All you have to do is add rel="author" tags to the top of each page on your site, and Google will display the snippet below your title tag. If you already have existing content on your site, you'll have to manually edit each page to include the rel="author" tags, but it's worth the effort since it's free and easy to implement.
Creating comprehensive, authoritative, evergreen content
So you've got lots of amazing content on your site, but you're not seeing the results you want? Well, it's pretty simple. You need to keep writing content every day. When people visit your site, they're not going to read everything you've published; they'll skim through it quickly to see if what you have to say interests them. As long as you consistently deliver fresh information, your visitors will always return.
The trick is to make sure your content is evergreen. Evergreen content refers to articles, blogs, books, or some other form of content that remains valuable year after year. What's unique about this type of content is that it contains useful information that you can repurpose at any time, and it's also regularly updated to reflect changing trends and industry news.
You can achieve this by creating original content that stays topical and offers value to your target market. One way to do this is by focusing on specific topics within your niche, such as "How to Choose a Roofing Contractor," "What Makes a Great Team Player," or "Why You Should Never Buy a Used Car."
Maximize user engagement
When users come across your content, they need to feel engaged and interested. They need to feel that you understand their needs and can answer their questions. You can achieve this by offering unique solutions, delivering helpful advice, and giving your visitors a sense of community. People like to connect with other people, and if they feel like you're connecting with them, they'll be much more likely to share your content with others.
One way to accomplish this is by adding a call to action button to every piece of content you publish. This can be done by placing it near the bottom of the post or above the fold, or you can even place it in between paragraphs. Just make sure that whatever you offer your readers is relevant to the topic of the post, and that you encourage them to take action immediately.
Optimize for voice search
Search engines want to serve the user rather than the advertiser, and they're constantly adapting to the needs of their end users. That means that while they're trying to give users the best possible experience, they're also doing everything they can to make their algorithms smarter and more effective. One recent change that's made an impact on voice search is called mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-first indexing means that search engines will prioritize the loading of mobile-friendly content over desktop versions. This means that if you haven't yet optimized your site for mobile devices, you're going to miss out on a lot of traffic and revenue. To avoid this, you need to ensure that all your pages work properly on any device, regardless of whether it's a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
Another thing you can do to ensure that your content performs well on mobile devices is to optimize your images for retina displays. Retina displays are twice the resolution of standard screens, which means that your graphics will look crisp and sharp.
Finally, you should always remember to submit your site to Google My Business listings. These listings allow anyone searching for your business to view your address, directions, photos, and more. These listings also let customers book appointments online, send you email inquiries, and share reviews and other information about your business.
Focus on mobile
While desktop computers remain popular, smartphones and tablets are rapidly becoming the preferred way for many people to access the Internet. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, the percentage of American adults using smartphones doubled from 2011 to 2013, and the number of Americans using tablets tripled during the same period. And if you don't have a mobile strategy, you're missing out on millions of potential customers.
To optimize your site for mobile users, you need to make sure that your navigation menu works effectively on both small and large screens. Make sure your images and text are readable on smaller screens, and also consider implementing responsive designs, which adapt automatically to fit various screen sizes. Another important step you can take is to create a separate version of your site for mobile, and then redirect the URL to that version whenever someone clicks on your mobile link in an email or on your social media profiles.
Finally, test your mobile site thoroughly before launching it to the public. Use apps like App Annie to track how often your app appears in the app stores, and also measure how often customers download it. You can also use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to track how often your mobile site is visited.
These are just a handful of the things you can do to maximize your visibility on the web. By applying these techniques to your business, you can grow your audience and increase your revenue.