Basic SEO tips for your website
You have a website and you want to drive traffic and acquire users, which means you probably know that you have to start with building an excellent SEO strategy.
The Web is very competitive, ranking is affected by algorithms, website quality, texts, and much more. You will soon realize that this is a complicated – although possible – work.
Depending on different factors, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that needs continuous improvements and effort to rank high, and drive sustainable traffic in the long term.
It will probably take long time to jump on top of competitors in search result rankings, and to forward a large amount of visitors to your website.
Of course it’s always possible to run some advertising campaigns, but Search Engine Marketing can be very expensive and not always as effective as expected. On top of that, are you capable of setting up the campaigns in a proper way yourself?
Let’s start specifying that Google indexes pages because it founds them and crawls them, which means that the Search Engine considered these pages good enough in terms of quality to be worth indexing.
That being stated, how to drive organic traffic to your zero or low traffic website?
First: choose your niche
If you focus on a specific target audience, even if it’s small, you will be able to reach more people that are very interested in your services, and to convert them more easily. So whatever is your offer, choose to focus on a specific target group and optimize the marketing around your site to reach this goal.
Blogging and content
Create good content on your blog will attract new visitors and drive traffic to your website.
If you write good articles, optimized for specific keywords that are relevant to your services you will be able to attract users interested in those topics, and potentially in your services.
- Here comes the hard part: you want your blog articles to:
- Rank high in SERP (Search Engine Ranking)
Create curiosity and attract the attention of the users, so that they will choose to click on your site, and not on another search result.
You are probably looking for an answer to these questions:
How to rank on top in Google?
How can you make people click on your page in Google Search results?
How to select keywords for SEO on your website
You’re ready to start your SEO work and the first thing is probably the research the most relevant keywords and sort them by competitiveness and search volumes.
Start searching for a few keywords, I’d say 7 keywords at its very maximum to start with. There are many free SEO tools for keyword research. You can even use Google Keyword Search tool.
We want keywords that are searched for many times, but for which it’s still possible to get a good rank. We aim to get to page 1, as the most of us, Web users, are lazy or don’t trust lower results, and so won’t even look at page 2 or 3.
What you should remember is that it would be good to start with keywords that all aim to the same search results. That is: synonyms or sentences that lead to the same topic.
A very simple example:
“SEO experts on the Web”
“Outsource SEO services”
Now, thinking of previous point: use these keywords to write a blog article that is relevant to your business. Writing good texts optimized for specific keywords is of course much more important for Search Engines, than just writing blog articles.
Spy on competitors and research keywords competitors use
Competitor research allows you to understand what other websites, that you will define competing with yours, rank for the same keywords that you want to rank for.
You can use SEO tools again, or just try a Google search yourself. You will find top results and you can have a quick look at their websites.
Then you should think of how you can add further value to what other people are writing or offering, and remember to focus on a very specific niche while talking to users. This answer is the key to reach your goal, that is to be better than anyone else in your niche.
Don’t copy content, create unique content
Take this seriously, because Search Engines find this very important. Copying content is not only unfair to people putting big effort in writing long blog posts (I know what this means!), and a sign of lack of knowledge. It can cause you penalties and might be the cause of your lower site rank in SERPs.
We all know that some topics have been discussed in all the possible ways, but you can always create some original content yourself. Like music, notes are mainly 7, but we still listen to new songs every day.
Don’t copy content, create unique content
Share your blog articles and link to your website on social media. First of all, there are thousands of people searching for your product or service every day on social media. If you’re not there, you’re missing out some big opportunities!
On top of that, if you post your content on social media, it’s easy for Search Engines to discover it, and index it. It’s also possible that users will share your content, which results in more impressions to your content.
Get high-quality backlinks
Backlinks allow Search Engines to establish the popularity and trust of a website. How? They see the number of backlinks, but they also check the quality of the links.
You should try to add backlinks that have good reputation. You can easily check this using stats such as Alexa rank and MOZ DA (Domain Authority).
In addition to this, you should use a good ratio of DoFollow vs. NoFollow backlinks.
What’s the difference between DoFollow and NoFollow links? Let’s see a few more details.
Dofollow links allow users and search engines to follow the link to your website. If you have a large number of other websites linking to yours, and the more visitors you get to your website from those backlinks, the higher score Google will assign to your site. This link points are often referred to as ‘link juice’.
—> FYI Technical note:
This is how the DoFollow tag looks like:
NoFollow tags look like this:
<a href=”https://growthhackersteam.com/” rel=”nofollow”>GrowthHackersTeam</a>
and don’t allow search engine bots to follow your links, but only users. <—
So these links won’t improve directly our ranking through ‘link juice’, as they won’t count as a point in page’s favour. Still, they will help you generate traffic to your website.
Too many DoFollow links can look suspicious to Search Engines, that’s why you should still add both of the types to your backlink strategy. A good balance of DoFollow and Nofollow links is the best choice.
Search Engines know that it’s quite hard to get DoFollow links only, when a website gets backlinks in a natural way, for this reason when they notice that a site has mostly DoFollow links, Google assumes that the backlinks were not gained through a natural process, but that the webmaster has deliberately placed follow links on different websites, especially when this happens too fast.
And this brings us back to great original content: the better your blog articles, the higher the probability that they will be shared spontaneously by visitors, and the more natural this process will be.
Optimize your titles and meta-descriptions
When you search for something in Google you will see that in the results you always have a title (the title tag) and a short description (the meta-description).
It’s easy to understand then that titles, along with meta-descriptions, are very often the first thing that users see of your website and will give a quick preview of the content of the page so that they can decide if that page is presumably a good result to their search.
That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions, and to use relevant and meaningful words.
The title tag and the meta description tags help Search Engines understand what the content of your page is about and index your web pages accordingly for relevant keywords. That’s why both title and meta-tags should include keywords relevant to the content of the web page they refer to.
These are important elements of your website’s content so make sure to include the keyword you want to rank for in that, and to use keywords that are both easy to read, and relevant to the content of that page.
This sounds quite an easy task, but you should be aware of the fact that if you choose a high competitive keyword that everybody is using, it won’t give you the results you want.
For this reason, you should do something more: make sure to include the right keywords in there, that is, low or medium competitive keywords, with a decent number of monthly searches.
You can use a long tail keyword, which will bring you less traffic, but high quality traffic and for which you’ll have less competitors.
If you’re using WordPress, you can easily do this with SEO plugins such as the well reviewed Yoast SEO plugin.
You can also do this easily quite often by going to specific settings of your CMS. If you’re using a Squarespace, Shopify, Prestashop or similar you can for sure check the knowledge base or ask the support team for suggestions.
Google will rank your page higher if you use the right titles, keywords and description of your pages, while accurate meta descriptions will also help improve your click-through rates, creating more curiosity and being more relevant to the user’s query.
Optimize page speed for better SEO
Page speed or “page load time”, that is the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page is very important for your site. First of all, it’s easy to understand that a user that tries to visualize the content of a page, and waits for too long, will probably bounce – and not come back any more.
The faster the page speed, the better. It’s also reasonable that Google evaluates page speed, and ranks a faster page speed higher than a slower one.
There are different ways to optimize your page speed but I’m not entering into this technical topic in this article. First of all, optimizing a page speed can be tricky for non-experts, and it’s much easier if you ask a developer to do this.
You can find tips on your hosting site, and you can outsource optimization services at low cost (read rating first though!) and they will do a good job on a simple website of not too many pages. This will save you frequent headache, trust me.
In general, remember to avoid using very heavy images and try to compress them before uploading to the website: this is a very simple rule that will help your speed dramatically.
Add your alt tag to images
Talking again about images, there’s a small detail that it’s often forgotten: the alt tag.
It’s small but it’s effective for SEO. Basically it’s a short text that you ‘assign’ to the image, and that will include a keyword, so that Search Engines can find the image when users search for a specific query. This will help your SEO of course.
It’s easy to add this with various CMSs, and especially if you use WordPress. You can do this directly when uploading the image to the media library, before saving it, or later if you forgot or need to change the text, by editing the image by clicking on it from the media library, and adding the text.
Create an XML sitemap
You want Google to crawl the most important pages of your website: an XML sitemap helps your SEO efforts, as it clearly shows Google the pages that you absolutely want to be indexed on your website and when they were updated last, and it also helps Search Engines understand the structure of your site.
It’s often said that sitemaps are important mainly for huge complicated websites, with thousands of pages or entries, or for brand new websites with no or few backlinks, but valued SEO authorities say that sitemaps are beneficial for all the websites.
For this reason we suggest you create an XML sitemap using a specific plugin or tool to make the task easier, and that you include only the most relevant URLs to your sitemap.
This doesn’t mean that Google will automatically rank those pages – we understood already that SEO is not an easy process – still, anything that can help us conquer the top of the mountain is worth trying.
A good SEO strategy is essential to drive quality organic traffic
Ranking higher in Search Results is something very important as will drive more traffic to your website. You should consider some weekly hours to work on your SEO strategy and in implementing your SEO process.
That’s especially true as on the Web every website has more competing sites now than it used to be.
Even a niche you will find competitors, that’s why the higher you can specialize and focus on a very specific audience, the more people you’ll be able to attract to your site and convert, when selling services.
We know that SEO takes long time and hard work, but this is not a good reason to avoid doing it! It’s extremely important to be on top to drive relevant traffic to your site, and to build a reputable brand.
Paid search is very expensive, and unless you have huge budget, you can’t run this on a daily basis with large daily spent amounts.
A good SEO strategy is essential to drive quality organic traffic.
Then you can still focus on other techniques and strategies, complementary to this, but SEO is something you should dedicate some hours to every week, being constant in your work.
Prepare your strategy in advance, by following the tips above, or by hiring a consultant.
If you never start, you will never see results. It might be hard and you might fight against competitors, but in the long term, results will pay your efforts.