Are you struggling to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
Well, you’re not alone!
The general consensus is that it can take months, even years, to see results!
Well, there’s some good news and bad news on this. We’ll kick off with the bad news.
They’re right, SEO does take time to take effect and is not a quick fix. You’re not going to do all the work upfront and then never do it again. It takes time and takes continuous input. If you stop doing it, you’ll just move right down the Google ranking.
‘What about the good news?’
There ARE ways to get results in the short-term. You won’t conquer SEO in a month, and you won’t get ALL of the results you want to achieve, but it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve SOMETHING in 1 – 3 months. Trust me, when we’re talking SEO, three-month results is a good thing!
‘Tell me how I can get those quick results’
Well, let’s start with making sure you’re thinking about SEO the right way.
SEO isn’t just about creating content and adding links into your blog articles (see what I did there? :D). Sure, they’re important, but to rank highly, you’re going to need a few things…
Data shows that you need good sized content. Google doesn’t like articles of just an intro and a couple of bullet points. It’s clever enough to understand what’s quality content, and what’s content for contents’ sake. Did you know that the average article that ranks on the first page of Google contains almost 2, 000 words?
Also, as we said, links are definitely important! All your articles should contain some sort of link to another site. Whether it’s to another of your articles or an external website, Google likes links. Don’t just link to anything though, the quality of the links also matters. If you’re linking to a ‘spammy’ page, or a page with limited content, Google will pick up on that and reduce your ranking.
‘But you said SEO isn’t just about content and links!’
Yep, here’s the thing. SEO has evolved so much over the past decade. 10 years ago, you used to get away with adding some keywords in your tags and content, and you’d rank pretty highly on Google within a couple of months.
As more and more websites were added, though, you had to start adding the links. That worked pretty well in the early 2010s.
Again, more and more people picked up on this, and the competition for these keywords and links rocketed. So, everyone started increasing their word count, sharing on social media and collaborating to get backlinks to their pages too. Again, this worked really well up until 2018.
Now, though, as I write this in the end of 2019, there are literally BILLIONS of blogs around the world, be it on WordPress, Tumblr, Medium or any other platform. That means Google needs to decide what of these platforms is the ‘strongest’ and should rank higher.
In other words, just because you write a 2000-word article with backlinks and social media shares, it doesn’t mean you’re going to rank on the first page of Google! Why? Because everyone else is doing that too! Even if your blog was the first, and in place years before others, that doesn’t do you any favours today. It’s not easy to dominate Google anymore!
‘So, what do I do now?!’
You need to go after what’s achievable. The ‘low-hanging fruit’, as Neil Patel calls it.
Of course, you need content, back-links and shares. However, Google has 200 factors it uses when deciding who to rank where. Content and links are just TWO of them.
Don’t worry, nobody is going to satisfy all of them, even if they spend lots of money on a professional SEO agency!
Therefore, the best solution is to target the achievable factors.
‘What factors should I focus on?’
To be frank, I can’t answer that. This largely depends on your niche, what you want to achieve and what sort of content you produce. What I can give you, though, are some easily actionable tips to increase your chances of ranking high on Google.
- Remove the dates from your URL
WordPress is an awesome tool. My favorite blogging tool out there! There is one really annoying thing about it though. By default, WordPress includes the date of your article in the URL. I ignored it for ages as I just thought that’s how it works. However, when I tried removing the dates from my articles, my traffic shot up by over 50%! What’s more? It only took a month for me to see results!
- Link to your most popular articles within your sidebar
You don’t want readers just to read one article on your site and then move back to Google! You want them to spend time on your site and have them read other articles. Therefore, be sure to add links to your top posts and articles in a sidebar on EVERY page. This will give the visitor some suggestions of what else they should read once they finish the article they’re on. The more clicks on your pages, the higher you’ll rank!
- Land and expand
This is a technique that’s not known to everyone, which means it’s definitely something YOU should do to give you the edge! It’ll really boost your organic search ranking.
‘What is it?’
This strategy ensures you’re making the most out of your keywords. Here’s how to do it:
- Log into Google Search Console
- Click on ‘Performance’ on the left-hand side. Here, you’ll see a list of keywords that you’re ranking for.
- From this list, click on the keyword that’s getting the most traction. If it’s your brand name, go to the next one.
- Now, click on ‘Pages’. Here, you’ll see the pages that are ranking for this keyword or phrase.
- In a separate tab, jump on to Ubersuggest and type in the page domain you found in step D.
- Once the report has loaded, look on the sidebar and click ‘Keyword Ideas’. This will load a list of keywords that are similar to the main keyword that you already rank for. The majority of these terms come from Google Suggest.
- Now, take the top keywords you found, and integrate them into the web-page from step D.
Within one to two months, your traffic should start to rise!
Now, repeat this for other pages on your blog and you’ll soon see an overall increase for your website! Remember, you’ll need to tweak your content to include these keywords. Don’t just shove them in randomly so the article doesn’t sound right. Rewrite it so it flows and makes sense.
This tactic is one of the great techniques of SEO. Just because you write engaging content, it doesn’t mean you’re going to rank highly. However, if you add these keywords that Google has already told you it likes, this is a much high chance of increasing your traffic.
- Consider going international
The fact that you’re reading this article means there’s a high chance that your website is written in English only. Now, while English is widely spoken across the globe, just 20% of the world’s population speak English. That means that you’re currently ignoring the rest!
For this reason, I strongly suggest you translate your blog into multiple languages. You may have a target market in mind but think outside the box. If you’re targeting people visiting the USA, where have they come from? China? South America? France?
The vast majority of blogs are only written in English. This means that there’s a distinct lack of content available in the languages of these countries. So, if you can focus on them, you’ll get the edge and a boost in traffic! If you’re using your blog for affiliate marketing, this could also be a high jump in sales.
Don’t use Google Translate or another automated translation service! You want the article to read as well in the foreign language as it does in English. So, try to get it translated by a native speaker. Maybe you know someone who knows someone? If not, consider picking your top posts, and getting them translated professionally.
- Push your brand
One of the many factors Google looks at is your brand! The more clicks you get by people searching your brand name, the more Google will love you!
For example, instead of people finding this blog post searching ‘SEO tips’, Google much prefers it when people search for ‘Ewing Solutions’ and click on our URL.
Much like SEO, building a brand isn’t easy. It’s another long-term strategy.
Have you heard of the Rule of 7? It’s a marketing term which suggests a consumer has to see your brand 7 times before they truly recognise it and treat you as a real brand. To put it another way, if you can get the same person to visit your site 7 times for different reasons, you’ll be on the right steps to becoming a true brand.
A useful tool to get you started is Subscribers. What Subscribers does, is every time you post a new blog article, or post, it will send a push notification to anyone who’s signed up for your content. They don’t even need to give you their email address. It’s extremely simple to install and they even have a free plan, so you can decide if you like it before giving them money. You can be up and running in just 5 minutes.
- Update your old content
If you stop ‘doing’ SEO, unless you’re doing paid advertising, your traffic will soon drop off. Usually dramatically. With paid ads, it’s more dramatic, as you’ve stopped paying for something, therefore, you’ll stop receiving something, just like any service.
With SEO, while your content is still there, with time it will become less relevant and / or current. This can take a bit of effort, but instead of only focusing on new content, be sure to keep your existing content up to date too.
Google is always going to rank fresher and more up to date sites over old and stale ones. By updating your existing content, you’ll not only maintain the existing traffic, but you’ll also generate more traffic. Keep checking what keywords are performing well and use them. The good thing about existing traffic is you’ve got data to make decisions with. Use it wisely and give your readers more of what they want.
If you have content that’s out of date, and no longer relevant or accurate, consider removing it. The only thing worse than no content is bad content, or wrong content.
I’m sure if you’ve got this far, you’ve realised that there is so much involved in SEO. It’s a long-term strategy and can be difficult to master.
The main takeaway from this article is to think about what is achievable and go for that. Don’t try to conquer SEO in its entirety up-front and expect instant results. Focus on where your quick wins are, where you’re getting most of your success, and double down on it.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment below!