What would make a customer choose your product over Amazon? Obviously, they first have to know you exist! And how can you get in front of your customers online?
The question holds true for any start-up or small business. For you to win, your brand has to be discoverable on search engines and attract traffic, and once you have that traffic, your site has to have the necessary elements on page that will encourage them to convert or buy.
In this article, Rohan Ayyar, Regional Marketing Manager India, SEMrush – an online digital marketing SEO tool, have explained 7 quick tips that can help you nail your SEO – so that your brand has a chance to be found on the search engine result pages and bring in relevant traffic.
- SEO is Long Term
SEO is not like a quick marketing campaign you execute to increase brand awareness overnight. It is an ongoing process that takes patience and effort to pull off. The amount of time it takes for your SEO to start showing results depends completely on your website. Factors like how much authority your site has, how long it has been around, whether you have an ongoing link building and content marketing strategy, how good your technical SEO is, all have an impact on the final result.
For example, If your site has been penalized by Google, it might take quite some time for you to rebuild your credibility and recover from it. On the other hand, if your site already has all the correct HTML tags in place and content written with the correct keyword research, then you can see results faster.
- Think SEO, Think Google
Google by far is the biggest search engine today, with over 3.5 billion searches per day. Just for comparison’s sake, Bing receives only 122 million queries a day. That means, optimization for your website and content should be Google-centric so that it has higher chances of being discovered amidst such a wide pool of searches.
While this can be a bit cumbersome, studies such as SEMrush Ranking Factors can help you get there. This particular report analyzes 17 ranking factors, how they impact SEO, and can help you form the big picture on how your efforts can influence your site’s rankings.
- Move to HTTPS
Google recognizes this fact and they started their “HTTPS Everywhere” initiative way back in 2014. in fact, they also officially announced that switching to HTTPS will get a definite ranking boost for the websites, everything else being constant.
- Perform In-depth Keyword Research
Gone are the days when you needed to target only a specific set of “money keywords” that applied to your business and rank for them. Today, thanks to Google algorithm updates like RankBrain and Hummingbird, and the increasing popularity of voice search devices, the way users are searching for your products and services has evolved. Queries are longer (such terms are called “long-tail keywords”), are more conversational, and show a very specific intent.
Let us take an example. Say, I want to rank my site for “SEO tips”. Instead of focusing on just that keyword or related keywords like “Top 10 SEO tips”, I would also choose to create content around certain long-tail keywords like “How to rank on Google?”
To help you with such thorough keyword research, you can use tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, which will give you a list of associated keywords that you should also focus on. As a thumb rule, focus on keywords that have good search volume, but lesser difficulty – they are easier to rank for.
- Use Schema Markup
Schema Markup is a slightly technical, but extremely crucial element for your website. Essentially, schema is a code or a set of HTML tags (agreed upon by major search engines like Google and Bing) that you incorporate within your website.
It helps search engines understand the entities that your content refers to, and thus provide better search results. By adding schema markup to the products or services that you offer, you increase your chances of having a featured snippet on the SERPs. Here is an example:
If you want rich snippets for your site and occupy more real estate on the search result pages, leading to more clicks, schema markup is the way to go.
- Don’t Ignore Link Building
Link building is not dead! Links are and will continue to be very important in the foreseeable future for SEO and are the best way to improve ranking. However, marketers should be careful not to go around building links indiscriminately. And definitely don’t buy links. Spammy links and exact match anchor text are routinely penalized by Google.
Focus instead on creating content assets on your website, which naturally gets backlinks from websites that have good authority in your space. Such links will provide genuine value to your users and have a beneficial, long-time impact on your SEO.
- Combine SEO and PPC
PPC is most often ignored while executing SEO, mostly because it consists of advertising, which demands additional budget! However, it is undeniable that a coordinated campaign, which includes both PPC and SEO will give you better results.
For example, even if your site ranks no. 1 for a particular keyword, the first four results on Google are usually PPC ads, so if the user finds one of them more relevant, they may not scroll down to your site at all. That, right there, is lost opportunity! So, don’t reduce your paid search efforts simply because your organic results are working well. The least you can do is bid on keywords that incorporate your brand, so at least your competitors don’t outdo you on your name.