Anyone who’s worked with search engine optimization (SEO) knows the Google ranking algorithm can be rather cryptic. Once you figure out a strategy that works for your company’s content, Google does a paradigm shift.
Nevertheless, there are approaches you can take to work around Google’s unstable ranking criteria and still ensure you increase ranking in Google Analytics and improve SEO.
Flesh out your content
Counterintuitive as it seems considering we’re living in the age of the short attention span, longer content performs better.
When you have engaging content, your audience will stick around for an informative takeaway. You as the business owner have to ensure your content provides enough substance to fill their needs. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes–what is the reason they’re visiting your site? Give them what they need and they will keep coming back for more.
It’s also a good idea to interlink within the body of your text to other pages on your website. This way, the time on site also reflects well in Google Analytics.
Fleshing out these pages with more text can give them the boost they need to increase ranking in Google, possibly even getting you on to the first page. The magic number tends to be just over 1,000 words.
If your company’s site is currently ranking anywhere between 11 and 30 on Google, try adding content to your pages and see if performance improves.
You can also use an SEO tool such as Google Webmaster Tools to search for your property. Once you find it, go to Search Traffic -> Search Analytics in the left rail.
Next, go to “Position” and “Pages” in the Search Analytics menu.
This will display Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) arranged by their ranking position.
Once you get your results, copy and paste them into the bulk word count calculator tool.
Click on “Perform Check.” This will yield the word count, anchor word text and anchor percentage for each page.
Keep in mind this takes comments into account as part of the content if you offer your readers a chance to give feedback. Therefore, the “Perform Check” may overestimate more than what may actually be there, but it’s good to at least have an idea if you’re within range of 1,000 words, thus knowing how to proceed from there.
Engage your audience with your content
Another way to improve SEO is to make your content more engaging.
The bucket brigade
For starters, you can use a tactic in your content writing called a “bucket brigade,” which is a copywriting method that breaks paragraphs into multiple sentences. According to deadlycontent.com, “Bucket Brigades can save you the time it takes to think about how to connect 2 subjects.“Bucket Brigades encourage your reader to pay attention.“Bucket Brigades are perfect for conversational posts.“Bucket Brigades can help you connect emotionally with the audience.“Bucket Brigades come in all shapes and sizes.”
Even though the paragraph above seemed arbitrary, there’s a strategy hidden in the sentence structure. The overall purpose for bucket brigade writing is to sell something. Here are some examples of trigger words and phrases that can jumpstart your own bucket brigade sentences:
As if that’s not enough As it turns outBest of allBut that’s just part of the story…But wait – there’s more By nowBy the wayEven betterFair enough?Good news!Here’s whyHow can you beat that? In my experienceIt gets betterIt’s trueMeanwhileNeverthelessNo wonderOn the other handSimply statedThink about itTo make a pointTreat yourselfWhat does this mean for you?We’re not through yetYes, you read that right
A picture’s worth 1,000 words
Adding images to your content is always a great way to break up the monotony that comes with a bunch of text.
They also add visual aids that further illustrate your point and hold the attention of your readers who tend to scan web pages.
You can also take advantage of optimizing alt tags when labeling your images on the back end by implementing SEO keywords, increasing the chance that your image will give you additional search engine traffic through Google Image Search.
You can add static content such as tweets, Instagram posts, YouTube videos, and gifs to make your page look more animated and to help increase time on site. The only caveat is to beware of the effect adding more media has on page loading time. Any page that takes longer than 3 seconds tends to have a much higher bounce rate.
Refresh existing content
It’s always healthy to give your site a facelift.
In 2011, Google released an algorithm update that encouraged fresh content.
Assess the behavior of some of your existing articles in Google Analytics to determine which articles can benefit from an update. Some of your content may reflect outdated information, in which case, would have to be updated anyway.
Always remember to update the “Last Updated” date in any content management system (CMS) you are using to reflect the article’s newness.
This change would also be reflected in Google SERPs.
Condense URLs; add HTTPS
Shorter URLs are easier to read, better for SEO, and are conducive for social media. According to RadiumOne, shorter vanity URLs received 25% more clicks than longer URLs.
If your site has a long URL, there are many tools out there such as Bitly that will help you shorten your link, thus generating a vanity URL that looks cleaner and will help improve SEO.
Speaking of links, adding HTTPS will help your site rank better, as higher security will put your readers’ machine at a lower risk, helping them feel safer and building trust with your brand.
HTTPS is another tool that can increase ranking on Google. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provides a helpful guide to help you update your URL to HTTPS.
Increase your speed
Since 2010, site speed has been a ranking factor on Google.
As mentioned above, improving your site’s speed can give you another ranking boost. Here are a few ways to get your site to load faster:
Kraken.io can help optimize all of your site’s images. It offers an API plugin to automate the whole optimization process.
RIOT image optimizer lets you optimize your images manually and may make the process go faster if you need to see speedier results.
Considering images’ sizes, they’re always a factor in how long it takes for a page to load. The more optimized they are, the quicker the load time.
Another resource that could help with static content is Amazon S3. It’s a cloud storage utility that provides a lot of additional storage space while bringing the cost of your hosting bills down.
It’s a challenge to offload your static content to Amazon S3 but if you have a WordPress site, you can use the WP Offload S3 Lite plugin to simplify the process.
Google Hosted Libraries’ infrastructure serves files as fast as possible, freeing up your server. It will also automatically update all JS files to the most reliable versions.
Make sure your content is topical
Relevant content that’s timely and in-depth is sure to rank better on Google than outdated material.
If you’re a news site, you may find your top stories for the day outrank anything you write that’s considered more evergreen.
Readers tend to gravitate toward immediate gratification, they want to feel “in-the-know.” Your site can gain more credibility if your audience knows it can depend on you for the most updated content.
Being consistent in your research and staying on top of relevant data can definitely help you outrank competitors and improve SEO on your site.
Streamlining the outreach process
An imperative SEO strategy is getting your content out there. Sending push notifications and sending emails directing readers to your content will increase your traffic significantly.
The problem is finding efficient ways to reach thousands of people at once. That’s where automation comes in.
Outreach automation can help you locate prospects, find their contact information and send them the material.
A resource such as JustReachout automates finding prospects and their emails, cutting hours of tedious work out of your day.
Once you have drafted your message, a site like Buzzstream can mass deliver customized emails.
Now you’re S.E.On your own
It’s amazing how SEO can be improved by going the extra mile to lengthen your landing pages, refresh your articles, improve your outreach, and increase site speed.
Whether you do some or all of the above, you’re bound to see improvement in your rankings, possibly getting you on Google’s first page if you aren’t already there.