In today’s digital environment, the once keyword-centric SEO or search engine optimization has become more content driven. Thanks to continuous changes in search algorithms (looking at you Google), value creation and quality are now being emphasized to make searches more user-friendly.
However, these changes make ranking even more challenging. With more than a million sites producing quality content every day, ranking on that first page of whatever search engine you are using requires hard work.
Hence, whether you are looking to maintain your position on that first page of the search engine results page (SERP) or seeking to improve your ranking, here are some strategies that you can use.
1. Update your site by adding fresh and assorted content
Search engines prefer quality and fresh content so it will help if you regularly update your site and add new content. Regularly updating old pages can also assist in maintaining or improving your SERP position
You must take note, though, that publishing the same kind of material can bore your audience, which is why you should experiment on releasing various forms such as infographics, podcasts, videos, and long-form content to name a few.
2. Make keywords user-friendly
Those days of stuffing your page with the same keywords you want to rank are long over. Today, your keywords should have a more natural feel and must flow smoothly within your article. Thus, it would help if you will remove unnatural sounding keywords, and instead use long-tail keywords on your old posts.
You should also assess what keywords your audience are using to search a particular topic. Google’s Keyword Planner is a useful tool to get some alternatives on keywords, and how they perform historically.
3. Optimize title tag and meta-description to increase Click Through Rate
After your page ranked high on search engines, the first thing you don’t want to happen is to be ignored by the searchers. If you want to avoid this from happening, you need to enhance how your page appears, and ensure that users will click on it.
Optimize Meta tags for the keywords you used to make sure that users find your page relevant. Your 65-character title should also be engaging while the description should be both enticing and accurate.
To begin, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to determine the keywords that lead to impressions of your website, your position on those keywords, and the number of clicks generated from those impressions.
4. Link to internal pages and authority sites
Linking to authority sites will make you lose traffic is a common SEO misconception. In reality, by having outbound links that redirect to authority brands, search engines can determine the relevance of your site.
Internal linking is also an effective strategy to maintain your keyword ranking. Not only does it increase your site’s “crawlability,” but it also decreases bounce rate and helps your readers navigate your site easily.
However, do not overdo your internal and outbound links. Avoid forcing links, and make sure that the pages you are linking add value to your content.
5. Establish social media presence
Although there is still an argument whether social media signals are a ranking factor, it is undeniable that social media presence has an indirect effect on your rankings. Social shares lead to more traffic, and the higher the traffic of your site, the higher the chance that you gain natural and quality backlinks.
The number of social shares your page have can also be a signal of quality especially that search engine’s focus are providing value to the audience. Not to mention that if you have a good social media presence, your social accounts will appear in SERPs.
To improve your social media engagement, you can start by adding social sharing buttons on your web pages, using a call to action line in the content, and asking influencers to share your content.
Offering free materials such as ebooks in exchange for social shares is also a terrific way to build your social media authority.
6. Guest blogging
Guest posting is a great content marketing tool that brings a lot of benefits to your site.
Through guest blogging, you can increase your site’s traffic and reach out to a new audience for your blog. It can also help boost your brand exposure and establish your social media presence especially if you include your social accounts on your author’s bio.
Moreover, there are authority websites that allow you to put contextual links of your site to your blog which, if done consistently, can help you improve your SERP position.
Nonetheless, when guest blogging, you should prioritize building relationships instead of a one-time guest post opportunity dedicated to get backlinks. Also, never do guest blogging to “guest-posting farms” or those that publishes any content submitted to them as you will just get penalized.
7. Speed up your site’s loading time
What would you do if a site or page you are visiting doesn’t load fast? Of course, you’ll leave and look for other alternative websites.
Your site’s speed has long been a search engine ranking factor, and it is critical for you to ensure that your site loads fast to avoid your visitors leaving your page. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a free tool where you can check your speed score, both for mobile and desktop, and get recommendations on how to fix your site.
Other ways you can do to improve your site’s loading time are by switching to a faster hosting service provider, compressing images on the website, and using content delivery networks to boost download speeds.
8. Make your site mobile friendly
More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet. In fact, Google recognizes the growing use of smartphones and other mobile devices for searching with its release of its mobile-friendly algorithm update “Mobilegeddon.” Simply put, those sites that are not mobile-friendly will lose traffic and drop in the rankings.
You can check if your site is mobile-friendly through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Here’s an example of a result you will get if your site is not optimized for mobile devices.
It is also better if you start improving mobile page speed for your site especially now that Google is planning to include it in its ranking factors.
9. Track your competitors’ activities
Remember, your competitors are out there hungry to take your position. But, you don’t have to worry as long as you track their activities and top them.
There are numerous tools you can use to be steps ahead of your competitors. Here are a few of them.
- SEMRush: This is an excellent tool where you learn almost everything about a website, be it yours or your competitor. You can even find the keywords the site is ranking for and the position it is ranking in the SERP.
- OpenSiteExplorer: Through this, you can check a website’s Domain Authority, Page Authority, Linking Root Domains, as well as backlinks.
- SpyFu: As spy-ie as the name sounds, this free website analysis tool can give you a holistic website report, including the terms the site is ranking for, and the number of clicks it gets.
- Ahrefs: This is the perfect tool to discover your competitors’ backlinks and referring domains. You can also track keywords and brand mentions using this tool.
These nine strategies do not guarantee that you will increase or not drop from your SERP place. Competition is stiff, and you must continuously find ways to provide value to your audience and keep them engaged in your site.
Even when you ranked high, your traffic grew 10x, and your conversion process streamlined, SEO does not, and should not stop. It is also important to note that with the ever changing search algorithms, you must adapt and try new methods to keep your site at the top.