Whether your website is new or not, you want to rank in search engines quickly. Everybody does. Being able to crack the Google algorithm and get your blog posts on the front page is one of the most important things you can do. Why? Because it’ll bring traffic without you having to do anything. Organic search results are one of the best traffic sources you can have as it’s targeted to your post and you’re sure that the person coming to your website is going to find the information he or she needs.
1. Publish Only Unique and Valuable Content
What is the most important to Google when ranking your website is your content. You have to make sure that every page is relevant and that what you’re offering is unique. You’ll want your content to be as easy to read as possible and not over-stuff it with keywords. Google already started ranking website based on how accurate their information is, so you want to make sure your blog posts or website pages have information that you believe in.
2. Publish Fresh Content
It’s important to publish regularly on your website. If you don’t have a blog, it might be a good idea to start one. And by regularly, I don’t mean every two days. Even if you post only a few times per month, it’s enough to boost your SEO. It’s actually a lot better to write deeper and longer articles now and then than short, shallow ones more often. It’s quality over quantity in the case.
3. Publish Longer Content (1000+ words)
It’s been proven that the longer your blog posts are, the higher your chance is at ranking for the keywords you’re using. Why is that? Because you have a lot more chance to have useful information! There is a big difference in content between a 300 words post and a 1 000 words post. Don’t fill your posts with nonsense, but try to make them as useful as possible. If you find a good blog post out there, research the top and write a longer and better version of it! It goes well together with the point above! Publish less often, but have longer posts with a lot more quality.
4. Use H1 and H2 Tags The Right Way
It’s important when writing your blog posts to have a structure. It makes it easier for your readers, but also for Google bots. You should only be using one H1 tag, which is your blog post title. All your subtitles should be H2. And don’t be afraid of using some H3 to H6 to order your posts! You’ll also want to use your keywords in those title tags to give you higher chances of ranking for them. Make sure it makes sense, though!
5. Use Internal Links To Link To More Of Your Own Content
When writing your blog posts, make sure you use a few links to older articles or edit older posts with newer links. Both will tell Google that you content is relevant. It’s also a great way to keep people on your blog and make them read more than just one post. Only link to posts that are relevant and don’t overdo it. Google knows.
6. Use Different Long Tail Keywords For Each Post
There are two tips mixed in one here: you need to have different keywords for each post or page, and you also should opt for longer phrases instead of single word keywords.
Each blog post should target a different keyword instead of multiple. Make sure to research keywords with Google AdWords to make sure you have a chance at ranking. If the competition is high, you’ll have a lot of people to outrank before you even see the front page. That’s why long tail keywords are amazing: because there’s usually a lot let competition. The more specific you get, the more chances you have of getting to the top. Of course, those keywords won’t generate as much traffic as smaller ones, but if you’re getting started, it’s the only way you’ll ever see the light of the day.
In the future, when you’ve got a good rank and lots of backlinks, you might be able to compete for smaller keywords, but in the meantime, try ranking for “Canadian Travel Blogger Living in Central America” instead of “Travel Blogger”.
7. Have People Link Back To Your Website
This is one of the hardest ones to do, but one of the most valuable tip I can give you. If you ever want your website to rank, you need backlinks. Why? Because if nobody links to your website, why should Google trust it? No one else on the internet does… So it’s important that you find a way to get your URL out there, but you also have to make sure you get backlinks from relevant people only. Otherwise, your website could get hurt. So guest post on blogs that are in the same niche as you or try to get published on bigger magazine websites, but don’t go crazy and guest post for everyone. It takes time to build a good network of backlinks, and you want to do it right, so it doesn’t hurt you in the future.
8. The Anchor Text Of A Link Matters
A word or a sentence that you can click on is what anchor text is. Basically, this is an anchor text. When you link to a website, you want this text to be as clear as possible on what a reader is going to find when they click on the link. Why? Because you’ll actually want other people to do that for you. If someone links to my website saying they should click here for more information, it won’t give me any SEO boost. But if someone links to my website saying “check out CityGirl’s Design” or “a great web designer website“, then it gives me a boost for those keywords.
It’s great to be accurate not only for Google bots but also for your readers. The easier it is for them to understand what’s the other side when they click on the link, the more they likely they will click.
9. Use Alt Tags on All Your Pictures
Google is getting better every day at recognizing the content of the pictures you post on your blog, but it’s still crucial to fill up the alt tag with a short sentence that describes the image. Don’t try to game the system by filling this with keywords, Google is smarter than that. Try to be as accurate as possible, and if you end up using some keywords because you have to, that’s great! That way, you’ll be able to get some traffic from Google Image too.
10. Have Pretty Permalinks
Permalinks are all the links that point to your content. With WordPress, you can change their structures in Settings > Permalinks. If you have a ton of blog posts, you might not want to change it, as you’ll have to redirect all your old URL, but if you blog or website is brand new, it’s so important to have URL that Google can read and understand.
https://citygirlsdesign.com/?p=123 doesn’t mean anything.
https://citygirlsdesign.com/blog-tips/15-ways-to-get-more-search-traffic-from-google/ makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? Google can find keywords in your URL and make you rank higher for those. What I’ve always been doing on all of my websites is using the category/post-name structure. You won’t find it in the choice WordPress gives you; that’s why I used the custom structure and added this: /%category%/%postname%/ as the structure. Use it too!
11. If Your Theme Isn’t Optimized For SEO, Download Yoast SEO
If your website is using the Genesis Framework, you already have all the SEO settings you need. You could decide not to download Yoast, but even though that’s what I’m using, I also find Yoast a lot more user-friendly. It’s important to go through all the settings and fill up as many as you can. Compared to someone who doesn’t have this plugin (or an optimized theme), you’ll rank higher if you do. If you don’t know how to set up Yoast properly, read this post on how to install it.
12. Send Your Sitemap To Google Webmaster
If you don’t have a Google Webmaster Tool account, it’s time to get one! You know those search terms that always show up as ‘Unknown’ in Google Analytics? Well here’s where you can know what they always are! Once you’ve signed up, it’s time to claim your properties. Make sure to claim both the http:// version and the http://www. version. You’ll want to tell Google Webmaster which version you prefer after that!
But the most important part is to submit your Sitemap, which will make the crawling process faster. Where can you find your sitemap? In Yoast SEO > XML Sitemaps. Click on the button that lets you see the sitemap, copy the link and go back to Webmaster. Find your preferred property. Click on Crawl > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap and submit your URL!
Make sure you go back to that website from time to time to see what you rank for and if there’s any problems with your website.
13. Have A Responsive Theme
Not that long ago, Webmaster started showing errors to people who don’t have responsive themes. Considering that a LOT of traffic is coming from phones and tablets, it is just SO important to have a responsive and mobile-ready theme. Compared to someone who doesn’t, you’ll rank higher than them. But don’t do it just for Google: do it for your readers!
14. Make Sure Your Website Loads Fast
The fastest your website is, the higher the chances of people staying on it. I know that if I’m trying to read a blog post and the website doesn’t show up at all after 10 seconds, I give up. (And that’s a lot longer than the average!) Make sure you keep people on your website by having a theme that is fast, but also a server that isn’t down all the time. And don’t worry, all your efforts at speeding up your website won’t be in vain, as Google considers which websites are faster than others. To see how you are doing, use Page Speed and GTmetrix. Those two websites will be able to tell you what you need to optimize.
15. Be on Social Media
Having a Facebook page and being active on it, as well as managing a Twitter account properly, are all things that can make you rank higher. If you are active on social media, Google will be more willing to send traffic your way instead of someone else. Make sure you select the right social media, though, as there’s no point being active where you crowd isn’t. Research your ideal client/readers and be active where they hang out!
After all of this, what’s the BEST advice that I can give you? Be patient. It takes time to get traffic from search engine. It won’t happen overnight, so don’t expect it to. Work on it a little bit all the time and don’t give up! It’ll happen eventually. I know that it’s finally starting to get better on my travel blog, and I’ve had it for a year already! So it takes time. Be patient. It’ll work out eventually 🙂