Alex Nicol, SEO Content Marketing Specialist, Article-Writing.co
You should be seeing a spike in organic search, right?
The only way to see measurable gains with an optimization strategy is to consistently manage all key areas of the SERP and publish consistently strong content targeted at a specific niche. It requires a holistic approach that is regimented and precise – the goal being to analyze search behaviour and curate the content of your site to match.
Effective SEO strategies change at a rapid pace. Below are five search engine optimization strategies you may have missed that are absolutely fundamental to the job. If you (or your writing team) are not following up with these on a regular basis, it should come as no surprise to see your site floundering on the 3rd page of SERPs in your niche.
1 – Make It Mobile Friendly
The mobile revolution happened back in 2016 when Google announced the mobile-first indexing for search. Why? In the succinct words of Google, “most people are searching on Google using a mobile device.” They created a mobile index that will “eventually permanently use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
Countless studies have been done on the impact of optimizing mobile experience, and success stories abound. Sema Jeffers, writing for On Advertising, cites the example of Skinny Ties, an ecommerce tie company. A newly redesigned site with “touch and click usage in mind” produced some amazing results: revenue from iPhones grew 37.7%, and the bounce rate dropped by 23.3%!
Google also provide tips in the same article on how to prepare for the shift. The two most important recommendations are:
- Serve structured markups for both desktop and mobile versions of the site. (You can test using the structured data testing tool to see which design works best and is most uniform across devices).
- Utilize the txt testing tool so that Googlebots can crawl your page, whether mobile or desktop.
2 – Create Quality Outbound Links
Maybe you are still practicing the old “hyper link as many times in a page as possible” technique. It was common-practice years ago before Google bots became smart enough to rank the authority of a hyperlink and a backlink rather than simply measure based on volume of links.
Or perhaps you don’t hyperlink at all! I’ve seen both practices on a regular basis.
Here’s the thing: the appropriate number of on-page hyperlinks to relevant authority pages is not specifically quantified by Google. However, best-practice in the organic search realm is around 3 hyperlinks per 500 words (two external and one internal is a good guideline). If you continue hyperlinking to an excessive degree, you may fall under what Google refers to as “link schemes” and penalize your site accordingly.
On the other extreme, writing without any hyperlinks means you are not benefiting from the grand interconnected web of pages and info that makes up the web. Your content exists in a vacuum and, as such, the ranking algorithm has no reason to value the content. Hyperlinking to major sites (that have a lot of links) will bring authority to your own site – both in the eyes of the search bots and the humans searching for valuable, trustworthy information.
A recent study by Reboot confirms the fact. Looking to break with some of the “myths and fables” in the marketing community, Shai Aharony and his team conducted an experiment to see if outbound links to quality sources within the context of an article made a positive difference in page ranking. The researchers followed a simple methodology in which 10 sites were made for the same product – a term they made up so that Google had nothing to reference against it. Only 5 had links to high authority sites across the web, and the researchers spent time looking at which sites ranked higher, and why.
As Shai puts it: “we have proved that they (outbound links) do have a positive impact if used correctly. More importantly, we disproved the old myth of PageRank retention which in my opinion has done nothing but harm to the internet.”
More research needs to be done here, but if you are not linking to relevant, high authority sites within your blogs you are losing out on a credible boost in the eyes of Google.
3 – Optimize Images
Images on platforms like WordPress come with the option of alt-text and alt-tag descriptions. Both are worth filing in for all your images, and here is why …
- The alt-text (or alt-attribute): The alt-text is important because it informs the crawl bots what purpose the image serves. The AI-iteration of the Google algorithm may be able to assess the quality of images you like in the near future; but as of yet it still needs a textual companion to clarify its purpose on the page. Say, for example, you have an image that is hyperlinked to a product or service you sell. You would state in the alt-text box something like, “a call-to-action for Product X”. This makes it possible for the bots to interpret it rather than cast it off as an incomprehensive piece of HTML code. Bonus: You can optimize your images further by including keywords in the description!
- The alt-tag: The alt-tag is a bit different. An alt-tag is there so that screen readers used by the visually impaired can interpret the image. So, it’s basically the digital equivalent of braille – pretty cool, right?
Optimizing images will ensure there are no confusions or missed opportunities in your organic search ranking strategy.
4 – Accurate and Realistic Keyword Research and Targeting
A lot can be done with Google AdWords other than CPC campaigns. The best use of this free software is researching what kind of search traffic exists across target markets, all searching for the same long and short-tail keywords. So, you utilize the software as though you were creating ad campaigns, except you never actually do that at all.
A lot of people seem to think they can just pick the highest traffic keyword and bash it out 30 times on their site to get a better ranking. All I can say for now is that it does not work this way. More on this to come in a detailed future post!
5 – Backlinking
The most important source of authority for your site in getting to rank on the first page of a SERP is backlinking. Backlinking is essentially a measure of how authoritative your own opinion and insight is on a given topic. Google stated clearly that a backlink from Site A to Site B is equivalent to a vote of confidence – but not every vote is of equal merit! The objective is not to pay for random developers to build huge backlinking site domains for you. Attempting to trick Google with such schemes will always come back to haunt you.
The questions are these: Do you have people sharing your blogs? Do you have influencers linking back to your site in their blog articles? Do you want to know how to get more of this done?
It is not tough analytical research or data analysis that will get you more backlinks. It is a two-step process:
- Writing engaging articles full of insightful content (either DIY or work with a content writing team).
- Spending time on outreach efforts.
That’s it. That’s all it takes to build some backlinks.
The best example of site with huge backlinking strength (and thus excellent SERP ranking) is Wikipedia. Wikipedia does not need to perform outreach efforts on their published content because so many people already link back to it every minute of every day.
I’m not saying you should turn your site into a Wikipedia model, as every site serves a different purpose. However, what I am saying is backlinking needs to be one of your SEO strategies going forward. If done correctly it will draw traffic, increase brand awareness, and drive sales.
So here you have some of my initial thoughts on what might be missing from your existing SEO strategy. At Article-writing.co we do our utmost to ensure organic rank optimization of images, keyword usage, and high-quality hyperlinking for our clients. Not to mention writing killer blog articles and website copy that shows expertise in a wide spectrum of industries! Reach out to us and start benefiting from improved creative content that is optimized for organic search ranking.
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