Try to think of a common goal that drives all your actions regarding blog maintenance. You’re writing more posts and you’re doing your best to make them better because you want more traffic.
You engage in advertising because you want more traffic. You’re sharing links to your blog all over social media, why? – Because you want more traffic. Traffic is the reason why you’re writing guest posts, too.
Today, we’re going to talk about a special kind of traffic: organic traffic.
This is not the traffic you get through paid ads and links you share on social media platforms. Yes; those activities are important, but they don’t bring organic traffic to your blog. Organic is the traffic you get from people who use Google and other search engines.
What does an Internet user do whenever they need information? They won’t search through social media. They will probably use Google. That’s when you want your target audience to find your website.
If you include some keywords in your content, your website will certainly appear in Google’s results. The question is: where does it appear? Is it on the first page? Is it among the top three results?
Your rank is important because 68% of all clicks in organic search go to the first three results. There are only 32% of clicks for all other websites down that list. The websites that rank lower on the list (on positions 9 and 10) get only 2% of the clicks.
So it’s clear: you want your website high in Google’s search results, so you can get more organic traffic at your website. How do you achieve that?
Understanding How Google Works
Google’s algorithm is quite complex. For a beginner blogger, it may be really hard to understand. The biggest problem is that Google is constantly updating the algorithm, so it will certainly surprise you even when you think you finally understood it.
Still, there is a way to figure out how the search engine works. You just learn from what the experts are saying. There are few things you should definitely keep in mind:
Black-hat SEO strategies don’t work:
These strategies, which involve automated link spamming, article spinning, keyword stuffing, and more, get penalized by Google.
If you notice some of these strategies in a website that does rank high, it usually means that they just started implementing the practices and Google hasn’t penalized the site yet.
It’s just a matter of time. The Penguin update from 2012 was developed with the goal to target spamming sites and penalize unnatural link building.
Google prefers mobile-friendly websites:
In 2015, there was a special mobile-friendly update, which favors the websites that appear flawless on mobile devices. That’s why you have to make your blog ready for mobile use.
Not content, but quality content is the king:
Google can certainly evaluate quality. The purpose of this search engine is to give the results its users expect. It’s not just looking for keywords.
It’s looking for context. In fact, the Hummingbird update from 2013 was developed for that precise reason – evaluating context.
When you understand how the major search engine works, you’ll be able to play by its rules and still win the game.
Target the Right Keywords and Keyword Phrases
Although you will focus on quality when producing content that would get you in Google’s top results, you’ll still infuse some keywords here and there. Keyword phrases, to be more precise.
Whenever someone searches for a solution from your niche, they ask Google questions or they type in specific phrases.
If, for example, you’re working on a blog from the health niche, your target audience will want specific information on queries such as:
- Do apples make me healthy?
- Health benefits of kiwi
- Easiest diet for healthy weight loss
Remember this once and for all: search engine optimization is not about targeting as many keywords as possible in a single post. It’s about targeting the right keywords in the right way.
How do you find these keywords? That’s easy with tools like Google AdWords, SERPs Keyword Research Tool, and Keyword Explorer by Moz.
Just start with any keyword related to the post you intend to write, and you’ll get multiple keyword phrases you could target. The keywords you choose for your content should be relevant! They should also fit into the content in the most natural way.
The problem with choosing keywords is in their difficulty. If you notice that a certain keyword or phrase is targeted by big brands, it means you’ll have to do much more work than usual to take their spot in Google’s results.
Spy on Your Competition
You picked some keywords? Lovely!
Now, you need to know how your competitors rank on them. Just search Google with those same phrases and analyze the top results. You’ll have to do better than them. How? You’ll create more valuable content.
Your espionage adventure doesn’t end there.
You don’t just want to learn from the websites that are already using the keywords you plan to target. You want to make your website better than the top players in your niche.
What are the most popular websites that target your audience? What keywords are they using? What keywords are they currently missing? If you focus on the keywords they are not targeting, you can get your pages higher in the search results.
SEMrush can help you analyze your competitors’ SEO games. You only need to enter the website of a competitor, and the tool will give you instant access to information on their rank, the keywords they target, and the traffic they are getting.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the backlinks.
Create the Best Content!
Okay. Now you have some keywords you’re ready to target. You also know what the competition is doing to attract your target audience, so you can do something better. Do it!
Start developing and publishing impressive content, which will provide value for your visitors. We’ll give you few tips that will set you up for success:
Quality! That’s your main focus:
No matter what keywords you choose, producing high-quality content is the only right way to target them. Your content has to provide value for your visitors. It must answer questions and provide specific solutions.
Why did you start reading this article? How to improve your rankings in search results – the topic itself guarantees solutions, doesn’t it?
It made you sure that you’d get answers regarding a specific issue you were concerned about. That’s how organic search works. People want to find answers and they pick the resources that seem to provide the best value.
If you find it difficult to handle the pressure and you need help to produce high-quality content, you can always get it. The solution is to hire writers through a freelancing platform or an essay service, provide clear instructions, and give them topics and deadlines.
Provide data-driven content:
When you back up your arguments with facts and stats, you’ll add quality to your content. People will see it as an authoritative source of information, and they will share it. Data-driven content also attracts more comments. When you start getting such attention, Google will start perceiving your website as an authority, too.
Make the content shareable:
Since it’s important to boost your authority if you want Google to feature your website in its top results, you need to make your content popular. You want people to share it.
When you produce great content, people will want to share it. You just need to make sharing easy. In other words, you need to feature social media sharing buttons throughout the page.
Pay Attention to the Headlines
What’s the first thing you see in Google’s search results? It’s the headlines, right? Thanks to them, you figure out if a particular source is relevant to your search. The headlines also tell you if the post is fun, informative, serious, and unique.
You may get your content in Google’s search results, but that’s not your ultimate goal. Getting more traffic is your ultimate goal, remember? The headline is the factor that will truly win the visits.
Here are few tips that will help you create great headlines:
- Use numbers in the headline. People love numbers. They give them a precise expectation for the length and complexity of your article. For some odd reason, Internet prefer odd numbers in headlines.
- Make it clear, but awaken curiosity. When people get curious about the things you share, they will click the headline. However, you should never mislead them. Clickbaits don’t work as a method for improving Google rankings and getting more traffic.
- Analyze few alternatives before picking the right headline. CoSchedule is a great tool that helps you do that. It will evaluate several aspects of your headline, including word balance, convertibility, and readability. It will help you choose the most scannable and easy-to-digest version of a headline, which is also the best version you’ve got.
Pay Attention to On-Page SEO
On-page SEO elements are numerous and complex. These are the most important tips to follow in order to improve on-page SEO:
- The title tag is the title that Google visitors see for your link. It may be the same as your headline. If your headline is too long, however, you might want to optimize it. Make the title tag punchy, descriptive, and unique! Of course, throw in a keyword, too!
- A unique meta description will give more details about the content Google users will find on your page.
- Infuse good links in the content. When you link to authoritative outside resources, Google gets a signal of relevance. Internal linking is important, too. They connect your content and give hints to Google about the structure of your website. They show that it’s a relevant website that will provide more information to the visitors.
- Optimize the images. You want them in Google’s image results, so make sure to include your target keyword in the description of your image.
- Improve the speed of your website. Google confirmed taking a website’s speed as a ranking factor. The search engine strives to provide not only information, but convenience as well. That’s why it favors faster sites. You can improve the speed of your website by compressing images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and switching to better hosting.
Will Your Site’s Ranking Improve When You Do All These Things?
That’s highly likely to occur. However, you mustn’t expect for the improvements to occur overnight. The SEO battle is tough. You’ll face some serious competition out there. You’ll have to develop and maintain a consistent strategy on a long-term basis.
Giving up is not an option. If things don’t work out, evaluate! Find out what mistakes you’re making and improve. Keep improving. Forward is the only direction!
Laura Buckler’s tough life taught her to excel in everything that she does. She is now an amazing freelance writer and a skilled digital marketer. She has a lot of expertise in social media marketing as well. All of these make her an amazing content writer. Follow Laura on Twitter.