Every business owner yearns for their website to grab a spot on that coveted first page of search results. It’s one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from our clients.
“How can we get our website to show up higher in search results?”
The answer isn’t always straight forward, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, if you are serious about boosting your site in SERPs, there are a number of excellent SEO tactics you can apply to make it happen.
I’ll run through a few of the top ones in just a bit, but first, let’s take a look at what you’re up against.
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What obstacles do you face in boosting SEO?
In 1992, shortly after the Internet became a thing, there were only 10 websites online.
Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with nearly 2 billion active websites.
While the entirety of those nearly 2 billion sites isn’t focused in your niche or industry, you’ll find that a large chunk of those sites are directly or indirectly in competition with you. That makes the task of standing out quite challenging.
Not to mention, SEO isn’t a secret. That means your competitors – the smart ones anyway – are actively implementing their own digital marketing and SEO strategies to help their own websites show up before yours does.
So, with so much competition in the digital space, what tactics can you employ to help you stand out?
What SEO tactics can help your website stand out?
You’ve come to the right place. We love SEO, and we’re passionate about helping our clients’ websites pop up in relevant search results to drive new business.
As such, we know a thing or two about the tactics that work, and those that do not.
In this article, I’ll focus only on the tactics that do work. That said, there are plenty of SEO tactics that are considered “black hat techniques” and should be avoided at all costs, so be sure to stay on the right side of SEO if you want your site to rank.
Let’s look at a few of our favorite tactics to help your website rank.
Conduct an SEO audit
The first thing you’ll want to do is assess the SEO health of your website. One of the top tools I recommend for doing this is SEMrush.
SEMrush is, in my humble opinion, the most powerful SEO tool on the market.
Other tools you’ll want to bring into the mix include Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Moz, your favorite keyword tool, and Page Speed Insights (also from Google).
You’ll also want to dig in and manually review your content to ensure it’s optimized for search.
What do you need to review in an SEO audit?
A few of the top things you need to review in your audit include:
- Make sure your site is being indexed by Google
- Check your site speed to ensure pages and images are loading quickly
- Look at internal linking
- Analyze your competitors to see how they’re ranking
- Assess your navigation and user-experience
- Track your keyword rankings
- Dig into your on-page SEO
- Review your website architecture
- Determine whether your content needs to be updated / improved
Layout your findings in a spreadsheet or whatever your preferred format might be, and then get started fixing things to improve your SEO.
If you don’t have the expertise in house, reach out to an agency that focuses on SEO. You can save a lot of money this way, as the agency you choose will be able to work through things very efficiently and effectively, which reduces the cost of asking someone on your team to spend hours researching “how to” videos to get it done.
Update old content
One of my personal favorite ways to boost your SEO is to update older or outdated content.
If you look back into the your content archives, you’ll likely find tons of valuable blog articles and other content that you completely forgot about. This content likely still has tons of value. It just needs a little love.
So, pinpoint your older posts that are still awesome but needs things like:
- Updated stats
- New imagery
- Links to more recent articles
- On-page SEO improvements
- Additional information and insights
- Video embeds
Once you’ve got your list in place and you have a direction of the updates you want to make, jump in. Make sure when you’re done updating each piece of content you change the date to the current one and add a note that your content was updated on that date.
Here’s an example below of a piece I recently updated on another blog I own.
Let’s look at a couple of eye-opening stats from a recent study by HubSpot on the power of updating old blog content.
After placing a strong focus on updating old content, the HubSpot team’s analysis of their content updating effort revealed the following:
- Lead generation attributed to updated content doubled
- Number of organic search views of updated old content increased by 106%
Those are both very impressive stats highlighting the power of updating your old content.
Don’t wait. Start reviewing and updating your old content today, and you’re likely to see a nice boost in search results in the near future or down the road.
Hopefully by now you’ve heard of the power of building a strong backlink profile. In case you haven’t, or maybe you’re still a bit unclear, here’s a little background.
What is link building?
Link building is the activity of increasing the number of links pointing back to your website from other high-quality websites. Link building can happen organically with site owners viewing your content as a valuable resource and adding a link back to it in their own articles. Or, you can take a more manual approach through outreach or paid link building.
What is the value of link building?
The number of quality links pointing back to your web pages is a major ranking factor for Google. High numbers of quality links pointing back to your site from a diverse selection of website domains shows Google that other site owners value the info on your site. This signal plays well in your favor with Google, helping your pages appear higher in search.
What kinds of sites should we target?
Moz created a concept called Domain Authority (DA), which is essentially a way for you to visualize how your site would rank based mostly on the number of backlinks and linking domains. It’s also a great way to determine which sites you want to link to. Look for sites with a higher domain authority score.
If you can land sites 30 DA or higher, that should be your goal. Sites with something like a 10 DA aren’t going to add a lot of value. And if you can land some 80+ DA sites here and there, that’s a huge boost!
Look at the spam score of sites as well. A site’s spam score gives you insight into issues with the site that might show up as a red flag to Google. You want to avoid links from sites with high spam scores.
Below is an example from a website called Website SEO Checker. It’s a free tool where you can drop in your URL, and in return you’ll be able to see your DA, spam score, and other scores according to how Moz would show them. Look at the category labeled “SS” to see your spam score. This particular scoring is for the Moz.com domain.
What are the top ways to build links?
There are three main ways to build links: organic, through outreach to site owners, and paid link building. We recommend approaching them in that order, as the level of value of organic links far outweighs paid links, and with paid links, you can get your site in a bit of trouble if you do it the wrong way.
Here are some things to consider about all three to help you get started.
Organic Link Building
With organic link building, the key is to build amazing content. Use an SEO tool to assess your competitor’s posts and what they’re ranking for. Then create content that’s 10x better. Add more info, fill in the gaps, and create the top content on the market.
Then share it in your newsletter, on social media, and via other channels to spread the word. As people read your content and it adds value to their lives, there’s a good chance they’ll want to reference your post in the content they’re creating on their own websites.
This is how you gain organic links.
Create the top content on the market, then distribute it to get it noticed and the links will come. This is also a great way to diversify your anchor text, which helps your backlink profile to appear more natural.
Despite having the top content on the market, picking up backlinks organically can be a bit of a slow process. That’s where outreach comes into play. This is where you locate relevant, high-quality websites. Then you reach out to the site owners and ask for a link.
Sounds easy, right? It’s not.
Often, your email will simply be ignored. Sometimes the site owner will ask for payment. Or even if you get through and no payment is requested, the site owner may not feel your content warrants a link or is relevant enough to their content.
To be successful, you really need a solid pitch. Here’s a great example from HubSpot of a link building pitch that works.
When you reach out, be sure to clearly and concisely articulate:
- Why you’re reaching out
- The value you feel your link adds for readers
- How the site owner benefits
- Where you think the link would be a fit
Be sure to paint a clear picture of the “what”, “why”, “how”, and “where” to make it easy for the site owner to understand what you’re asking and how they’d win by helping you out.
Gaining these types of links can be hugely valuable. You can target the specific sites where you think you’d benefit most from a link, and you can even suggest the anchor and placement of the link. Outreach is a great way to build powerful backlinks, if you do it properly.
Paid Link Building
Paid link building should be approached with caution. While there is value here, there are also a ton of unscrupulous link builders out there who will take your money and then toss your link around all over the web in the spammiest of ways.
If you choose the wrong company or individual to work with on paid link building, your site can actually take a negative hit. Your links will appear on sites that aren’t relevant, sites that have high spam scores, or sites with very low domain authority.
So, be sure to do your research and work only with the most reputable link building companies. And once you select the right company to work with, ask for transparency into:
- The sites where your links are being placed
- The anchor text being used
- Whether the links are permanent
- If the links are dofollow, nofollow, or have other tags like ugc
Gather as much info as you possibly can. If the company you’re talking to isn’t willing to open up and let you in behind the scenes, walk away.
Whether you approach link building from an organic perspective or you do outreach or paid link building, be sure to keep all of the above in mind if you want to be successful in leveraging the powerful of link building to boost your SEO.
While relationships alone aren’t counted as one of Google’s search ranking factors, the power of relationships and the related boost in your stats that follows can lead to tons of SEO value for your business.
Focus on building relationships with bloggers and other professionals in your field. Seek out likeminded pros, and build mutually beneficial relationships where you each help one another grow.
Focus on building relationships with these types of folks:
- Bloggers in your niche
- Likeminded social media users
- Professionals from complementary companies
- Your customers
By forging strong, lasting relationships, you can help one another grow by sharing each others’ social media content, helping with link building, aiding in professional growth, earning press coverage, and gaining positive reviews and word of mouth from your customers.
All of these things can lead to a significant boost in your online profile, which can in turn lead to a boost in SEO.
As you build these relationships, don’t forget that you need to add value as well. If you go into relationship building with a “me first” attitude, the relationships you start will dissolve quickly, and you’ll miss out on tons of value.
Wrapping Things Up
As they say, “the best place to bury a dead body is on page two of Google.”
If you really want to grow your business, it’s critical that you dedicate time and focus on SEO.
Leads that come through your website as a result of your SEO strategy are often more targeted, and they are actively searching for what you offer. If your site is optimized to help the right audience to find you, you’ll reap the rewards.
So, get your team in a room and figure out who’s capable of doing what, as well as what efforts you’ll need to outsource.
Put together a focused SEO strategy, and start with the high impact tactics that I’ve laid out above. Doing so can help give your website a lift in search results, which trickles down, resulting in growth for your business.