The more SEO skills you have, the more likely you are to get into trouble with Google.
Of course that is not always the case, but there are many SEO professionals who still recommend shady practices that Google frown upon. There are also some great SEO professionals and many of them now call themselves content marketers as they realize that great content is the cornerstone of SEO.
If you are employing someone to help you with your SEO, you need to be very careful. Even if they have lots of success with their clients, you need to know if they are deploying tactics that Google will cop onto very soon. You’ve heard about Panda, Penguin and others (Google’s code names for their algorithm changes)? Well, we’ll see Zebra, Koala and Irish Wolfhound soon. Of course I made up those names but there will be more code named algorithm changes coming!
However SEO is still important and there are some non-shady tips that can help improve the optimization of your content to drive more traffic to your site.
Here are 7 SEO tips and tricks. I’d love to hear from you if you have any more you’d like to add.
1. Internal Link Building
Do you do enough linking of old content to new content?
Linking new content to old content
When you write content on your website, find relevant articles that you have already published on your site to link to. As the value of the new post goes up, the value of the link goes up too. Also, if anyone does copy/republish your content then at least you’ll have at least one link back to your site.
To find relevant articles to link to, go to Google and search your site for relevant articles. For example, if I wanted to find relevant articles about SEO on this site I would type in the following:
Linking old content to new content
It’s great to link to older articles, but what about linking older articles to your new content? This is just as important to consider. You have some older articles that Google has probably already indexed and, if it’s a good article, you will have got links to it. This means their value has gone up.
You can now link from these older articles to your newer posts.
This gives your new article a little boost and it also helps Google to find it. As Google is re-indexing your content, it will follow links within your posts.
Action: Revisit your older posts and find posts you should be cross linking. Consider adding this as an additional item to your checklist for new posts.
2. Resolve Errors in Google Webmaster Tools
Imagine if Google crawled your site and, when it found any issues or problems, it told you about them.
“Hey Guys, I’ve just found some problems on your site and if you don’t fix them it will mean that I’m not going to send you as much traffic as I was going to!”
Of course, you don’t get that personal email from Google, but Google does put any errors/problems into Google Webmaster Tools.
Here is an example. You have duplicate descriptions for some of your posts, which is not helping Google index your content. So you need to resolve issues like this asap.
Action: This is not something to ignore. Check whether there are any errors in Webmaster Tools and resolve them asap.
3. Review content that is not ranking
What about content you’ve written recently that is not ranking?
Perhaps you thought that you would get a ton of links and you could rank in Google for a competitive term, but then this didn’t happen.
Well, maybe you could go back and tweak the post to try to rank for different keywords? Or you could write a guest post on a high-profile site and link to this content? Or add links from existing content on your website?
Action: On a monthly basis, review your recent posts to see what traffic they are getting. If they are getting very little traffic, take some action to correct this. Don’t always just think about new posts, let’s not neglect our old ones!
4. Consider Related Keywords
When you write a blog post and try to optimize it for keywords, it’s great when you start to get regular ongoing traffic for those keywords. But what also normally happens is that you end up getting even more traffic for keywords that are similar to the ones you tried to rank for.
So, it’s important to consider these related keywords in your posts. I’m not talking about adding keywords for the sake of it, but if Google thinks they are related to your main keyword targets, then consider adding them if they add value to your content.
The best way of finding these keywords is by searching for something in Google, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and looking at the related keywords.
Action: Consider related keywords as part of your post.
5. Leverage tools to help with SEO
There are many tools that can help you with different aspects of the optimization of your content, so you really need to have a small collection of them. Here are some examples of tools I use on a regular basis.
SEMRush – This shows the terms your competitor is ranking for, what you are ranking for, helps you with keyword research and much more.
Google Keyword Planner – When you want to do keyword research, this is essential to review. Google will give you an estimate of traffic for the keywords you search for and for associated keywords.
Yoast SEO Plugin – If you’re on WordPress, you need this plugin. It’s the best plugin for optimizing your content for Google. It’s simple to use and very effective.
Opensite Explorer – It’s important to understand about the proprietary website and web page ranking system implemented by Moz. Your website is ranked out of 100 using a domain authority ranking and your pages are ranked out of 100 also. This tool shows you this data so that you can consider it when trying to compete against other websites.
Moz Toolbar – When you do a Google search, this toolbar adds the domain and page authority onto each search result. Consider using two browsers: one for normal searching and one that has Moz toolbar installed. You can use this one when you are doing your SEO work.
Ahrefs – I use this mainly for analyzing the link profiles of our site and our competitors’ sites.
6. Strategic guest posting
If you have a post that is ranking well and getting some traffic, this may be a post that you want to keep topping up with new links.
The new links to the post will help it maintain its standing in Google search results, but you may also push it up the search results if it’s not currently in the number one position.
One way of doing this is through guest posting. Write an article that is relevant to the content you have, and include a link to the article you want to promote. This helps drive traffic to the post but it will also help with the ranking of the post. Because the link is relevant and adds value to the content that you are guest posting about, you’ll generally get away with adding the link!
Action: Read this post on Guest posting (notice the way I’m linking to internal articles!).
7. Write long content
Is this really about optimizing content for SEO? Yes, absolutely. So, why write long content?
If you can write super high-quality short articles, then write them. But typically it’s very difficult to provide a lot of value in a short article, so they don’t tend to get many links or shares. Without these, you won’t have much of a chance of ranking for this content.
I read a recent post from the wonderful Andy Crestodina on the importance of the length of blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates etc. In his article he presented research on the average content length for search results in the top 10.
You can see that most of them are more than 2,000 words!
Action: Write long posts – this is one of the best optimization techniques you will come across.
SEO tips and tricks are not about scamming Google. You don’t want to over optimize your content, but some optimization is required and this is ongoing work you need to do.
However, quality content is the starting point. Never, ever deliver any piece of content on any site unless it’s high quality. And never write articles for websites that are not high authority (check to make sure they have a good domain rank).
1. Read this article on Domain Authority.
2. Share this post – If you like it share it, we appreciate you sharing.
3. Comment below – We love to hear from you. Tell us what you’re going to implement, what you disagree with, or what you like. Just comment!!
All the best,