Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2014 is becoming much more complex, so here we recommend some of the Best SEO Tips that will boost your website to better rankings in modern search engines.
This guide is intended to be a starter guide, though it could be a good checklist for more experienced SEOs to see if they have missed anything that has become more important to SEO in 2014.
So let’s get into it. Everything starts with keywords. Are you targeting the keywords that are going to give you the best return on investment?
Using the right tools for keyword analysis
The most valuable keyword research tool available is the Google Keyword Planner. You will have to sign up to AdWords to use it.
Enter the search terms that you think your customers are looking for and Google will help out by making suggestions. If we were an SEO agency based in Sydney, we might see something like this.
But what do you do when you have this information? You can see there are a range of keywords that people are searching, how many views each are getting in a month, the level of competition and how much you would expect to pay to advertise for those terms using AdWords (ouch). Ad impression share is only relevant if you are already running ads.
Tips and Techniques for Keyword Analysis
So what do we do with our keyword research? This list will help to improve our keyword analysis
1. Find keywords with high volumes of traffic and those that might create the opportunity for a sale
This is really simple. Looking at the table above, you can see what volume of searches are being performed in the first column. However, it takes some intuition to recognise which search terms are most likely to become a sale. I try to think about the customer a little here.
2. Find less competitive keywords with high search volume
I also know that ranking for longer search terms is easier, because other sites are less likely to focus on those keywords and to use those keywords in exactly that order. If I had an SEO agency based in Sydney I would probably aim to rank for “SEO company Sydney” even though it gets less traffic than the general term “SEO Sydney.” Your clicks are likely to be much more targeted and more likely to convert into a sale. If I was an individual I would probably try to rank for “SEO consultant Sydney.”
3. Choose your keyword phrases
Rather than selecting a single keyword, you have more chance to obtain rankings if you focus on a group of keywords. So select key phrases that have a similar theme and group them together for comparison purposes. I find that it is really important not to try and rank for every possible term you see. If you imagine it from Google’s point of view, that is going to look incredibly spammy and low quality, instead you need to pick an area to focus on. Once you have achieve your ranking goals in one keyword group you can move into other niches or categories.
Implementing your keywords in your website
This is what’s called On-Page SEO and includes all the changes you make on your website to rank for your chosen search terms. You have to remember that you are trying to rank for people, not robots. So even if you have the most SEO-friendly content in the world, if it doesn’t make sense to users then you have failed!
We wouldn’t be very helpful if we didn’t mention the range of tools out there to help you get this done. Since the majority of the blogging world uses WordPress, I recommend you check out a few different plugins. One of the top free plugins is Yoast’s Free WordPress SEO plugin (no affiliation), but we use the plugin ourselves.
Plugins like these don’t “do SEO for you,” but they do put all the essential SEO factors at your fingertips. When you create a new post you can set a range of keywords that you want to rank for and then ensure that those keywords are used in URLs, titles, heading tags, paragraph text, image alt tags and any other area that is valued by search engines. It will also help you set up authorship (the little profile picture that can appear beside your listing in a search engine result).
So how do you write the perfect keyword-focused page? How do you create a page that will rank well, attracting a targeted prospect and create an opportunity to generate a sale?
1. Your content must be interesting and descriptive to read
Simple, if your content gets shared you get more visitors… it has to be interesting. Google places more emphasis on site usage now, so if your site visitors go back to click another search result instead, that page is never going to reach it’s ranking potential. Some sites resort to cheap tricks to create engagement, but we wouldn’t suggest that for most businesses. Controversial content can really polarise your readers and they may not agree with your point of view. Beyond engagement, your content should explain why you are an expert in your industry area and why customers should trust you.
2. Short and sweet titles and headings
The title must be relative to the key phrase – the keywords must be present. Keep your titles between 40 and 65 characters. Most content is scanned by readers, so it should be easy to follow, punctuated with headings and bullet points that also include your keyword phrase.
3. SEO Friendly URL
People like readable URL’s and so do search engines. If your page’s URL is not descriptive and including your key search terms then you are wasting a valuable opportunity. Does your web URL read like:
Or is it more like:
You should aim to keep your urls short and readable. But never short at the expense of readability. Having your keywords in your URL is very important for SEO.
4. Optimal keyword density ratio
You should use your keywords throughout your content in URLs, headings, titles and paragraphs but don’t overdo it. Making your content too repetitive, unreadable or spam-like will result in getting Google algorithm penalties. People used to talk about keyword density a lot, even becoming obsessed with putting their keywords into the first and last sentence of every paragraph. But, that’s just excessive! Google’s Matt Cutts has said that the more you use a keyword the less impact it is going to have on your relevance for that search term.
5. Relative Meta Data
The most common form of meta data is your meta description (the short 156 character description that sometimes gets shown below your link in the search results). However, if Google does not think your description is the best fit for the page or the current user’s search query they will pull content from the page itself instead. There are now a lot more opportunities with meta based SEO, involving special tags to indicate articles, products, videos, authors etc. which will allow your content, such as images, video thumbnails and reviews to be visible directly in the search results. This is a more complex area and will require some more research depending on the content you are trying to optimise.
6. Original Content
Google has the most advanced system in the world for finding duplicate content. So don’t risk it. You can get ideas and inspiration from elsewhere on the web, but copying content directly will result in harsh penalties for your web rankings.
Once you have the perfect post for your key words you are ready to improve your off-page SEO.
Tips to improve Off-Page SEO
Some people think that in 2014 link building has become illegal!
This is not the case, however link building for the sake of building links is a bad practice. What’s the difference? Well when you provide someone with a link it should be for a good reason. And there are still a million good reasons for sites to link to each other! You might be aiming to direct users to a valuable resource that they would be interested in, to engage in a discussion via comments or even to give your business a plug on a related page. Google can’t say there is anything wrong with advertising your business on another website… their entire business model relies on it!
Recently Google announced that they were cracking down on paid links. It’s a little bit unfair of them to say, because they take millions of dollars a day in ad revenue from essentially paid links in banner ads on websites all over the net. I believe that Google is not trying to say that all paid links are bad. But, paid links entirely for SEO purposes ARE bad. It’s bad for small site owners that don’t have the budget to buy high PR backlinks and in effect it’s bad for the quality of content that users see in search engines.
So don’t give up on building good quality backlinks. Build relevant links by interacting with site owners and individuals that are in your industry circles. Web authority is starting to reflect real life authority, so build relationships if you want to build links.
1. Quality link building
In years gone past there was a huge number of automated tools that were used to create low quality backlinks through methods like comment spam. In 2014 you must emphasise quality over quantity. A link from 1 high quality site will always trump links from thousands of low quality sites. Write good, interesting articles and the back links will flow automatically to your content. That brings us to point 2:
2. Use of social media
Social media won’t help you create “follow” backlinks or links that are highly valued for page authority, however it is an important source of traffic and traffic leads to mentions on other related blogs and websites. We believe that social traffic signals are becoming more important in Google’s algorithm, particularly with the inclusion of personalised Google Plus pages and content in search results.
So that’s it
If there’s one thing to take from this, it’s that the internet is no longer just a toy for geeks. The internet is everywhere and it is being used by serious businesses with serious agendas for serious profit. So you must be more dedicated than ever if you want a slice. You really need to put the time into creating quality content if you want to succeed. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, hire someone.
Hope these SEO tips of 2014 will helps to boost your rank in Google this year.
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