Improve Your Search Engine Rankings With These Strategies

Improve Your Search Engine Rankings With These Strategies

At SMA Marketing, we develop and implement strategies that improve website SEO. Whether a website has lost visibility or a business owner wants to grow, the most common question is, “How do I reach more people?” Today, we’ll review ways to improve your website SEO, a proven strategy for increasing website visibility in organic search.

What is Website SEO?

A successful website SEO strategy requires careful consideration and planning. It means doing keyword research, optimizing titles and meta descriptions, developing a content strategy that will bring you more traffic, creating backlinks to build domain authority, and crafting original content that is high-quality and relevant to your target market.

What is the Importance of SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for success on the internet. It is the best way for your website to communicate accurately with the bots that scan your website and categorize your content. Consider these SEO stats:

  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (BrightEdge)
  • There are an estimated 3.5 billion searches on Google each day. (Internet Live Stats)
  • A relevant search influences 39% of purchasers. (Erik Emanuelli)
  • SEO drives 1,000%+ more traffic than organic social media. (BrightEdge)

Not all SEO strategies are good ones. Many so-called experts implement black-hat SEO tactics that harm rather than help. When you implement an SEO strategy focusing on best practices, you’ll set yourself up for success.

What Harms SEO Rankings?

Many things harm SEO search rankings, ranging from simple oversights to deliberate attempts to manipulate search engine algorithms. Oversights may include a slow load speed, an unsecured website, or broken links. These details are often quick fixes that will directly impact the Google bot’s ability to crawl your site.  

Work that focuses on attempting to manipulate search engines falls into the category of black hat SEO. Black hat SEO involves using tactics that violate search engines’ terms of service to artificially boost a site or page’s rank in search results. Black hat SEO tactics are more difficult to fix and may even earn you a Google penalty.

SEO that harms rankings includes:

  • Low-quality content: Content that’s thin, unoriginal, poorly written, or doesn’t address user intent has little chance of ranking well.
  • Keyword stuffing: Unnaturally forcing keywords into your content can backfire and get you penalized by search engines.
  • Duplicate content: Having the same or similar content across multiple pages confuses search engines and dilutes your ranking power.
  • Buying links: The practice of buying links to trick Google into believing blog content is authoritative on a subject.

How to Improve Website SEO Rankings

An SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy is a comprehensive plan or set of tactics designed to improve a website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). The primary goal of an SEO strategy is to increase organic traffic to a website by optimizing various elements to rank higher in search engine rankings. Here are the key components and steps involved in developing an SEO strategy:

  1. Build a Buyer Persona: As the saying goes, if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. Creating a buyer persona helps you get into the mind of your target audience. When you understand your audience, you’ll focus on making the most helpful content.
  2. Keyword Research: Keyword research helps you understand user intent and what topics are important in your industry. As an industry expert, you may comfortably use jargon that your target audience doesn’t use in search.
  3. On-Page SEO: Optimize individual web pages to make them search engine-friendly, including optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and content for the target keywords. Ensure proper URL structures, image optimization, and internal linking. Grab our free On-Page Optimization Guide here!
  4. Content Creation: Develop high-quality, informative, and engaging content that addresses user needs and aligns with your chosen keywords. Helpful content can include blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and more.
  5. Technical SEO: Address technical aspects of your website to improve its performance in search engines. Technical SEO optimizes site speed and mobile-friendliness, fixes broken links, and implements structured data (schema markup).
  6. User Experience (UX) Optimization: Improve the overall user experience on your website, as Google considers user engagement and satisfaction as ranking factors. Ensure easy navigation, clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and a mobile-responsive design.
  7. Link Building: Build high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites to your own. Backlinks are a crucial ranking factor, but you should earn them naturally and not through black-hat practices.
  8. Local SEO (if applicable): If your business has a physical presence, optimize your website for local search by claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile listing, encouraging customer reviews, and ensuring consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information.
  9. Monitoring and Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor the performance of your SEO efforts: track rankings, traffic, click-through rates, and other relevant metrics.
  10. Competitor Analysis: Analyze your competitors’ SEO strategies to identify opportunities and gaps in your approach. Understanding what works for them can help you refine your strategy.
  11. Regular Updates and Adaptation: SEO is an ongoing process. Search engine algorithms evolve, and user behavior changes. Regularly update and adapt your strategy to stay competitive and maintain or improve your rankings.
  12. Content Promotion: Promote your content through LinkedIn and social media, email marketing, and other channels to increase its visibility and attract more organic backlinks.
  13. Measurement and Reporting: Continuously measure and report on the results of your SEO efforts. Use data to refine your strategy and focus on what’s working best.

A well-defined and executed SEO strategy can lead to increased organic traffic, improved online visibility, and higher conversions and revenue for your website or business. It’s essential to keep up with industry trends, and search engine algorithm updates to stay competitive in the ever-evolving world of SEO.

Include Every Layer of Website SEO

Improving website SEO is an ongoing strategy. I look at the different aspects of SEO as layers. Some techniques focus on visual appeal for website users or improve readability. Other strategies help search bots contextualize content clearly and efficiently. When website SEO incorporates as many layers as possible, your content adds value to your readers.

Here’s an overview of every action you can take to help search bots and readers appreciate your content:

Find a Topic

Focus on the ways you want to communicate to your target audience. It’s efficient to use a keyword research tool for this step. However, other strategies will provide similar results. Try some social listening. By browsing social media, Quora, or a LinkedIn community, you will see what questions your audience is asking. Another great tool is Google Trends.

Create Helpful Content

Once you have a question to answer, it’s time to create a piece of content. Write your article, create a video, or design an infographic. Remember to use on-page SEO best practices as you add the content to your website. Use short paragraphs divided by headers, include internal and external links, and remember to include the keyword phrases your target audience is using to find the answer to the question you are answering.

On-Page SEO Details

Add your content to your website page, including images or video links if you have them. Remember to use image SEO best practices. Add a description in the alt text area. On-page SEO continues as you add a title and meta description to your page.

Don’t Forget the Schema

Now that the on-page strategy is complete, it’s time to focus on technical SEO. Add a relevant layer of schema to your page. Learn more about what Schema to add by reading our article A Beginner’s Guide to Schema.org.

Promote Your Content

Earning natural backlinks is easier when people know your content exists. Publish links on relevant social media sites, your LinkedIn business page, and your Google Business Profile. Send the content to your loyal readers by adding a link to your email newsletter. Finally, feel free to return to the people asking the question that inspired your article—post links in the comments section of the original question, along with a concise answer.

Improving Website SEO Takes Time

Website visibility is an integral part of every digital marketing strategy. Search algorithms change frequently. But every change re-emphasizes the value of SEO best practices. Add as many layers of SEO as possible to your website, or connect with our team and learn more about how SMA can partner with you.

Contact SMA Marketing

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 14, 2023, and has been updated with fresh content.

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Beth Walker is a Content Manager who is passionate about storytelling. She leads our In-House writing team and works closely with clients and CSMs to ensure all the content SMA creates meets SEO best practices and tells each client's unique story.

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