When you search for a keyword in search engines, there are millions of results that are shown, however not many people go beyond the first page & more specifically most don’t go beyond the first result that shows up. This makes it extremely important for you to rank your webpages as higher in search engines for organic visitors to actually take notice of your webpage.
I know what you’re looking for, I’d been there, so you don’t need to take anymore headache, coz I’ve already done the research for you & have mentioned the ways you can put yourself ahead in the game of SEO. Just get your Web Analytics tool ready first to monitor your website changes.
1) Keyword research
Proper keyword research is all about finding a keyword with high search volume & low competition & including them in your post title, URL, H1 & H2 header tags, alt tags, body is essential to rank your website in search engines.
Based on search intent, there are 3 categories of websites
- Informational / Educational (for ex. What is SEO)
- Navigational / Research (for ex.
- Transactional (for ex. Best SEO Agency to work with)
The competition is more in transactional keywords as they want to directly capture them at the transaction stage. If you are having a small business & lack the initial traction, its better to try ranking for the informational or research based keyword, take their leads, nurture & funnel them to transaction stage.
Short keywords with higher search volume can be very difficult to rank as they’re already taken over by big players. So, what you can do initially is concentrate on long tail keywords even if the search volume is less. Try to rank in long tail keywords first. Attract the initial traffic, then go for the short & competitive keywords.
Moreover, people searching with long tail keywords are more specific about their requirements & will be shown more relevant results & is likely to engage more in your site if they visit, than anyone searching with short tail keyword who may not find your content that relevant as the user is not very specific with her requirements while searching.
Here are a few ways you can do proper keyword research.
Google suggest: When you search something on Google, it shows a drop down showing the possible & most searched keywords of that search term. You can take help of those drop down suggested keywords & put the keyword in a tool to examine its search volume, competition, etc. & use them accordingly. Also you can look at related search results which shows at the end of the search page for long tail keywords.
Google Search Console: Go to Search Console Homepage > Performance > Queries & you will get the list of keywords people are searching & on which your webpages are ranking. So, may be you can use those keywords more often in your site. Often you will find keywords that are not similar with your blogs but traffic is coming to some similar webpage in your site from those keywords which means those particular keywords have search volume but not enough resources to show, so you can analyze those keywords & consider writing a blog post with those keywords in that exact topic that people are searching & rank your post to attract more traffic. Since those keywords already have demand & don’t have proper resources, so it will be easy for you to rank.
Tools: You can use tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Ubersuggest, Search Console, Moz, Ahrefs, Semrush, etc. for keyword research, new keyword ideas & similar keywords. If you enter a word or sentence, it will show you the most searched terms on that topic & related topics. It gives you information about the keyword Monthly Search Volume, CPC(cost if you want to pay Google to show your post as an ad), competition for that keyword or sentence, so you can use them accordingly. Try to use keywords that has low competition & higher search volumes.
Competitor analysis: Search the keywords you think your audience will probably search & see what’re the top ranked websites. You can use Ubersuggest, Arefs(paid), etc tools for this purpose. So, enter the domain & you’ll get many infomation of that site including what keywords they’re ranking for in each of the pages, those keyword’s search volume, how much organic traffic those keywords are bringing them to that page & at what position the page is ranking for that keyword. Pick up those keywords that have less competition, type “allintitle:your keyword” & search, if the results shows upto 10-15 results & no big player’s site, I’d recommend to go with that keyword. Also check whether the top results have backlinks or not. If there isn’t any, you have a good chance to rank your website on that keyword.
Some other ways to find competition of a particular keyword is, search by the term
- intitle:your keyword – shows who have used the keyword in their title
- inurl:your keyword – shows who have used the keyword in their url
- “keyword” – shows who have used the keyword in their content
- intitle:”your keyword” – shows who have used that keyword exactly the same way in their title
- inurl:”your keyword” – shows who have used that keyword exactly the same way in their url
Latent Semantic Indexing(LSI) keywords: It refers to keywords that are searched related to the main keyword. You can use tools like LSI Graph & many others to see the related keywords, then write the content using the main keywords as well as the related keywords spread out all over. It helps search engines to understand specifically what the content is about & showing it to them who are searching for those specific information, so user engagement is more. It also helps rank in multiple keywords.
When you search something on search engines, each links in the results that shows up consists of three tags. The blue text represents the title tag, the green text next is the address & the last is the description tag.
Title Tag: The blue text & the most highlighted & important tag which is the first impression of a site between all the other search results. The first thing we read in a search results among the other sites is the title tag. If we aren’t impressed with it, we go to the next one. So, this should consist of catchy words for visitors & keywords for search engines. This tag can display maximum of 70 words, if it exceeds, it won’t display further. Weightage is more on the starting words & decreases as it goes on. So, the first few words are very important & should be used accordingly.
Description Tag: The description tag can contain a maximum of 250 words after which it won’t display further. It displays a description of what the webpage is about. It is the second thing that visitors read after the title tag. So, the more catchy it is, the visitor is most likely to click on the link. It should also consist of keywords for search engines.
H1 & H2 Heading Tag: The heading of the content should be in the H1 tag & should contain keywords as the H1 & H2 tags matter in page rankings.
Img alt Tag: Google cannot see or read images, so it reads to img alt tag to understand what the image is about & accordingly sends traffic. Even when the image doesn’t loads, this tag shows the alt text about the image. It also helps your image rank in Google Images search & send traffic to your website.
3) Page Loading Speed
Since it depends on a lot of factors, I’ve written a separate article on How to improve website loading speed in WordPress or how to reduce page loading speed of your site. Check it out.
4) URL structure
Some URL structure contains special characters, numbers, dates, etc. & doesn’t look good. Keeping your URL clean helps in SEO purposes & also you can find it easily by just typing the site address slash(/)the title of the post in site address bar. To do this go to WP Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks, you will see something similar to this
Under Common Settings, there are options on how you want your URL structure to be. Out of them the most cleanest & recommended is the Post Name structure.
It is observed that short URLs tend to rank easily than long URLs, & the lesser the folders( like example.com/blog/10/30/2019/title) & cleaner the URL, it is likely to rank higher.
5) Social Signals
These are Social Media buttons seen in sites meant for sharing the content in social media platforms. It is helpful in increasing visitors, spreading the content across social media as well as for search engines which prefers content that are widely shared across social media which proves its relevancy & ranks it higher in searches. For that the content should be great so that people shares it naturally in social platforms. Below is a page showing social sharing buttons in one of my pages. You can install any social share plugin for this purpose.
Private Blog Network ; do you also checked the list of external links that are linking back to that website that are ranking on the keyword you picked to write on
6) Internal Linking
This refers to links redirecting to pages within your site. Suppose you have 4 articles in your site about different aspects of SEO, so you can interlink all those pages so that when users visit one page, they can find all the other related pages easily which will be useful for them & increase the time spent in the website. You can use image links as well.
It will also help in the search engine bots to crawl from a page to another, also helps the link juice to flow within your site ensuring proper value distribution within your site. For this to happen, you have to dofollow the interlinks. You can nofollow internal links that are not important so that its share of link juice can pass to other important dofollow links.
The most popular way to interlink is to put up the links in the body of the content(in such a way it should make sense while reading) where the user is most engaged & the probability of visitors clicking the link would be much higher.
You can head on to ‘Google Search Console > Performance > Search Results > Pages‘ & it will show the list of webpages that are getting maximum traffic from organic searches. Click on a top performing page, scroll down & click on ‘queries‘ & it will show a list of keywords it is ranking for. Pick up the keywords that is sending more traffic & google search “site:your website + your keyword” to find out the related webpages to that keyword within the website which you can interlink with that top performing page. Repeat this with each of the top performing webpages.
Pagination: It refers to the hierarchy or structure of a website where for example a menu is interlinked to different categories, those categories are further linked to sub categories & so on & finally to the page the visitor is looking for.
In WordPress, there are plugins for showing related posts in the sidebar or the end of the post or somewhere else from where visitors can visit other similar posts which will keep them engaged. Make sure, the related post area is catchy enough to attract the visitors & not dull enough to notice while skip users crawl by.
Also you can put up interlinks in sidebar, header, footer which usually appears permanent whichever page you visit within your website. So, once you put up your link, all the pages will carry the same link in its section.
If you think a particular post needs some more push, see where you can put link of that post in other pages but don’t do it too much so that it doesn’t looks spammy & end up search engine penalizing the site.
Also, you can use a page that is getting a lots of traffic to interlink to other pages & divert the visitors to those pages you want traffic to flow in.
Anchor Text Optimization: The anchor text should be clear about what the link is about so that it will help know the search engine even before going to the link what the link is about. Try to put keywords in the Anchor text.
Just remember to keep it as natural as you can & not interlink too much so that it doesn’t look spammy & to avoid search engines from penalizing the website.
Content Length: It has been observed that long contents perform better than short contents in ranking. Though I’m not recommending filler content to make it long.
User Friendly Content: It is suggested to first write for the users, then for the search engines. What some people do in order to rank in search results is that they just put in a lot of keywords everywhere, not providing proper information & keep on redirecting to internal pages, irrelevant backlinks, etc. etc. which may not make any sense to the reader. It can be a gain in the short term, but it’s ranking won’t stay long.
There are sites which may create distraction for the users, for example just after loading the page it shows some kind of pop-up, or a pop-up while going through the content, high contrast colours, ads, etc. which may result in bad user experience.
Keywords in Content: Content should be keyword rich in the URL Structure, H1 & H2 Heading Tag & the body of the content(2-3% recommended) in order to rank higher. However too much use of keywords in the body may look spammy & accordingly search engines can penalize you. You can take help of the tools available that tells you about the keyword density in the body of the content.
User Engagement: Try to make your website clean, spacy & colourful, very easy to navigate to where the user wants to go, include more relevant images, videos, graphs, slides, table, stats, etc. or something engaging along with the text if possible to increase user engagement. You should also encourage your user to share your content in social platforms.
8) Site Architecture
Proper site architecture is required for the link juice to flow evenly throughout the website, i.e. tree structure should be maintained. Improper site structure affects SEO performance, as well as affects user experience as it becomes difficult to find what they’re looking for in the website. An ideal site structure for a blog may look like this –
9) Featured Snippet
There are some paid tools where if you put in a bunch of keywords, it shows in which keywords featured snippets are being displayed. Optimising for those keyword may land you a place in the snippet & help you get more traffic.