Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are one of those things that can change in the blink of an eye. What worked yesterday might become obsolete tomorrow, or even hurt your rankings if you’re not up-to-date with Google’s algorithm. This is why you need constant research so that the SEO methods you end up using bring you the best results.
For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of 8 SEO methods that still work today. Implement them in your digital marketing strategy and chances are, you’ll have the rankings to show for it. Now let’s begin.
1. Invest in Quality Content
Content (and the keywords in it) is what drives traffic to websites. It’s the bread and butter of Google’s algorithm. But while SEO content is going to increase your ranking, what actually drives visitors to come back is the quality they learn to expect from you.
Even Bill Gates deemed content king in the ancient year of 1996, in his essay titled “Content is King”—and that phrase is still used today!
After all, content is what drives engagement, new leads, more sales, increases brand awareness, and builds brand reputation, among other things. Focusing on original, relevant, and easy-to-understand content that serves your target audience’s interest is crucial for SEO.
2. Invest in Long-Form Content
Of course, it’s not only about quality—it’s about length as well. Generally, Google’s algorithm ranks long-form content higher than short-form ones. When you take the average word count of the top 10 articles for a given keyword, it’ll be around 2,000 words.
Also, the more time people spend on your site, the better dwell time you’ll have, hence better ranking. A study by Neil Patel concluded that longer content receives more shares and conversions, so make sure that some of your blog posts or articles are at least 2,000 words.
3. Use Link-Building Strategies
According to Google, including links in your content is one of the three most important ranking factors. You can’t have a successful SEO strategy without implementing at least one if not more link-building tactics. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from:
- Email outreach
- Guest blogging
- Posting on Q&A sites
- Influencer marketing
- And the most efficient one of all—building a Private Blog Network (PBN)
A PBN is one of the fastest link-building strategies. With a PBN, instead of doing email outreach in the hopes of landing a link on a website in your niche, you rely on a network of websites that you build and own just so you can use them to link back to your main money-making website.
The one caveat is that PBNs are considered a grey-hat SEO technique. That being said, webmasters can significantly lower the risk of getting penalized by Google to almost nil if they get expert advice and choose a safe and reliable hosting service instead of fiddling with PBNs on their own.
There are web-hosting providers, like Bulk Buy Hosting for example, that offer managed PBN hosting specifically. The fact they specialize in this particular area means they have plenty of experience in reducing the footprints of your PBN so that you can enjoy all its benefits completely worry-free.
And, last but not least, a special mention: Internal linking is as important as external linking—to Google at least—so don’t forget to link your articles and landing pages internally as well. This way, your visitors can navigate your website more easily, which will ultimately lead to them spending more time on it, improving your bounce rate and, with that, your ranking.
4. Optimize Your Website Speed
Website speed has been a Google ranking factor for a while now, and since 2018, that includes website speed on mobile, too. What’s the general guideline? Your website shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds to load if you want it to rank well, both on desktop and mobile.
If you’re unsure of your website speed, you can always check it by using Google’s own tool called PageSpeed Insights.
5. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
And while we’re on the topic of mobile, optimizing your site’s mobile loading speed isn’t the only thing that counts. As of late, Google’s algorithm started favoring mobile-friendly websites, and that also has to do with the size of the text and images (when viewed on a mobile device) so they’re not too big nor too small. Then we have the site’s design and all the elements it includes, its responsiveness, the use of Flash (both Android and iOS devices don’t support it), and so on.
6. Use Long-Tail Keywords
If you’re serious about SEO, using long-tail keywords is a must. These longer and more specific keyword phrases generally have a lower volume than one or two-word parent keywords, but that’s exactly what makes them great for SEO.
Long-tail keywords are easy to rank for precisely because of how specific they are. They allow you to attract more niche audiences possibly interested in your content. Plus, you’ll have less competition (if you run these in a keyword analysis tool, you’ll see that their keyword difficulty is generally lower), which will make things a lot easier.
We recommend using Google’s own Keyword Planner for your keyword research purposes. You can check the list of your long-tail keywords and see their average monthly searches and competition, among other things, so don’t hesitate to use it.
7. Promote Your Content on Social Media
Let’s say you have a successful website and enough traffic (assuming there’s such a thing as enough traffic). You might ask yourself: Why do I need social media when my website is enough? The simple answer is: because of SEO.
Although shares and views on social media platforms are not a direct ranking factor, the general consensus is that they amplify other ranking factors, so there’s a definite correlation there.
But even if that isn’t the case, social media remains one of the best ways to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your site. But the key thing here is not to make it an afterthought—your social media content has to serve the interest of your target audience. In other words, it has to resonate.
If you don’t have the resources for a full multi-channel approach, don’t spread yourself thin. Do a bit of research to figure out which social media platforms your target audience uses the most, and focus on those only. It’s best to use one or two platforms in the beginning, post consistently, and engage with your followers.
8. Focus on Visual Content
Visuals add value to your content, convey more information, increase the time spent on your website, and increase engagement. All these factors improve search rankings, so make sure to include at least some of the following visual content ideas:
- Images (custom and stock)
- Image quotes
And with that being said, we think we’ve covered our basics. The 8 methods we just talked about are all true and tested. If you think they’re not enough to amp up your SEO strategy, check out some stats to see what other businesses will be doing in 2020.
Learning from the competition is always a good idea.