Every webmaster is looking for that “expert” who has the ultimate advice on how to rank higher in Google. The fact is, there is no real SEO expert, only researchers and theorists. Even if you make a list of every SEO strategy known on the planet, this will still be useless unless you apply them correctly.
SEO is constantly changing. As such, strategies that worked yesterday may not work today. If you are hanging on to old methods and not educating yourself on the new, chances are your ranking is likely to slip in the near future. It is the marketers and webmasters who keep up with the ever chancing SEO landscape that succeed in the business of SEO.
With so many different strategies that surface, and a list of old ones that we once taught ourselves, how do we know what works and what doesn’t? Here are five strategies that you can always apply to your content. These five strategies have shown to help your content rank through every algorithm change. Again, remember that you must apply them correctly.
Write interesting content:
Writing interesting content is something that “experts” are starting to preach in the SEO world. After all, Google is in search of quality content and punishing junk. Gone are the days of paying a freelancer pennies to rewrite content that has already ranked high in search results. If you want to rank higher, you must create quality content that people find interesting. Here is why.
If your content is interesting, people will read it. If people read it, Google will take notice. When Google takes notice, it will see your content as interesting. Obviously if people stay there long enough, it must mean that your content is what they were searching for. Interesting content is one of the three key ingredients for creating quality content (informative, interesting, relevant).
Interesting content is also likely to be shared. Social media, emails, and bookmarked content shows Google that it is interesting. After all, people like to save things they like and interesting content is no different.
So how do you make content interesting?
When writing, try to write something unique. Go into depth about something no one else is. Instead of talking about the use of keywords, talk about using latent semantic indexing, which brings me to my next topic.
Yes, I said keywords. Keywords have been and always will be the first thing that Google uses to know what your content is about. After all, if you write an article about “best places to golf,” how will Google know to rank you for golfing terms?
Here is where it gets more interesting (and theories differ). There have always been theories on keyword density, keyword placement, and what type of keywords to use (long-tail keywords, anchor text, etc.).
So, what do you do? Simple.
Use the number of keywords necessary to make your article flow naturally. I normally write one keyword phrase as many times as I can naturally. I then back them off by replacing many with LSI keywords. For those not familiar, LSI keywords are those that Google sees as similar and returns them as results when people Google your original keyword term. You can learn more about LSI here.
If you don’t want to bother with LSI, simply replace the keyword you used with alternative keywords that are similar. This will still help you more than using a single keyword over and over.
So, keyword strategy will change, but one thing that has stayed consistent is Google will not punish you for using keywords naturally and avoiding keyword stuffing. As long as your content is interesting and flows naturally, using keywords is a good thing.
Remember, no keyword stuffing. Keep them relevant and use them sparingly. Let Google do the rest.
Use writing tools:
I recently wrote about this for Visibility Magazine, but wanted to make sure that I hammered it home again. If you are writing content, you must take advantage of the numerous online tools at your disposal.
So what tools should you use?
Well, there are so many, but in order to help your content rank higher I would suggest using at leastthe following:
1. Grammar checker (use Grammarly or GrammarCheck) – using one will show you how to improve your sentence structure and help your work flow which is important to making it readable.
2. Readability checker – Speaking of readability, there are websites that will rank your content based on the reading level. You can also find ways to improve the use of words, length of sentences, and other things that can help make your content easier to read.
3. Duplicate content – ALWAYS use Copyscape or another duplicate content checker. One that I like is Unplag as it not only checks for exact matches, but also checks for similarities of your content with others.
This one is the odd-ball as it has just came about as a staple in the SEO community. However, it is something that will forever be part of SEO thanks to mobile searches now surpassing desktop searches. If your content is not mobile friendly, then do not expect Google to love you.
When you make your content mobile-friendly, this means more than adjusting it to fit a mobile screen. It means that it must be interesting for the user as well. In addition to a well-written article, making it mobile-friendly also means adding picture and videos to keep the reader’s attention.
People on their mobile devices are busy and do not have a lot of time. They are more likely to read content with pictures and videos than they are with a long article with words (notice the amount of pictures and videos on this post?). I wrote more about this last month in an article on AllBusiness Experts.
Linking out and within:
Everyone is scared of using links thanks to Google putting its foot down about unnatural links. One of the main reasons is that linking incorrectly can look like you are spamming or using other black hat techniques. It is likely to cause a penalty for your site and a drop in rankings to nearly non-existent.
No one knows this better than Ann Smarty and her MyBlogGuest network, which has been in Google penalty for over a year. If an SEO guru like Smarty is unable to revive her website, this is a bad sign for the rest of us who rely on advice from around the web.
One place where you cannot go wrong is linking within your websites. After all, you are not linking “out” and it is not another website linking “in.” Google actually likes internal links as it shows how your content is connected to each other. Make sure that you do link to relevant articles and use them sparingly (I normally use 1 internal link in every 3 articles, but others have their “theories” as well).
Linking out can also be beneficial as long as you are doing it naturally. MyBlogGuest was part of a network that traded article placement in exchange for a backlink. This is a bad idea as it violates Google’s terms and conditions. Linking to content where you obtained information or linking to authoritative sites (reputable websites, online journals, .edu or .gov sites, etc.) is a good ranking signal for Google. Do so to support the content you are writing, not in exchange for compensation.
As a final disclaimer, I will say that I am not an SEO “expert.” What I am known for is constantly reading and learning about SEO and the ever changing landscape of the industry. What I am sharing with you is what has helped me rank high in search engines and also get through algorithm updates without any nicks or dings. Google loves my content and hopefully if you apply these strategies, it will love yours too.
Have your own strategies that are working for you? Let me know below.