Did you know that more than 900 people search for SEO solutions each month? If you’re one of them, you’re in the right place.
Before we jump into any SEO solutions, let’s take a minute to review the goal of any complete SEO campaign: to drive targeted traffic that takes action.
What can you do to drive targeted traffic to your site? Here are 19 different ways you can optimize your site to increase rankings, traffic and sales.
Solution #1 – Make No Mistake, Mobile Is First
As a society, we’re spending more time on our phones than ever. In fact, we now do the majority of our web searches from a mobile device. StatCounter has reported that as of March 2020, 52.03% of all searches are conducted on a mobile device.
Given consumer preferences for mobile search and Google’s core algorithm update that prioritized mobile-first indexing, your website must be optimized for mobile devices if you want to rank well. Does your site provide a consistent experience for mobile users? Run a mobile friendly site test to find out.
Solution #2 – Make Your Site Speed The Best it Can Be
Simply put, site speed matters. Most visitors aren’t going to wait longer than three to five seconds for your site to load, which means you have a very short amount of time to make a good first impression. According to Google, “more than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes over 3 seconds to load.”
Yes, you read that correctly… if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’re losing more than 50% of your prospective customers before they even get a chance to learn about your product or service.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to figure out where your site might be lacking (or lagging).To calculate your site speed, head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Take a look at both mobile and desktop speed. Remember, you don’t want to neglect the 45% of searches done from a desktop computer.
Solution #3 – Register Your Business with Google for Local SEO
When your business depends on customers from a specific geographic area, local SEO is the solution you need to prioritize.
When optimizing your site for local search and Google maps listings, the first step is to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Make sure your business Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) is listed exactly the way you want it… this is very important!
The next step is to submit your business information to online directories, review sites and social networks. This is where you want to pay particular attention to your NAP.
For directory listings to have a positive effect on your site’s rankings, your NAP needs to be consistent across all platforms – GMB, directory listings, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Facebook, Uber Eats, Angie’s List, etc.
Most directories provide a way for your customers to review your business, so take advantage of it! Ask your customers to submit reviews, include a link to the review form in your emails and maybe even offer an ethical bribe (maybe a coupon?) in return for an honest review.
Finally, you’ll want to add location pages to your site that contain content optimized for your local area. Make sure to embed a Google map into the page too.
Without taking these steps, your website may not show up when customers use Google search or maps in your local area.
Solution #4 – Utilize Google’s Free SEO Tools To Fine Tune Your Site
When you optimize a website, you aren’t entirely on your own. Google provides some SEO solutions of its own with free tools, including Google Analytics and the Google Search Console, which can offer some key insights into what’s working (and what isn’t) with your site.
With these tools, you’ll have the information you need to optimize your content, review search engine indexing, locate potential site issues, see where your traffic comes from, and much more. From there, you can make small but impactful changes to your website that can remove barriers for leads and conversions, allowing your business to thrive.
Solution #5 – Competitive Analysis is Simple with SEMRush
Understanding how you stack up against your competitors is an essential component of improving your rankings. SEMRush.com is a paid online research tool that can do the competitive analysis your business needs to rise above the rest. As far as SEO solutions go, this is one of the best.
The SEMRush tools will help you research keywords to target, backlink data, on-page SEO options, competitor data, search behavior, and much more. The $99/month price point for the Pro plan may not be economically feasible for most small business owners, but if your business is an SEO agency, SEMRush is an essential tool.
Solution #6 – Keyword Research Will Lead The Way to Profits
There are many different methods of doing keyword research, so for this SEO solution, we’ll focus on a free method of finding the terms your target customer is using when they sit down to search.
Start by going to Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool is part of Google’s Adwords program (the advertising you see in search results). You will need to create a free Adwords account to access the Keyword Planner.
To start your research, enter a common search term for your product or service. For example, if you’re a hairdresser, you may start with ‘hair salon near me’.
Tip: Including ‘near me’ at the end of the keyword guarantees that people doing these searches actually want to go to a physical salon and are not just doing general research.
In our example, the keyword tool returns the following keywords:
- hairdressers near me
- haircut near me
- beauty salon near me
- hair stylist near me
- haircut places near me
- beauty parlour near me
- hair color salon near me
As you can see, there are many different words your potential customers are using to describe your service! Keyword research will help you uncover the terms that are being used the most.
Solution #7 – Understand the Intent Behind the Term You Want to Rank
Understanding search intent requires some real brain power. You’ll have to put yourself into the mindset of the searcher.
What were they thinking when they typed that specific keyword into Google? What is it they’re actually looking for?
Google’s quality rater guidelines has created 3 categories of search intent: Know, Do, and Go.
The ‘Know’ category applies to informational searches, the ‘Do’ category is for transactional searches and the ‘Go’ category refers to navigational searches.
If you want more details about each category, Moz has an excellent post here: Revisiting “Navigational,” “Informational,” & “Transactional” Searches in a Post-PageRank World.
Solution #8 – Internal AND External Linking
In our opinion, internal linking is one of the most overlooked SEO strategies out there. And, this is not new information. We were using internal linking as part of silo site structure way back in 2003-2004.
The idea behind the silo method is based on using internal links to lead search engine crawlers through your site. For example, when the crawler lands on your home page, it will find an internal link to a second level page. While crawling the second level page, it will find links to additional pages on the same subject and perhaps even links to third level pages.
On a dog website, it would look like this: Dog home page >links to> specific breed page >links to> specific breed grooming page >links to> DIY breed grooming page
It’s important to note that adding menu links don’t count in the internal linking strategy. For the best results, place your links in relevant written content and use keywords as anchor text.
While the search crawler is following your links and finding all of your valuable content, you are also creating authority with the search engines. Having multiple posts on your site that detail different methods of dog grooming communicates that you have extensive knowledge of the subject. And linking these pages together guarantees that the crawler will find all of them.
Before we move on to the remaining SEO solutions, we need to touch on external linking or simply put, the sites your website links out to.
Site owners are often hesitant to link out to other related websites, but that’s a misconception that can actually hurt their rankings.
Providing your readers with external links to authority sites that give them more info on a subject increases your site trust in Google’s eyes. It conveys the message that you have your readers’ best interest in mind by providing them with extensive information on a subject… including sending them to other authority websites.
Solution #9 – Publish Compelling Content to Win Rankings
Listicles…Blog Posts…Articles…How To’s…Infographics… Videos…
The list of content types goes on and on, but there’s one thing they all have in common. In their best form, they all offer immense value to the reader by answering the question they had when they typed your keyword into Google.
An easy way to research content is to search on your desired keyword. Then, analyze the sites that are ranking in the top 10. What type of content are they providing? What subjects do they cover? What question is the content answering?
Once you have your info on the top 10 sites put together, your job is to create content that mirrors the style but provides more information.
For example, if the top results are mostly lists (15 best ways, 8 things to consider, etc.) your job is to create a list that’s even better. If they have 8 things to consider, you should provide 10… they have 15 ways, your content provides 20 ways. You get the idea. The goal is to create the best piece of content available about your specific keyword.
Solution #10 – Update and Republish Existing Content
Did you know that updating your existing site content can give it a boost in search results? Well it definitely can, so this one of the SEO solutions that’s easiest to implement.
In the industry, the chronological age of content is referred to as ‘freshness.’ And, along the same lines, content that was published on your site in the past and not updated is called ‘stale’ content. If you want to dive deep into the distinctions between fresh and stale content, read Methods for Evaluating Freshness by Justin Briggs.
It’s common knowledge that Google will crawl a site that consistently publishes new content more than a site that publishes very infrequently.
What may not be common knowledge is that Google treats updated content the same way. When you make updates, Google comes and crawls the site. This gives you another chance at ranking for your desired keywords. If each update is making the page more valuable for the searcher, Google will reward your effort.
Solution #11 – Optimize for Featured Snippets
Ahh… featured snippets… this SEO solution seemed to come out of nowhere and for many sites, turned into a great source of targeted traffic. But what are featured snippets and how can you get in on the game?
Featured snippets appear at the top of Google search results and provide an exact answer to the keyword or question you’re searching for. In the following image, the featured snippet is in the red box.
The Mangools blog has the best instructions on how to optimize your pages for Google’s featured snippets that we’ve seen, so we won’t repeat all of that information here.
With featured snippets, some sites were actually able to capture both the featured snippet AND a top 10 listing for a search result. This translated to 2 separate listings in the top 10. Who wouldn’t want a second chance to capture the visitors?
On January 22, 2020, this double listing opportunity came to an end when Google’s Danny Sullivan announced on Twitter that sites appearing in the featured snippet section will no longer be listed in the following search results.
Personally, I still think optimizing for featured snippets is the way to go, but read up on it and make your own informed decision.
Solution #12- Get new content indexed FAST
A great way to get new content indexed quickly is by adding a link to the new page (or updated page) into the site’s home page content.
You have written content on your home page, right?
Many sites ignore the home page when it comes to adding written content, so don’t make this mistake. Adding internal links into the home page gets the job done for me every time. A link from your site’s menu won’t have the same effect.
Solution #13 – Add Schema Generously
Launched almost 9 years ago (2011), schema.org brought Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex together to agree on a common set of metadata markup that search engine crawlers can use to better understand the content on a web page.
Google Developers explains schema this way, “Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about the web and the world in general.”
You can use Google’s structured data testing tool to see your site’s schema markup the way Google does. Here’s an example for a professional service company.
Notice that the testing tool even points out the markup fields that are missing from the page.
Solution #14 – Add extensive FAQ style content to your editorial content
Does your site include your customers most frequently asked questions (FAQ)? If not, now is the time to add them. And, once you include FAQ schema markup to your page, search engines will know exactly what you’re offering.
Why is this important? Well, many search queries now display questions and answers in a ‘People also ask’ section near the top of the search results page.
The answer to each one of the questions is displayed when you click on the arrow on the right of the display.
Look at the image below. Looks like a featured snippet, right?
Q&A content is a great way to build out your site’s content and help optimize your pages for search. If your site is built with WordPress, you can add either the Yoast or RankMath plugin to simplify FAQ schema markup.
Solution #15 – Help Your Visitors Share Your Content on Social Media
Once you have your business pages set up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc., the best way to encourage visitors to share your content is to make it as easy as possible.
There has been a ton of controversy around the effect of social links on search rankings, and the truth is that no one really knows. However, we do know that social links do have a positive effect on indexing and they can drive tons of traffic to your site.
Also, a well optimized social profile will show up in Google results. So if someone searches on your business name, your company website will usually come up first and, in many cases, your Facebook or other social profile page will come up second.
So how do you make your content easy to share?
The easiest thing to do is to add social sharing buttons to your content. Here’s an example of a Pinterest sharing button on an image. When a visitor clicks the ‘Pin it’ button, their Pinterest account will open and they will be assisted through the sharing process. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
It’s easy to add social sharing buttons if you’re using WordPress. Harsh Agrawal has put together a great list of the 8 Best WordPress Social Media Plugins to get you started.
Solution #16 – The Importance of Link Building
Link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites back to your own. Sounds simple, and it was back in the early 2000’s. Nowadays, you have to work harder to gain high quality backlinks.
So is link building worth the work? Yes… absolutely yes!
Here’s why. The factors that influence Google’s ranking algorithm are a closely guarded secret. However, over the years, some parts have become increasingly obvious. And, backlinks are one of the most important.
If each link back to your website counts as 1 vote in your favor, you may follow that logic and think that the site with the most backlinks will rank higher every time. However, that’s not the case.
There’s also a part of the algorithm that evaluates the level of authority of the sites linking to your site. A little bit of authority follows through the link and builds your own site authority. This translates to more exposure in search results.
Overall, a few links from high authority sites will have more effect on your site’s rankings than many links from low authority sites.
Solution #17 – Learn From Your Results with SEO Reporting
If you’re not already documenting your SEO efforts, you need to start today.
Well, a great way to plan out next steps in an SEO campaign is to take a look at past results.
I’ve already mentioned Google Analytics and Search Console in solution #4, but this time, you’re taking a look at the data and making informed decisions about future actions from concrete past results.
What happened to rankings when you optimized page titles and descriptions?
What happened after a very high Domain Authority site linked back to you?
Use your notes, reporting and analytics to identify the actions and efforts that have brought you the best results. Once you have that info, just repeat the actions.
Solution #18 – Utilize internal linking to help boost low hanging fruit rankings
Before we get too deep into this internal linking SEO solution, we need to define ‘low hanging fruit rankings.’ Here’s our process:
- Run a report on your site’s current rankings (use Ahrefs or Semrush)
- Find keywords and their corresponding URLs that currently rank between position 11 and position 40 in Google and fit the following criteria:
- more than 40 searches per month
- keyword difficulty score less than 70
- relatively high CPC (Adwords cost per click)
Now that you have your ‘low hanging fruit’ keywords and target URLs, go through your site and add internal links back to your target page, using your keyword as the anchor text. The message you’re communicating to Google with this strategy is that your target URL is the most important page on your site for the subject you’re using as your anchor text.
Solution #19 – Get Professional Help
Are you an SEO pro? If so, you can take everything you’ve just read, apply it and bask in the results.
Are you a business owner? Well, if you’ve read this far, you understand that creating results from an SEO campaign is a lot of work. Adding a pro to handle your SEO services may be the best use of your time and budget.
Final Thoughts on These SEO Solutions
So that was a lot! Now you have 19 SEO solutions you can use to gain traction in the search results. Overall, you’ll find that whether you perform the work yourself or you hire a specialist, a consistent search engine optimization campaign will expand the reach of your brand, add value to your site in the long term, and will give you the upper hand when dealing with your competition.