SEO Best Practices: Top 5 Techniques to Rank Higher
Have you ever asked a friend a question like where you can find the best sushi restaurant near you? Just for them to respond with, “I don’t know. Google it.” Google has become the number one place to get your questions answered, instantly. Every day, people are searching the internet for solutions to their problems. All you would need to do is type “sushi near me” into the search bar and bam! Every sushi restaurant within a 5-mile radius is presented to you with their menu, address, phone number, hours of operation, and more.
According to recent statistics, Google processes approximately 70,000 search queries every second. That means about 5.8 billion Google searches are made per day! On a grander scale, Google receives and processes around 2 trillion global searches per year.
As a business leader, you need to make sure your company is ranking high in search engines so that potential customers can find relevant resources surrounding the products/services you offer. Think about it, how often do you click on page 2 or 3 of Google when searching for an answer to a question? We can safely bet that you almost never go further in your search than page 1 of Google.
In this article, we’re going to be highlighting the top 5 SEO techniques you can do to rank higher in search engines.
1. Take the time to do keyword research before you start
Before you start building content or developing marketing materials, conduct thorough keyword research. Take a look at your business. What products or services do you sell? What solution are you solving? Jot down a few terms relevant to your products or services.
Next, check out the Google Keyword Planner. This is an amazing tool to find out how often each of your keywords and phrases are being searched for on Google on a monthly basis. You can even add your website domain into the filter so that the most relevant keywords to your business are present in the results. The Google Keyword Planner also allows you to see how often in any given month a keyword or keyword phrase is searched. For instance, the keyphrase “generate sales” receives approximately 50,000 searches in a month.
The keyword planner will also provide you with similar keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business with information including search volume, level of competition, and the average price of a Google Ads bid.
So what can you do to ensure your business stands out from the competition?
Include specific keywords throughout your website so that your company is distinguished from competitors. For example, let’s say your company is an eCommerce store that sells bicycles. Think about the types of bikes you sell. Do you sell bikes for men? Women? What about children’s bikes? When customers use search engines to find the type of bike they want like “women’s cruiser bike,” for example, Google will pull your website to the top of the search results based on the same specific keywords listed on your website.
It’s essential for your website to be full of keywords like “cruiser bike,” “mountain bike,” “women’s bike,” etc., that accurately describe the products you sell. If your business does not list descriptive keywords on your product pages, blogs, and overall website, you are giving your competition a chance to steal your potential customers.
2. Leverage the right SEO tool for your business
An SEO tool is oftentimes crucial for ranking higher in search engines. Helpful tools like SEMrush, Moz, and Surfer provide you with web traffic analysis, marketing insights, and of course, keyword research. There are many SEO tools out there, but it’s up to you to decide which service is best for your business.
SEMrush is used by 7 million people and offers services such as organic research, keyword research, backlink building and analytics, rank tracking, and more. With over 16.3 billion keywords, SEMrush is a goldmine for search engine optimization tools. SEMrush even offers a free 7-day trial with the option to purchase the monthly pro or guru plans.
Moz is another great SEO tool that offers a free version where you can search insights for up to 10 keywords per month. This is a great option for small businesses looking to stand out from the crowd but may be on a tighter budget. Moz has specialized products like Moz Pro and Moz Local and offers a 30-day free trial.
Like the two platforms above, Surfer also provides its customers with keyword research tools. The coolest feature about Surfer is their Content Editor which allows copywriters to write their blog posts, web pages, etc., in Surfer. The tool will serve up relevant SEO suggestions as you go. For example, Surfer can tell you where the best place in your blog would be to add a backlink, or if you’re not using your keywords often enough.
3. Use long-tail keywords and phrases to maximize impact
Long-tail keywords are usually more specific keyphrases that tend to be longer in word length than a regular keyword. While long-tail keywords usually get less search traffic, they often have a higher conversion rate. Let’s continue with our online bike store example. Let’s say you wanted to write a blog about your top 3 best-selling bikes. It’s common for people to search for “best-selling bikes” and odds are, there are probably a million or more blogs about the best bikes in the world.
Here’s what you can do to differentiate your business from competitors.
While you want potential customers who are searching for bikes to visit your website, use specific long-tail keywords that will attract a target audience. Instead of titling your blog “Top 3 Best-Selling Bikes” use a long-tail keyphrase and title it “Top 3 Best-Selling Mountain Bikes for the Appalachian Trail.”
By using a specific term like “Mountain Bikes for the Appalachian Trail” you attract a specific buyer looking to purchase a bike to ride along the Appalachian Trail. Once a buyer reads that your business is the place to go for the specific type of bike they're looking for, you'll be much better positioned to convert that buyer into a customer.
4. Optimize images throughout your site
By now, you’ve probably heard about the significance of alt text. Alt text is also referred to as “alt tags” or “alt descriptions” and it can be defined as the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user's screen. Alt text is necessary for screen readers to describe images to visitors with visual disabilities, but it is also critical for search engines to better crawl and rank your web pages.
Luckily, writing alt text is a simple task for anyone using a content management system. In a CRM like WordPress, for example, all you need to do is click on the image you’re including in your blog or on your website. Once clicked, a section to include alt text will appear. Keep your keywords and keyphrases in mind when creating alt text to describe an image to improve your SEO ranking. Say you wanted to include an image of one of your mountain bikes in your blog – the alt text you would use to describe the image could be something like “Trek Mountain Bike for Women.” The more descriptive, the better your chances of ranking higher!
5. Master keyword density in long-form content
Finally, you need to leverage your prioritized keywords in your content. Keyword density refers to the number of times your keyword or phrase is utilized in your piece of content. While you want to make sure you’re using your desired keyphrases throughout the blog or page enough times to rank in search engines, you need to make sure you’re not keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is when you use your keyword too often throughout your web page.
The best way to avoid this is to manually calculate your keyword density. You can do this by taking the number of times the target keyword appears in your content and divide that by the number of words on the webpage, then multiply that number by 100. Ideally, your keyword density should be around 1-2%.
Ranking high in search engines increases your brand awareness and credibility. Potential customers are more likely to trust and click on search engine results that appear at the top of the first page. Studies have shown that the first organic position in Google search results has an average click-through rate of 28.5%. The study also found that the second placement has an average 15% click-through rate and the third result has an approximate click-through rate of 11%. If we move further down the list, the tenth position in Google search results has only a 2.5% click-through rate.
Thousands of your potential customers could be missing out on your high-quality products and services if you fail to make SEO a priority. These simple steps above will help you focus your efforts and ensure your content is reaching your buyers where they need it most.