In two of my previous posts, How to Start Writing Blog Posts That People Will Actually Read and Marketing Your Blog for the New Blogger: What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do, I briefly mentioned SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Although you may have understood the principle of SEO, this post will go into more detail about how to use SEO to drive traffic to your website or blog.
This can be a bit technical, so bear with me. I promise that SEO is worth it. In order to effectively use SEO to drive traffic to your website, you must understand what it is, how it works, and what really matters in the SEO universe.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is how your website shows up on the Search Engine Results Page (or SERP) on a search engine. Search engines use an algorithm (a magic formula) to determine how relevant a website is for a user’s search terms.
Why is SEO Important?
Think about it. When you type in keywords or search terms, you want to see the most relevant information first. The links that appear at the top of your SERP are what were determined by the algorithm to be the best match.
When a visitor views their search results, they are most likely to click on the items that are the highest in the list. You want your blog posts and website to show up as high on the list as possible. That is why SEO should matter to you!
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land revealed in an article in May 2016 that search engine giant, Google, now handles a minimum of 2 trillion search queries a year. With that astounding information, it is easy to understand why websites should cater to Google’s SEO algorithm the most.
Google’s algorithm goes through regular updates to keep its SERP results up to speed. With that being said, there are a few consistent factors that you need to work on in order to improve your rankings.
What Matters Most
The most recent statistics released by Moz indicate linking (inbound and outbound links) is the number one ranking factor in determining search engine rankings.
Content closely follows with keywords and domain authority being the next big factor in search engine rankings. Engagement and traffic round up this list.
The good news is that you have control over most of these things. That puts the power of SEO in your hands!
Use SEO to Drive Traffic
I’m going to go into more detail on how to improve each of the above mentioned search engine ranking factors so that you can use them effectively.
An effective link building strategy is one of the best ways you can use SEO to drive traffic to your website. Yoast goes into significant detail about how to improve your linking strategy, but these are the main take-aways.
- Link to relevant, high-quality websites in your blog posts.
- Write high-quality content worth linking to.
- Contact websites you link to and request a link back to your article (this is a backlink).
- Use social media to link to your website.
It is important to link to other high-quality websites from your website. However, backlinking will have a greater impact on your SEO. When a high-quality website links to your website, it gives your website credibility in the search engine algorithm.
Finally, linking to your website via social media is a great way for other people to find you. As a bonus, it also improves your SEO rankings via linking.
High quality, relevant content is the second most important part of your SEO rankings. However, as stated under “Links” above, it is part of your linking strategy too. Good content is the foundation of any SEO strategy.
If your content is sub-par, relevant websites won’t link to it and visitors to your website won’t stay. This means that your SEO ranking will take a nose dive if it doesn’t have a solid foundation of great content.
Once a reader visits your website, you want them to stay. The longer they stay and the more pages that they visit while they are there, the higher your engagement rankings will be.
Google Analytics is a great way to keep track of engagement via time spent on a page and number of pages visited. This all loops back to the previous to search engine ranking factors.
Linking internally to pages of your website increases click-throughs. This means that if a post links to another relevant post on your site that interests your reader, your reader will be more likely to visit that post too.
Content is also important for engagement. If you reader doesn’t like what they are reading, they won’t visit other pages and posts on your website. And why would they? If you don’t offer value to your reader, reading your content isn’t worth their time. And they will move on.
SEO is a Complete Package
Your SEO strategy is a complicated web of different factors that must work together in order to succeed. If you plan to use SEO to drive traffic to your website, you have to have a plan that encompasses all of the factors that are important with SEO.
Overtime you will see your search engine rankings improve and may even earn a snippet on Google, and the traffic that goes with it.
Do you have any tips or suggestions about how to you use SEO to drive traffic to a website? What has worked for you? Leave a comment below to share that information with others. All questions and comments are welcome!
If you enjoyed this content and want to read more, signup for the newsletter at the bottom of this post or in the menu above.