If you’re a digital marketer or content writer who needs to keep abreast of SEO best practices then you likely live your life in a constant state of frustration. After all, a quick glance at the history of Google’s search algorithm changes is enough to fill even the most resilient SEO strategist with utter dread.
Given the frequency of changes to Google’s algorithm, how is one to stay on top of things?
While it is certainly nerve-wracking how often the rules of the game change in the SEO world, the good news is that Google’s changes will only harm you if you produce crap content that relies solely on out-of-date techniques such as keyword stuffing.
If you produce high-quality content that provides a valuable resource to your audience, you’ll likely be fine. The truth is that as Google’s crawl bots become more intelligent, they get better at recognizing well-written and informative content, as opposed to low-quality content that relies solely on on-page SEO techniques.
This isn’t to say that on-page SEO practices are no longer necessary. On-page techniques such as: proper keyword placement and frequency, use of subheaders, images, optimized search snippets, canonical links, and article length (1000-2000 word articles tend to rank best) are still necessary but not sufficient to get an article ranking high without other means, especially in a timely manner.
So if you’re like me and need to deliver SEO results on a deadline for clients, it’s likely that you’ve had a few breakdowns that involved you pulling out your hair and screaming into the void, “Why oh why aren’t my pages ranking! I’ve read Moz! I’ve read Backlinko! I’ve followed SEO-best practices and I still have no presence! Why oh why?!”
The simple answer is that on-page SEO is not enough; especially with a new site that has a non-existent domain authority, TrustRank, backlink profile, and social media following.
As Google continues to shift away from purely syntactical and character analysis to weighing UX and social signals more heavily, old school marketing and promotion techniques are more important than ever.
To help you meet your SEO objectives and deadlines, I’ve put together a short list of 5 tips to speed up your SEO results.
How to Speed Up SEO Results
Post Publication Analysis and Modifications
Anytime you create a page or post, it’s likely you have an intended keyword you’d like the page or post to rank for. It’s also likely that your page or post will rank for a keyword you didn’t intend. Because of this, you should perform an audit on your page or post rankings every couple of months.
Let’s say you created a post framed around the keyword, “electric skateboard.” After a few months you audit your rankings and find that while the post is only on page 15 of Google for “electric skateboard,” it does rank on page 2 for the keyword “DIY electric skateboard motor.”
Given these findings, you have two options: you can either try and edit the article to rank better for the highly competitive keyword you first intended, or you can choose to capitalize on your high organic ranking for the long tail keyword “DIY electric skateboard motor.” I often choose the second route. It’s much easier to go from page 2 to page 1 then it is to go from page 15 to page 1.
To capitalize on your page or post’s unintended high ranking, I recommend adding terms from the latent semantic indexing suggestions at the bottom of the SERPs into the article and reassessing your on-page keyword placements in your post to better serve the long tail keyword you’re ranking for. I also recommend adding some links to other high-ranking trusted pages for the long tail keyword.
These small modifications require little time and will definitely boost your post up a few spots in the SERPs.
Outreach Marketing and Influencer Focused Content
I cannot overstress how important outreach is to a new site’s success. On-page SEO practices that may have brought you success with established sites in the past are simply not enough to help a new site rank.
According to Jon Busch, Content Director at Apollo Content, “The classic 80/20 rule of content – where you spend 20 percent of your time creating content and 80 percent marketing and promoting it – has never held more validity. Given the glut of content out there on the web, promotion is more important than ever. High quality content is simply not enough to succeed. You have to get your great content in front of the eyeballs of readers, and basic on-page SEO isn’t enough. Everyone and their mother knows how to do basic keyword placement. If you want your content to rank well, you have to build relationships with influencers in your niche and market your content just like you would if your blog was an independent publication.”
By performing outreach to other established businesses and commentators in your niche, you’ll earn valuable backlinks from trusted domains that will help build your domain authority, TrustRank, and backlink portfolio. All of these benefits will help your site rank better and add value to your on-page SEO techniques in the future as Google comes to view your site in a better light.
To get the most out of your outreach, I recommend researching what type of content the established businesses and commentators you’ll be reaching out to tend to publish or share. By creating content for these specific audiences, you can increase your odds of a positive response from those whom you’re reaching out.
Social Media Plays
Just as outreach helps your site grow it’s domain authority, TrustRank, and backlinks, so too will well-executed social media plays. Google has reported that they take social signals into account when determining Page Rank.
Also, outreach and social media are both great ways to build an initial audience for new sites.
In the past I’ve had great success with paying social influencers in a given niche to share my content. Often you can get a lot of bang for your buck with this strategy.
Researching and determining the best influencers in your niche to partner with is the most important aspect of this strategy. You want to choose an influencer whose audience directly aligns with your intended audience’s buyer’s persona. I.e., if you sell dance attire for kids, it’d be foolish to pay a tap dancer to share your content simply because they have a huge following. You want to choose someone who’s social value will make your product look cool and encourage your intended audience to purchase your product.
In my experience, I’ve had the most success with Instagram and YouTube for partnerships with social influencers.
Google Webmaster Tools
If you aren’t already using Google Webmaster Tools to assist with your SEO then you are missing out big time.
Google Webmaster allows you to directly submit pages for indexing, increasing the pace at which Google crawls your pages. The tool also provides reporting on search queries letting you know how your pages/posts are ranking for certain queries. This information allows you to better adjust your content strategy and fine-tune your keyword campaigns to get the most benefit out of your future content production and page optimizations.
Webmaster Tools basically helps you sculpt your SEO strategy at a much faster pace than you’d be able to do otherwise.
Lastly, you should on occasion perform a technical audit. By this I mean to include the following areas: sitemap, robots.txt file, site speed, and UX rankings.
With a new site you should always submit your XML sitemap directly to Google Webmaster Tools.
Also, ensure that your robots.txt file is in working order. Most content management systems today will automatically generate a robots.txt file for you, but if you, like me, have to occasionally build this from scratch, make sure you’ve done it correctly as the results of a mistake in this area can be disastrous.
You should also check your site speed from time to time, as Google penalizes sites with poor site speed.
Lastly, if you notice that your time on page and bounce rate numbers are less than ideal, consult a designer and analyze your content strategy for why this may be. Is your site difficult to navigate? Do you have a related post plugin on your site? Is your content lacking utility?
Google takes time on page and bounce rate into account when calculating your Page Rank, so anything you can do to boost these numbers will definitely enhance your placement in the SERPs.
I hope this lists helps you achieve the rankings you’re looking for. Happy ranking!