500 SEO Tips: Essential Strategies To Bulldoze Through Google's Rankings, Increase Traffic and Go Viral
Chapter 11: Incredible Tips From The SEO Experts
I asked the following SEO experts and bloggers what their number one tip was for both content marketing and SEO. Here are their answers. You'll find a lot of varied answers, some similar and some wildly different.
Peter Doman, Vancouver SEO Company (www.vancouver-seo-company.com/)
398. Be consistent, and have a passion for what you do
The number one marketing tip that you need to do for SEO is be consistent. Make time to do the same processes so that you can measure the results of the work that you are doing. There is no silver bullet that fixes everything. It takes time and consistency to get the results that you want. The number one content marketing tip is to be authentic, congruent and original in all the materials that you write. Write with a passion that shines through for the chosen field that you work in. Show people that you care about the topic. This translates to people wanting to deal with you because of your magnetism and boldness in having passion about what you do. The best strategy to gaining more traffic is to combine organic marketing with face to face marketing and being able to talk to people about what you do. This then combines with the option of paying for clicks on Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Youtube and Pinterest.
Ron Johnson, CyberOptik (Digital Marketing Agency, Chicago) (www.cyberoptik.net)
399. Create content that matches your business
Provide useful content on your website that someone would find value in. For example, if you install ponds, you should write a group of articles/resources related to ponds. For example, "The different types of ponds", "The general costs that go into installing a pond", "Ongoing maintenance costs for a pond", "How to maintain your own pond", and even "How to build your own pond". Articles like this are going to be beneficial for SEO because people are actually going to want to read this content. It's also going to help brand you as a pond expert and increase your credibility once someone reaches out to you.
Orun Bhuiyan, SEOcial (Search Marketing Agency, New York and Vancouver) (www.seocial.com)
400. Links are the currency of search engines, continue to build them.
There's a lot of nonsense out there surrounding SEO. Everyone is always releasing information, Google publicly announces their advice and updates, etc. There's so much information and misinformation that it's easy spend all of your time absorbing it and none of your time attaining results. This is deliberate. Search engines don't want to be manipulated so they dilute the information that's truly useful with inconsequential data. My one tip would be to build links and don't get distracted. Links are the currency of search engines and they're the only element of your campaign that must be executed consistently. Everything else is secondary. Liz Mazzei, Marketing Consultant (www.lizmazzei.com)
401. Optimize your URLs, create content that is of value and reach out to others outside your circle
What is your number one SEO tip? Make sure your URL's are optimized! Think about how, which keyword phrases you are targeting and how the content on your website will be organized before finalizing your URL structure. So many of my clients come to me with sites that have URLs with just numbers and long strings of useless information asking me how to optimize their site. Start by having your URLs match the keyword phrases you are targeting and the title of the page. What is your number one content marketing tip? Provide useful information that will position yourself as an expert in your community. Create and share information that will be of value and then distribute that information on appropriate channels. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Don't forget to create a dialog with your partners, complimentary service providers, industry organizations. These organizations may not be your primary customers but they have access to a completely different audience of your target customers. Reach more people by going outside of your normal circle. Takeshi Young, SEO Manager at Optimizely (www.optimizely.com)
402. Be interesting
What is your number one SEO tip?
Be interesting. Although Google looks at hundreds of factors when ranking websites, links are still the most important one, and one of the best ways to attract links is to be interesting. Either have an interesting product, create interesting content, or do something that is interesting or newsworthy. If you are interesting it makes link building as simple as reaching out to people who would be interested in you and letting your content spread organically through social media. What is your number one content marketing tip? Spend as much time researching and promoting content as you do actually creating it. Too many marketers out there create tons of content without doing their research to see what will be successful, and they don't promote the content enough once it's created. Research and promotion are key to content marketing success. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Create relevant content for topics that people are searching for. That's the simplest way to gain more organic traffic coming to your site.
Stephen Nuttall, Online Marketing Consultant (www.stephenmnuttall.com)
403. Optimize your site for people, not search engines.
Search engines were created for people, not for websites or webmasters, and they are getting better and better at refining the way they provide people with relevant information. While there are still some kinks in the system, they have come a long way from the days of being able to manipulate an algorithm and spam your way to the top.
You can't just do one piece of the puzzle anymore and succeed, it's about having a cohesive strategy for all aspects. If you're optimizing for search engines, there's a good chance there will eventually be an algorithm change that will nullify those strategies.
Optimize for people and create engaging content with the intention of answering questions and a great user experience. Doing this will translate to success in the search engines.
Alex Bungener, Local SEO Expert (www.localsearchoptimizationservices.com)
404. Have a mobile website and write content for humans, not bots
Most important I think is having a mobile optimized website via a responsive website WITH phone and map buttons (if a business). Write content that targets a keyword phrase in an educational or informative, interesting or entertaining way. Write for humans not bots. I think within a couple of years Google's "artificial intelligence" will be able to know the keyword phrases that best fit the content without any of those keyword phrases existing in the content. Social media is the best way to drive traffic to your site or blog post quickly. SEO is best for traffic over the long term.
Brad Titus, SEO Analyst (www.bltitus.com)
405. Build great content and get people to talk about it
I’ve been doing SEO for about six years, and the industry has changed tremendously in that time because of how much Google has changed their algorithms and their rules. Any SEO you talk to is going to tell you about Penguin and Panda and the new landscape of SEO, but the fact remains that the best type of organic marketing is what it always has been - building great content and getting people to talk about it.
Google has gotten increasingly better at finding people who are trying to game the system and cheat to improve their rankings, embracing grey hat or black hat strategies. A successful organic marketing strategy is easy to explain, but challenging to execute (because it requires intentional, consistent effort and patience to see it work) - figure out who your audience is, create the content that both you and your audience finds interesting, and make it easy for your audience to share it.
All of the other metrics of good marketing - worrying about bounce rate and page views and time on site and site architecture and headers and H1 tags and meta tags and descriptions and everything else - all of this goes back to making sure your content is good and that you’ve made it easy for your content to be shared.
Mary Long, Digital Media Ghost (www.digitalmediaghost.com)
406. Link to your own pages in your blog posts
What is your number one SEO tip? Write posts for your website with a plan for linking back to other posts (on your website). People are too quick to link away to other sites and don't link to their own pages as often as they should. What is your number one content marketing tip? Curating content is great, but it needs to be focused, not random - or your results will be random too. What does systematic content curation look like? Make sites you plan to share from a part of your content marketing plan - research them and share purposefully, focused around themes that relate to the content you're currently writing. Putting order to the chaos will help you better understand what your audience loves/hates and hone your content (and curation) moving forward. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Most people misunderstand content marketing and spend too much time on the "content" side and not nearly enough on promotion. Developing a significant digital footprint should be part of any good content marketing plan. That doesn't mean having a bazillion followers, it means interacting and networking with your target audience and consistently expanding your reach. As part of that, you should share connections' content as freely as your own and view competitors as potential collaborators.
Michael Bergen, Content Marketing Manager at Riverbed Marketing (www.riverbedmarketing.com)
407. Content leads to more customers
What is your number one SEO tip? Avoid cheaping out on "cookie cutter" SEO packages and tools that offer a specific amount of links, blog posts, or articles published. The money you save on cutting corners, will be lost in time and money spent correcting the problems caused by the inexperienced. What is your number one content marketing tip? Don't create content you think is good, create content your audience appreciates. Have common questions, objections, or customer feedback that comes back regularly? These topics deserve a permanent place on your website! Educate your visitors with the answers to the questions they seek. This builds trust and nurtures the buying experience. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Target your content around educating and solving industry relevant questions or problems your customers face. Ensuring you take due diligence in having the information that is sought after is key to improving traffic. Half the battle is getting them to the website, but without substance to hold the audience on the site, there is no traffic to improve.
Sheryl Boddie, CEO of Marketing Media Management (www.managemmm.com)
408. Start with the end in mind
Whether your online goal is to sell product(s), book appointments or simply expand awareness of your brand, decide what you will measure, then craft your SEO strategy around it. For example: If your goal is to gather email addresses for a new Farmer's Market opening in Seattle, Washington so you can build a list for future marketing, then your end goal might be to measure the number of Email Subscription Submissions. Knowing that is the goal trigger, now decide the goal funnel path, your target demo and what SEO tactics you will need to use within the funnel. We would most likely complete a Tapestry Profile to identify the psychographics of our target market and then perform keyword research. Then ask yourself, what website changes will we need? How much SEO Real Estate currently exists on our website and blog for this campaign and what will we need to create? What keywords from our research are most likely to attract people to our pages and posts? What high value external backlinking opportunities exist for this campaign? What opportunities to place article content or online Press Releases for our campaign exist? Once you have those questions answered, it's time to implement! Ongoing, you will want to consistently measure your website SEO activity and outcomes against your goals. What changes need to be made? Take your time in creating the strategy, but quick to make changes based on the metrics and goal conversions. What is your number one content marketing tip? Know your target demographic and understand that you MUST develop a strategy for your content that helps you reach people where THEY are and not where YOU THINK they are. Just placing your content on one channel won't get it seen. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Understand that SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing are all connected and craft your online marketing strategy that way. The amount of traffic you gain is dependent on how completely you use all of these activities and tactics within your online marketing sales funnel to attract your ideal target market.
Shelley Hunter, Content Manager for GiftCards.com
409. Just Write.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t know anything about SEO. When my website got acquired by a larger company, an in-house SEO expert began teaching me the basic principles of “writing for robots.” I did my own research as well. The more I followed the advice I received, the more search traffic my blog posts netted. However, I also found the writing to be a little mechanical—forcing keywords where I would have preferred to say something different, overthinking headers and worrying about word counts.
Overtime, however, I got comfortable enough with the rules that I didn’t have to think so much about them and discovered that good content would be successful even if I didn’t follow every single tip.
So my SEO advice is this: after reading all the tips on SEO and listening to all the experts, just write. Write good content that answers the questions people are asking. Stay on topic and say what needs to be said. When your post is done, you can go back and switch a few words or shift header tags around as needed to strengthen the SEO value.
But don’t get so locked into the rules that you forget to be a writer.
Doug Motel, Author of "101 Marketing Tips For Tourism" (www.siteoptimized.com)
410. Videos can really increase your traffic, and get customers from social media
What is your number one SEO tip? Forget about the search engines and pretend you are creating a website that is a hub of information related to your goods or services. The result is that you will naturally be creating keyword rich content and people will naturally be linking to you. What is your number one content marketing tip? Videos. Create videos, even videos that are stills with narration. Why? Because you can re-purpose a video for all of your social media platforms and you can transcribe the audio and turn it into rich text content. A video can hit a flock of birds with one stone. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Videos again. Create a video that is either super funny, super informative or super sexy and get it onto social bookmarking sites. It can go to places you had never even imagined...
Scott Benson, Founder of Benson SEO and Former Lead SEO for Vocus, PRWeb and HARO (www.bensonseo.com)
411. Create pain point marketing content
Quite simply, pain point marketing content revolves around answering your target market's questions (pain points) with content before they ever arrive at your site. There’s a Forrester study stating 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine. Each phrase people enter on search engines is a query, a question that needs answering. Creating content to address those questions is a great content marketing win for any business, especially smaller companies that can’t compete with larger brands in the search listings for competitive terms.
Pain point marketing content doesn't always generate the highest volume of traffic, but it attracts customers when they are searching for help. You can often see this in the length of the queries, as they tend to be longer and much more specific. You ensure targeted traffic to your site, and traffic that is primed to convert.
Research is key to successful pain point marketing. If you can find a few willing existing customers, you’ll be able to ask them directly, “what problems can this website help you solve?” Additional information can be found in on-site search queries – these are the terms site visitors enter on your website search form. Potential customers are telling you exactly what they need or can’t find easily on your site.
Michelle Ruiz, Insite Creative (www.insitelongisland.com)
412. Choose keywords with slightly less searches, but significantly less competition
Do your research. Don't decide automatically that you want to rank for Keyword A that gets 20,000 searches a month, because it may turn out that you have 40,000 competitors. Instead, choose keywords that may get slightly less searches, but have significantly less competition. You may be able to rank for those much more easily, and get the combined results comparable to if you had ranked for your original favorite.
James Blews, Online Marketing and SEO Consultant (www.jamesblews.com)
413. Reach out to influencers with killer content
What is your number one SEO tip? SEO is a method, not an action, as some newer users of SEO will find out. As such, patience is your biggest strength, and my biggest tip; have patience. Rankings, when done for the long-term, with quality in mind, will take time, but will yield the most impact in organic search traffic. Whether Google has performed an update and a brand's rankings are dropping, or some competition that is 'churn-and-burn' with their content and their links which have bumped your website...stay calm and be patient. What is your number one content marketing tip? The best content marketing tip I can provide is to find the answers, not just information. As consumers are using digital means for everything, from blind dates to buying groceries, content should follow suit; and find the answers to anything and everything a user would want. Not only will content creators and website owners find more traffic by becoming an answer, they will find a community by becoming THE answer. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? One of the best strategies for generating quality traffic is to mix video marketing with paid for advertising (Facebook Ads and Google AdWords). With that said, the direct traffic isn't what I'm looking for. I'm looking for opt-ins and email signups for a 'cheat sheet' of social media info or a checklist for SEO or local SEO or an upcoming webinar or something of value, but for free. That email is worth a future sale later on, and so, you should be giving time to landing page design, traffic and lead generation and copywriting skills, as much as writing articles. The other strategy is using influencers and outreach for traffic. This approach allows you to create killer content (in any media form), and then to directly content influencers, on an industry and regional level, to get your brand name known.
Sometimes this involves creating content that includes them (expert list, ask for a quote on a subject, etc). Other times, it's about you helping to meet the needs and questions of their viewership and community. Either way, it a safe, impactful and very beneficial type of relationship to start building.
Dave Davies, CEO of Beanstalk Internet Marketing (www.beanstalkim.com)
414. Write two different types of copy: copy that will convert your visitors, and copy that will attract links
What is your number one SEO tip? Link building is a PR exercise. Links are what tells the engine your content is more equal than others. Focusing your link energies on links that are geared to driving traffic will ensure that the links you build are more likely to hold weight. What is your number one content marketing tip? Write two different types of copy, the content to convert your visitors and the content to attract the links, social signals and to answer questions. People aren't generally going to share your services page but they will share a page of metrics on your industry. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Rank highly. ;)
Dan Smith, SEO Specialist at Leighton Inc (www.leighton.com)
415. Optimise for the user, not the search engine
SEO is no longer about optimising your website for the search engines - it's about optimising your entire digital presence for the user, ensuring they can gain access to the content they're looking for as quickly, as easily and as effectively as they can. From your social media activity through to your on-site experience, tailor it all to the user and you'll see not just increased organic traffic, but increased conversions.
Kate Proykova, Managing Director of Hop Online (www.hop-online.com)
416. Write content that has niche keywords and focuses on certain buyer personas
What is your number one SEO tip? Try to find niche keywords and build your strategy around them. Niche keywords are keywords with decent search volume and low competition (e.g. the sites that rank on page 1 in Google for that search term have low Page Rank / Domain Authority). What is your number one content marketing tip? Know your buyer persona(s) and combine the content you create for them with keyword optimization. This way you (1) target your buyers with the content they need and (2) build the ground for ranking organically and gaining free traffic with the keywords you target. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Writing keyword optimized content is the best strategy for any online business. It is a long-term approach, but its effect lasts long as well.
Collin Jarman, Jr. Digital Analyst at COCG (www.cocg.co)
417. Be specific, and the right customers will come
There are lots of SEO tips that come to mind, though if I had to pick one, it would be to "find your niche." Figure out what makes you unique. What's a problem your business can solve that few others can? What's an area you're knowledgeable in that could help others out?
To illustrate with an example: it's one thing to sell clothes at your store. It's a step up to sell "custom & special order clothes." It's even better to sell "custom & special order clothes at Brier Creek, in Raleigh, NC."
Be specific about what you have to offer. Whether you're selling a specialized product that serves a niche group of consumers, or you're blogging about an obscure topic that will be helpful to people with a very specific problem, you need to describe your services in a way that makes you a clear fit for what your target audience is searching for. Be specific about your product and where you are geographically, if it applies. If you do this correctly, the traffic will come. Depending on your niche it may be a lot or a little, but in most cases, quality of traffic trumps quantity. Set up goals so you know if visitors are buying from you. If not, consider changing your messaging. If they are, then you know you've properly appealed to your niche market. Now that you know your market, you can expand to paid search ads, banner ads, social media, etc to grow your audience.
Kathryn Bisson, Technology Seed (www.tseed.com)
418. Follow the latest trends, and Google algorithm changes
The one tip that I would provide any business is to do your research and create compelling content. As new technologies and social channels are released, individuals will learn new engagement strategies and change business interactions. With all these changes, it is essential, as a digital marketer and SEO strategist, to be knowledgeable about the trends so when you do create compelling content it is ranked and it reaches your audience. Not only do you need to follow audience trends, but you need to remain up-to-date on Google algorithm changes as well.
Neal Fondren, Senior Vice President for Digital Strategies and Insights at Intermark Group (www.intermarkgroup.com)
419. Focus on content, and you'll bring the traffic to your site
Search engines are designed to provide users with the most relevant information based upon a search query. The last thing a search engine wants to do is connect a user to information that is irrelevant. In order to do that, search engines have begun to focus heavily on content and far less on keywords. The best tip I can provide is to encourage website operators to focus on two aspects of their content: 1. Think in terms of content themes. A website cannot be all things to all people. Every site has subjects they own. I like to call them content pillars. These are subjects that are a business or organization's sweet spots. Content needs to be organized within a structure that provides a search engine's spiders (and your Web visitors) with a clear message: this is what we do. When a site is organized in pillars of content, structuring the URL becomes natural and follows the content pillar. Find your pillars and build content around them.
2. Don't use content to game the system. Search engines like Google have publically stated that they will be discounting sites an use content as means to stuff keywords into content in the hopes of rising in organic search listings. Don't be tempted. Take an honest and forthright approach to content development.
In developing content, bear in mind that you aren't looking for all the users, but rather the right users. Employing a content strategy that is full of information relevant to the user is the way to bring the right traffic to your site. Marian Rothschild, (www.marianrothschild.com), Author of "Look Good Now and Always"
420. Write for other websites, and you'll get lots of exposure
Get as many outside links coming in to your website as possible. Get links by writing content for other blogs or website, writing bits or articles for newspaper and on-line magazines. Get featured in magazines and newspapers and have them list your website with a live link. Also, register with HARO which stands for Help A Reporter Out. Your tips that you share on your area of expertise may get picked up and shared with thousands of readers. They see your website link, and check out what other pearls of wisdom you have to share.
Joe Howard, Senior Marketing Manager at Masslight, Washington DC
421. Expert Roundups Can Work Wonders
Your priority when it comes to SEO really depends on the purpose of your website, but my best piece of advice would be to focus on producing great content that features those who are authorities in your industry.
Most SEOs focus on producing content that simply tries to rank for a single, specific keyword phrase - it's much more effective to feature other experts in your industry, share your content with them, and use them to help share your content across the Web. That will help you increase high-quality traffic (and backlinks) coming to your site, which in turn will grow your list of email subscribers and your website's influence.
Robert Lee, CEO of Circa Interactive (www.circainteractiveseo.com)
422. Look at trends over the long term, not day-to-day fluctuations.
Rankings will change, but if you over-analyze day-to-day fluctuations then you will drive yourself crazy and possibly make poor decisions regarding optimization techniques. Utilizing a long-term approach can help SEO’s see recurring patterns and trends, which will enable them to make strategic decisions regarding their SEO strategies. SEO (and specifically link building) is a long term digital marketing approach. The days of the SEO quick fix are gone. What is your number one content marketing tip? Produce great content and position it in front of audiences that can build you links. Introducing a social strategy that produces brand mentions and shares is good, but too often SEOs expect a strong social presence to return strong rankings.
While there is a relationship between strong rankings and effective social media, one does not guarantee the other. Place your content in front of bloggers and digital publishers that are relevant and that you know will feature your content. Tie it to a current event or relate it to an existing piece on their website, and most editors or bloggers will be at least be willing to give you some type of feedback, which could be the beginning of a relationship. What is your best strategy to gaining more traffic? Focus on the long-tail. While the various keyword tools are useful at understanding search volume on a high level, they sometimes miss opportunities when it comes to longer tail searches that could be extremely relevant to your client’s product or service. To find these keywords, take a look at Webmaster Tools or a search query report within an advertising campaign; they can sometimes reveal hidden gems.