There are approximately 5-6 billion Google searches that happen on daily basis. On a yearly basis, Google accounts for 79% of global search traffic, Bing – 7.27%, Baidu – 6.55%, and Yahoo – 5.06%.
Clearly, then, that’s a lot of search traffic, especially on Google. Given the sheer amount of search traffic Google handles, it’s advisable that you concentrate your efforts on optimizing your business to be more discoverable on Google. That’s not to say that most SEO tactics aren’t effective on other search engines.
The question is how do you ensure your business is discoverable on search engines? According to Andrey Lipattsev, a senior executive at Google, the key to ranking high lies in using link-building and high-quality content. Most effective SEO techniques are based on these two key pillars.
The trouble is, with search engine algorithms changing and getting more efficient with each day, how do you stay ahead of the curve?
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective modern day SEO techniques that can help you grow your audience substantially.
1. Conduct an SEO Audit
Rather than worry about why your site isn’t generating enough traffic, why not conduct an SEO audit. This is easily the first SEO technique you should use when trying to optimize your site. After all, you can’t fix something without realizing and understanding what’s broken.
There are multiple aspects you should be looking at when conducting an SEO audit. Some of the questions that need answering are:
- Are all your pages optimized for relevant keywords?
- Is your URL structure optimized to be crawled by search engines?
- Does your content have good links?
- Are you using proper SEO title tags and meta descriptions?
- Do the images have proper alt tags?
You can use tools like SEMrush to make this process a lot easier for yourself.
Image via SEMrush
2. Understand Consumers’ Needs
While this may not qualify as an SEO technique in the traditional sense, it’s most certainly an important aspect. You cannot expect to grow your audience without first understanding the needs of your target customers.
You need to realize the value you bring to your existing customers and what other potential customers are looking for. You need to be able to fill that void with your offerings. The best way to do that is to source feedback from target customers. You can leverage social media, Google Analytics, and the comment section on your posts for this purpose.
3. Get Mobile-Friendly
According to data from January 2018, globally the mobile population stands at 3.7 billion users. As of February 2017, 49.7% of the total web pages viewed online were on mobile devices. By sheer numbers alone, this is a market of consumers your business simply cannot afford to ignore.
The key to tapping into their potential is using another under-appreciated SEO technique – mobile optimization. If your web pages aren’t optimized to be viewed on mobile devices, your audience will have a frustrating time navigating your site. After a certain point, they won’t shy away from taking their business elsewhere.
The solution, then, is to take a mobile-first approach. Instead of developing pages for the desktop and optimizing them for mobile, do the reverse. An alternative would be to develop dedicated mobile applications for your business.
4. Use SEO Optimized Landing Pages
The perks of having a well-designed landing page are rather well-known. Your sales and lead-generation capabilities will increase manifold. In fact, the more content you create, the more traffic you will bring in.
Unfortunately, this is an SEO technique that very few businesses are aware of and, therefore, don’t apply. Most people are concerned only about their homepages and not any special landing pages. But by optimizing them for SEO, you stand to improve your conversion rates manifold.
5. Leverage Infographics
People tend to be visual learners. That’s why infographics have been on the rise in popularity recently. They allow you to portray otherwise complex information in a simpler and more digestible format. While it’s true that content is the key to building an audience, it’s the visual appeal that draws in the audience.
This is why you should consider creating infographics to post on your blog and share on other sites. The best way to go about this is to create explainer content like “5 ways to do X” or “The best techniques for X.”
6. Create Roundup Posts
Doing expert roundup posts is another effective SEO technique you can use to grow your audience. They help establish your thought leadership in the industry and showcase how well-connected you are.
I frequently share roundups in which I ask multiple industry influencers with the same question. I compile all their answers into one post and share it on my blog. This way, I’m giving my readers a good 360-degree view of relevant industry issues from the eyes of various experts.
Image via ShaneBarker
In exchange for their participation, I give them a backlink so that my readers can go on to check out their blogs. Likewise, I invite them to share the roundup with their audiences. Interested parties might click-through and start following my blog if they’re so inclined.
7. Optimize for RankBrain
Google’s RankBrain algorithm has proven to be a game-changer for machine learning and search rankings. It’s very capable at measuring how people react with the search results they find on the first page.
Image via Backlink.io
Essentially, the more pleased users are with your content, the higher you’re likely to rank in the search results. So, if you want to grow your audience, you should focus on optimizing your web pages for RankBrain. As an SEO technique, it’s an oldie but still a goodie.
The trick, here, is ensuring you have a high organic click-through rate. If your click-throughs start dropping, RankBrain will drop your site to the bottom of the page like a hot potato.
8. Improve Your Site Speed
Considering page load speeds for mobile alone, web pages take around 15 seconds to load completely. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for your business. 53% of consumers tend to leave a mobile web page if it takes any longer than 3 seconds to load.
There are multiple ways you can improve your page load speed such as browser caching and image optimization. You can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Tool to analyze and improve your web pages to improve site performance.
Image via PageSpeed Insights
9. Focus your Effort on YouTube SEO
YouTube videos often rank among the top search results on Google far more than any other videos. It receives almost half as many searches as Google does. It’s important, therefore, to focus your efforts on optimizing your YouTube content.
From the smallest things like video title, description, thumbnails, and length, they all impact your YouTube SEO. These all contribute to making your content more discoverable on Google. This, in turn, will help you increase site traffic for your business.
10. Use Local Listings and Local SEO
97% of customers use the internet to look up local businesses, particularly in their vicinity. It goes to show how important it is to have updated listing on local directories. While it’s true we live in a digital age, plenty of people still prefer visiting a brick-and-mortar store.
You should update your listing, address, contact information, and working hours on Google’s My Business Page. Another aspect of local SEO is ensuring that your business is associated with the right long-tail keywords. For instance, a dental clinic should want to be a top listing for key-phrases like “best dentist in Folsom” or “top dental clinic in Folsom.”
Image via Google
11. Leverage Guest Posting
Guest posting is an SEO technique you can leverage to make the most of industry thought leaders. This works both ways. You can either guest post on other blogs or have other bloggers guest post on your site. Either way, you get to expose your business and content to new audiences.
By posting on other sites, you employ a “push” method by bringing your content to new and vast potential audiences. Should they like your content they’re likely to start following you.
On the flip side, when you have others guest post on your site, you employ a “pull” tactic. Those bloggers will surely advertise their content on your site to their audiences who will pay you a visit. If you’re lucky they stick around long enough to check out your content and you can convert them into regulars.
12. Have Accessible, Crawlable URLs
A good way to grow your audience, of course, is to ensure you’re in that “Golden Triangle” of search results. A quick and easy SEO technique that you can use to achieve that is to have accessible and crawlable URLs. Tools like Screaming Frog come handy, here.
Image via Screaming Frog
This is important because you want Googlebot’s spiders to come to your page and understand the content that’s on it. These crawlers look at whether your text is in a readable format, understand your visual (via alt text), and any embedded code there might be.
All of this helps them index your pages better. The importance of having an optimized URL cannot be understated. Because without this, any of your other efforts are completely irrelevant. If web crawlers don’t understand what’s on your page, they’re unlikely to rank you higher in the search results.
13. Optimize Your Keyword Research
This might seem like a generic and outdated SEO technique, but it’s still very relevant today. What has changed, perhaps evolved, is the focus on long-tail keywords as opposed to generic, simple keywords.
What you need to realize is consumers don’t simply input keywords like “dentist” or “consultant” in their search queries. Instead, they’re using more elaborate queries like “Best digital marketing consultants near me.” If you’re serious about growing your audience, you need to start incorporating such long-tail keywords in your site and content.
14. Use Compelling Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
This goes back to making your content and site more accessible and readable by search engines and web crawlers. Using the right title tags for your heading is one part of that. They provide a good, coherent structure to your site content, making them more discoverable by search engines.
Similarly, apt and relevant meta descriptions help provide these crawlers with some context on what your page is for. A proper meta description and relevant tags will help you rank higher on search engines.
15. Have a Strong Link-Game
As we know links are a top ranking factor that search engines consider when deciding search rankings. To do well in this aspect of your SEO strategy, you need to focus on internal and external linking. For that matter, you cannot ignore any broken links out there either.
You want to try and link to websites that have a high Domain Authority. At the same time, sourcing links from such sites will also benefit your SEO. Additionally, you should consider linking your lower-ranked content within your higher-ranked ones. Link-building will give your content that extra nudge it needs to reel in more readers.
Another hack, if you can call it one, I recommend is scouring the web for any broken links to your site as well as your competitors. If the context is relevant to your business, then you should reach out to these site owners and ask them to replace any dead links with your resources.
16. Use a Hub and Spoke Model
If you’re relying on standalone blog posts to improve your search rankings, you might not do as well as you’d hoped. While individual content pieces may, on occasion, perform well in search results, there’s a long game to be played, here. You can get more mileage out of your content if you adopt a hub and spoke content strategy.
As an SEO technique, it’s another one that goes under the radar of many businesses. With a hub and spoke model, you use one big piece of content as a landing page for people to arrive on from search engines.
On here, you link them to multiple other relevant pages on your blog or website. Your hub should be a meaty and shareable piece of content. While your spokes act like the many resources people can utilize to get more insightful and informative content. This way, your main page will soar in search rankings along with your spokes.
The “Golden Triangle” of search results is prime real-estate. If you want your business to succeed and grow your audience, you have to do everything in your power to land yourself a spot in that region. But only with the most effective and up-to-date SEO techniques can you achieve that. Hopefully, this list of tips will go a long way to help you achieve those goals.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.