SEO: Top 15 Techniques to Boost Your Traffic

SEO

Are you struggling to optimize your website for search engines?


Not really sure how to get started?


Or perhaps you’re not even feeling too confident about the term ‘SEO’ itself?


Well, don’t worry.


It’s not nearly as complicated and confusing as you may think!


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving both the quality and quantity of web traffic, as well as exposing your brand through organic search engine results.


There are several ways to generate web traffic, including paid advertising, social media, etc., but the majority of online traffic is actually driven by search engines.


So, SEO is pretty damn important!


These days the number of new SEO techniques seems endless, but this article will give you the best 15 techniques to boost your organic traffic.

1. Optimize for voice search

Optimize for voice search

It’s predicted that up to 50% of adults in the US will own a smart speaker by 2022.


I mean, just think about it, it’s a lot easier to speak than it is to type, right?


Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, has stated that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches

  • 2 in 5 adults in the US use voice search at least once daily
  • 22% of U.S. smart speaker owners said that they have purchased something using their devices via voice search
  • 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers have said that they use their devices as part of their daily routine

eCommerce sales by voice search have generated $1.8 billion in 2017, and are predicted to reach an astounding $40 billion by 2022.

Voice Commerce Sales

With a prediction like that, I’m not sure if you’ll even need more convincing to optimize for voice search.


So, how exactly does one optimize for voice search?


According to Neil Patel, here are 4 good tips to optimize for voice search:

  • Increase site speed
  • Enable HTTPS
  • Use long-tail keywords
  • Create longer content while providing short answers

Luckily, this article includes all of these tips, so we’ll go into detail about each of them.

2. Provide an Awesome User-Experience (UX)

User-Experience (UX)

We don’t even need to tell you how important it is to ensure a positive user experience.


We always have the user in mind in our web marketing efforts.


Sure, some things are done for the search engines, but even they set their criteria in accordance with what their users want.


Here are some of the ways you can improve your user experience:

2.1. Increase site speed

According to Strangeloop, even just a one-second delay on your site can have some costly effects on your business.

You can lose out on up to 7% of sales, 11% fewer page views, and a big 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Up to 47% of users expect websites to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of users will click off a page that takes three seconds or longer.

Test your site’s speed here. Here are some ways to increase your website’s speed:

  • Enabling compression: Using Gzip to reduce the size of your HTML, CSS, and Javascript files which are larger than 150 bytes.
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs work by hosting your website’s files across a large network of servers across the world. Using a CDN is a great way to boost your website speed, and will often save up to 60% bandwidth and halve the number of requests your site makes. If you’re looking for a good CDN, check out Cloudflare.
  • Compressing images and using formats that are less heavy: Such as JPEG, JPEG2000 and WebP

2.2. Optimize for mobile use

Optimize for mobile use

In 2017, mobiles were recorded as the most common source of web traffic worldwide with an amount of 50.3%.


And there’s no doubt that this number is still on the rise.


More than half of all online purchases are done via mobile phones.


So, optimizing for mobiles needs to be on your list of priorities.


Systeme.io has a great solution for mobile optimization.


It’s super easy to set up!


All you need to do is select the mobile version in our editor.

systeme.io's editor

After you’ve selected the mobile version, you can see how your website would look from a mobile’s perspective.


You’ll be able to customize the layout to your heart’s desire!

systeme.io mobile optimization

Click here to start using systeme.io for free, today!


There are also some really good alternatives, such as WordPress and Squarespace.

2.3. Enable HTTPS for Your Website

Enable HTTPS for Your Website

Browsers warn users when they’re visiting non-HTTPS websites, and as people like to feel safe and secure, this leads to a number of people clicking off those websites.


So, if you haven’t yet made the switch to secure, encrypted connections, you could be turning away a huge portion of people willing to visit your site.


HTTPS can help your website in several ways. 


These include:

  • Boosting its SEO presence
  • Staying safe and secure
  • Protecting your users’ private information

Follow this guide to make the switch on WordPress.


Moving to HTTPS is a necessity in a world of cybersecurity threats and heightened search engine optimization and search engine marketing (SEM) requirements.

3. Use Long-tail Keywords in Titles

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific phrases that are often used when users are close to a point-of-purchase or using voice search. 


So, how can you use long-tail keywords?


Well, if your business sells classic furniture, it’s unlikely that your website will be at the top of an organic search for “furniture”, as there is so much competition - especially if you’re a small business.


But if you specialize in a specific style, such as contemporary art-deco furniture for example, then using long-tail keywords like “contemporary Art Deco-influenced lounge” will significantly help customers find your products.


When you are targeting long-tail keywords, you will also eventually rank for short-tail versions as well.


WordStream makes it super easy for you to find long-tail keywords, just type in the keyword you’d like to research.

Long-tail Keywords

4. Create Longer Content

According to Neil Patel, a digital marketing genius, the more content you have on your website, the more Google can index you for different terms.


In other words, long-form content can increase the amount of traffic your website can potentially get.


He claims that pages with more than 2,200 words tend to perform better than those which only have 500-700 words.


But make sure you first check the search results on Google, before you decide to write longer content.


In general, longer content is preferred, but there are some queries for which users will prefer a short and simple answer.


SerpIQ conducted a study charting the top 10 results in search queries by content length.

Content Length of top 10 results

The first result has 2,452 words and the 10th result has 2,032 words. 


This shows that Google does in fact prefer websites with longer content.


While more content generally means better search rankings, it isn’t exactly just as simple as writing longer content and then suddenly getting better search results.


It’s actually got more to do with the number of backlinks.


It has been proven that longer content has a greater probability of producing quality backlinks, which contribute significantly to improving search rankings.


Hubspot illustrates the correlation between content length and backlinks.

correlation between content length and backlinks

So, what’s backlinking all about?

5. Use Backlinking

Backlinking

It’s pretty simple how this all works.


Basically, a backlink is a link that’s created when a website links to another, as shown above.


It’s quite an important feature for SEO, as it essentially tells the search engines that other websites can corroborate their content.


It’s really important that you only link to accurate and relevant websites.


If you link to any old random website with minimum credentials and errors in their content, it’s not going to look good.


And, of course, the more accurate your content, the more you can build up an authoritative reputation - which will do wonders for your SEO.


If several websites link to the same website, then search engines can determine that content as link-worthy, which means it’s also worth showing up on a search engine result page (SERP).


So, backlinks can really have a positive effect on a website's search visibility or ranking position.


So, get searching and make sure you’re linking the most relevant and accurate sources out there!

6. Use Internal linking

Internal linking

Your website is essentially just an interconnection of pages.


Whatever kind of SEO and user experience issues your site may have, the problem always lies in its two most basic elements:

  • The page itself
  • The connections between them (the internal links)

Regardless of whether you’re launching your new website, restructuring, or refreshing your existing content/site, your internal link structure will always be essential to your website’s SEO success.


If your website doesn’t have an internal linking strategy, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.


You’re missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your SEO while simultaneously creating a website that is more user-friendly.


Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.


Here’s why you should include internal links:

  • Connecting web pages and building authority: this gives search engines an idea of your website structure, allowing it to establish a hierarchy. This then gives the most important pages on your website more link value.
  • Improving user experience and usability: It’s so much easier for users to view other pages, instead of having to manually open another tab and search for it themselves.

Your anchor texts (the blue, clickable text with the internal link) need to be relevant and grab your readers’ interest.


Make sure that these pages open in a new tab, so that the user can continue reading and then go to the next page once they’re finished.

7. Include Translations

Just as longer content will help a website to get more organic traffic, the same concept applies to translations.


Translated content is filled with SEO-rich keywordswhich will help tremendously with search engine results when users search in their preferred languages.


It will also help you stand out from the competitors who don’t offer translations.


You can use WMPL to translate your site into many different languages, or hire a qualified translator on Upwork.

WMPL

Look at your data, and identify where most of your users are from, and then make sure your website is providing your content in those specific languages.


It is a good idea to include languages that are most widely spoken on the internet.

languages most spoken on the internet.

8. Use Web Analytics

Web Analytics

It’s so important to track your progress.


Regardless of your business’ purpose - whether it’s an eCommerce website or just a blog, it’s vital to have a good understanding of your users’ behavior.


This is where using analytics comes in handy!


SEO analytics includes the process of collecting, tracking, and then analyzing all your marketing data to increase your website’s organic traffic.


So, what SEO analytics tools are available to you?


The most commonly used free SEO analytics tool is Google Analytics (GA).


Google Analytics Reporting can be used to monitor and improve your website’s SEO performance.


GA can provide a thorough, detailed report of the pages, as well as provide you with a myriad of useful data.


These include:

  • The age, gender, and location of the users
  • The devices they are using to access your website
  • The conversion value that each social platform is bringing
  • The amount of traffic that is coming from social referrals

And a whole lot more.


Businesses can also use GA for a number of different reasons.

Google Analytics

Here are some of the best ways that you can track your SEO efforts with Google Analytics:

8.1. Sync up with your Google Search Console account

According to Leadhub’s Kim Doughty, the number one thing you need to do is sync up your GA with your Google Search Console account (GSC).


By linking GA and GSC together, you’re able to use queries to identify any improvement opportunities with particular target keywords and the pages you’d like to rank for.


GSC tells you which keywords users are searching to find your content, which content they’re finding, and where it’s ranking on Google search results pages.


This is great because you can then analyze the data and determine ways to improve the optimization of your pages, so you stand a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google.

Google Search Console account

By using the GSC data, you’ll be able to A/B test title tags and meta descriptions to ensure a higher search click-through rate over time.

Jonathan Aufray Quote's

8.2. Compare your organic and non-organic users

Analysing

Organic traffic comes from users who enter a search query and then click on your website that is displayed on the SERP.


Organic traffic is considered more valuable than inorganic traffic, as it naturally occurs, and websites don’t pay for it.


Comparing your organic and non-organic users is a great way to understand which of your pages tend to rank well, but it also helps to better understand where your traffic comes from in general.


If your SEO efforts have been successful, you’ll naturally see an increase in organic traffic and metrics.


But if you exclude the organic traffic, you’ll be able to identify any poor user experience (UX) or design which should be improved, to help as an additional boost to SEO efforts.

8.3. Track your top-performing landing pages

Tracking your top landing pages is such an underrated SEO trick.


It can help you increase your site’s page views, reduce bounce rate and determine the most and least successful converting pages.


Some suggest going through your top 10 landing pages each month, and then optimizing them for:

  • Conversion
  • Easy readability and user intent (decreasing pogo-sticking and increasing dwell time)
  • Google’s ‘freshness’ algorithm (making sure content is kept up-to-date)

This method can indicate which content pages are driving the biggest source of web traffic (such as Google searches or social media).


It also enables you to evaluate your content and determine which kind of content is the most successful, so you can adjust your strategy and make any necessary changes to underperforming pages.

evaluate your content

9. Update Existing Content

Google

Google’s algorithms are always changing SERPs for the better, by showing results in a way that is logical, and easy-to-understand.


There are so many web pages available, so Google has come up with clever ways to help sort through all those pages and give you the best quality results.


This algorithm is actually a great feature, especially if you’re searching about current affairs, or the best/top software, jobs, etc., and need the most recently updated, accurate information.


QDF stands for Query Deserves Freshness. If a particular search phrase is a QDF, then Google will show up the most recent results.


Google has actually specified which kind of queries will be affected by the update, these include:

  • Recent events or ‘hot’ topics: Such as any natural disasters or the latest celebrity gossip
  • Frequent updates: Anything that keeps having new content added to it, such as the latest technology or product reviews
  • Regular recurring events: Conferences such as Brand Minds

So, what does this mean for you?


Keep updating your content.


It can be a whole lot less time-consuming if you just go back to your successful pages and update the information, instead of writing brand new content.


You can update your content by:

  • Updating and fixing broken links
  • Adding internal links to recent content
  • Making sure you’re still targeting the right keywords
  • Updating product/app screenshots
  • Combine average-performing content (this will decrease the content on your site, making it faster, and easier to navigate. It will also lengthen, and remove duplicate content which is competing for keywords).

10. Write Powerful Meta-Descriptions

Meta-Descriptions

A meta description is an HTML element that shows as the tiny bit of text on the SERP when users search for something that is related to your page.


It should give users a brief description and summary of what they'll find on your page.


The ideal meta-description should be between 140-160 (max.) characters — any longer and your description won’t fully display, and half of it will be missing.


What does your meta description actually do?

  • It serves as "organic ad text."

This means that when your ad ranks for a keyword, search engines will show the meta description as a summary of the page.


So, what does this mean?

  • A powerful meta description has the ability to increase your click-through-rate.

Google measures click-through-rate (CTR) — so a compelling meta-description that convinces users to click on your website can indirectly improve your rankings by boosting your site’s organic CTR.


How can you write a compelling meta-description?

  • Use researched, targeted keywords
  • Stick to your brand’s tone
  • Always mention the benefits and value of reading your content
  • Include a call-to-action
  • Write unique and relevant descriptions for each individual page, never have the same description across your entire website
  • Write accurate descriptions, don’t click-bait. That’ll just lead to an increase in your bounce rate.
  • Appeal to their emotion — make them excited to click on your website.

Here are some examples of great meta-descriptions:

meta-descriptions

Why it works: Tesla has written an accurate summary of what their mission is, it evokes excitement, and showcases its benefits — all in only 22 words!

meta-descriptions

Why it works: Uber has added some inspiration and briefly described what its service can offer both the drivers/riders all in 160 characters.


If you need any additional help, you can read this SEO basics guide or learn how to optimize your organic CTR.

11. Optimize for RankBrain

Google RankBrain

RankBrain is Google’s third most important ranking signal.


It is all about better understanding the search intent of users.


If a user was to search ‘iPhone repairs’, Google will automatically understand that the user is looking for places where they can get their iPhone repaired, and will show different repair stores.


But if a user was to search ‘how to repair my iPhone’, Google would show them Youtube tutorials and other kinds of tutorials on how to fix it themselves first, and only show Apple support stores below those tutorials.


It understands exactly what you’re looking for.


Optimizing for RankBrain is super easy.


You just need to do your research and select the correct keywords.


For certain keywords, Google will show a lot of videos, or a bunch of news websites — if the results are ideal for you, then stick to those keywords.


If they’re not, try using some other keywords.


It’s really that simple!

12. Take Advantage of Youtube

Youtube logo

So, Google is a huge search engine, sure, but if you’re ignoring other search engines, you’re just doing yourself a disservice.


Let’s talk about Youtube now.


With around 1.86 billion users, we don’t think an introduction is even necessary.

Youtube users

12.1. Find video keywords

YouTube’s keywords are a bit different.


For example, the most common keywords on Youtube usually start with, “how to”.


So, use Ubersuggest and check how many monthly searches your keywords get.

Keyword ideas
  • Vol (volume) – the amount of searches the keyword gets on Google each month.
  • CPC (cost per click) – the average cost per click for the keyword on Google Adverts.
  • PD (paid difficulty) – the estimated competition you can find in paid searches.
  • SD (search difficulty) - the estimated competition you can find in organic searches.

You can also then filter these settings:

12.2. Pay special attention to your video title

Just like you optimize your headlines, you’ve got to do the same with your video titles.

Your titles need to tell users what they can expect in your video, as well as the benefits of watching your video.

Make sure it’s intriguing and inviting.

Here are some tips on how to write a Youtube video title

12.3. Don’t forget about your video description

This is kind of like your meta-description on a blog.


In your Youtube video’s description, you should describe the video in about 200-300 words and include 1-2 keywords.

12.4. Encourage people to comment, like, and subscribe

YouTube will always show content that’s popular.


Comments, likes, and subscriptions are some of the ways the Youtube algorithm is able to identify which content is most popular with its users.


One way to get a discussion going in the comments, is to end off your video with a question, such as, “What was your favorite part of this video?”, or “Comment your favorite X”.


Your subscription number is super important when it comes to Youtube.


Likes and comments are always helpful, but Youtube just sees that as users enjoying one piece of your content.


Subscribing, on the other hand, tells Youtube that users want to see all of your content in the future.


Youtube interprets channels with a large number of subscribers as providing a lot of value to its users, so they’ll obviously rank up channels with a lot of subscribers.


For more tips and tricks on how to get more subscribers, click here.

13. Create a Simple, Yet Accurate URL Structure

URL Structure

URLs are not something that should be overlooked.


They give weight to the authority of a domain itself, and the keywords used can act as a ranking factor.


Here are some of the best tips for a search engine optimized URL:

  • Keep it short and sweet

It’s always a good idea to keep the URL short. It’s important that you don’t just fill it up with random, unnecessary words by keyword stuffing.


This also means not including words such as “the, or, but, an, of” etc.

  • Use keywords

Using keywords in your URL can improve your site’s visibility.


If your content includes blogging tips, you could name your URL something as simple as “(domain name)/best-blogging-tips”.


This is a great URL as it very clearly shows both the search engines and users exactly what the content is about.

  • Use hyphens to separate words

Don’t ever use underscores or spaces to separate words.


Only use hyphens, as this signals to Google that there is a break between words, and also makes it much easier for users to understand.

  • Use canonical tags where necessary

These tags will tell search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page.


By using canonical tags, you can prevent problems caused by identical or "duplicate" content that appears on multiple URLs.


According to HostGator, “The most common version of this is when you have web pages for both http://yourwebsite.comand www.yourwebsite.com, or if you have a secure version of a page at https://yourwebsite.comalong with the two versions mentioned above.


Whatever the reason, you want each URL for the same page to be consolidated in the eyes of Google so that a link back to one of them counts for all versions.”


Basically, the canonical tag will tell search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.


Click here for more information on SEO best practices for canonical URLs.

14. Compare with Competitors

Competitors

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your competitors even closer.


By keeping a close eye on them, you can learn their behavior and start to predict their next move.


You can also minimize your risks by letting them run with the new, latest methods of marketing, and observe their customers’ reactions.


This way, you can see what is working, and what isn’t, and add your own special tweaks to improve it.


Look at their website, and see if you like their layout, designs, etc. You could incorporate some of their strategies.


Alexa.com is a free tool that you can use to find out how popular a website is. It will show the web traffic data for anywebsite.


Another good way to compare with your competitors, is to ask their customers questions directly.


You could do a survey, asking them which products/services are of biggest value to them and why, which alternative businesses they use, or why they don’t use any alternative.


This is also a great way to make their customers familiar with your brand and to start a relationship with your business.

15. Prepare for ‘People Also Ask’

People Also Ask

How many times have you searched something, and then seen a question under the People also ask(PAA) section that grabbed your attention?


You just couldn’t help but click on it and want to know the answer for that too, right?

Well, you’re not alone.


Tons of people do that, and that’s exactly why you need to be optimizing for it.


This Organic Research report features the SERP for each keyword — this means you can see which related questions you can target with your content to get into the PAA table and increase your visibility.

Organic Research

By using Organic Research, you can spot which of your competitors’ high-ranking keywords aren’t making them appear in SERP features and optimize for that vacancy.


So, now how exactly do you prepare for PAA?


You should use the AlsoAsked.com tool, which automatically shows Google’s PAA data, including this diagram of the subsequent results which follow when questions get clicked.

 AlsoAsked.com tool

15.1. Create better content

The PAA boxes often provide insight into the related things that users want to know.


Including these answers in your site’s content can result in more thorough content that will satisfy user intent.


For example, if you search “Best blogging tips”, these are the PAA results.

People also ask

You should include these PAA results in your article, such as what kind of blog is best for beginners, and some links to some successful blogs so they can get a better understanding of what they should strive towards.

15.2. Give better answers to branded queries

There are not a lot of branded queries in general, but people tend to search for them when they are close to conversion.

If they get any information that is inaccurate or by any means misleading, it can result in them choosing not to make a purchase.

For example, take a look at the answer to this question when you search for ‘QuickBooks’:

search for ‘QuickBooks’

Here, Zipbooks, a competitor of Quickbooks, is suggesting ways to illegally get access to Quickbooks’ service.


This is really bad as users can follow this advice, and use their service for free (illegally) - which means Quickbooks will be losing out on customers.


So, Quickbooks needs to optimize their site for this PAA to fix this.

16. Conclusion

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, SEO is super important for your site to succeed.


If your traffic is lacking, and your conversion rates are looking a little sad, the chances are, your site is just not optimized for search engines.


There’s plenty of tips, tricks, and techniques out there to improve your SEO, but we’ve just given you the best 15, so your endless search to boost organic traffic can finally come to an end.


With such a promising future of algorithms, it’s time to start catering for them — what are you waiting for?

Other resources about SEO that might interest you:

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