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Are you using highly relevant keywords in your headlines? Are you actively building backlinks to your site?
Great. But you need to dig deeper into search engine optimization to get your site’s content all the traffic it’s capable of getting.
I’m going over seven often overlooked techniques step by step. Don’t worry. I’m not going to drown you in jargon or tackle anything super technical.
While I focus on Google – as it’s the most popular search engine by far –these tips can help you get more traffic from other search engines too.
A page needs to be in Google’s index to appear in its results. The index is like a gigantic database of all the webpages in the world. How do you find out whether Google has indexed your page? You can check for individual URLs through the cache method or your overall site with the Google Search Console option.
Use @Google Search Console or the cache method to see if your URLs are indexed, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. #SEO Click To Tweet
Do NOT put a space between the colon and the URL.
If the page isn’t indexed, a 404 error page appears.
If the page is indexed, a cached version appears plus the date it was backed up or saved (i.e., cached) by Google. (Thus, it may not be the current version of the page.)
Using the cache method for an index check has a couple of drawbacks:
Google Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools) allows you to see how Google views your site. It provides information that allows you to optimize your site to get more search engine traffic.
This report shows all the valid pages in Google’s index. It also displays pages with errors and warnings as well as excluded pages.
Use the Google Search Console method to evaluate multiple pages or the whole site. It only takes a few minutes to set up and provides loads of useful data.
If your page looks uninviting in the search results, most people will scroll down and click on a competing page. But if your title tag and meta description are enticing, they’ll click on yours.
If your title tag and meta description are enticing, readers will click, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. #SEO Click To Tweet
In many cases, your well-written headline for the page can simply become the title tag. Sometimes, though, it makes sense to craft a more keyword-focused title tag.
Your meta description tag should summarize your piece and engage the searcher to click to read more. Don’t default to the first sentence of your content.
A few different tools let you see how your title tag and meta description will appear before you publish. I like Google SERP Generator because it lets you play around with different possibilities.
BONUS TIP: You also can modify title tags and meta descriptions for existing pages. Just make sure you don’t alter pages already performing well.
Just as you want to increase the number of people who like the look of your page enough to click on the link, you also want to reduce the number who click but return quickly to the search results.
Improve your #SEO traffic by reducing your click-back rate, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet
Your click-back rate is the percentage of people who return to the search results. A high rate signals to Google that the searcher’s needs weren’t met when viewing your content. (“Needs met” is a criteria considered by Google’s search quality raters when improving the search engine’s algorithms.)
SEO experts also believe Google and other search engines pay attention to dwell time – how long someone spends on the site before returning to the search results.
To reduce your click-back rate and to improve your dwell time, make sure your page:
Getting backlinks to your site from a third party is a great SEO move. But what about internal links? Are you using them as much as you could?
Visitors click on these internal links to see other related content on your site. For example, the three orange-highlighted links in the following excerpt from Jodi Harris’ post Don’t Obsess Over Search Rankings; Do This Instead direct the visitor to other Content Marketing Institute content.
The linking words in the text help Google better understand what your pages are about. They also can elevate reputation (PageRank as Google calls it). If you frequently link to a particular page, Google will see the page as an important one, perhaps a pillar content page.
The more you link to your other pages, the easier it is for your readers to find and consume more of your content – and the easier you make it for search engines to correctly crawl and index your content.
The more you link to your relevant content, the easier it is for your readers to find & consume more of your #content and for search engines to correctly crawl and index it, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. #SEO Click To Tweet
Sometimes backlinks break. You take down a page or change a URL, but the third-party site linking to it hasn’t changed it. But given that backlinks are one of Google’s top ranking factors, it makes sense to fix any broken links.
Plenty of tools like Ahrefs can find your broken backlinks.
Plenty of tools like @Ahrefs can find your broken backlinks, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. #tools #SEO Click To Tweet
Once you find broken backlinks, you can take steps to “fix” them without contacting the referring site:
BONUS TIP: Start with pages that have multiple broken links, then fix pages with just one or two broken links.
Just as you want to fix broken backlinks, you also want to catch missing natural backlinks.
Sometimes people mention your brand on their site or talk about your content but forget to link to it. Fixing this can be as simple as sending an email, but you can’t do that until you know who’s talking about your brand.
Ask people who mention your brand in their #content to include a backlink, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet
One easy and free way of doing this is to set up Google Alerts for your brand name and variations. Then you can click on those mentions to see if the mentioning site links to your site.
Or if your budget allows, you can save time using a tool like BuzzSumo or Ahrefs, which highlight brand mentions without links. Below is an example using BuzzSumo:
Then you can filter to see which sites mention your brand but don’t include a link:
When you notice that your brand is mentioned without a backlink, you can reach out to the company and indicate your appreciation of the mention and ask if they would consider adding a link to your site. It’s surprising how many will, especially when you respond soon after the article was published.
Alexandra Tachalova adds another opportunity to secure more backlinks in her email outreach guide – contact authors (and sites) who have mentioned your brand.
She uses BuzzSumo to find bloggers who regularly post and have mentioned her brand. Then she reaches out to them to see if they would link to her relevant content again in other pieces and pages. Deepening existing relationships can be a big plus in harvesting future backlinks.
Use @buzzsumo to find bloggers who regularly post & have mentioned your brand, says @joetheseo via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet
If you want more search engine traffic (and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?), then these seven tips are great ways to boost your site in Google’s rankings and attract a a bigger – and perhaps more relevant – audience.
Which one will you pick to try this week?
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