SEO isn’t dead, and will never be as long as search engines exist. With the rise of social media marketing, content marketing, mobile marketing, and other effective digital marketing strategies, SEO will not die but will only evolve, adapt, and integrate as an essential ingredient to a more powerful overall marketing strategy.
Google alone receives almost 6 billion average searches per day. So, if you want to increase your brand awareness, website traffic, leads, revenues, and even customer loyalty, search engine optimization is one important element that should be mixed in your strategy. Here are 34 actionable SEO tips to improve your brand’s search engine visibility.
1. Conduct an SEO audit on your site. Fix the errors that might affect your search engine rankings. Use Screaming Frog and Google Webmaster Tools to identify errors, such as 404 errors, canonical errors, broken links, redirects, and sitemap errors. Aside from using those tools, do a manual assessment or investigation on your site to evaluate the quality of its content and UX (user experience).
2. Make your website or blog mobile-friendly. If you are using WordPress, check if your WordPress theme is already mobile-friendly, built with HTML5, and fast. If not, start changing it now. Try to search your website on Google using your mobile phone. If your website is friendly to mobile users, Google will indicate it as mobile-friendly.
3. Use long-tail keyword according to your target geographic location. Be more descriptive with your titles and meta description based on your target location. For instance, instead of just using the title “strategic digital marketing services for small businesses” use “strategic digital marketing services for small businesses in Australia”. This SEO tactic doesn’t only improve your local search engine visibility, but it also helps you reach your target customers.
4. Use long-tail keyword according to your target period of time. Be more specific with your titles and descriptions with regard to time, especially when publishing articles or blog posts. For example, instead of just publishing a blog post titled “20 Online Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners”, consider the title “20 Online Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners in 2015″. This way, you’re sending a message to search engines and users that your content is up-to-date. You can do that tactic every year.
5. Update the copyright notice in your website’s footer. Some websites do not automatically update the year in their copyright notice so it stays outdated. Since footers are shown on every page of your website, search engines might interpret your entire website as out of date.
6. Use meaningful words rather than just exact keyword matches. Stop being a robot, start becoming a more engaging human writer or content creator. Google’s algorithm uses Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which gives it the ability to recognize different words or search terms with the same meaning. Thus, instead of sticking to using titles and meta descriptions that match your exact keyword, use the ones that are more engaging. For example, if you want to rank with the keywords “marketing strategies for business”, don’t just use that as your exact title but use a title like “12 Effective and Proven Marketing Strategies for Business Owners” which is more appealing to humans.
7. Research and analyze your competition. Using your niche, products, and location (e.g., fine dining restaurants in New York) as your search term, use Google to search companies and websites that could be your competitors. You can also utilize SimilarSites to find similar websites according to visitors, searches, and topics. After identifying your competitors, do some spying like understanding their websites’ SEO strength/weaknesses, quality of content, and the people behind them.
8. Identify the keywords used by your competitors. Use tools such as Semrush, Keywordspy, Ahrefs, and MOZ research tools to identify your competitors’ keywords, backlinks, rankings, and domain/page authority. By knowing and understanding your SEO competition, you can create SEO strategies and tactics that will give you a better chance to outrank your competitors on SERPs.
9. Provide the best content on SERPs. Before writing or creating a blog post, search first its title on Google to identify similar blog posts or content that were already indexed by the search engine. Visit, read, and analyze those similar blog posts to assess their quality. Then, create a blog post that can beat all the blog posts that are currently indexed by Google.
For example, if you’re planning to write an article titled “10 Digital Marketing Tips for Business Owners”, search that title first on Google to check previously published articles with the same topic. If a competitor has already published an article titled “20 Digital Marketing Tips for Business Owners”, write “25 or More Effective Digital Marketing Tips for Business Owners”. Your goal here is to supply the search engines and the people with richer, fresher, and better content than ever.
10. Regain your previously held high rankings. You may be at the top of Google for a certain keyword through your awesome content a year ago. But due to the multitude of fresh related content being created by publishers and indexed by Google every day, your content may have already been kicked out from the first page of Google. Thus, monitor the search engine rankings or positions of your old content. Check new competitors that may have already outranked your content. To regain the keywords you have once claimed at the top of Google, update your old content. Create fresher and better content to keep your website or page competitive.
11. Use more relevant and engaging images. To increase your search engine visibility, improve your visibility in search engines’ image results. Use relevant images with the right title tags, alt-texts, and meta descriptions on your pages or blog posts. Using Screaming Frog (see tip #1), identify your existing images used on your website or blog that don’t have related titles, al-texts and descriptions yet. Once identified, do the necessary actions.
Remember that relevant and useful pictures make your pages and posts more interesting to view, read, and even share. They also increase your site’s bounce rate and credibility.
12. Do video marketing. Increase your search engine visibility by improving your brand’s visibility on search engine video results page. An effective tactic is to produce useful videos and upload them at your YouTube Channel. If you want to optimize your business for Google, do it also for YouTube, which is also owned by Google and is considered one of the largest search engines in the world.
13. Develop an app for your business. Do you have resources for developing an app for your target customers or audience? Do you think it is practical? To be more visible in search engines, be visible on Google’s App search results. Hire an app developer to develop your business app. Then, upload it on iTunes or Google Play for download by your target users.
14. Write and publish an eBook. Aside from ranking on Google’s web, image, video, and app search results, you can also try ranking on Google’s book search results to ensure search engine visibility for your brand. If you’re blogging for your business, you can try compiling your best and related blog posts, then publish them as one eBook at Google books.
15. Increase your visibility in search engine news results. Reach out news publications and websites to write about your business. If you’re blogging about the latest news and trends in your industry (e.g., business or technology), submit your blog at Google News and Yahoo News.
16. Claim your business listing in local directories. Don’t forget to be visible on Google Map search. Submit your business listing at Google My Business and verify your location. Furthermore, claim your business listing on Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local Listing, Yelp, Foursquare, and other local directories.
17. Get your products reviewed and rated on review sites. Reviews and ratings left at authority sites like Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor appear and rank high on SERPs. Hence, if you want to achieve higher search engine visibility, get your business reviewed by your customers who are registered users of those review sites. Of course, always make your customers happy, so that they will tell great stories about your brand, not the other way around.
18. Participate in Google’s other content programs. Aside from Google News, Google Books, Google Maps, and video search, there are still other content programs that Google offers to individual and business publishers to increase their online visibility. Some of these programs include shopping search, scholarly works, and commerce search. Check out all of Google’s content programs to see what programs are best or applicable for you.
19. Create and verify your social media accounts. Increase your social media authority and influence by creating social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Get your social media accounts verified to increase customers’ trust and distinguish it from fake accounts. Furthermore, verify your website that is linked to your social media accounts, so that search engines will know that your website is the official site associated with those accounts.
20. Share more types of content. Create more useful content such as documents, presentations, infographics, and mini-infographics. Share your documents and presentations on your Slideshare.net and Scribd accounts. Share your infographics and mini-infographics on your blog and social media channels to increase social media engagements (i.e., likes, comments, and shares).
21. Encourage your visitors to share your content on social media. Install social media sharing plugin like Digg for WordPress on your website and blogs to give your visitors a convenient way to share your content across various social media platforms. The more shares your content will have, the more social authority signal it will convey to search engines to rank your business higher on search engines.
22. Invest in social media ads. Boost your best blog posts posted on social media with ads like Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedIn Ads to increase your content’s virality and social media authority. If you want to improve your search engine visibility, boost your social media visibility too.
23. Interact with the people who engage your content on social media. Using the app Buzzsumo, identify your content’s sharers on social media. Interact with them like giving thanks or leaving comments on your content that they shared. This conversation marketing tactic helps you get closer to your audience/users and create relationship with them. It also improves engagements in your content on social media.
24. Optimize your reputation. Optimizing your business for the search engines doesn’t only mean ranking it higher in search engine result pages. SEO is also about optimizing your brand’s integrity and customer feedback, especially those that will appear on SERPs. Therefore, manage your online reputation. Read my 22 Tips to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation.
25. Publish top or list articles. To earn high-quality backlinks, get the attention of reputable people or influencers in your related industry. Publish a blog post like the top 20 blogs in your niche. With that kind of article, you are giving a recommendation of blogs to read by your target audience. Hence, be careful and come up with a reliable list. Once you’ve done it right, expect some of the bloggers in your list to blog about it and link back to your article. To ensure that your article will get their attention, do an outreach activity like sending them an email or mentioning them in your tweets about your blog post.
26. Publish comprehensive and in-depth content. Comprehensive articles, rich infographics, research papers, and other intense contents are more likely to be made as reference by other publishers in your related niche. Hence, to increase your quality inbound links and search engine visibility, increase your content intensity.
27. Make your content credible. Cite reliable references or outbound links to give your content more credibility. Remember that SEO isn’t only about what you show to the search engines but also what you show and prove to your users. When you’re passing juice links to high-authority and relevant sites, you are also building relativity and connectivity to those sites, giving search engines a signal that your site is related to them.
28. Help other related sites fix their broken links. Do outreach and recommend your site or content to publishers who will need them. Fix their broken links or improve their content’s reliability by offering your content as a valuable reference.
29. Put your overall content in harmony. Link your content to other related contents on your site, so that your readers or users can find the doors if they want to explore and go further within your site. A website with a good internal linking structure also helps search engines easily find your related contents and avoid getting lost in your site.
30. Create a sitemap and submit your site to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. This will help you ensure that your pages are all indexed by search engines. Webmaster tools will also help you monitor the health of your website and identify errors so you can fix them (see tip #1).
31. Make valuable comments on relevant high-authority sites. Do it to build relationships with other bloggers, not just to earn backlinks. Though you may not earn a do follow link, having conversation with other bloggers through commenting will give you benefits such as driving traffic, improving brand awareness, and even making some friends that could lead to natural inbound links.
32. Contribute high-quality guest posts for authority sites in your industry. Do it even without a do follow backlink. A link is a link. It gives you relevant traffic and loyal readers that may improve your bounce-rate and increase your conversion rate.
33. Improve your website’s UX. Reevaluate your site’s architectural structure and navigability. Remove redundant banners or excessive advertisements that may ruin users’ great experience. Improve your site’s speed. Create useful call-to actions that will guide your visitors what’s the best thing to do next. Don’t forget that the essence of search engine optimization is to optimize your users’ experience and make them happy.
34. Increase your visibility beyond search engines. Search engines only reflect what you have done in your business, whether you’ve done it online or off. What you do to your customers and even to your community echo in the online world. Therefore, do your social responsibility like helping your community, assisting non-profit organizations, and fulfilling your cause. When you’re active in your local community, local media and even government websites will write news about you, which may increase your search engine authority and visibility.
There you are. I hope that those tips above will help your business be more visible in search engines and likable by search engine users. But remember that they are only tips and ideas, and no matter how actionable they are, they will not bear results if you will not execute them. Therefore, if there’s one more important tip I can give you, it is to make actions. Do the tips that you believe are applicable to your brand or business.