I’m excited to introduce the team at Surefire Social as today’s GuildQuality guest bloggers. Surefire Social offers businesses a web-based, social media-driven powerhouse of local lead generation strategies that deliver consistent outcomes by taking the mystery out of digital marketing. I’ve asked their marketing experts to pen a post sharing tips for improving search engine rank. If you find Surefire’s tips useful, take a look at their company blog for more valuable marketing best practices.
If you want your website to be seen, you have to be willing to play the SEO game. Today, search engines are calling the shots when it comes to which websites are going to be found and which ones are getting the boot. Fortunately, there are a few time tested, successful methods for improving search engine rank.
1. Define Keywords and Phrases
When it comes to search engine rank, some SEOs have argued that keywords are no longer necessary. Changes in Google algorithms have indeed changed the way keywords are viewed, so that “keyword stuffing” has become irrelevant and actually detrimental. However, tastefully used, well-researched keywords are still extremely valuable.
With this in mind, make a list of keywords and phrases that you are trying to target and use them in a strategic way across your website. Do not stuff keywords or use keywords that are irrelevant to the site. Be specific and local with your terms. Rather than “remodeler” or “roofer” use “Chicago kitchen remodeler” or “roofing specialists in Georgia”.
2. Move from Content as Links to People as Links
Google has begun using people as links rather than content as links. Although it hasn’t been released yet, AuthorRank is going to be a major ranking factor in Google Search. To take full advantage of this move, use Google Authorship. This tool links your personal Google+ profile to each of your published works, like blog posts and articles. When your content shows up in Google’s search results, viewers will also see your photo. Authorship shows customers you are an expert in your industry, but more importantly, it influences Google rankings. To learn how to successfully set up Authorship, check out our Ultimate Google Magnet handbook.
3. Optimize HTML Meta Data
Meta data is designed for search bots and can aid in search engine rank when used appropriately. Use keywords and phrases within the HTML title tags and descriptive text. Don’t worry about the meta keyword data; most search engines now refer to the actual content on a site to determine relevance.
4. You Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media Anymore
The rules of local SEO have changed. You must use social media and SEO together to create a successful online presence. Facebook shares and comments are now ranked higher in SEO ranking factors than back-links, according to a 2012 SEO Ranking Factors study. Google looks at social media activity to see what people want to see in Google Search and uses that information as a deciding factor in rankings. Make sure you are regularly updating all social media networks with new and interesting content that attracts users.
5. Content is King
Google loves fresh, informative content. To win rankings, update your site on a regular basis with new blogs, infographics, handbooks, and landing pages that are helpful and interesting to your viewers. You may have a beautifully designed website, but without fresh content, you will not rank well in Google. Also, keep in mind that the better the content, the more people are going to “Like”, comment and share on social media sites which boosts search rankings dramatically.
6. Get Social with Content Distribution
Once you have a process in place for creating fresh, new content, you can establish a powerful digital footprint by distributing that content on major social media networks, social sharing sites and guest blogging sites.
7. Establish Validity through Reviews and Testimonials
A steady stream of reviews and testimonials develops social proof about your company. Ask your customers to leave reviews on your company’s Google+Local page. Then add a landing page on your website to feature those reviews. People love videos so share your customers’ praises on YouTube and other social media networks. When viewers see and hear from your happy customers, they will be much more likely to use your services. Of course GuildQuality’s customer satisfaction surveying solution is a great way to leverage customer feedback to better your online reputation and build repeat business.
8. Think Local
Google is quickly moving to local search, so you must follow in Google’s footsteps in order to rank. A Google+ business page gives your business authority in Google’s eyes and offers potential customers another outlet for finding information. Make sure your business is optimizing its page with backlinks and relevant keywords. But it doesn’t stop there. Dedicate someone to constantly update your page with new content to engage viewers and win Google rankings.
9. The Power of Back-Links
Paying for links is a waste of money; it won’t work. To take full advantage of the power of back-links, you need to score links from high-quality sources. A great way to do this is to guest blog on highly credible sites, with a page rank of 5 and above. You can figure out the page ranks of sites using a variety of free rank checker tools like SEOBook Rank Checker.
10. Never Deploy Black Hat Tricks
Some people use hidden text, cloaking and other tactics to fool a search engine into ranking their site high. Don’t do it. These attempts will backfire and have you blacklisted in no time.