When consumers are looking for answers to their questions online, there’s one place they turn: Google. In order to drive traffic to your site, you’ll need to perform well in search engine rankings. To do this, you’ll need a well-rounded SEO strategy. Here are six SEO secrets to help you boost your digital ranking.
1. Create Relevant Content With the E-E-A-T Framework
Google’s ranking algorithm focuses on creating the best possible experience for users. SEO techniques like keyword strategy and backlinking will always be important, but your content also needs to be informative and relevant to your readers.
This is where the E-E-A-T framework comes in. E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authority, and trust. This is a set of guidelines that Google emphasizes in their algorithm, and following this framework will help your content rank more competitively.
E-E-A-T starts with finding the right content creators, ideally ones who can write about a topic directly from their lived experience. For example, when posting a product review, writers should have used the product themselves.
To demonstrate expertise, add author bios to each piece of content showcasing relevant education, work experience, or connections. To build trust, you’ll need to create content that is credible. Always cite reputable sources and make sure your website itself is safe to use.
Of the four EEAT components, authority takes the most time to build. Google measures authority through high-quality backlinks. Writing superior content will inherently make your site a linkable asset trustworthy outlets will want to link to.
2. Build Out Content Pillars
To make sure you’re covering SEO topics and keywords that are relevant to your audience, use a content pillar strategy. Content pillars are sets of topics that your site can use to build an overarching content strategy.
This starts with a main pillar page, which features long-form, evergreen content on your chosen pillar topic. You then break down this topic into subtopics, or clusters, and use these clusters to create shorter, more descriptive pieces. So for instance, a beauty products retailer may have pillars on makeup, fragrance, skin care, and hair care. The hair care pillar, in turn, might feature clusters on shampoos, conditioners, hair treatments, and styling tools.
By covering your chosen topics extensively, you’ll have opportunities to target a huge variety of quality short-tail, long-tail, and semantically-related keywords. By creating blog posts that answer your users’ specific questions and linking them to your pillars, you can build out your internal links and improve your SEO efforts.
3. Focus on Featured Snippets
One of the best ways to fast-track your site’s growth is to land in Google’s featured snippet section. A featured snippet is the excerpt listed at the top of Google’s results page. It features two to three sentences that best answer a user’s query.
Because these snippets are featured so prominently, landing this coveted spot can dramatically improve your web traffic. To land your website in a featured snippet, start with in-depth keyword research. Use tools like the Google Search Console or a third-party tool like SEMRush to identify long-tail keywords with low competition. These keywords should be directly relevant to your industry and your audience.
When writing and formatting your content, make sure it thoroughly answers the query you’re targeting. This could mean including a concise, two-sentence definition, a bulleted list, or a table. This structure should work naturally with the rest of your content — don’t try to force it.
4. Optimize Your Images
When optimizing your website, it’s easy to focus entirely on written content and forget about images. However, Google considers images when ranking pages, so don’t overlook them.
High-quality images create a better experience for users. Choose images that are clear and relevant to the topic at hand. Don’t be afraid to create your own graphics or charts as well. Producing your own images makes your content more “linkable” and can help you attract backlinks naturally.
Each image should be properly aligned within the page layout. Don’t neglect your mobile layout — images need to flow naturally, regardless of which device your reader is browsing on. Your images should also be an appropriate size for the page, and file sizes shouldn’t inhibit fast loading.
Google also values accessibility, so be sure to add a descriptive title, alt text, and file name for each image. Add relevant keywords you’d like to target where they fit naturally in these image tags.
5. Improve Your Site’s Load Times
No one likes a slow website, including Google. Fast load times are key to a positive online experience, so the search algorithm takes this into consideration when ranking sites.
Google has their own tool, PageSpeed Insights, that allows you to test your website’s load time and identify potential issues. There are also a variety of third-party testing tools on the market. These will help you find and correct more specific speed issues, such as problematic HTTP requests and external scripts.
Start by selecting a web host that consistently delivers fast load times for clients. As noted above, you’ll also need to keep an eye on file sizes across your entire site. Files that are too large can prevent your pages from loading quickly and hurt your overall SEO.
6. Network to Build Backlinks
Backlinks are links from another website to your website, and they’re a key component of any SEO strategy. High-quality content should generate some backlinks on its own, but you’ll also need to network to proactively get your own backlinks.
One way to do this is by partnering with other sites in your industry to share expertise through guest posts and content partnerships. Not only does this give you link-building opportunities, but it’s also a creative way to boost your brand awareness.
Another way to find backlinking opportunities is to look at what your competitors are doing. Many popular SEO tools have features to help you identify your competitors based on keywords and assess their strategy. Look at where they’re getting their backlinks and reach out directly to any linking partners that might be a good fit.
Over the years, Google’s algorithm has evolved to value high-quality content and a great user experience. By keeping your target audience front and center when developing your SEO strategy, you’ll maximize your results.