1. It will take time.
As a Search Engine Optimization (seo) specialist for the last several years, people often ask me, “isn’t seo a hassle?” Without beating around the bush, the short answer is unequivocally, yes. So, if you are impatient or on a short time crunch, I would stop reading here and open up a Google Ads account and subscribe to the “pay to play” model where you are paying for a particular amount of clicks and hoping that your web design is good enough to convert those clicks into your given actions.
However, if you are trying to build a structurally sound business for the long-term, seo is the answer. To take context into consideration, now more than ever, prospective clients aren’t as receptive to the traditional cold call sales pitch. When people need a service or a product, they are more than happy to do the research themselves and search for answers online. It is for that exact reason that seo will provide a greater return on your investment than the traditional sales approach.
Keep in mind, building a site and committing to long-term seo could take a full year before you begin to see the fruits of your labor – stay patient.
2. Keep track of your changes
Effort is great but it’s not enough on its own. Keep track of the changes you make in your email calendar at the very least. Throughout your seo journey you will need to tinker along the way. More important than the adjustments themselves is knowing what changes had certain impacts. Otherwise, you are merely throwing darts at a wall with your eyes closed. Yes, you might hit the board once in a while, but you will never know why or how to duplicate it.
3. SEO is not a linear path
This is where I see the inexperienced seo specialists get dejected. Many people that work in seo believe that any and all efforts should be rewarded; this is simply not the case, nor should it be. You can make on-site and off-site changes to your seo strategy (and I will go over those shortly) and some of which will yield great increases in web traffic while others will cripple your traffic. You need to have Google Search Console and Google Analytics set up for your website. Both of these tools are made by Google and are 100% free to use. They will provide you with a greater understanding of how people are reaching your site and what they are doing on your site once they are there.
The underlying matter is to keep learning. Look no further than the screenshot below for Silver Immigration, a 1.6% Click through rate is not particularly good. It is something we are continuously trying to improve upon. Like I said, seo is not a linear path and it never will be.
4. When you find out what works, double down on it.
I know this might sound obvious, but it is not for many. We’ve gone over the importance of tinkering, keeping track of your changes and that seo is not a linear path; all of that is very much understood now.
Where people often times run into trouble is, once they find something that works, not knowing how to capitalize on that particular strategy. For example, you started a blog for your website to create content and rank for specific keywords. You have set up your SEMrush account and are able to track the overall increases. Granted that making content requires time, effort and money; you’ve already committed to seo and you understand the importance of it in relation to your business. Whether it is a blog or off-site optimizations, once you find the answers to the test, don’t be afraid to double down!
5. On-site SEO
I like to break down on-site seo into three key categories. Briefly, on-site seo are the changes you make to your actual site to increase your rankings throughout the search engines (i.e., Google).
- Content – whether you are posting on your weekly blog or updating your services pages, Google wants to see that you are making an honest effort to improve your site’s usability.
- SEO titles and meta tags – these will directly impact your keywords and your click-through rates. On the screenshot to the right, the seo titles would be the writing in blue while the meta tags would be the writing in grey, right below the blue writing. The seo titles and meta tags let users know what they will find on those specific links. So, make sure your titles and tags are appealing as well as accurate because nothing upsets Google quite like a high bounce rate (the % of people that leave your site after only visiting one page).
- Site speed – it’s an old story but it must be discussed. No one wants to browse on a slow website regardless of how important their search is. Use GT Metrix to measure and optimize your site’s speed. Once you do so, you’ll attract more visitors to your site and those visitors will browse through more pages and consume more of your content.
6. Off site seo – backlink
Google monitors the quality of links leaving your site (outbound links) and the quality of links referring back to your site (inbound links). For instance, Silver Immigration is a Montreal based law firm that specializes in US Immigration Law. That being said, we have tons of outbound links to the Department of Homeland Security and other reputable sites where users would be able to find important information.
In terms of inbound links, like outbound links, Google wants to see if reputable sites are referring traffic towards your site. So, when it comes to building back links, I always stress quality over quantity in the modern era of seo.
7. Google is smarter than you & I, don’t forget that!
If you have made it this far, let me leave you with the most important tip for last, and any seo specialist/guru/expert will agree with this. DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS. If you are going to try and purchase backlinks, keyword stuff or other black hat strategies; Google is lightyears ahead of you in terms of detection. Google will never release their seo algorithm for that exact reason. But if you are patient and do things the right way from the start, you have a fighting chance to build something special.