Over the last 12 years, we’ve had the privilege of helping dozens of companies from a wide variety of industries with their digital marketing. By “variety”, I mean everything from healthcare and finance services to entertainment and E-commerce.
Regardless of who they are, how they operate, or who they serve, they all have one thing in common: they come to us because they want to be found by their ideal target customer. They have unique knowledge and expertise — far more than they even realize themselves — that they want to transform into valuable content. So they come to us for help. (And we absolutely love it.)
But creating the content itself is useless if their target audience never sees it, which is why we focus so much of our energy on creating not just excellent content, but content that is visible to the right people.
This is where SEO enters the picture. When people are looking for answers, they turn to Google. They type in their search query, containing a keyword, and start browsing through the results to find the answer they’re looking for.
Here’s how it works:
Your target customer types in a search containing a keyword that Google has spotted in one of your blog posts. They click the search result, visit your page, and get the answer they were looking for. It’s so valuable to them that they continue to browse your website where they decide your solution is exactly what they need in their life. They reach out and sign up for your platinum package, and life is good for everyone. Right?
We all know it’s not that simple. There are thousands of variables once your target finally arrives at your website, and converting traffic into leads and leads into customers is its own world altogether.
But that first step — getting your target customer to even see your website in a search result (much less visit it) is a feat in itself. To show up in a Google search result, your page must first rank for a keyword. Then, your page’s keyword ranking must be high enough so that people spot it.
How high is high enough?
Essentially, it must rank on the very first page (top 10 results) to be seen. Practically, it should rank within the top five results.
TL/DR: Keyword rankings matter. A lot.
(For the doubters: When was the last time you visited anything beyond the first page of search results when Googling anything other than yourself? And when was the last time you clicked on a search result past the first page? If you did, you’re one of the few! Only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on a result from the second page.)
To improve your keyword rankings, you have a few options. You could:
- Take up SEO as a new hobby with all your free time; or
- Hire an agency to do it for you.
While I would personally love for you to take Option #2, I understand the DIY route may be more workable for you right now, which is why I’m giving you three strategies for improving your keyword rankings without having to earn a degree in SEO.
Let’s jump in:
1. Boost Your Local Search Rankings
Did you know that almost 50% of all Google searches are for local businesses?
Add the fact that 97% of search engine users have used Google to find local information, and it's easy to see why checking all the boxes for a local SEO strategy is so important.
Boosting your local search rankings can also have a compounding effect on your nationwide or global SEO. As your business’s popularity grows on a local level, you increase your chances of people discussing it online. When they link to your website from their website (i.e. backlinks) Google recognizes this and adjusts your keyword rankings accordingly as a sign of trust.
Here's an easy-to-follow local SEO checklist of best practices to improve your results and give you an edge over your competition.
2. Take Advantage of Internal Link Building
There are three different links you can use on your website.
- Backlinks are links from other websites to your website.
- External links take readers from your site to another website.
- Internal links are links in your website content that connect viewers to other helpful pages on your site.
While the backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO — and also the most difficult to acquire — internal linking is one of the easiest, low-hanging fruit tactics you can use to strengthen your SEO.
Here’s our complete guide and internal playbook on how to implement it:
3. Update Your Best Content
Ranking for more keywords doesn’t mean you need to write completely new content. You can (and should) update your existing content as well. Refreshing your existing content has several key benefits.
First, Google favors refreshed content almost as much as new content. So when you expand and update a post Google recognizes this and will re-crawl the post for new keywords.
Second, you most likely have a few pages that rank higher and get more organic traffic than others on your website. (You can find them by looking into your Google Analytics dashboard).
Over time, though, these rankings will degrade as new content emerges from websites with more backlinks and views. Modifying your existing content helps you retain your existing keyword rankings by keeping your content fresh and up-to-date.
Even though SEO is a huge facet of digital marketing, a lot of it is out of our hands. The Google Gods make the rules we must follow to play the game. They’re often complex and they’re always changing. But these three simple strategies are still effective, and nearly anyone can do them.
(Yes, anyone. Not just digital marketing agencies.)
Choose the strategy that’s most applicable to your business and put your team to work so your target audience can find you.