How can I increase my website’s traffic and search rankings?
This is the most common question I hear from potential and existing customers looking to gain an edge in search rankings and generating more qualified traffic.
And of course, no matter how I try, there is never enough time to sum up all of the SEO actions one can take to increase website traffic and search rankings.
For those who use WordPress, I simply recommend a few general settings changes and the installation of Yoast or All-In-One Webmaster plugins for starters.
Then there are those who have a static website that I recommend content marketing via blogs and articles.
And let us not be quick to forget or diminish the value of social media networks.
Out of all the thoughts previously mentioned, we are barely scratching the surface in addressing the 200+ search ranking factors.
In addition to fielding potential and existing customer SEO questions, I’ve personally had a chance to document the process for creating, developing and sustaining a few niche websites I’ve started in recent weeks.
I tried my very best to document 108 actions I’ve used and followed as my SEO guideline.
Using this exhaustive list of proven SEO actions, every small business owner (that’s you!) can execute these actions on an ongoing basis to increase website traffic and search rankings in hopes capturing qualified customers.
So if you’re ready, let’s get started!
1. Secure and develop keyword domains into value-add microsites that are specific to your line of business
3. Establish and commit to a 2 year plan to use microsites to generate more customers and revenue
Website Architecture & Management
5. Launch or migrate your website to use SSL now that its a ranking factor or search engines
7. Launch or migrate your website to a responsive theme to ensure customers have an optimal user experience when viewing your website from mobile, tablet or desktop
9. Plan your website architecture to be a tent pole or parent-child relationship when structuring pages and keyword links
11. If you use a commenting system, be sure that you use one that allows for comments to be threaded and searchable unlike Facebook comments
12. Disable and remove trackbacks from blog commenting when using a CMS
13. Optimize your website to use Schema.org rich snippets
15. Create a human-readable HTML sitemap file for visitors and a machine-readable XML sitemap file for search engines
18. When and where possible use server-side over client-side coding to increase performance
19. Use sprites instead of images to save on bandwidth
20. No-index,Follow pages that are irrelevant or have sparse content (i.e., contact us, terms and conditions, privacy, etc)
Make use of a .htaccess or web.config file
22. To speed up website’s load time optimizing, caching or compressing files (i.e., png, jpg, zip, pdf, ppt, etc.)
23. To rewrite non search-friendly urls (i.e., products.php?id=123) to be search friendly (i.e., /blue-suede-shoes-123.php)
24. To redirect all www traffic to non-www web url to eliminate canonicalization, or the other way around; or use the canoncial meta tag
25. To block unwanted visitors, search bots or user agents that eat up your web hosting bandwidth
26. To secure directories and disable people browser directory as well as unwanted people snooping around certain web directories
27. To prohibit hackers from hacking your website with spam or taking down your website
28. To stop people from stealing or hotlinking to photos and using your website bandwidth
29. To 301 redirect or to pass the SEO juice from an old page to a new page or from an old domain to new domain
30. To create 404 redirect to customizable error page for broken or mistype urls
Content Marketing Strategy
31. Before you decide to make one post or page of content, develop an engaging and consistent content strategy and schedule that you can grow into and sustain over time
32. Write content for your customers first, search engines last
33. Create content that educates, informs, assists and helps, and keeps far away from self-promotion and selling a visitor
34. When writing EPIC content, build arguments based on telling a clear and concise story
35. Focus on creating evergeen content as opposed to chasing the news cycle of current events SEO
36. Once content is written, keep it up to date by content refreshing from time to time
Content Marketing Do’s
37. Do A/B test all aspects of your website and email content (i.e., subject lines, headings, images, linking, etc.)
38. Do use numbers, percentages, emotion, questions, and negative words as visitors are more likely to click to read how to solve pain over pleasure
39. Optimize your on-page content ensuring that you use the keyword once in page title, page url, page description, page sub headings, and image alt text
40. Do include a couple or few external links to reputable websites like Wikipedia, News sites, etc.
41. Keep your title less than 65 characters long and descriptions less than 160 characters
42. Aim to write page descriptions that are cliffhangers and force the user to click to ”find how or why…”
43. Use only one H1 header tag per page
44. Chunk or organize your content using header tags (i.e., H2, H3, H4, etc.) to make your content more easily read by visitors
45. Do include an opening and closing paragraph that are no longer than 5 sentences, and written in a clear manner to express what the overall content or post will/has discussed
46. Optimize images for search engines while using images to engage and entice visitors to read your content in its entirety
47. Optimize your pages with keyword variations and not the same keywords
Content Marketing Dont’s
48. Stop hiring SEO writers who do nothing more than spin articles
49. Stop stuffing and gorging content with the SAME EXACT keyword and keyword phrases
50. Stop creating and writing low-quality content and pages, and linking to/from low-quality websites to avoid search engine penalties
51. Stop believing that longer content or a specific number (i.e., 600, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000+, etc.) is value-added content
52. Stop posting less than stellar content with gaping spelling and grammar errors
53. Don’t forget to include a simple call-to-action for the customer to act on for each content page and post on your website
54. Don’t pull the ole bait and switch move with headlines stating one thing and content being another
55. Don’t use content more than once, and remove or no-index content that is duplicate throughout your website to avoid search engine penalties
56. Stop using the keyword meta tag
Ideas for Types of Content
57. Take the 24-hour challenge to create an ebook to sell from your website
58. Create and post an EPIC list of to do items to help your customers earn more business (Hmm, sounds familiar…)
59. Create whitepapers and case studies of your customers or line of business
60. Create paid digital products that targeted for affiliate marketing use
61. Create a how-to guide or ebook to give away on your website when visitors submit their name and valid email address
62. Create and host a glossary of terms for your line of business
63. Create EPIC tutorial content and videos to host from your website for your line of business
64. Conduct interviews, posting content or podcasts of interviews online for your line of business
65. Create content that is a rebuttal to higher trafficked and visible content
66. Create weekly or monthly content round ups for your line of business
67. Create product and service review round ups for your line of business
68. Create a fully-detailed infographic that your customers can use as a how-to guide to take action on
69. Repurpose textual content into webinars, videos, or infographics to name a few
70. Offer limited guest posting and blogging for colleagues in the related business interests
71. Offer a bundled solution with partners of products and services that compliment your offering
Internal & External Linking
72. Participate in forums and blog commenting on websites with high page and domain authority WITHOUT SPAMMING
73. Include links to your website via your email, forum, blog and other digital signatures to boost traffic and search rankings where applicable
74. Optimize your internal link building to be semantic search friendly
75. Stop using site-wide footer links for city, zip and keyword phrase links
76. Create search-safe widgets, badges and banners to promote external linking to website
77. Create customized and searchable 404 error page
78. Be wise using internal and external blogroll linking – use at your own risk and discretion
79. Submit website to industry-specific directories and use general directory sparingly
80. Run far from link purchasing and exchanges of DO FOLLOW promising high PR or page rank values and/or those not related to your industry
81. Do buy NO FOLLOW links as they will not hurt your website’s search rankings and link building profile when not from low-quality sources
82. Stop buying links and content from network farms promising to boost search rankings
84. Try organizing and hosting online and offline events that lend themselves to online registration as a way to build and increase your website’s link profile
85. Target linking to and from .edu websites by hosting or sponsoring events
90. Do cross promote between the various social media networks that you build and develop your profile upon
91. Use social media interaction sparsely throughout your website for pay-to-view-content or gating-content
94. Link build by posting images and links to your content when posting on Social Media networks
96. When using YouTube or Vimeo, be sure to add links to your website in the description of each video
98. Host a contest or quiz on your website and use social media interaction to drive traffic and greater exposure to both your social media profiles and website
Research, Reporting & Analytics
101. Use and check webmaster tools for 404 errors, Malware or hacked website errors, and search penalties
102. Use keyword tools (i.e., Market Samurai, Long Tail Pro, HitTail, WordStream, Google Trends or WordTracker to name a few) to develop and identify keyword strategies for your content marketing plan
103. Implement a RSS to email plugin or service that will email newsletter mailing list when you post new content
105. Implement self-hosted search functionality, tracking keywords and the number of times each is entered, to guide your content marketing and SEO effort
107. If you website has a sidebar or announcement bar in header or footer, implement and promote an opt-in form to build a newsletter mailing list
108. Promote the Refer-A-Friend or Tell-A-Friend feature, and social media networks via your newsletter
Whew! I’ve typed until I just can’t type anymore.
At least we all have a starting point to reference from time to time for sending those of us who dare to venture into do-it-yourself SEO, or those of us who simply want to specific and new ideas to execute.
I’m sure there are many more thoughts and ideas to be shared, so please don’t be shy or hesitant to comment below.
And by all means, please do take time to share with others you know who are struggling with their own SEO effort, or business owners or other internet marketeers venturing into SEO.
Until my next post, I’m going to ice my fingers and hands down, and pop an Aleve. I’m signing off…
Enjoy reading and referencing, and best of luck in increasing your website’s traffic and search rankings on you way to more customers and revenue.