Google recently unveiled a host of new guidelines aimed at increasing traffic and how to improve SEO (search engine optimization). So if you’ve ever wondered how to get more visitors to your site, they’ve essentially given us a blueprint on how to get more hits and guide readers to our pages.
Previously, SEO webmasters utilized a ton of techniques to increase their page ranking in Google searches. Some of these included increasing keyword densities, meta-descriptions and quality in-content links. And while these are all still very important to building an optimized (read: search & be found) website, the the prevalence of “black hat” SEO techniques – which really just created a whole ton of spam sites, copyright issues and a bunch of junk no one wants to look at – has grown. Ultimately, these kinds of methods WILL get your site marked as spam, be banned from search engines and definitely will not increase your traffic.
Google’s new guidelines center around what’s called the “white hat” approach. While we still want to include keywords*, rich meta-decriptions and quality links within our pages to increase traffic and improve SEO, we also want to write good content filled with the kind of stuff people actually want to read and share.
Now I know you might be thinking, “Kristy, wait! How do I know what people want to read?”. It’s easy – think about your niche – Social media? Business? Food? Paper art? Circus trained monkeys who juggle bananas? Now make sure your site offers something of value to that topic. Think about it this way: What would you be interested in reading about? What kind of services would you like to be offered? What gets you excited? Now create original content based on that. Write it yourself and develop a regular guest posting schedule. Get your name, your content and your links out there in ethical ways (aka white hat) and you’ll see a definite increase in your readership and ultimately, your sales.
Supporting your content by building an incredible social media strategy can go a long way to improve SEO. Research, plan, ensure your profiles are optimized and execute said strategy to engage with your audience, spread the word about your content and share others’. Make sure social sharing buttons are easily visible on your site as well as customized social media icons so people can find you.
It also pays to remember that Google isn’t the only search engine out there. What really matters is your audience. Focus on engaging them, use proven SEO white-hat techniques, and Google along with other engines (and readers!) will find you.
For a little more info on what Google’s Guide doesn’t tell you about SEO – Mitz Pantic at Social Media Today has a few insights.
*Keyword Tool, along with so many of Google’s services, is going the way of the dodo. In it’s place – Keyword Planner, a union between Keyword Tool and Adwords Traffic Estimator. It’s rolled out for some already – check out what they have to say.
Do you utilize SEO techniques to increase traffic? What are your secrets to getting people to your page? Do number of hits matter to you? Or is it more about engagement (i.e. comments, shares, etc..)? What do you wish you knew more about when it comes to SEO?