Tactics for SEO are constantly changing. Annually, Google can update its algorithm hundreds of times. While many of those changes may go unnoticed, odds are there will be a few updates that change the game. With every significant algorithm update, strategies to improve page rank spring up like dandelions on a warm day. To help you get a handle on what works and what doesn't in 2022, we've put together a comprehensive guide to drive organic traffic.
Research What's Working for Your Competitors
In the race to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), one thing to keep in mind is that you're not competing with the entire internet. You're competing with other businesses like yours. To help you maintain a competitive edge, you can dive into what search keywords and other SEO tactics are working for your competitors.
To get started, look up your competitors in a search engine and determine which of their pages garners the most traffic. Try to put yourself into the perspective of your ideal customer:
What is your ideal customer searching for?
What language are they using to search?
What is their desired search outcome?
You can also use online tools to help you parse out what's working for your competitors. Some tools offer free lookup, and others require memberships.
Take note of not just the rank of your competitor but which of their pages are ranking. Depending on the query terms used and whether you used long-tail or short-tail keywords in your search, different pages should appear on the SERP.
As you're working through the process, also track how your pages perform for each query and which pages appear. It will show you not just how you're stacking up against the competition but should illustrate some areas of improvement to work on.
Look Under the Hood of Your Website with an SEO Audit
While the work you've done can give you some information around keywords and your competition, to really understand what's working for your website, an SEO audit is essential.
An SEO strategy is comprised of more than just keywords and page load time. There are many factors that an SEO audit can analyze that can be pretty challenging to do on your own.
If search engines can index and crawl your website
Site health and speed tests
Backlinks that lead to your site from other websites
Search engine results positioning
Web traffic sources
SEO content strategy and keyword opportunities
While free SEO tools are available online, it can help to work with a professional unless you're SEO and tech-savvy. With so many interlocking pieces and different aspects to consider, you'll probably save time and money over the long run by choosing a comprehensive SEO audit.
Choosing a Keyword Strategy with Biggest Most Impact
There are a few ways to approach your SEO keywords. But first, let's cover some of the different types of keywords used in an SEO strategy.
Short-tail keywords - Short search terms, one to two words long
Long-tail keywords - Longer search terms, three to five words long
Featured Snippets - An answer to a search question; a paragraph, table, list, or video
High-intent keywords - Show the query intent; informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional
These keywords are likely descriptors of what your business does. For example, if you run a sporting goods store specializing in tennis gear, some short-tail keywords to use are tennis, tennis gear, tennis near me, tennis rackets.
These longer search terms maybe a phrase or a full question. Staying with our example, some long-tail keywords to use are tennis racket repair near me, Nike tennis gear, tennis rackets, and equipment, need new tennis net Minneapolis?
Google uses featured snippets to help answer your question without you needing to click off the search page. They highlight information or data based on the search query. For example, if someone searched for "need new tennis net Minneapolis?" a featured snippet for your business may be, "Our Minneapolis locations keep tennis nets and other hard-to-find tennis equipment in stock so you can get back to playing today."
High Intent Keywords
These keywords signify where your audience is on their customer journey. For example, if they are just beginning to explore tennis as a hobby, their informational search could be "is tennis easy?" As they grow increasingly interested, their search may turn to navigation with "tennis courts near me." Now that they've established that they want to play tennis and there is a court nearby, their commercial search might be "best tennis racket for beginners." And finally, when they are ready to make a purchase, their search transactional search may be "Wilson tennis racket price."
It's easy to get overwhelmed with several types of keywords to focus on. This is also where the SEO audit can be helpful. Hopefully, you've dug into your site performance and how your current SEO keywords are working.
Even though there's always room for improvement, for more impact, you probably don't want to mess with something that's already working pretty well. Instead, focus on an SEO keyword area where you aren't currently getting results and focus on improving there. You can even use Google Ads to help you nail down the keywords that get traction!
Link Building Strategies to Gain Credibility
Another SEO tactic to help drive organic traffic is link building. Link building uses the content you're already creating for your website and leverages you credibility in the field. Just as you might link to another source when creating content, link building is the exact opposite of that. It's other websites linking to you as their trusted source of information.
Since you don't necessarily have control over getting other sites to reference you or your content, this can be tricky, but the benefits are worth it.
Google puts significant weight into the number of sites that link to yours, which can help your page rank. Additionally, having other websites, organizations, and businesses reference you and your website as a source of information can help raise your brand awareness — it's almost guaranteed to put your name in front of a new audience!
Link building can require some outreach and networking. After all, you want people to know and like you so that they will want to share what you offer with their audience. It's best to be direct, polite, personalize your message to stand out and follow up. Your prospective influencer or business heavyweight is probably bombarded with requests, so do what you can to show how professional and unique you are.
Drive Organic Traffic by Using the Latest SEO Tactics
If you're not already using these tactics, you may want to take another look at your SEO strategy. After all, your page rank could change at any moment with the next algorithm update.