Guest post by Kim Herrington
If you stopped promoting your content, would your traffic disappear to trickle? It’s a real worry for most bloggers and online business owners who feel like they’re on a hamster wheel of content creation.
If you feel like you’re trapped into creating and promoting new content for your website so you can be successful, search engine optimization might be a great solution for you!
Over the last seven years, I’ve helped business owners and bloggers use best practices from SEO to create sustainable, long-term traffic to their websites that allows them to take a step back from creating and promoting content to do other things in their businesses.
I’m here to help you understand a little more about SEO and get you started on the right track of knowing where to start to improve your website’s traffic from search engines so you can scale back your content creation to something that works for you.
Related: 6 Ways To Repurpose Your Blog Posts To Increase Traffic
Why You Need SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the practice of optimizing your website and online presence to increase rankings in search engine results. In the most simple sense, SEO is about things like putting the right keywords in the right places on your website—but today’s SEO incorporates a lot more of a holistic approach to marketing to help increase your rankings in search engines.
Search engine optimization does a lot more than just helping your content get higher in search results though! Doing SEO:
- Creates consistent traffic without you having to lifting a finger
- Positions you or your brand as a leader and authority in your niche
- Puts you in front of your target audience and qualified leads
- Decreases the time you have to spend creating content
If you think about your goals for your website, I’m betting that all four of these benefits sound pretty awesome! SEO can help you reach your goals no matter what kind of website you have, how you monetize your site, or what niche you’re in!
Related: SEO is our biggest referrer to our website…here’s how to make it yours
Modern SEO is more than Keywords
I hate to burst the bubble of what SEO really is. It’s easier to think of SEO as the right keywords in the right places. While that’s part of it, keywords aren’t actually the thing that benefits your search traffic the most!
Even back in 2015, Moz’s survey that asked 150 SEO pros what they thought the most influential factors that go into ranking said that keyword optimization is only the third most important! Links back to your website and individual pages are the top two things that impact your content’s ability to rank in search engines, especially in competitive niches.
Instead of focusing on SEO as an afterthought of “I’ll just pepper some keywords into this post,” SEO strategy needs to be part of your content creation process from the beginning to get the most traffic to your site.
In 2019, the most important things in SEO are:
- Signals about your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, both on your site and on the internet at large
- Content that is helpful, useful, and engaging — written with the language your audience uses and understands
- Your website is easy to navigate on all devices and talks to search engines in a way they understand
What this means for you is that building an authority website is one of the most important things you can do you create sustainable, long-term traffic because it covers all three of those things!
Related: How To Figure Out What Your Audience Wants To ReadHow to get started with SEO to improve your website’s traffic from search engines. A guest post from SEO and digital marketing expert @kimherrington_! Click To Tweet
Steps for Building Your Site’s SEO
I’m sharing some actions steps you can take to help you get started in SEO by using the tools you already have. Instead of having to invest time into learning keyword research, which is still important to do eventually, you can tackle low hanging fruit.
1 | Craft an About Page & Author Bio
When someone comes to your website for the first time, they usually check out your about page as the next step to make sure you’re legit. It’s the same concept as someone who checks out your grid after seeing an Instagram post of yours for the first time because they want to learn more and see if they should follow you.
Your about page and bio need to do a couple of things to help your search engine rankings and build your authority online:
- Show off your qualifications of why someone should pay attention to your content
- Include ways to verify you’re a trustworthy source of information
- Encourage visitors to stick around because they’re in the right place for them
Worried that you’re not an “expert”? Don’t worry! Google also sees personal experience as a type of expertise they call an everyday expert. You’re an expert on your experience!
- Share your personal experiences, education, and qualifications
- Include testimonials, comments, reviews, places you’ve been featured, or other ways people can see others’ opinions of you
- Include a call-to-action to get people to stick around and increase engagement
You can include this info both on your about page, in your sidebar bio, or your author bio on posts. Make sure it’s easy to find out more information about you on your website!
Related: The 7 Dos & Don’ts of DIYing Your Website Copy
2 | Create Cornerstone Content
What is one thing your entire audience can benefit from? What questions does your audience always have? Create some content about that!
In SEO, we call this kind of content cornerstone content because it builds a foundation of authority content on your website. It’s one of my favorite ways to help my clients because these kinds of posts can bring boatloads of traffic to your website long after you hit publish without any other promotion on your part!
Cornerstone content works because it’s:
- Always relevant content
- Helps solve your audience’s most common problems
- Requires a one-time investment of your time to create instead of constant creation and promotion
- Attracts links from your niche and other authorities online
Most bloggers create content that’s only useful for a short period of time, like their latest outfits with affiliate links that will eventually sell out. Instead, cornerstone content is posts like “how to style a red dress” with information that is always relevant.
That’s also why it’s a link attracting the kind of content you need to have. After all, links are the most important part of SEO these days!
As a pro tip, instead of including affiliate links that will become outdated on these kinds of cornerstone content posts, building your email list, getting people to follow you on social media, or selling them a product are all ways you can keep your content converting in the future and best benefiting you with all that traffic.
Related: 5 Almost Effortless Tricks To Make Sure Your Blog Posts Get Shared By Hundreds of People
3 | Get your website talking to Google
Finding a theme that is SEO-friendly is just the first step to making sure your website meets Google’s requirements for a top ranking website.
Google looks for sites that:
- Work on all mobile devices
- Load quickly
- Have technical elements that help Google understand the website, context, and content
- Don’t manipulate visitors with popups, tons of ads, or coercive features to trick people
Buying a theme that is well-coded is the first step but then working to make sure you hit these other points is the next step:
- Install and use Yoast to help Google understand your content.
- Size your images correctly and compress them for faster loading.
- Think strategically about using popups, ads, and other features in your content and how they should be serving your audience, not you!
- Invest in good hosting and CDN if you have an image and design heavy website.
Looking for your next website design? Check out our WordPress themes! Options for service-based & product-based business owners, plus bloggers too!
Don’t let SEO overwhelm you!
SEO is easy to get overwhelmed by, especially since it feels like a really technical thing and there’s a lot of difficult to understand advice out there.
But the truth is that most of SEO that really matters these days isn’t keyword optimization or technical SEO, it’s understanding your audience and creating content they’re going to love.
If you follow these steps above, you’ll have started to dip your toes into SEO. It’s that easy to get started optimizing your website for search engines.
If you want to dive deeper into doing SEO on your site, be sure to sign up for my weekly SEO newsletter where I send out tips on how to use SEO and the latest changes and research about how to do better in search results.