SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. It’s how you increase traffic to your website by getting found in search engines like Google through organic search. You use various SEO methods to optimize your website so it’s more attractive to search engines.
In turn, search engines scan your website to gain more understanding of what your site is about which helps determine what pages appear in search results for any given search query.
You may have heard that you should write blog content to serve the needs of users, not search engines.
That is not entirely true. Read what Google said about this:
You should optimize your site to serve your users’ needs. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content.
I love this statement. It’s one of the best descriptions of who you should be writing for.
Why Google First Page Search Results Matter
Being on the first page of search results is what you MUST aim for. Don’t be lazy with your content creation. If you’re not on the Google first page, you’ll have to spend countless hours on social media trying to get traffic to your website.
Many years ago when I started my first website, I wanted to be the best. What that really means in SEO speak is that my website was on page one for hundreds of keyword searches.
I’m thankful that I took the time to pay attention to the many SEO optimization factors. Now, I still earn income from evergreen blog posts I created years ago. They kept their Google page one positions.
That’s exactly what you should aim for too!
SEO has changed a lot over the years and here’s a few things to be aware of. Don’t let this dissuade you from goals of being the best and showing up on the first page for user search queries.
You may have noticed that search results start about halfway down the first page. This is a departure from the days of old where the entire first page contained search results.
Now, you see ads, related search terms, featured snippets, and the recent “People also ask” section.
Since the “People also ask” section answers a search query question without a user having to click through to the website, it’s no surprise that organic CTR (click through rates) dropped significantly- about 37 percent- since 2015.
As Google continues to sharpen its algorithmic technology, we can expect an even bigger CTR drop moving forward.
What’s a blogger to do?
Be better and pay more attention to optimization details so you can still rank as the best.
Although Google implemented lots of bells and whistles into their search results, my websites still rank and get a ton of traffic!
Yours can too!
Simple SEO Optimization Tips to Get More Traffic
Every day, there are more than 40,000 searches on Google every second. That’s over 3.5 billion searches per day.
How can you optimize your blog to get even a tiny percent of that traffic flowing to your site? Optimize for first page results and DON’T settle for less.
According to Infront Webworks over 90% of organic search website traffic comes from the first page of Google. Pages 2, 3, and 4 receive a combined total of 5% of the traffic.
Here’s some key SEO tips to start with:
Why is User Intent Important for SEO?
User intent the reason a user performs a search query. It’s not just a word or basic phrase. It’s where a person is looking for specific information. For example, how to do something.
Just yesterday I had to look up how to use the buttons on my computer monitor because the user guide was terrible. Sure enough, the search results returned targeted content that answered my question.
You can see how user intent is one step beyond keyword research. Take for example the keyword “best diet.”
A more specific intention in an online search for information that includes that keyword might be:
- What is the best diet for women?
- What is the best diet to lose weight fast?
- Best diet for healthier skin
- Top weight loss diet plan for paleo eating
You can see how all of these fall under the search of “best diet”, but each query has a completely different intent behind it.
Do your Research
In order to create content that fulfills a user’s search intent, you have to know what they are looking for.
If you are the type of content creator that writes about what you feel like writing, chances are that you don’t get much organic search traffic to your site.
I’ve heard bloggers complain about lack of traffic or if they get traffic from social media, users are not sticking on their site.
That’s why you need to do research.
- Who is your target audience?
- What are their needs?
- What are their pain points?
- How can you be the authority that provides solutions?
You can do research in a number of ways:
- Keyword research
- Social media groups, pages, and forums
- Popular products on Amazon and other shopping sites
- Popular how to videos on YouTube
- Best performing trainings on Udemy
- Tracking Google Trends
These are just a few ideas for you to research the best topics to write about.
Here’s the thing. If you want people to be interested in your content, write content that interests them.
It’s a simple concept.
Write Relevant and Optimized Content
When a user does a search query on Google, its algorithm returns a list of website that satisfy that query in terms of the words and question being asked.
High-quality content is a must to meet Google’s search quality guidelines.
According to these guidelines:
What makes a High quality page? A High quality page should have a beneficial purpose and achieve that purpose well.
Relevant and optimized content means that your content meets the intent of the searcher. It’s not about sprinkling keywords throughout. That method is an old as the hills.
The more complete your content addresses a query, the better your chances are of ranking high in the search engines.
Remember to pay close attention to these elements that Google pays attention to also:
- Meta descriptions
- ALT attributes
- H1 and subheading tags (H2, H3, H4 etc.)
- Internal linking
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is a thing and has been for a long time.
According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
That’s a good enough reason for me to optimize for voice search!
What should you do?
Use natural language in your content. Forget adding keywords. Go for long-tail keywords that match searcher intent and make sure your content answers a question in detail.
Go for Featured snippets! Whenever I have seen my content in a featured snippet, I do a happy dance. The traffic just keeps flowing!
Google made their criteria clear with this statement:
Let’s start with Google’s criteria for displaying a featured snippet:
When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.
You can’t actually create a featured snippet since Google’s algorithm makes that determination. But you can make sure you optimizing your content in such a way that you provide the best answer to a query.
To be in the Featured snippet, you’ll also have to rank on page one!
Featured snippets matter for voice search because when people use mobile devices for voice search, they usually want the fastest answer and may not move further down the search results.
Does Web Hosting Affect SEO?
Yes, web hosting can indirectly affect SEO results with regard to speed and uptime.
Google’s John Mueller has said (more than once) that pages load in under three seconds.
As Google’s webmaster trends analyst, we should listen to him!
If your site is slow, it’s usually due to your webhost. There’s just so much you can do to your website to speed it up.
How many times have you clicked a website only to wait, and wait and wait and finally cancel the wait!
That won’t go over well with Google and you can lose search ranking if users are not waiting for your site to load.
I switched web hosting providers a couple of years ago to speed things up and am happy I did!
Check out my web hosting provider to get a great deal and super speed through their SuperCache technology!
SEO Made Simple Conclusion
SEO is ongoing and evolving. You can never stop learning about it if you want to succeed. Although it would be nice to find the magic SEO button, there is not one.
It’s a complex science for which I’ve provided some simple tips that anyone can easily consume and get on the right track.
Remember that SEO results take time, patience, and great content creation. If your content isn’t on page one of Google in the next week, don’t worry too much. That likely won’t happen.
It’s just takes time and experimentation with the best practices.