If you know anything about marketing, you’re probably well aware of the importance of search engines.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an international company selling digital products, a national chain with physical goods, or a local company offering a haircut, ranking high on the search engine result pages (SERPs) can make or break your business.
The problem is unless you’ve been online for a long time, you’re probably not at the top of your industry’s search results. It’s likely, there are a dozen or more competitors who have already claimed first-page results where three-quarters or more of the click-throughs take place.
If you’re looking for a way to cut through the competition and fight your way onto that first SERP, here are some of the best ways to crank up that search engine optimization (SEO) in order to outrank everyone else in the fierce battle for search engine traffic.
Engage in Content Marketing
One of the most important ways to find long-term marketing success online is by creating a website with high-quality content. It’s tempting to implement all the latest SEO strategies and trends, but if you don’t have good, solid content to back up your SEO tactics, your efforts will be wasted.
High-quality content — that is, content that provides real value to your readers — is one of the key ways to reduce bounce rates, boost engagement, and ensure that you’re not just generating online traffic, but actually turning visitors into bona fide customers.
Conduct Link Building Campaign
Even if you have a perfectly optimized website filled with quality content, you’re still going to need links. Links are needed in order to funnel traffic and boost the domain authority of your website in the eyes of the search engine.
You can beef up your linking by inserting internal links (hyperlinks that point to other content on your site). Also add quality external links (links that point to .edu, .gov, and other authoritative domains) into your existing content. If all fails, you can use a service to build content on other sites that will provide valuable backlinks to your website.
Socialize and Share on Social Media
Take the time to cultivate a social media following so that you can use it to increase your backlinks, share quality content, and generally drive traffic to your site.
Address a New Demographic
If you want to find more traffic, sometimes the best option isn’t to fight through already saturated markets. Instead, look for new demographics that may be receptive to your products or services.
Create new marketing campaigns that can speak to each demographic that you decide to pursue. Start by providing demographic-specific outreach content — things like social media posts and influencers. These can direct new leads to quality content that is SEO optimized and tailored to customers who are new to your brand.
Target More Specific and Niche Keywords
Many keywords that have a high search volume are extremely difficult to rank for. If you’re struggling to dominate broad keywords within your industry, it may be time to focus on more specific keyword phrases. Conduct thorough keyword research to find long-tail keywords. For instance, you may not be able to dominate the keyword “online degree,” but you could have a much better chance at ranking for “most affordable online degree for nursing school.”
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If you focus your strategy on longer 7-9 word phrases and questions you can capture a significant portion of search engine results. These longer keyword phrases are increasingly being used in search queries in order to find niche results that actually pertain to an inquirer’s question.
Optimize Local SEO
If you operate a small business with a local emphasis, it may feel impossible to go toe-to-toe against larger national or international online businesses. However, search engines often reward local companies when the query shows businesses near where users conduct a search.
For instance, if you’re a coffee shop trying to get online attention, you can optimize your local SEO by honing in on geographically relevant keywords, creating narrowly targeted landing pages, pursuing being listed on local review sites, and filling out your Google My Business Listing.
Perform Competitive Research
Finally, remember, It’s always critical to conduct a competitor analysis in order to understand what tactics are working for similar businesses. Make a list of competitors that dominate your industry and analyze their performance. What are the keywords the most popular pages rank for? How are they formatted? Which are search terms driving the most traffic? Do they encourage engagement? Study their on-page and off-page SEO tactics. Look for what works for your competition and then integrate their SEO strategies into your own marketing.
Conclusion: Outranking the Competition
There are many tactics that can be integrated into your SEO strategy. The important thing is that you take the time to consider what is lacking in your own SEO efforts and then focus your attention on those areas. Do you need to take advantage of local optimization? Have you researched your competition? Do you use keywords, backlinks, and social media?
As you sift through your options, create a plan that will work for your business and then put it into action as soon as possible. It may take some time, but if you put in a little elbow grease, eventually you should see the effects of your SEO efforts as you begin to outrank your competitors in those highly coveted search engine results.