Search engine optimization (SEO) can seem complicated.
And for good reason. Because SEO often is often very complex, and given its ever-changing nature, it's hard to keep up with newly discovered best practices. Between Google algorithm updates and changes in searcher behavior and marketing technology, there are so many moving parts that guide your SEO strategy.
However, even beginners can follow simple SEO tips and tricks to increase their page rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).
From improving components of their webpages to signing up for powerful SEO analytics platforms, beginners can easily use the same techniques and tools as SEO experts.
Why You Need an SEO Strategy
An SEO strategy allows you to plan, outline, and implement the steps that help you to improve your search rankings.
You need an SEO strategy to help you maintain organic search traffic and engagement. Remember that this is an ongoing process and an essential part of a business' success.
Here are some other benefits of having an SEO strategy:
- Consistent SEO improves your site's user experience.
- It helps to increase brand visibility.
- It helps to boost your site traffic because organic search is the largest traffic source.
- It can help you keep up with Google's updates to their search algorithm.
- It helps you to build trust and credibility as a brand.
If you are unfamiliar with the common tips and tricks of SEO, then carefully review this next section to help you drive more traffic to your website.
30 SEO Tips and Tricks to Boost Organic Traffic
Climbing the ranks in SERPs is an important goal for any business. It showcases your brand as an authority in your industry and delivers qualified organic traffic to your site.
Hit the ground running with these 30 easy SEO tips and start attracting the right people to your business.
1. Research Relevant Keywords.
Keyword research is essential to understanding your site’s SEO and your competitors’ site as well. However, luckily, you do not have to be an SEO guru to know which keywords to use.
Your best resource is keyword research tools.
Free and Paid Tools
There are so many free SEO tools, as well as several paid ones, that can walk you through each step of researching keywords that you want to target. Most SEO tools offer free versions and paid versions.
The free option usually has limitations, like only a certain number of keyword searches per day, whereas the paid tiers include more features for each tool.
One of the best keyword research tools is SEMrush. It shows you important stats you need to consider when building your list of targeted keywords, like the monthly volume of searches and the cost-per-click for each keyword. You can also view a list of related keywords for phrases you’re looking for to get content ideas.
The 1-2-3 Process
It's easy to get lost in the weeds during the keyword research phase. You need to simplify your keyword research approach as much as you can. Your process should boil down to three simple steps.
1. Buyer Persona Research
The best way to conduct your keyword research is by starting with your buyer personas in mind. Consider what queries they're putting into search engines.
List out their top pain points and goals, then research keywords and phrases that relate to them. These words and phrases go in your keyword list.
2. Keyword List
Simply list out as many keywords and search queries you can imagine your buyer personas using, then add important research information so you can prioritize your keywords.
You can build content ideas based on keywords that align with your ideal buyer's interests and the keywords that have a good balance of search volume and level of difficulty for ranking.
Moz Keyword Explorer is another excellent keyword research tool. They use a unique system for scoring level of difficulty (0 to 100) to show how hard it is for you to outrank your competitors on the first page.
The priority score, which is also listed as 0 to 100, combines other metrics (like organic click-through rate) to indicate how much of a priority the keyword needs to be in your strategy. The higher your priority score, the closer you are to sweet spot of high search volume, organic CTR, and low difficulty.
3. Content Strategy
Finally, you can brainstorm detailed ideas for blog articles, whitepapers, webinars, and every other piece of content that can attract and engage your target audience.
For each piece of content you're publishing, keep a target keyword in mind. This way, you can optimize that content for the keyword, giving you a better chance of ranking for that query.
2. Spy On Your Competitors.
SEO experts understand the value of keeping up with their competitors. But this requires more than just reading their blogs and following them on social media.
Investing in the right competitive analysis tools is the best first step you can take. For example, if you're using SEMrush, the feature Domain vs. Domain makes it easy for you to compare your domain against other domains.
Simply select the keyword type you want to research, like organic keywords, and you’ll see a side by side comparison of these sites by keyword, position on SERPs, and more.
By knowing how you stack up against the competition, you can drive your inbound marketing and content strategy to get ahead of other brands. This helps you prioritize opportunities for certain keywords you want to gain ground on.
3. Follow an On-Page SEO Checklist.
Known as on-page SEO, optimizing specific parts of your webpage is key to boosting your page rankings. Focus on enhancing your on-page SEO for page elements including:
Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
Ensure you use your chosen keywords in the above aspects of your most high-ranking pages to signal to search engines that your content is relevant to these keyword searches.
One way to avoid the guesswork out of optimizing on-page SEO is to use tools like BrightEdge. This tool provides recommendations for adding keywords in the most important page elements.
You can also set it up to alert you to whether keywords are missing from page titles and meta descriptions and even get suggests for which keywords to use.
However, despite all of the on-page optimization, the most important element every SEO professional needs to focus on is delivering high value, informative content.
4. Deliver Awesome Content.
To fully understand the impact your content's quality has on your SEO efforts, let's go back in time to when Google first launched in 1998. Cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin started with a simple mission that remains the company's mission statement today, over two decades later:
Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
That last word should stand to any content creator and digital marketer. That's essentially the prerequisite for your content to earn high rankings – it needs to be useful and relevant to the searcher.
This is why buyer persona research and keyword research should be steering your content strategy. When you fully understand who your audience is and what content they need, you are well equipped to generate ideas and create targeted, insightful, educational content.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when you're producing content:
- Provide more value on a topic that is covered and bring your unique perspective to it.
- Create for the searcher, not search engines.
- Include colors and visuals to deliver an engaging (but not overly distracting) user experience.
- Showcase your credibility by including original research and citing other sources of research, and include a bio to show readers why you're an expert.
If your blog articles and videos are awesome, then your audience will take notice, as well as others in your industry. This will help you with your external link building strategy.
5. Build External Backlinks.
Speaking of link building, your external links are a big factor in whether your pages rank on the first page of Google or get hidden under your competitors in search results.
Naturally, pages that are linked the most by outside sites are likely to be viewed by search engines as the most relevant and important.
To determine the popularity of your pages by the number of external links, sign up for tools like Ahrefs, which gives you results for domains based on the quantity of links to your site and whether those sites linking to you are authoritative.
It’s not enough to get the most links to your site. Your site should also earn the links of sites that are respected and have high authority in their field or niche.
If spammy, sketchy sites are linking your content, you won't see any improvements in link equity, aka link juice. This term refers to the overall value being passed through hyperlinks. Search engines view links as votes of confidence, and you want the best of the best showing their belief in you as a credible source.
When it comes to earning backlinks, you don't want to just sit back and wait for others to notice you. Be proactive by engaging on social media and reaching out to influencers.
6. Take Advantage of Social Media.
You don't need to manually post every article you create. This is where social media management tools come in handy.
Automation makes SEO professionals' lives easier. For social media, they frequently schedule posts in advance to continue to be on their followers’ radar and keep up with engagement.
There are so many great tools you can use to set up your social media calendars and to keep a record of your published and unpublished posts.
Another quick and easy tip is to add sharing buttons on your blog articles so your readers can quickly distribute your content to their followers. One of the best ways to encourage readers to share is to create shareable, customized images.
In fact, posts with images are most likely to be shared. For example, according to research from Buffer, tweets that feature images have an 18 percent higher click-through rate than posts that do not have pictures.
With the right images, you are making your inbound marketing content shareworthy, which can boost your number of followers and the amount of external links to your site.
But you don’t have to be a graphic designer to get your followers to share your content. Use programs like Photoshop, Canva, or other graphic design softwares to make images like banners, social media pics, and infographics.
7. Connect With Influencers.
Companies big and small can participate in one of the most hyped up forms of inbound marketing: influencer marketing. Using influencers who already earned the trust or respect of thousands or millions of followers to promote products and services can be effective for companies that want to expand their reach.
However, your marketing budget or other forms of compensation you may provide will likely affect the number or popularity of the influencers who promote your products or services.
Some social media stars, like those on Instagram, are paid thousands per post. But if you don’t have the budget for these Instagram influencers, you can still gain the attention of other high-profile social media accounts by offering free products or services in exchange for their review or sponsored posts.
8. Add Internal Backlinks.
Building links isn't just for external resources. You also need to link within your own website. For example, link to other blog articles you created to give the reader more resources to check out on other relevant topics.
The best way to boost your SEO through internal linking is by adopting the topic cluster model.
As you can see, this models consists of three key elements:
- Pillar content – These are called pillar pages. They cover a general topic in a comprehensive way.
- Cluster content – This content centers of subtopics that fall under the general topic being covered in the pillar page.
- Hyperlinks – These join cluster content to pillar content. It guides readers to other content you have related to the topic they're reading about (which you show to readers using the right anchor text), and it tells search engines that the pillar page and cluster content have a semantic relationship.
HubSpot's content strategy tool helps you visualize your internal linking strategy. Plus, it gives you topic suggestions based on relevance, popularity, and competition, so you will never run out of cluster content and pillar page ideas.
9. Measure SEO Performance.
Whether your inbound marketing strategy focuses on on-page SEO or social media marketing, an SEO analytics platform is a must for tracking your strategy's performance and outcomes.
A free yet comprehensive SEO analytics platform even beginners can use is Google Analytics.
This tool breaks down features into categories like behavior and acquisition to understand where your traffic is coming from, the amount of traffic you’re receiving, and which of your pages are the most popular.
For example, under Acquisition, you can view the number of visits from organic sources like search engine result pages, social media networks, or other sources.
As you explore all the features SEO analytics platforms have to offer, you can monitor key trends in traffic visits. Plus, you can identify which pages draw the most traffic so you can refine your inbound marketing strategy and concentrate on your highest revenue-generating and traffic-driving pages.
These platforms support your team as you conduct an SEO analysis, which you should be doing on a regular basis. SEO analysis reports help you make strategic decisions focused on certain aspects of your site to help you rank higher and earn more organic traffic.
10. Make the Most Out of Your Content.
You put a lot of work and time into creating content. Why not get as much value as you can out of each piece?
There are a few simple ways you can repurpose your existing pieces of content. This involves you taking a published piece and changing it in a way to serve another purpose.
For example, your list article on shocking stats about your industry can be designed into a compelling infographic. And you can even distribute graphics for each stat listed on social to expand your reach and gain links back to your site.
Another great way to gain the most SEO value from your content is by historically optimizing your blog articles. This requires you to find your top performing articles, update the content to make noticeable improvements (like adding new tips or up-to-date research), and unpublish and republish the articles.
Ultimately, the main goal of historical optimization is to ensure your existing articles are the most accurate and comprehensive they can be. Your audience will take notice of your diligence in maintaining high quality.
11. Continue to Learn SEO.
One of the most important SEO tips that will deliver ongoing results for your business: Stay focused on your SEO education.
The best way to improve your SEO and deliver real results is by staying in the know on the latest trends and changes. The more you read and learn about SEO, the better equipped you are to create and maintain sustainable results.
Subscribe to blogs, engage in online groups and communities, and join professional organizations. For a more systematic, organized approach to learning SEO, enroll in online courses. Some of the most notable SEO courses include:
- Coursera’s SEO Specialization
- Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- HubSpot Academy certifications and courses
Bottom line: Dedicate your time to mastering SEO in practice and learning as much as you can from trusted SEO experts.
12. Consolidate Posts.
Over time, you might have a large body of content on your site with a lot of similar content. And many of those blog posts might be experiencing stagnant or declining traffic.
In an effort to organize your blog content, you can consolidate existing posts that have a lot of overlap and boost your traffic to one URL.
Follow these basic steps:
- Perform a content audit to find older content that is underperforming.
- Look at similar posts, and find the one URL with the most traffic. This is where you will be redirecting readers once you finish the next step.
- Synthesize the content from the older, underperforming posts and add it to the best performing post. For example, you might condense some blog posts and add them as new sections with new headers optimized for related keywords.
- Set up URL redirects from the old posts to the highest performing URL (which should have the consolidated content), then unpublish and archive the underperforming URLs.
The final product should be a fully updated blog post that is long form and that covers the topic in a more comprehensive way. Ideally, this updated content will start to rank for more semantically related keywords, which will boost ranking potential.
13. Test Out Different Hosting Providers.
Your hosting provider ultimately dictates the site experience you can offer visitors. Make sure you choose an SEO-friendly web hosting company.
You may try out a couple of free trial web hosts to see which one works best for user experience and SEO including load time, ease of navigation, and a good server location.
Start by looking up reviews and testimonials for web hosts and ensure that their server location and speed is good so it doesn't look suspicious to search engines. For example, if your server is located halfway around the world, search engines are likely to think there's something fishy going on with your website.
14. Invest in SEO Tools.
We mention some great SEO analytics tools above to help get you started. But as you move forward and start to have a deeper understanding of how SEO works, we suggest that you invest more in SEO tools. Many introductory SEO tools are completely free with the option to upgrade for deeper insights.
The more insights you have into your search traffic, bounce rates, and marketing campaigns, the better.
Some great upgrades to consider are:
Paid SEO tools can provide you with an in-depth analysis of your website's page speed, domain authority, keyword ranking and research, and visitor behavior.
15. Place a Call to Action in Your Meta Description.
Great calls to action provide you with a ranking advantage on SERPs because you are likely to get more click-throughs. This means you have more of a chance to convert your visitors.
While search engines don't use meta descriptions as a factor for ranking, they do look at CTR (click-through rate). If you include a call to action in your meta description, people will be more enticed to click on your content link to see what it's about.
The CTA you choose should be a value proposition to your visitor. They need to know what is in it for them. For instance, some meta descriptions may include information about a free trial or offer of some sort.
16. Make Your Content Shareable.
Content should be made to share with others, and the share buttons should be easy to find and highly functional so as not to discourage a visitors from sharing.
Include a visible share link at the bottom of your content and add plugins to help visitors share content easily to social media platforms. This helps to increase your traffic because the more people that share your content, the more likely people are to see it and follow the link to your site for more of your great content!
Also, Google notices when someone shares a link to your website on a social media platform. If you have 50 individual people sharing content to their social media pages in a short period of time, search ranking algorithms will assign more importance to the linked content.
17. Keep It Simple With One Topic Per Landing Page.
It's best to keep landing pages to one topic per page because site visitors become less likely to convert when you put all of your offers on one page.
It is not always best to provide visitors with a variety of options all at once because this can cause them to have decision fatigue. They'll be afraid to make the wrong choice, and then they will just end up leaving your page.
Focus on one CTA per page and don't make additional offers. With more engaging conversion paths comes an increase in time spent on your page, which means a higher ranking for your page.
18. Make Your Headlines Click-Worthy.
The headline is one of the most important things you can write for a piece of content. A headline that doesn't appeal to your audience won't get clicks, which adversely affects your SEO efforts.
The best way to find out which headlines work and which ones don't is to conduct A/B testing on your content. You may not always have time to conduct A/B tests on every piece of content, but from just a few tests you should be able to see a trend in headlines that attract clicks vs. ones that don't.
19. Consider Search Intent With Keywords.
When conducting keyword research, you may come across a keyword with high volume and think it's the best one to use for ranking. However, this isn't always the case.
Sometimes a keyword with a high search volume doesn't mean you need to rank for it. What you should pay attention to instead is search intent. Try ranking for keywords that help to bring value to your business. If not, they are considered "keyword unicorns."
You can sort out keyword unicorns by considering these questions during your keyword research:
- Will the people who search for this keyword be likely to buy what I am selling?
- Is there a simple way to turn traffic from this keyword in to a viable lead?
- Is there a good amount of search volume for us to target this keyword?
- Is the search volume originating from your target country?
Answering no to these questions means you have a keyword unicorn, and you should search for other keywords to rank for.
20. Find Low Competition Keywords.
If you are running a new website with little to know domain authority, try to target keywords that have less competition to rank quickly.
The piece of content you choose to publish must include the target keyword and semantically related keywords, and it should be high quality! In other words, you must go the extra mile to create the content and then promote it within relevant channels at a time that fits your target audience.
21. Find Content Gaps on Your Site.
Content gaps are basically keywords that you are missing or don't rank for, but your competitors do. These content gaps are easy to find with SEO tools. For example, Ahrefs has a built-in Content Gap report in their Site Explorer tool.
Once you find the content gaps, you must fill them by creating and publishing content that uses the keywords efficiently and closes the gap. This can provide you with an immediate boost on the search engine results page.
To find out how difficult it is to rank for a keyword, you must use keyword research tools that provide you with a keyword difficulty score.
22. Use Case Studies in Your Content.
Your visitors might not be convinced that what you offer can help them, even if you have the best website and descriptive but simple website copy. Sometimes you must show them.
The best way to do this is by developing case studies. Provide people with compelling data and interesting stories in your case studies to entice them to learn more about your offerings. This also helps to differentiate your content and keyword usage from that of your competitors.
23. Make Your Content Easy to Read.
Easy-to-read and grammatically correct content makes a huge difference in your bounce rate. Most people who click on a search result want to find answers quickly.
A large wall of text doesn't help them to do that. It just scares them away. A great SEO practice is to break up your text into well-thought out and logical sections.
Within your easily digestible content, try to weave a story into it and break up text with images, videos, slideshows, and other media.
24. Give Your Content Priority.
Some content may be more pressing to publish than other pieces of content. If your content is relevant to something going on in the world currently that a lot of people are searching for, then it may be beneficial to prioritize that content over your evergreen articles.
This can help you to boost your ranking on SERPs, especially if you address a topic or keyword relevant to your industry before your competitors.
25. Make Sure Your Site Is Optimized For Mobile.
It is proven that more people access the internet on a mobile device than ever before, which means more people search on mobile devices than ever before. This is why your site needs to be optimized for mobile.
Your mobile design should have a responsive web design with a fast page speed so people don't bounce from your site. If your mobile site delivers a positive experience, you will have more visitors stay on your site longer and even come back as a returning visitor.
All of these behaviors show search engines that your site is helpful and easy to use.
26. Optimize Your Images.
Many people search images to start their research. This means that by optimizing your images you can drive a good amount of traffic to your site.
Search engines can't tell what is in your images, yet. You have to tell them. Adding descriptive but precise alt text to your images helps search engine spiders that crawl your site to understand exactly what is in your image so you can begin ranking for it.
Besides alt text, you should also compress all your images to make sure they download quickly. This is a ranking factor for Google images and for search in general.
27. Use Short, Descriptive URLs.
The URLs for all pages on your website should be short and descriptive for SEO. Keeping your URLs short makes it easy for search engines and humans to recognize, read, and understand what the page is about.
These URL factors are what impacts your SEO:
- Too many subfolders
- Repeating words
- Symbols that aren't user-friendly
Long and indistinct URLs make a website look disorganized, and they make it difficult for search engines to crawl.
28. Include Your Address on Your Site's Layout.
If you run a local business, then it is best to include your address in your site's layout. This helps you to target local search to reinforce your location to Google.
Add your address and contact details to the footer of every page for good measure, and include a map of your location somewhere on your page to send solid trust signals to search engines.
29. Set Up Rich Snippets.
Rich snippets help to make your search result look more appealing to searchers. They may come across your rich snippet and see that you have the information they are looking for, enticing them to click the link to see more.
This helps to establish trust and may provide you with a better click-through rate. While rich snippets do not directly impact your rankings, they do help you gain more traffic. The traffic you gain may signal to search engines that your site is trustworthy and provides reliable information.
30. Pay Attention to Updates.
Remember that SEO is ever-changing. What works one month may not work the next month. Keep up to date with changes and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
3 Examples of SEO Tricks In Action
Now that you know what you need to do to continue driving SEO results, you might need some inspiration to get started. Here are three real-world SEO examples that get more traffic.
1. Blog Post Consolidations Grow Views by 758 Percent.
The Bluleadz team is always testing and experimenting with the same knowledge we educate our readers with. We like to actually test drive these best practices.
For the Bluleadz blog, our content team conducts blog post consolidations for a number of topics. For instance, we had many posts centered on lead generation, some of which were slowing down in traffic growth.
This is what inspired us to consolidate, unpublish, and redirect three low performers into one better performing URL.
The new blog post, titled "15 Lead Generation Strategies That Will Fill Your Sales Pipeline," was recently republished in an effort to start ranking for more related keywords to drive more organic traffic.
In just one week, it had already received 758 percent more views than the entire month previously.
2. Topic Clustering Continually Earns Consistent Traffic.
Using the HubSpot SEO tool, the Bluleadz content team created several pillar pages, in the form of inbound guides. These pillar pages cover a parent topic, while linking out to related cluster content in the form of blog posts.
The main goal was to drive qualified traffic to the site while building link equity within our blog. Within the HubSpot tool, you can see the structure of your clusters.
The content team created nine topic clusters based on keywords our primary buyer personas were searching for. The result of these pillar pages is a consistent flow of views over the course of the last 12 months.
3. Strategic Internal Linking Boosts Ranking Positions.
SEO wins can take a long time to come to fruition, but there are also some tactics you can use that get quick boosts in performance. These quick wins require little effort and yield big improvements.
For instance, our content team conducted internal linking strategies in a few easy steps.
- We identified blog posts that were ranking on the second page of Google for specific keywords. These posts were close to moving up to the first page. They were in positions 11 through 14.
- To earn more link equity and guide our readers to more helpful content through strategic internal linking, we used Google site searches, formatted as site: bluleadz.com “keyword.” These searches showed us posts where we could add links to the blog posts in positions 11 through 14.
- After adding links to 20+ posts, our team waited, then started measuring performance. Most of the posts with newly acquired internal links earned placement on the first page of SERPs.
- For example, an article ranking in the 14th spot jumped to the 10th, and an article ranking 11th jumped to 6th. Those jumps in SERPs earn more organic traffic on page one, as opposed to when these posts were ranking on page two.
There is no quick fix for SEO. It takes hard work and time. But if you apply these tips, the efforts will be worth the wait.
Adopt these 30 easy SEO tips and tricks to start driving more qualified traffic to your site. These small wins pay off big over time, ultimately impacting how many leads you generate and how much revenue you can earn.
It all starts with SEO. So get started now.