Five Easy Ways to Improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Today

Close up of hand with laptop and social media network icons

SEO 5Who Should Read This: Business owners who want website traffic without spending a lot of money on paid search.

Everyone wants to be #1 on Google, but if youve been marketing your business online for any length of time, you know that isnt as easy as it sounds! Measuring how well youre doing with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the first step to moving up in the rankings and increasing website traffic to your site, but well go beyond and help you put your new-found knowledge to work.

1. Identify Your Keywords and Rankings

First, perform keyword research for your site, or hire someone to do it for you (it takes a few hours or around $250). Keep those keywords handy and use them in your website pages, ads and blog posts.

Google makes it difficult to see all the search terms that bring visitors to your site. So many are displayed as “unknown” that you may have to infer from your most popular pages the search terms that are working for you.

What it Means

Keyword ranking shows you where your content appears in search engine results. You know how everyone wants to be “#1 on Google”? This is what they mean. They want their content to come up first when someone searches their keywords. PS – getting to number one and staying at number one is tough!

What to Look For

Here, the lower the number the better! When you are ranking well for your keywords, your content and social media marketing are working well for you, returning your content to people high on the list of search engine results.

Paid programs such as HubSpot (just Google “keyword rank checker”) allow you to easily see your ranking for your keyword terms. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can set Google Analytics up to track your keyword rankings for you for free.

How to Improve Your Keyword Rankings

Write great content and employ basic SEO best practices using your keywords in titles, headings, image titles and alt tags, permalinks, etc. The days of success by keyword stuffing are over, but if you write naturally, for your readers first and Google second, youll be OK.

2. Analyze Traffic from Organic Search

The percentage of unique visitors who arrive at your site by clicking on a link on a search engine results page.

What to Look For

If 40-50% of your total traffic is from organic search, you are doing a great job with your content and on-page SEO.

How to Increase Organic Search Traffic

If you’re counting on PPC for most of your traffic, step it up and create more content to target keywords that can be found by the search engines. This includes videos, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, and blog posts.

3. Look at Branded and Non-Branded Search Traffic

SEO 3This will tell you how much organic search traffic comes to your site from brand-related keywords like your company or product name versus generic non-branded keywords related to your industry. Its the difference between searching for LL Bean (branded) or Camping Supplies (non-branded).

What to Look For

Ideally, the bulk of your traffic will come from non-branded search traffic.

How to Increase Non-Branded Search Traffic

If you are getting the majority of your traffic from brand-related searches, start generating more content for your non-branded keywords. If a person already knows to search for your brand or product name, they already know about you. Strive to reach new people with your non-branded content.

4. Examine Unique Search Terms Driving Traffic

Search phrases that visitors use to find your site. In Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources>Search Engine Optimization>Queries.

What to Look For

A long list of terms driving traffic to your site means you are doing well creating content around the keywords that prospects are using to research your goods and services. The top phrases should be those you are working to target.

How to Get More Traffic from Your Chosen Keywords

If your targeted keywords aren’t showing up high on the list (or at all), you need to create more relevant, valuable content around those phrases. If some of the keywords near the top of the list are applicable, but not on your keyword list, consider whether you might want to create more content using those keywords to capitalize on the progress you made accidentally.

5. Track Down Your Inbound Links

This is the number of sites that link to yours. Find it in Google Analytics by going to Traffic Sources>Sources>Referrals. This shows you all sites that link to you that generate traffic to your site.

What to Look For

A steadily growing list of sites sending referral traffic to your website.

How to Get More Inbound Links

The more inbound links the better. Not simply in terms of direct traffic generation, but because Google sees links from other sites as votes for your usefulness. Look at what content is attracting links and write more on that subject. Check out each link to see what anchor text the author is using to link to you and consider adding that to your keyword list.

Youll notice most of the how to sections include suggestions on adding more quality content. For most people, the first step is blogging. Learn how to write the perfect blog post and download our blog post checklist to keep you moving up in the search engine rankings!