1. Keyword Alignment
First things first:
Understand your SEO keywords and know what you want the page to rank for.
Seems obvious, right? But, Dan often finds clients who want to rank for a keyword, but don’t actually have content to support it.
Find your target keyword and create content with ranking in mind. You’ll need to understand your business’ audience, their searches, research on current ranking sites, and more to properly align your keyword and your content. If you’d like expert help in your keyword alignment, we offer advanced keyword research services.
2. Keyword Placement
Once you have the content, you need to ensure the keyword is included in a few key spots. It doesn’t need to be plastered in every possible location.
Dan Shure recommends these places:
Top heading (H1)
(A little bit) in the content
Don’t need to obsess over alt-tags and other headers. Focus on getting your keyword in the places that matter.
3. User Experience
“2017 was the year that Google cleaned house on web pages designed to get users to do what you wanted, not what the user wanted to do,” Dan shares.
A lot of successful websites were penalized for being focused on the site’s goal. Sites with distracting sidebars, sites designed to get emails, mobile sites with pop-ups all ranked lower because they were not user-focused.
Design (or redesign) your site with a strong focus on supporting the user to avoid these penalties.
While a number of major websites have removed the comments tool, Dan warns against following their lead.
“Google has confirmed on a few occasions comments are indeed a ranking factor.” They are a sign of community and engagement, which Google values in their algorithms.
He recommends maintaining the comments section and creating content that is comment-worthy to build genuine engagement.
On-page optimization is a critical part of your SEO strategy – check our our SEO optimization services to see how we can help.
Link Building Strategies
On the episode, we also dug into off-site ranking factors. Dan highlighted user search behavior and site speed. And he emphasized that “links still do matter.” We at Sure Oak wholeheartedly agree and offer link building as part of our SEO services suite.
Dan uses less traditional tactics to build links to his or his client’s content. He cautions that good content must be the starting point. Then he shared his unique, practical strategies to earn backlinks.
Somehow, guest posting has been done so much that the quality has degraded. Yet, good quality guest posts can produce great backlinks.
For example, Dan recently spent two days creating a quality guest post with thoughtful content and screenshots. He advises clients to also put that time in.
Rather than bulk guest posts, he suggests getting into the guest publishing rotation for 2 to 5 relevant industry sites.
“You can reach out to most meetup group owners and offer them $150. They’re going to take that as a sponsorship. That is a steal in my opinion.”
It’s great not only for the link, but for developing connections with the members. Some of these meetups have 3000 members. Choosing the right group means those are 3000 potential clients and business relationships.
Intent-to-Link Content and SEO
Have you ever written content for people who are searching for content to link?
Yes, there are sites searching for references and resources that they can use within their own content. You can build content that matches their intent-to-link search queries.
Statistics-based content is very useful, as are topic overviews. Interesting industry data or an ‘Ultimate Guide’ will be grabbed by content builders, and provide you with a handy backlink.
- Make sure your content actually aligns with the keyword you’d like to rank for. Discover how your site is ranking in top keywords with our free Keyword Rank Checker.
- Keep your comments section. They are a sign of engagement and an SEO ranking factor.
- Ensure your site design is user-focused so you’re not penalized by Google.
- Link earning opportunities come from surprising places: quality guest posting, intent-to-link writers, and meet-up groups.
- SEO best practices can be applied even to low-volume keywords. He’s had client success with a keyword with 10 searches a month.
- Drop your target keyword into SEMrush. If it has traffic of 500 to 1000 visits per month: “that to me is a really good number.” If you can rank for that keyword, you can also get a few thousand visits a month.
Check Out More from Dan:
Experts On The Wire Podcast
The Low Volume Keyword Opportunity
10 Damn Good Reasons Top Of Funnel Content Converts