In this article, I will cover exactly how to improve search engine ranking to gain more traffic to your website. And the very first thing I want to warn you about is that you probably already know 95% of what I'm about to tell you. However, for some reason you are just not doing it! So, while this article will provide the tactics that are involved in bringing your site up the search engine rankings (just like all the rest), it will also dive head-on into the reasons why you are not on page 1 of your target term today. Unlike all the other how-to guides, this one will give you an actionable plan you can follow.
Step 1 - Adjust your mindset. Nothing of value in life comes without hard work. If you accept this statement, then you are prepared to work hard for your prized search engine term. You know the value of the term or you would not be investing the time to research it right now. If you believe there is a "magic secret" that will somehow make your site appear on page 1 in Google, please leave this article immediately. But bookmark it first and return in 3 months when you've realized that there isn't. Now, if you're serious and you'd like your search engine ranking to look like the chart on the right (a nice gradual rise from page 30 to page 3), then read on. I will show you exactly how to improve search engine ranking with easy SEO tactics that anyone can use.
Step 2 - Set goals. Okay. Now you have the appropriate understanding that to improve search engine ranking on a competitive term will be hard work, I'm ready to work with you. Remember, I have a Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology. So I can say with some authority that setting goals greatly increases your odds of achieving something difficult. So what are your goals? They need to be specific. And in this context, they should be well-researched.
So for this step, you need to pick between 3 and 5 terms that you want to increase your ranking on. And you need to do this very carefully. Go to the following free resource at Google punch in a bunch of terms that you think are appropriate for your website:
Change the match type to "Exact", then sort on "Approx Avg Search Volume". Notice how many searches are made per month. Divide by 30 to get an approximate number per day. For each term that you think is attractive to you (from a search volume perspective), jump over to Google.com and search on that term with quotation marks around the term. For example, I ran a search on "SEO" and got the following output:
This is telling me that in the Google database, there are currently 257,000,000 pages that they have determined are about SEO. As you consider how to improve search engine ranking for your site on a specific term, you MUST consider how much competition is already out there on that term. This is a critical consideration while trying to improve search engine ranking. This example shows that trying to rank on SEO will be extremely difficult. Let's try a few more until we find something more realistic.
Here we have "SEO services online", and only sixty six thousand results. This is workable. The problem here is that there is very little search volume on that term. You see how this works. Find a term with reasonable search volume that is not incredibly competitive.
Once you have your keyword targets as goals, you need a way to track them. We can help there. Sign up for our free keyword tracking tool. This gives you a convenient way to track your progress toward your goals - which is paramount.
Step 3 - Unique and appropriate content. I warned you - you've heard this before many times. That's because it's true! Unique content is critical in SEO. It is simply so easy for the unscrupulous to copy other people's content online that unique content carries a premium for increasing rankings. So start writing. Put a blog on your site if it is appropriate. If it's not, find places to put in meaningful text. No keyword stuffing! Only do things that are natural. No funny business. But seriously, you need to be writing every single day to improve search engine ranking. And you need to be writing about topics that are related to the target keywords we selected in Step 2.
Step 4 - Link building. Similar to step 3, this is also critical. If you only do steps 1 - 3 and stop there, very little will happen (unless you are in some obscure keyword space). Generally speaking, you simply can't be noticed in the search engines without links. More specifically, the single biggest thing you can do to improve search engine ranking is get more inbound links. However, not all links are created equally. Links from high-powered (i.e., high PR) sites that are in a similar space to you will help you much more than crappy links from a directory site in India. That's correct, Google knows the difference very well. Directory submission does not work, don't bother. Article submission does work, so find the high-PR free article sites and write something good for submission to them. They will give you a link back in return.
However, you need as much link diversity as possible. You should join as many forums as possible in related spaces. Put your link in your signature if that's permitted. Make a meaningful contribution to those forums and the posts will get picked up as many people will read them. Syndicate your RSS feed as many places as possible. Find other blogs in related spaces and get involved in the discussion. Again, an opportunity for a link back to your site. Similar to writing, this will be an on-going activity that you will need to do every day. Do this consistently, with integrity, and the results will amaze you.
Conclusion. There you have it folks. I guarantee that if you follow these 4 steps for a solid year, you will improve search engine ranking for all of the target terms. In fact, you will see results within the first 90 days if you are using our tracker. Here is an example for a real client using this approach at HubShout.
Following your goals with an analytic tool like this will provide the motivation to continue. As I said in the introduction, the issue here is not that you don't know what to do, it's that you are having a hard time consistently doing it. Yes, SEO is like a marathon. Those with stamina win. If you look at all this and determine it's too much work, you should consider hiring an SEO firm. There are many sources online to hire SEO services and we have many other posts about that as well.