I should note that if you’re trying to rank for “home loan” you’re going to need to do a lot more than these 5 quick things but even in this case these tips, deployed properly, will help push virtually any campaign forward and get you ranking for a wider assortment of phrases. So, what are the things that any business owner can do to help keep their site moving forward, ranking for more phrases and better for the phrases they already rank for and keep their competitors from gaining on them? Here are the 5 things you should be doing each week:
Task One: Read One Article From Your Niche
It would be great if you can read more but read at least one full article from a peer website or trade journal each week. Of course, there are good business reasons to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in your industry but for our purposes here (SEO) we’re doing this to keep our eyes out for three things:
- New keywords – keep your eyes open for upcoming terms in your niche or topic
- New connections – keep your eyes open for new influencers in your niche
- New topics to write about – pay attention to what people are interested in and writing about
All three of these are important if you want to make the most of the time you’re dedicating to SEO. Any activity that can accomplish more than one task at a time is obviously one to be pursued. As we’ll see below all three of these will assist you in completing the other quick things you need to complete as well as keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in your industry.
As you are clearly interested in SEO which is why you’re here I’ll take this opportunity to list off some of the sites in my niche that I visit regularly. These are the places I go to keep up with what’s going on:
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Journal
- ARS Technica
- Google News
How I use these sites and a few others to rank better apart from just knowing more about SEO we’ll get into shortly. Bit first …
Task Two: Write One Page Of Content
Writing content takes a lot of time between coming up with the idea to writing and then publishing it and what’s more – there’s no guarantee that it’ll actually drive new traffic. All of this is true and the simple fact is, adding a single page to your site probably won’t accomplish much which is why the tip isn’t: build a page and rest on your laurels.
Consistently writing content accomplishes four main tasks related to web marketing:
- Each page has the potential to rank for new terms though unless you have a strong site most of those terms will be longtail
- Each page you write gives you unique content to push out on your social profiles and engage your audience there
- Each time you publish new content you have a potential link point added to your site, and
- Each time you post you become a more reliable source of information and over time a place people visit for updated information (read: increased traffic and links)
And that’s assuming we’re only talking about blog or informational posts. Adding new service, product or other key pages to your site can help craft your user flow and increase conversions which is also “kind of” important as well.
You can write about subjects that are topical (perhaps related to the article you read), are targeting new longtail keywords or are simply informational to build trust. There’s also nothing wrong with double-dipping your efforts. I myself publish a post each week on the Beanstalk blog summarizing the top stories in SEO that week. Since I have to read industry articles anyways and also want to be engaging on social media (more on that below) I add the URL of interesting and important news to a blog post draft starting on Monday and collect them over the week when it takes only a couple extra seconds and then on Friday I have a list of all the important news from the week to just write a quick summary of and publish. Doing this reduces an 800 to 1200 word page of content to about a 30 to 40 minute effort including getting the images together by piggy-backing it off another task I need to do. Look for these opportunities yourself.
And while not everyone can do a news summary of their industry I should point out that this also means that each week I have an opportunity to link to other influencers in my industry and notify them of it. Never a bad thing when task three is
Task Three: Build One Link
Link building is a big task and also an important one. The problem is, it’s also very daunting. If we use tools like RankWatch or ahrefs and compare our own links with those of our competitors we can often be left feeling like there’s no way to bridge that gap. If you want to accomplish the task in a week there often isn’t which is why the task is to build one link each week (on top of any you might be naturally acquiring).
These links can range from writing guest posts for others in your industry (he notes ironically in the process of doing exactly that), submitting to key trade directories and I’d even include getting your Google My Business listing if you don’t yet have one. Anything that creates a unique and relevant link from a 3rd party site to yours.
As one of the three major SEO signals the importance of link building cannot be understated. I can’t get into all the details of how it’s done or what to look for but thankfully you’ll find an excellent guide on the subject here if you’re scratching your head wondering where to start or if you’ve run out of ideas on what type to build (remembering that diversity is security and you shouldn’t focus all your efforts on a single type of link).
I know I know … social media is not an official SEO signal. While there’s debate on that let’s assume it’s completely true and will continue to be into the future – there is more SEO value from social that just whether the links, likes, shares and mentions are counted.
Engaging with influencers in your niche on social gives you an opportunity to get in front of them in a complementary and non-intrusive way. Tweeting:
Great info from @xyz at https://www.xyz.com/greatcontent/. #AwesomeHashtag #GreatStuff #MyNiche
Will likely be helpful to your twitter followers but also get you some easy attention from influencer @xyz. If they’re a real influencer in your niche a few opportunities taken like that and after a few back-and-forths you’ll have opened the door to a bigger discussion like whether they’d write a piece for your site on something topical, come on your podcast if you have one, etc. Basically, a simple and subtle engagement that’s reinforced over time can open the door to content for yourself that is highly shareable (read: linkable) and which will aid in increasing your own influencer score.
So each week keep up you engagement on social media with others and try to engage with one new influencer each week. It may not go anywhere, they may not even engage back but with consistent action and low time investment you’ll make some solid connections provided you’re subtle, show sincere interest and don’t beat them over the head with a pitch.
Task Five: Re-Optimize One Thing
Either find a page that isn’t quite ranking where you want it to be (like if it’s in the pesky position 11) or that has a higher-then-expected bounce rate and re-optimize it for either rankings or user experience. This task generally doesn’t take long as I’m not referring to a complete rebuild of the page (at least as part of the weekly tasks) but rather a once over that includes discovering a problem to fix or an opportunity to chase and then doing so.
A couple of my favorite places to look for the data to compete this task is in the Search Console where I can look for phrases that are ranking in “almost good” positions (basically anything from position 6 to 13) that I might be able to get ranking with just some simple onsite tweaks and also in Google Analytics where I like to look for pages with bounce rates that are higher than would be expected and test something to try to remedy it.
Like most of these tasks, this won’t catapult you to riches but even if all you did was reduced your bounce rate by 1% and applied what you learned to all the new pages you build over a year you’ll have dramatically impacted your bounce rate and/or attained a good deal of new longtail traffic.
We all want the quick wins and there are often some out there to be had but the biggest impact to your business overall is almost always from consistent and dedicated efforts. Stability in the rankings isn’t attained from a 3-month intensive campaign. Those can provide some great results but the stability is realized from consistent efforts like those above. Each takes only a small amount of time and can (and should) be worked into your schedule. By overlapping where I can I generally only need about 3 hours each week to cover all five for my own site and let me say … it’s effective.