Do you want more traffic to your site, especially your sponsored posts, without paying for it or begging other publishers to share your posts?
Most publishers want organic traffic from search engines but many aren’t doing the critical things to get more traffic from SEO. Here are some of the reasons that publishers should care about (SEO):
SEO Brings New Readers
SEO brings people to your site in another way vs. traffic from followers and fans on social media. It’s another way to diversify traffic sources.
SEO Traffic Brings More Targeted Traffic
Visitors who go to a site from an organic search are looking for an article to answer a question or to solve a problem. With this in mind, they will normally stay on the site longer than a person who “jumps” on from a social media link aka “Lookie Lou’s.” Often they are not on social media to buy or take action, but on search they’re more likely to.
CTAs Work Better
Call to actions (CTAs) within an article or on the site normally convert higher with organic traffic over other traffic resources.
There are MANY factors which can impact your rankings with the search engines and below is a “hit list” of common “mistakes” often seen. This is not a comprehensive list, just enough to get you thinking about your SEO.
1. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
There are still publishers who do not have a mobile-friendly site. In April 2015, Google released their mobile algorithm – aka “mobilegeddon” – which gives priority rankings for mobile searches to sites which are mobile friendly.
Action: Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see if your site is compliant at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
2. Make Your Site Load Fast
Search engines want a fast loading site and if yours is not, you may be penalized for having a slow loading site. The “SEO snowball effect” can damage your rankings. Here is how it works:
Visitor searches online for a term they are looking for information about. They find your site in the search engine. They click on the link. Once on your site they wait… and wait…, until they get impatient and click away to find another site.
What does this tell search engines? Your site loads slow and that your content wasn’t what the visitor was looking for (even if it was). Since they “bounced” your site will be lowered in the rankings.
There are several factors that can impact your site speed such as your host, theme coding, plugins, and image optimization just to name a few.
Action: Run reports using the following suggested sites and work to improve your site speed:
- Google Site Speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Pingdom: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
- GT Metrix: https://gtmetrix.com/analyze.html
3. Set up a Site Map
Some publishers do not have a site map or have a site map and it’s not configured probably within the Google Search Console (aka Google Webmaster Tools).
While your content can still be found without a site map, it is so much faster when you tell a search engine what and where to find it.
Action: Ensure that you have a site map configured properly and check your Google Search Console dashboard at LEAST once a month for problems.
Bonus: Bing Webmaster Tools is almost always overlooked as a tool to use.
4. Fix Your Broken Links
Broken internal links interrupt a visitor’s experience that can translate to a higher bounce rate, lower page views per visitors, and lower conversions for your site. When this happens your site might lose the ranking nod from search engines.
Action: Install a broken link checker to detect broken links associated with your site and resolve the issues. Learn how to identify problem links through your Google Search Console.
5. Stop Using Header Tags for Formatting Text
Publishers sometimes use header tags to format text within their articles. The <H2> – <H6> header tags are signals for search engines and should not be used to format your text.
TIP: Blend your header levels with your content so they do not interrupt the reader experience by modifying your CSS.
Action: Install a plugin such as TinyMCE to have formatting options if you want your body content to be different sizes, etc.
6. Use An SEO Plugin (Correctly)
An SEO plugin can make the work of ranking easier by giving you feedback about your post.
Yoast SEO is the most popular WordPress plugin for users because of it functionality over other SEO plugins. This robust plugin has a lot of features such as site verification tools to building a site map that publishers should be using.
Some publishers who use Yoast SEO think by having it installed is enough and that their articles should automatically rank.
Yoast SEO is a tool to help guide you. Think of an analogy that Yoast SEO is like a car key… it opens the door and turns the engine but you have to do the work to get you where you want to go.
Also, some publishers see “green” and stop optimizing their articles. Go through each tab of the Yoast SEO plugin guide to ensure that everything is green. And, if it is green, you still improve that effort, eg, keyword density.
Action: For WordPress users, ensure that you have configured Yoast SEO to its potential on the “technical side” and when developing content be sure to look past the green signal that all is well with your on-page SEO efforts.
7. Make Your Meta Descriptions Convert
Just because you are number one in the SERPs may not mean that it will convert. If you are looking for a recipe for “cornbread dressing,” which one would you click on? Most would probably select recipe #3 or #4 as the title and description is more “appealing.”
Action: Take the time to develop meta data, e.g., meta title and meta description, which will entice a potential viewer to click on your link within the SERPs and that is search engine friendly.
8. Use Google Analytics Strategically
Google Analytics is a publisher’s best friend for everything related to traffic for their site. Unfortunately, most publishers do not know how to read past looking at the number of users, sessions, and page views.
Do you know which articles have the highest bounce rate?
Do you know what path your readers and while on your site and which article has the highest exit rate?
Do you know how to set up goals through your Google Analytics dashboard?
Action: Learn a new “skill” each month to improve your understanding of Google Analytics and how this amazing tool can help you improve your traffic through understanding the stats. Here’s a free Google Analytics dashboard that you can start with.
As mentioned, this is list is a small sampling of things that could impact your organic ranking with search engines. Challenge yourself to learn something new each month to improve your optimization skills.