1. Conduct Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis has been going on since the dawn of business. Artists, businessmen and inventors have taken inspiration from one another for centuries. While to some this may seem like theft, you can’t stop looking at your competitor if you want to win.
Hence, conducting competitor analysis is essential. For this you need to identify who you’re competing with depending on audience, topic of interest, geography, etc. Analysis like this will help you succeed where your competitor has failed, and improve where they have beaten you.
Whichever route you decide to take, you need to do these 3 things for effective competitor analysis:
- Keyword Analysis: Analyzing keyword usage for your competitor is essential. Using suggestive tools for keyword placement will help you find ones which are most relevant to your audience. Using keywords that rank too well or are too general won’t really help your cause. Also, looking at your competitor’s most successful posts will give you an idea about what keywords work best. Get started with keyword research using this tutorial.
- Link Building Analysis: Look at the anchor test your competitors use and which one is getting the most traction. Look at the backlinks that they’re using and seeing if you can use the same websites for your posts as well. Learn how to conduct a link building campaign.
- Content Analysis: This is the most important part. If your competitor’s content is better than yours, you can’t really win. If you can’t find interesting, original ways to convey your points to your audience, you’ll eventually lose them. If you want to play the long game, you will have to improve your content strategy. In this, if your competitors are successful, adopting a similar approach can work. However, you have to focus on finding a unique voice which makes you different. No one ever goes to the second best for anything.
3. Optimize Your Site For Mobile Devices
Mobile devices now account for more than half the world’s web traffic. Hence, optimizing your website or blog for mobile devices isn’t a choice anymore. Most standard blogging platforms and website building services take that in to account.
However, you need to be smart about which themes and which backgrounds you choose. You need to optimize your website for a viewing experience that is comfortable for mobile devices. You and I have both come across sites that are horribly designed for the mobile experience, and that exasperates visitors.
Optimization also needs to take in to account loading times. Google has even introduced AMP, which delivers faster mobile pages. It uses a stripped form of HTML which loads pages 85% faster.
4. Use Secure HTTP
This one is a no-brainer. The HTTPS protocol is much safer for websites, and safer websites rank better. HTTPS improves security and privacy for you and for your visitors.
Chances of interference and data theft are significantly reduced. It also improves your ranking by virtue of your trustworthiness. Hence, Google is more likely to recommend your website overtime.
Nearly 31% of all web domains had transitioned to HTTPS by mid-2017. While this does result in an immediate dip in website ranking due to changes to your base URL, it’s short-lived.
5. Use Local Optimization
There has been a great boom for key phrases like “near me” or “close by” in the last few years. This is because people want to know about businesses and hangouts near them. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a new city or not, they want to explore. This opens up great opportunities for local optimization.
And while this is driven mostly by GPS derivative apps and voice search, it can work in your favor. You can revise a lot of blog posts and content to feature tags that are popular within your area. For instance, you can input the city or neighborhood you operate in.
You can also reference operating areas more in your posts which are lying dormant. You can also change the ads on your website to reflect more local interests to drive more local traffic.
6. Work On Your Featured Snippets
Have you ever typed in a specific question on Google and gotten a box as your first search result? That is what you call a snippet. They’re ranked very highly for specific questions and statements. They’re not usually given out as a search result because not every question is so specific.
For instance, most of your search results either bring up a news item or a Wikipedia result. Nearly 11% of search results have a featured snippet. The best part is these snippets even appear before ads, so they’re great for engagement. Snippets also feature an image or video which makes them stand out even more. They’re a great tool to help your webpage get traffic.
Based on research conducted by SEMrush, the best way to get a snippet for your post is: stick to paragraphs. Not just that, you should label paragraphs with specific statements like “how to grow my email list”. This helps Google search your content for very specific material.
If you’re trying to rank for specific keywords you can also try listicles. They’re also ranked very highly when it comes to snippets. You can use a copywriting service to help you generate great content for these types of topics.
7. Reinvigorate Your Dead Links
I’m sure you’ve come across an article that you love and clicked a link only to find that it’s broken. That’s the worst. In fact, it kills the entire momentum that you’ve built up reading a post that you actually love.
So many posts and articles out there suffer from this bane. However, you can avoid this by reinvigorating your old posts with fresh links. This will help your web pages rank better, since dead links don’t do you any favors.
You can install a tool on your blog to detect these dead links so it’ll be easier to replace them. You can then take one of the following actions:
- Reinstate the dead page (if you deleted it by accident)
- Redirect the dead link to another page which is just as relevant (irrelevant links are bad for your rankings)
- Leave the link dead and redirect to a soft 404 (this is a last resort if you can’t find any relevant links that are active)
8. Use Video Frequently
According to Shilpa Shah of Hummingbird Web Solutions, many marketers are still ignoring the potential of video. It’s like they’ve missed the all encompassing influence of YouTube. Videos are a goldmine of engagement and value. What one video can deliver is a thousand times more interesting than a post on the entire subject.
Instead of working on long posts with a lot of fluff, she encourages posting short videos. These are likely to get more views and much more engagement. You can even combine text and video together if you want. Chances are that the average person won’t run through a 1000 page post and will just click the video. You should take that and create really meaningful posts out of it. For instance, you can create videos giving a summary of the topic, and refer viewers to the blog for details. That can improve engagement with your blog and with your business as well.
9. Improve User Experience
If you pay attention to the news at all, you may have read that Google is investing in machine learning. It just so happens that Google is integrating that in to its search engine. It’s called Rank Brain, and it’s the third most important ranking factor on Google.
It works by studying how users interact with search results and bases its ranking on that. If users bounce from a site, the ranking goes down. However, if they click on a link and stay on the webpage for a while, the ranking goes up. If you break down the data further, Rank Brain looks for dwell time and click through rate. The former is the amount of time a user spends on the webpage. The latter is the percentage of searchers that click on the result.
It’s a no brainer to figure out that improving on both helps out. However, just improving on the latter may go against you, since too little dwell time counts as bouncing.
According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, the best way to improve your ranking with Rank Brain is with medium-tail keywords. These will give you the best value for money when it comes to optimization. If you organize your entire page around a keyword that will probably give you great traction. It’s advisable to use a web copywriterto deliver a very organic post with medium-tail keywords.
10. Ask Your Users What They Want
Every now and then you have to ask your users what they need. It’s not a good idea to never take feedback. For one, it makes it more likely that you can fall out of touch. For another, it can alienate your audiences when they realize you’re not listening to them.
You can poll your users to see what they want. You can look at analytics that show posts with the most engagement. You can observe which content your users keep coming back to no matter how much time has passed. You can even individually email your most engaged subscribers or customers for their opinions.
All of this helps to create content that will trend well with your core base. It’s always a good bet to go for the content that most of your audience will like. Remember, all of your customers or visitors won’t be equally engaged. Hence, to get the most out of content, it will have to trend well with your core audience.
Author bio: Dave is a senior content manager at Content Development Pros. He is responsible for overseeing all of the content that goes in and out of the site. He loves playing tennis in his free time and has a love of gardening.
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