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Want to Get Better Ranking for Your Site? Apply These Proven SEO Techniques

Updated on April 8, 2017

Because of these changes, tactics and strategies that used to work perfectly well a couple of years back can easily become irrelevant and land you the wrong side of search engines. To win better ranking, digital marketers must always be on top of the ball by using the right SEO strategies. This post brings you top SEO techniques that will work for your site, trends to watch in 2017, and a comparison of top three SEO tools.

1. Improve your visitors’ engagement

Google and other search engines have trained their efforts to ensuring that their visitors get the best experience. User engagement is evaluated in terms of the time visitors takes on your post or site. It is obvious if a user takes more time on a website, he/she got something useful. Therefore, Google pushes sites and pages with stronger user engagement up in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

How exactly can you improve user engagement for your page? Here some tricks for it.

  • Format the posts to make reading easier: Formatting the content correctly will greatly improve the page’s readability. You should particularly target shorter paragraphs with an average of 3-4 short sentences. The content should also contain sub-headings and bullets to make the flow of the ideas easy and fun.
  • Utilize bucket brigades: These are copyright techniques that help to capture readers’ interest and to glue them on the post. Here, you break the content using phrases or words such as ‘look at these tactics …’ or ‘the secret to .....” among others.
  • Include images in the content: By adding images, they do not just show an idea, but they also tell it. Many people find images really fun and will remember them well compared to content.

2. Focus more on topics and quality as opposed to keyword only

Search engines are increasingly adding new components to make them more intelligent. Now, they are no longer interested in the keyword but want to understand the intention of users. Digital marketers must move with this tide to rank higher! Search engines want to know what users are expecting and looking for? They also want to know the search results that deliver the best answer for users. This means you have to dive deeper to understand what the target audience really and package it appropriately.

  • Know the target audience: The content you create for the website should be relevant to the target audience. You have to carry comprehensive research to know what the target audience wants and establish the issues they are facing. Then craft relevant and top notch content for them.
  • Organize the content into themes: Instead of simply organizing the content based on the keywords, consider using the themes. This makes it easy for visitors to find appropriate content related to their topics. For example, a website on WordPress might categorize the themes into three; one, novices looking to make a step in WordPress, two, experienced WordPress users who seek to learn the latest tricks, and three, entrepreneurs looking forward to building their businesses with WordPress.
  • Comprehensively research all the keywords: While the focus is drifting away from the keywords, it does not mean they are no longer crucial. You have to comprehensively carry keyword research to drive relevant traffic and enjoy higher ranking.

3. Ensure that your site, pages, and content are mobile friendly

Mobile is the future of SEO. It is no longer disputable! For about five years, search engines were preparing the way to anchor mobile content. In 2016, Google found that over 50% of all the searches were coming from mobile phones. This prompted it to announce the great index divide that gives preference to mobile content. Now, if your site is not mobile-friendly, it misses out a great segment of the target audience, and can only use the secondary index (desktop index) that will greatly hurt the site's ranking. You can make the website mobile friendly using the following ways;

  • Create a mobile version of the current site.
  • Use the right mobile plugins such as JetPack, Themekey, and WPtouch.
  • Utilize a mobile first responsive design for your site/page

4. Improve your website speed

Since 2010, site and page’s speed have been crucial ranking factors for search engines. The ideal speed for your page should be loading in a second. However, you can consider the site to be okay if the loading time goes to a maximum of 3 seconds.

Every now and then, Google wants your page to load faster. It introduced the PageSpeed Tool, The Accelerated Mobile Pages, and now they have the Think with Google to help your site open in a second. How do you improve the website loading speed? Here are three suggestions.

  • Use smaller images or compress them to smaller sizes. A good image compression tool is the Kraken.io
  • Utilize Content Delivery Networks that reduce the distance your content travels between the server and users.
  • Use browser caching that helps to store website data to lower the bandwidth usage.

5. Build links with quality and not quantity in mind

Search engines' ranking does not just look at the content to rank you at the top of SERPs, but also factor the links to other sites. When your website is linked to other very important sites, it becomes an authority in the niche and will rank higher. The best way to achieve this is working on top-notch content, working with affiliates and linking with other websites in the same niche. You can also market it on diverse platforms especially social media that will follow back to establish your authority.

Well, if you were used to buying thousands of links, the trick no longer works. The algorithms are more intelligent and will detect any fake traffic fast. If you must buy links, make sure they are high quality and will drive real traffic.

A comparison of top three SEO tools

To apply the outlined techniques and achieve the targeted results in SEO, you cannot do everything manually. In most of the cases, the procedures are complicated and require a lot of technical understanding. However, getting the right SEO tools makes it easy to review your website, identify errors, and even understand competitors. Here is a comparison of top three SEO tools: Semrush, Serpstat.com, and Majestic.

Semrush is among the top search engine optimization platforms designed for domain monitoring, crawling, and keyword research. Serpstat, just like SEMrush helps with keyword research and also provide features for competitor analysis and backlink audits. One of the top competitors of Serpstat and SEMrush is Majestic. It was crafted to capitalize on main weaknesses of other SEO tools in the market. It is mainly used for localized SEO, backlink tracking, and link exchange location. Here is a comprehensive analysis of these three tools based on their features.

(i) Customer user plans

All the three tools have diversified their user plans to meet needs of their clients. Serpstat is available on four main plans starting from the cheapest Plan A that goes for $19/month to the most expensive Plan D offered at $229/month. Plan A allows the user 300 queries every day, in depth URL analysis, online support and limited pages for audit. However, the upper plans allow more queries, cluster research, missing keywords, and access to API among others. If you opt for the lowest level, Plan A, you will miss the following features; missing keywords, cluster research, access to API, and phone support.

Unlike the Serpstat that comes in four main user plans, SEMrush is available in three plans; Guru Plan, Pro Plan, and Business Plan. The pro plan (lowest plan) which compared to Plan A of Serpstat goes for $69. The subsequent Guru Plans and Business Plans are equally expensive at $149.95 and $549 per month respectively. Though the cost is high, all the plan offers more compared to their matches at Serpstat. For example, the lowest plan offers 10,000 results in every report, 3000 reports on daily searches, 500 keywords to track, and 100,000 crawled page limit. On the upper end, the Guru Plan provides amazing 30,000 results for every report and 5,000 searches per day. Additionally, a marketer can get 30,000 crawled pages, 100 social media profiles, and 1,500 keywords.

Majestic, unlike Serpstat and SEMrush, has six different user plans. However, one is completely free while the other five are paid plans. The most expensive plan (The 1000), is sold for $1,599/ month and provides a whopping 1 million downloadable backlinks and 5,000 downloadable backlinks that can only compare to Raven tools. The top plan also helps marketers address keywords difficulties and backlink tracking among others.

Notably, the free plan has great limitations compared to other upper plans. You cannot run multiple accounts and analysis is limited to only two sites. Besides, you can only research 6 keywords, it does not feature a browser toolbar, and users cannot generate scheduled reports.

While all the three tools have diversified their user plans, Serpstat is the most affordable of all. However, it offers poorer user experience compared to the other two. Though Majestic proved to be very expensive, it offers better services in all the plans compared to either SEMrush or Serpstat.

(ii) Customer support services

You can easily tell the nature of a company or service by looking at the customer support services. All the three tools come with good email support that responds to every query. For example, Majestic enquiries were responded to within a short while the other two replied to questions in less than 24 hours.

They all had engaging social media accounts that replied and offered additional information to new and current clients. Though SEMrush and Serpstat lack phone support on the lower plans, they have very engaging blogs that answer all the questions and builds on brand communities. Serpstat has particularly invested in a great blog and included video tutorials to help new clients understand how to use competitor analysis and other features

One major undoing factor of Serpstat and SEMrush is that they lack a live chat. This puts them at a lower position compared to Majestic that allows users to hit the live chat for direct conversions on any issue. Note that this feature only works on the upper paid plans and not the free one.

(iii) Features

  • Keyword and ranking: The three tools come with comprehensive features for Rank Tracking, Rank History and Keyword Suggestion. SEM rush is particularly effective in Keyword Suggestion for your SEO campaigns or content generation. However, Majestic was more helpful because of its ease of use in page keyword relevance and graphical presentation of keyword difficulty. Though the lower levels had great limitations on keyword and ranking, none of the three tools can be considered significantly ahead of others.
  • Site optimization: Recently, the dangers of duplicate content has become central with top search engines emphasizing on the need to regularly review and mend broken links, use 301 redirects, and rel=canonicals. These three tools have proven very useful in backlink tracking, broken link scans, and link exchange locator. However, Majestic stood out for its effectiveness in duplicate content analysis, and link recommendation especially in the upper plans. SEMrush lagged behind in its social media monitoring, lack of link recommendation. On site optimization, Majestic stands taller compared to others, followed by Serpstat while SEMrush come a distant third.
  • Competitor analysis: All the three tools have been designed with extra focus on helping users understand their position in the market and learn more about the competitors. You can easily analyze keywords, evaluate ranking, and links of your keywords in digital marketing. Besides, you can even assess your brand authority or that of the competitor using any of the three tools. To make the application and use easy, all the tools except the Majestic free plan have a Browser toolbar.
  • Integration with other tools: To extend the use of these tools the Majestic SEO tool stands out. With the Majestic paid plans, you can integrate with Google Adwords, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console among others. SEMrush integrates with Google Analytics other social media tools for comprehensive reports.

While Serpstat is the best when it comes to cost, it lags behind on user experience. Its interface is also a little intimidating when compared to SEMrush and Majestic. However, it works fine after some practice. From this review, it is clear that Majestic stands tall because of its highly creative features while SEMrush comes a distant second. Remember that it is always good to start with the free plan, trial version, or lower plans to assess the suitability of the tool in your situation.

6. The future trends of SEO

As pointed earlier in this post, SEO is rapidly changing and sustaining high ranking means a lot of work. This has spelt doom for black hat SEO as search engines go to great extent to guarantee users of better UX. Having looked at the five main strategies that will guarantee you a better ranking, it is important to look at the future of SEO. The following five trends will shape SEO in 2017 and beyond.

  • Video marketing will grow terrifically

Video content marketing is gaining a lot of momentum that could become the defining factor in SEO. From Home pages to social media, marketers are ensuring that there is a persuasive video to convince visitors to convert. In 2016, Facebook indicated that daily video views hit the 10 billion mark. Just like Facebook, YouTube is visited by more than 33% of the entire internet population. You can only ignore this marketing space at your own peril. Get videos, optimize well, and make them easily available to get better ranking and conversion.

  • Influencer marketing will emerge as a critical pillar for SEO

Over the last three years, the role of influencers has become very helpful in digital marketing. Influencers are experts in their fields and take a lot of time to craft the best content and establish networks. Think of a dental expert who has a blog, research the most disturbing teeth issues, and crafts very useful content. Many people will turn to him to get an expert opinion on what to do. Now, SEO marketers must liaise with these influencers to build important links, get quality traffic and rank higher on search engines.

  • Voice search will become more important

Though artificial intelligence was initially dismissed by many in 2015, it has emerged as a crucial component in SEO. Giants such as Google, Bing, and Apple are fast rolling their infrastructure to capitalize on artificial intelligence. This means that the ultimate SEO structuring could be headed for another major drift. Use of voice search is likely to turn most of the current content into a question based model. For example, users are likely to ask direct questions such as which is the best dental clinic in Manhattan? Or which fitness program is best for post-delivery firming?

  • Location will become a great deal

As more people focus on selling products online, the location is emerging as a great deal! For example, many people are looking for locally produced organic products to reduce carbon footprints and promote a healthier environment. Consumers will want to get content and products made in their locality. This presents the perfect opportunity that many small businesses have been waiting to pounce and devour. The keywords, link building, and other components of SEO will go local.

The UX, great content, social media, progressive apps and technical SEO will also play important roles in sites’ ranking and future of SEO.

7. Conclusion

The last ten years can be considered to have been the incubation period for SEO. The fast pace of change experienced in search engine algorithms and new SEO components are making the digital space to become very competitive and unpredictable. This means that SEO experts can no longer sit pretty thinking that their current site’s high ranking will last. The reality is that everything might change faster than you can imagine. By perfecting the outlined SEO techniques, you are assured of getting to the top of SERPs. Make sure to also remain extra vigilant on the future trends of SEO to remain at the top.

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