Search engines are tricky little buggers. Things that might not seem important can be a game changer when it comes to your site’s search engine ranking. Well, good news: There are some life hacks to help move your site up to the tippy top of the search list (or at least higher than it was).

Keep It Real: The Power of Authenticity

Everyone’s got something to say on the Internet—opinions, beef, commentary on the latest episode of “The Bachelor”—but if that content looks too much like someone else’s, search engines throw up a red flag. The World Wide Web hungers for new ideas. If you want to get your site higher in the search results, freshening up your blogging approach is a great place to start. It’s okay to reference other people’s work (always give credit where credit is due!) but don’t copycat. Your work should have flavors of you in it. When you start treating your blog like a marketing tool, it will start acting like one, which requires some planning. Putting together things like content calendars that map out topics you’d like to cover over a month or two’s time can be really helpful.

Courtesy of CoSchedule

Courtesy of CoSchedule

By laying out all of your big ideas for blogging subjects for an extended period of time you can be more strategic with what you’re going to write about. That way the next time you sit down to write a blog post, you’re not scanning the Internet trying to figure out what to write about and what’s already out there. Losing that extra step can make getting started less intimidating. You’ve got your topic, now run with it: Your way.

Practice Makes Perfect: Post Often, Post Long

You probably get the “Post Often,” but you’re probably scratching your head at the “Post Long” sentiment. As you might have already guessed, search engines love seeing new, original content being posted on a site regularly. I think we’ve all had that experience of getting excited about a search result or article only to find that it’s over five years old. Sure, some topics aren’t affected by the hands of time; but in other cases, emerging technologies and digital practices can make old articles obsolete (and just annoying). By writing consistently, search engines will see that you’re actively using your site by keeping it updated with relevant, engaging content. For that, you will earn yourself a better spot in the search results.

Image 2

Now, back to that “Post Long” idea. A couple of years ago, the thought of blog posts over 500 to 800 words was out of the question. Most people were spending mere seconds on blogs and webpages, making the idea of writing long seem like a waste of time. We’re here to tell you that long format blog posts are the way to go. And when we say long, we’re talking 1,500 to 2,000 words. Just know that this length isn’t right for all blog topics, but many of your site’s posts can benefit from this length.

Courtesy of Moz

Courtesy of Moz

So, why the long post? Think about some of your favorite news outlets or media pages: what are they writing? Odds are, it’s an article combining research, graphics and video, and the ability to comment. When you’re putting all of these different pieces together, you’re already getting your blog’s search engine optimization off on the right foot. You’ll be pulling in links to other credible sites, all the while crafting content that is shareable. With people spending and enjoying more time online, a blog post or article that goes in depth and is well written will give readers something to dig into. Our advice: give the people what they want!

All Together Now: Keywords

Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce you to the almighty power of keywording. What is keywording, you ask? In short, it’s the use of words and phrases that tie into your business that relate to what people are searching for on their favorite search engines. The more you use a specific phrase throughout your site, the more a search engine will pick up on it. By using long-tail keywords—which sound more like spoken phrases compared to marketing jargon—you’ll have a better chance of a being found. Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re a florist who sells a lot of corsages during prom season. A couple blog posts talking about different types of corsages for prom, flower options, or saving your corsage as a memento could all help soon-to-be prom goers (and let’s face it, their moms) find and make a purchase from your business. If you’ve got a Google Adwords account, you can easily sign in and have access to Google’s Keyword Tool. Other sites that offer similar services are floating all over the Internet, like Wordstream, Keyword Tool, and Wordtracker.

Courtesy of DotSauce

Courtesy of DotSauce

These keywording tools will help you get a better idea of what people are using for their searches and will also give you an idea of what other businesses are using as industry buzzwords. But beware! Writing for the sake of getting more keywords jam-packed into blog posts is a strike against your site. Search engines are forever getting “smarter,” and their algorithms are looking for natural sounding sentence structure and flow. Using keywords is a dance: it’s great throwing new moves into your routine, but it should be choreographed a little. Be strategic, use your common sense, and you can use keywords the right way. Simple as that.

Not So Quick Fixes: SEO & User Experience

Once you’ve gone through and made some of these quick fixes, you’ve just scratched the surface of search engine optimization. When you’re ready to start diving into how people interact with your site, calling in for backup isn’t a bad idea. Teaming up with SEO experts is a natural next step to making your site as optimized and as powerful as possible. Ready to take that next step? Let’s talk.

Interested in even more ways to boost your search engine ranking? Download our 2016 SEO Checklist to make sure you’re getting the results you want:

2016 SEO checklist