Most marketers know that they need to make their SEO and content creation process more organic. If your link building or your content creation appears unnatural or “spammy,” you can end up setting yourself back weeks or even months in your endeavor to achieve favorable search engine rankings. Sites that contain “over-optimized” content also appear odd and unnatural to users, thus hurting your conversions and giving you a high bounce rate.
Thankfully, these pitfalls can be avoided if you follow the right SEO strategy. In this article, we’ll lay out five guidelines that will make your on-page and off-page SEO process appear more natural to the search engines and to your visitors.
The first way to make your SEO appear more natural is to vary the length and the structure of your content. For example, instead of creating one 500 word article every month and arranging it into five paragraphs with 1 to 2% density of the same keywords, mix it up a little. Provide a few posts or mini-articles which are 100 to 250 words each and provide a variety of topics using your secondary keywords, while mentioning your primary keyword just once or twice within the content.
Break your content flow up by using bullet points and inserted quotes from credible resources and add pictures into some of your posts. This will help your content look more natural to both the search engine AND your site visitors.
There’s a lot of talk in the SEO world about inbound links, and not a lot about providing outbound links within the content of your site. However, linking to credible websites or providing expert quotes or references which link back to a "Wikipedia" article or articles on “About.com” can add credibility to your site and create a better user experience. Also, the sites which you link to do have an impact on your reputation with the search engines, so if you link to credible sites, you’re increasing your value to the search engines as well as your visitors.
When creating outbound links, be sure that you have a process in place for monitoring the outbound links on your site such as a program or WordPress plug-in like “Broken Link Checker” or another type of online tool for checking for broken links. If you don’t have a way to monitor broken links and your visitors find broken links on your site, that could hurt your credibility and affect user behaviors, which do impact SEO.
Profile linking, directory submission, and even automated link-building tools are becoming popular these days because link building can be so time-consuming. However, it’s still a good idea to take some extra time and read some blogs or forum posts and leave well-thought-out comments. Such links have a better chance of getting approved and are less likely to be deleted. Also, if you add something valuable to the form or blog discussion, the link could bring you quite a bit of qualified traffic over a long period of time.
For best results, find a few blogs a week and two or three forums within your niche that have a lot of traffic and fresh discussions being posted. Then, set aside an hour a week to search these sites for topics to comment on. This is a slow process, but the links and the residual traffic will add up over time.
The more types of media you have available on your website, the more engaging your site will be and the more likely your users will be to spend time on it and to become subscribers or customers. Sites with nothing more than text and pictures are becoming rarer as videos, podcasts, and interactive dynamic features are becoming more popular. As a key part of your on-page SEO strategy and creating a better visitor experience, including a few engaging videos on your site which the user can select to view in place of reading text.
Just be sure that you avoid flash and video which is impossible for your viewer to turn off if they want to. The more options you can give the visitor to choose for themselves what type of media they prefer, the more value you add for them. If you don’t have any videos created especially for your site, there are hundreds that you can search for on YouTube, all of which contain an embedding code that you can copy and paste into your website.
Everyone knows that having a high number of quality backlinks is good for your SEO. The thing you want to avoid doing is looking like you’re trying to “trick” the search engines into boosting your SERPS by having thousands of backlinks built within a few days. For best results, have your links created gradually over a long period of time and let most of them become indexed naturally. Attempting to take shortcuts in SEO can really slow you down, slow is fast when it comes to SEO.
For best results have 50 to 100 links built a day and use a variety of anchor texts by building them for your primary keywords AND secondary keywords.*
*For more information on a specific link building strategy for your primary and secondary keywords, see our article on “How to Rank for Competitive Keywords Without Breaking the Bank.”
More Strategies and Information On Optimizing and Marketing Your Website
There are many more strategies and guidelines which are important when it comes to gaining favorable rankings for your website. When it comes to SEO, the more you know, the more of an edge you’ll have on your competition. For a specific, step by step plan for increasing your SEO skills, simply sign up to receive your FREE seven-day mini-course below.
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