John Lincoln

20 SEO Marketing Strategies To Get Ranked #1

These 20 SEO marketing strategies have helped me get hundreds of websites #1 rankings

20 SEO marketing strategies to rank #1

SEO Marketing Strategies to Rank #1

  1. Focus First on Great Content

When it comes to SEO marketing, this one’s a no-brainer. Content is one of the most important ranking factors. And I don’t mean just any old content – I mean great, quality content. That means it’s unique (on every page), it offers real value to your readers, it uses important keywords, and it’s offered consistently. Great content covers a lot of ground: a good landing page, a good category template, a good blog. If nothing else, work on improving your content.
  1. Specifically, Focus on Long-Form Content

There’s one kind of content that search engines love: long-form. While it’s not defined by an exact number, I say that long-form content is over 1,200 words. Personally, I aim for at least 1,500. But often write posts in the 3,000 to 5,000 range.  Why the high word count? Because it performs better. The proof is (multiple) studies. Take serpIQ’s from 2012. Their study involved over 20,00 keywords, and their results showed that the average of the top 10 results was more than 2,000 words (2,416 for the #1 spot, 2,032 for the #10). And if you need more convincing, Moz conducted a study which showed a direct correlation between the length of the content and the number of backlinks leading to it. Up your content length, and you’ll be well on your way to a higher rank.
  1. Focus on Keywords That Will Yield a Large Return

Keywords can’t be underestimated when it comes to SEO marketing. Because if you’re using the wrong ones, no one will ever find you (and you can kiss that #1 spot goodbye.) So don’t just go brainstorming and using a huge list based on what you think your audience is searching for. Take it a step further and really do your research.  
Tools like Moz's Keyword Explorer help with keyword research
Tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer help with keyword research
  1. Build Quality Backlinks For Successful SEO Marketing

Quality backlinks are right up there with quality content. If you’re gunning for the #1 spot, you’ll need both. Good thing is, the two often go hand-in-hand. The better the content, the more people will link to it. Beyond that, you’ll need strong social media, solid connections with influencers and a clear strategy outlining how and where you’ll look for backlinks.
  1. Save Technical SEO For The End

Technical SEO is extremely important, no argument there. But if you’re performing a complete SEO marketing overhaul and have to choose what deserves the majority of your time, focus first on your quality content and backlinks. Once you have keywords picked and your content plan laid out, then it’s time to turn to the technical side. Technical SEO is a broad term, and encompasses everything from site load time (make it fast! 47% of visitors will leave if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load), mobile friendliness and duplicate pages.
  1. Pick a Niche For Better SEO Marketing

No one wants to be the small fish in a big pond. But it’s an unfortunate reality for many small businesses who face big competition. Rather than compete for the general, big-ticket keywords, narrow your focus to specific products or services you can excel in. That way, rather than being one of the many you’ll be a standout for the few. It may not produce the same amount of traffic that larger businesses will see, but those that do find you will know exactly what they’re looking for and be more likely to follow through with a purchase.
  1. Optimize Your Tags

Once you have those golden keywords picked out, use them in all your content. That includes your tags:
  • Title tag
  • H1 tag
  • H2 tag
  • Image tags and captions
  1. Avoid Any Black-Hat Business

SEO used to be a much dirtier business. Rather than earning links and rankings through quality content, SEOs would often rely on manipulation to climb through the ranks. Though Google has cracked down on those black hat techniques, many still find their businesses involved in some shady business. To keep it strictly white hat, watch out for the following:
  • Unnatural links
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Cloaking
  • Doorway or gateway pages
  • Duplicate content
  • Blog spam
  • Etc.

  1. Determine Which Keywords to Target Where for Successful SEO Marketing

Once you’ve compiled a solid keyword list, the next step is determining which is appropriate to target on each page. For example:
  • Homepage – You’ll want to include your target, or primary keyword here
  • Your Blog – These can include timely keywords, and more specific keywords that your niche tends to search for, as well as overall themes pertaining to your business
  • Your Service Pages – This is where you should include specific service keywords on the pages they correlate with
  • Your Category pages – Like the service pages, include any specific category keywords
  • Your Product Pages – If you’re running an ecommerce business especially, you’ll want to place relevant keywords on all product pages
  1. Use Short URLs

When it comes to URLs, the general rule of thumb is the shorter the better. The obvious reason is because a shorter, cleaner URL is easier to read and likely to attract more clicks. That extends to Google as well; a shorter URL is easier for their bot to read as well. Google’s Matt Cutts has even stated that after 5 words “[Google] algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit.” A 2016 study by Backlinko also found that shorter URLs tend to rank higher.   So make sure that whenever you publishing posts or new pages on your site, you change the URL to include only a few words.
  1. Use 1-2 keyword per URL

Quick tip here – in that short URL, make sure you include you include 1 or 2 of your target keywords. They should be the ones you’re optimizing for that particular page. So for your homepage, your URL would include at least one of your primary keywords. Your blog pages would then have URLs containing the keyword you’re trying to rank that page, and so on with your category, services or product pages.
  1. Use HTTPS for More Successful SEO Marketing

Back in 2014, Google announced they would be using HTTPS as an official ranking factor. For those unfamiliar, HTTPS is the secure form of HTTP. Security is a top priority for Google, and they’re insisting it be one for your site too. So if you haven’t made the switch, it could be what’s keeping you from a higher rank.
  1. Make Sure Your Local SEO is up to Speed

Looked into local? If not, you should. If you happen to market to the local crowd, it’s time to cover your local SEO ground to make sure you’re a contender for the top spot in the SERPs. That means:
  • Getting citations
  • Setting up your Google My Business page
  • Collecting online reviews
  • Getting backlinks from other non-competing local businesses
  • Linking to your website in outside listings
  • And more
  1. Include At Least One Image in Your Content for SEO Marketing

It’s long been considered a best practice to include images in your content and content marketing. Interestingly, more images aren’t necessarily better. In their study, Backlinko reports that using at least one image is significantly better than no image at all, but found no correlation between more than one image and higher rankings. So as always, spend some time crafting an image for your content. But anything beyond the one won’t have a significant impact on your content’s performance.
  1. Continuously Check Your Page Load Speed

Getting back to the technical side of SEO, if there’s one thing you concentrate on, make it your load speed. It’s no secret that readers’ attention spans aren’t exactly forgiving, and the longer they have to wait the more likely they are to go elsewhere. To improve the user experience, Google listed page speed as an official ranking factor, and studies have shown a strong correlation between page speed and overall rank. To make sure yours is up to speed, periodically perform checks with tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Google's PageSpeed Insights will help you monitor how fast your pages load
Google’s PageSpeed Insights will help you monitor how fast your pages load
  1. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly 

Mobile friendliness is simply a must. In fact, Smart Insights reports that more searches currently take place on mobile devices than desktops. That fact certainly isn’t lost on Google. While the mobile-first initiative has been a long time coming, Google announced on January 10 that “Starting today, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.” Coming straight from Google itself, I’d say it’s time to take notice. If you haven’t already, test your site with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. The test is straightforward – if you pass, great! No issues found. If not, Google will return a list of possible issues and fixes. Just remember, if you haven’t yet invested in making your site mobile friendly, it should be a top priority.
  1. Send Your Recent Posts in a Weekly Email for Better SEO Marketing

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it continues generates some of the highest returns, with an average of $38 ROI for every $1 spent. And of course, it’s an ideal way to connect with customers and get your content out there. Don’t rely on searchers to stumble across the posts you’ve spent time and resources on; instead, take an active approach and send them to your client base. If they like what they see, they may leave comments or share with others. And the more links and shares? The higher that page will rank.
  1. Be Active on Social Media

Social media’s effect on SEO hasn’t always been easy to understand. Though there’s been an almost constant back and forth over social media’s status as a ranking factor, one thing appears to be pretty clear: social media, though not a direct ranking factor, is an indirect one. That’s because the links used in social media – as all other links – are a ranking factor. So, the more links your content gets through your social platforms, the higher it will rank. For you, the job is this: keep creating great content, and be sure to share it across your social accounts. It will expose you to a larger audience, and a greater likelihood that more people will connect with and link to your content.
  1. Be Creative and Post Unique Content for SEO Marketing

The best content? The emotional or unexpected. It has the ability to hook readers because it connects. According to Moz, one of the most important characteristics of great content is “creating emotional engagement.” Specifically, “high arousal” emotions like awe, anger and anxiety tend to perform much better than their counterparts. Beyond that, anything outside the ordinary will tend to create more buzz and engagement than your average, run-of-the-mill content. Want proof? Just look at the content that tends to go viral. Frontier’s take on the “Deez Nuts” campaign, anyone? Or perhaps you recall the infamous Dress” debate? Companies like Dunkin’ Donuts cashed in big on that campaign.
Dunkin' Donuts take on "The Dress" controversy
Dunkin’ Donuts take on “The Dress” controversy
So don’t be afraid to use humor and shock value or push a few buttons. The content that does will likely give you your highest returns.
  1. Create and Post Infographics for Successful SEO Marketing

I already mentioned the importance of (an) image in your content. But what’s even better is an infographic, and 42% of surveyed marketers reported that infographics and other original graphics were the most engaging of all visuals. Beyond that, publishers who use infographics see traffic grow an average of 12% more than those who don’t. More engagement and traffic means more links and therefore, a higher rank.
Infographics are some of the most engaging visuals to include in your content
Infographics are some of the most engaging visuals to include in your content
To create an infographic that will deliver those results, always focus on the content first. If you’re creating one simply for the sake of having one, you’re quite simply doing it wrong. Pick a topic that’s relevant to your audience; after all, they’ll only share it if it’s interesting to them. One of the best ways to do this is to repurpose your existing content. What’s performed well, and could be easily translated to an infographic? Next, make sure it’s visually appealing. There are plenty of tools available for use, from Canva to Visme, that make it easy to do so without requiring you to build from scratch.

Increase Your Rankings Today

Increasing your rankings isn’t as hard as it seems. All it takes is a focus on SEO marketing and a clear strategy outlining what you want to accomplish. Try one (or all!) of the ones above, and before long you’ll be sitting pretty in Google’s top spot.

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About the Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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