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Who doesn’t want lots of organic traffic in their website analytics?

I know I do. In fact, 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority, and for good reason. The first organic mobile listing gets 27.7% of clicks. That’s a game changer for almost any business and community. So, how do you even get close?

A few years ago, ranking highly on the first page of Google was as easy.  You could pay for random backlinks, optimize your meta-tags and voila! Traffic! Simpler times.

Today, things are very different.

When it comes to your SEO, always remember: Google’s #1 priority is the customer experience. So what’s changed?

One thing: competition.

So many more people are on the web today and this has prompted Google to change what they prioritize and reward. In fact, you could even be penalized today for what would’ve benefited your SEO years ago. So it’s important for your business and community to know what’s working, and what is working changes.

Here are 6 tips on how to stay in Google’s good graces with your SEO strategy.

Tip #1: Content Is King

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. Content is the name of the game. Not just any content, but quality, relevant content.

Know your demographic inside and out and provide them the answer to the questions they ask. Understand needs and create crisp, focused, readable content that they want. Be intentional about an editorial calendar focused on a regular drip-feed of unique, relevant content that your audience want. Understand their needs and serve them well.

The more high-quality content you offer your readers, the higher you’ll rank!

Tip #2: Keywords (But Don’t Overdo It)

Many people think of keywords as the “magic bullet” that will get them to rank #1 over night. They are still useful but not the same way they used to be. 

Here’s an example of a keyword strategy used in the good ol’ days: 

“Welcome to Manny’s auto parts store! We sell the best auto parts in all of Boston. Looking for auto parts? Look no further than Manny’s auto parts. We have a lot of auto parts!”

This tactic, known as keyword stuffing, is now frowned upon by Google, but it once was common practice.

How to use keywords today: Start by researching keywords you want to rank for, including variants. Write amazing content on the subject, including the keywords in a natural and relevant way that will be helpful to those searching for it. Don’t stuff, just apply your keywords naturally. Rinse and repeat!

Tip #3: Doing Links “Right”

Link building is tied for first place with content for how important it is for SEO ranking. Link building is when another website links to yours, especially if that website is established. For instance, if the New York Times published an article you guest-wrote for them, that would be about the strongest backlink ever. Google really likes that.

The trick is that you have to build them over a long time, and by doing the right thing. Focus on creating guest content elsewhere, going on podcasts, going on webinars, and other ways of generating material that will bring people back to your site.

Tip #4: Images and Load Time

Did you know you can squeeze “SEO juice” out of images, too? It’s true. In fact, 20% of all Google searches are image searches!

By optimizing image descriptions and tags, you can cast an even wider net than if you didn’t. Make you always fill in those tags, and don’t embed enormous images that slow the page loading down. Websites get dinged for slow loading.

Tip #5: E-A-T

No, not second breakfast. E-A-T  stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Google loves to boost rankings for people they know are the real deal. Companies that have bad customer service or lack proper credentials will not rank as highly as their trustworthy competitors.

Accomplish E-A-T by creating amazing content in your target niche, treating your community members and customers well, and creating content that people often like to connect to share and share. This all builds your broader credibility, which in turn results in better search rankings. 

Tip #6: Page Optimization

This hasn’t changed much from the old days of Google, but it has become more complicated. You need to optimize every element of your website, from navigation to load time to meta tags. Make it as easy as possible for users to find information and browse your site. Google is like a nosey neighbor sticking their nose in your business – make sure your house is shipshape.

There are countless tools out there to evaluate page performance, and Google Analytics is one of the most powerful. Get your page loading time down as much as possible. You might want to also consider using a caching service such as Cloudflare.

The key takeaway from these tips is that, along with back-end optimization, it pays off to invest in a really good community and user experience. By providing relevant value, you’ll attract a larger, more relevant audience.

Best of luck!

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