When consumers use Google to search for products, services and information, they expect to be presented with the most relevant and valuable content.

Large and small companies alike leverage search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to increase their visibility online and reach these consumers.

Here are 10 SEO strategies that a business can implement to outrank the competition.

 

  1. Develop a content strategy.

Consistently publishing relevant content online is an effective approach that businesses can implement to attract organic website traffic. Some of the most prominent forms of content in 2016 are blogs, videos, whitepapers, ebooks and infographics. However, to achieve success, it is advantageous for a business to first develop a content strategy.

“Planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content” – Kristina Halvorson, author of Creative Content for the Web

There is no definitive template for a content strategy. However, a document should be written and used to inform the content marketing team about the goals of the strategy, the buyer personas being targeted, the tone and format, the publishing schedule, and the measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs). A 2015 study found that 43% of marketers that have a documented content strategy were successful in measuring its return on investment (ROI). The same study reported that only 27% of the respondents had actually written a content strategy, with the remainder having only a verbal strategy in place.

  1. Produce organic content.

Publishing organic content that is educational, helpful or compelling to the target audience is an effective method to improve ranking on the search engine rankings pages (SERPs). For this strategy to succeed, the content must be of high quality, and be published consistently. After implementing algorithm updates like Penguin and Panda, Google will apply better ranking positions to content that is longer in length, is written with natural language, and avoids keyword stuffing.

  1. Create video content.

“Google loves videos, and it especially loves videos from video powerhouse Youtube.” – Adam Clarke, author of SEO 2016

It is no surprise that Google would rank sites that embed Youtube videos higher, as Google purchased Youtube in 2006. Making video creation part of the content strategy will increase the site’s visibility on the SERPs.

Below the embedded video, include a transcript of the video’s content. This allows website visitors to read the content if they can’t watch the video at that moment. However, the added benefit of this is that the transcript will provide text and keywords that Google can crawl. This can improve the Google rank further.

Create video content that is informative and useful. Invite users to embed the video on their own websites. This will build backlinks. Websites that have a lot of backlinks pointing at them are considered more authoritative by Google. This will have a positive impact on PageRank.

  1. Cultivate an online community.

Communication between a business and its customers is key to fostering a good relationship. This can develop a consumer’s brand loyalty. Social media is an ideal platform where businesses and consumers can communicate. Not only can social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ facilitate a conversation, but businesses can also publish their content to these networks. Users who find themselves delighted by this content will share it on their newsfeed or wall. This can gain a significant number of views in a very short time.

Content published on the website should also include social sharing buttons at the top of the page to make it easy for readers to share the content to their various social feeds. A social media presence can boost the Google ranking for a website.

  1. Leverage the local market when optimizing.

Top ranking companies incorporate a local SEO strategy into their overall marketing approach to increase their visibility to consumers in their communities. Call Pedestal and learn more about local seo HERE.

Local SEO involves targeting content to geographic locations, indexing business information on local listings like Yelp, optimizing the site for a positive user experience, and procuring consumer reviews. All of these factors will contribute to a higher rank on Google’s results page.

  1. Optimize for mobile.

In April, 2015, Google implemented the Mobile SEO algorithm update. This made it difficult for websites that were not optimized for mobile devices to receive a high rank in searches on smartphones.

It is expected that by 2017, mobile commerce will make up 24.4% of worldwide e-commerce. To capitalize on this–and simply to remain relevant–it is essential that websites be optimized for mobile functionality.

Businesses can check if their site is mobile-friendly with this free tool from Google.

  1. Short and long-tail keyword strategy.

Optimizing website content and copy with a mix of both short-tail (1 or 2 words) and long-tail (3 to 7 words) keywords, will help increase online visibility in an organic Google search. This will attract more website traffic.

Short-tail keywords are useful for driving high website traffic, but are more difficult to rank for. Long-tail keywords are easier to rank. They will drive less traffic, but the users they attract will be more qualified.

  1. Niche specialization.

For businesses that offer specialized niche products or services, implementing keywords that represent that niche will produce elevated rankings to relevant search terms.

To avoid contending for highly competitive keywords with much larger companies, consider a more specialized or specific set of keywords. For example, if a business that sells “thermal windows” finds that it’s not ranking well for that keyword, it might consider trying “energy-saving thermal windows” or “thermal windows made in Canada”.

Leveraging these niche keywords may reduce bulk traffic, but the percentage of traffic that is qualified will increase. Qualified traffic can increase leads, conversions and sales.

  1. Combine public relations and SEO.

Top ranking companies are more and more frequently integrating their PR and SEO departments. By combining these two complementary skill sets, the result will be published content that is exceptionally well written and targeted (PR), and that is also fully optimized for online visibility (SEO).

Furthermore, a public relations professional is much more likely than an SEO specialist to have a relationship with a high-traffic, industry-leading website. This presents the opportunity to collect high-value backlinks pointing back to the website.

  1. Monitor trends in SEO and watch for algorithm changes.

Follow top blogs and Twitter users that are well-informed about SEO trends. By always being aware of new trends, and being ready to leverage them, a business can move ahead of any competition that is not staying up-to-date.

These blogs at Hubspot are timely and informative, and are a valuable source of information about SEO trends.

It is also essential to be aware of any algorithm updates that Google introduces. Depending on what changes the update implemented, a website that was ranking very well prior to the update, may experience a decline on the results page. Stay aware of these updates and be ready to adapt.

To stay on top of algorithm updates and refreshes, watch this blog at Moz, or this one at Google itself.

Apply these SEO strategies in 2016 to outrank competitors on Google.

Implementing the above methods can provide a competitive advantage for any business that wants to improve its ranking on Google’s results page. This can give the business the edge over its competition and can attract qualified traffic and develop leads and conversions.

Learn more about how to grow a business with these SEO strategies in 2016.