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12 Quick SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic

12 Quick SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic

Most lists of SEO tips are overwhelming. They give generic advice like ‘write better content’ and ‘improve user experience,’ and bombard you with hundreds of tips.

If you’ve read this post in the past, you’ll know this is a mistake we’ve made before.

Before republishing, it listed over 200 mediocre SEO tips.

Most first drafts aren’t perfect. You’ll almost certainly miss important points, which can hinder your page’s ability to rank in search engines.

So here’s what you can do:

Plug the URLs of the two or three top-ranking pages for your primary target keyword in Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool. Then plug your page’s URL at the bottom. Hit “Show keywords” and you’ll see the keywords that one or more of the top-ranking pages rank for, but you don’t.

Let’s do that for our post about structured data.

2 content gap

3 content gap results

It looks like one of the other top-ranking pages ranks for searches related to how and where to add schema markup.

But we don’t rank for those keywords because we didn’t cover the subtopics in our post.

If we were to rectify that issue by covering the topic in the post, it’s likely that we could also rank for those keywords. Even better, doing this may help improve our main keyword ranking because Google will see the page as more complete.

Backlinks are an important ranking factor, but link building can be a chore. You have to find prospects, vet them, find their emails, and then somehow convince them to link to you.

If that sounds daunting, an easier way to get started is to send emails to everyone you link to.

For example, we recommend a bunch of link building tools in this post.

4 link building tool recommendations

It would be easy enough to reach out to their founders or marketing managers and let them know about the recommendation.

Here’s what that might look like for Buzzstream:

Hey [Name],

Long time Buzzstream user and superfan of your tool. Just wanted to let you know that I recommended y’all in our latest post about link building tools. Hope it sends some well-deserved customers your way.

Cheers,
Josh

Note that you shouldn’t ask for a link in this email. That’s not the point of this tip. The point is to make contact and start a conversion. If your content is unique and well-written, you’ll often receive compliments. That naturally leads to shares and sometimes link opportunities like guest posts and other collaborations.

Internal links are backlinks from one page on your website to another. They help visitors navigate from page to page, distribute ‘link authority’ throughout your site, and Google also uses their anchor text to understand context.

 

The problem is that whenever you publish a new page, it’ll have few or no internal links. So if you want your page to stand the best chance of ranking, it makes sense to add some.

To find relevant opportunities, search Google for site:yourwebsite.com “keyword”.

For example, if we wanted to add internal links to a newly-published post about SEO best practices, we’d search for something like site:ahrefs.com/blog "seo best practices".

5 internal link google search

Every result here is a page on our site containing the phrase “SEO best practices.”

If there are a lot of relevant results, install Ahrefs’ SEO toolbar. This will overlay SEO metrics in the search results. You can then eyeball the URL Rating of each page to prioritize adding internal links from the highest authority pages.

6 internal link ahrefs toolbar

Here’s a good internal link opportunity in our post about why SEO is important:

7 internal link opportunity

Content audits involve analyzing all pages on your website to see whether they should be kept as is, updated, consolidated, or deleted.

Following our last content audit on the Ahrefs blog, we deleted 48 blog posts.

Did our traffic decrease? Nope. It increased by 7.57%.

If your site runs on WordPress, the easiest way to conduct a content audit is with Ahrefs’ free WordPress plugin. Install it, follow the instructions, and it’ll give suggested actions for all your posts and pages.

8 content audit

IMPORTANTThese are suggestions, not instructions. You should assess each page individually and never delete those that are important for your business—even if they have little or no SEO value.

If you’re not using WordPress, use the instructions and Google Sheets template in this post to do the same thing.

People enjoy different content formats based on their personal preferences. Some like videos where others prefer to read. So an easy way to reach a wider audience is to repurpose blog posts as videos.

For example, last year, we published a blog post about ranking higher on Google, which we later repurposed as a video.

 

How do you figure out which blog posts are best for repurposing?

If the post gets lots of organic traffic already, then it’s a good candidate for repurposing. Why? Because you can then embed the video in your blog post to appeal to more visitors.

You should also consider repurposing posts about topics that people are searching for on YouTube.

For example, if we check the keyword “local SEO” in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and switch the search engine to YouTube, we see that it gets an estimated 500 monthly searches in the US.

9 local seo keywords explorer

That’s why we repurposed our post about local SEO as a video.

Repurposing blog posts into videos can also help you claim multiple spots in Google’s search results thanks to the video carousel.

10 video carousel and organic

HARO is a service that connects journalists to sources. It’s free to sign up and when you do, you’ll receive daily emails with requests from journalists.

For example, here’s Bankrate (DR 89) looking for a banking expert to answer a few questions about no-penalty CDs:

11 haro request

Upon receiving this email, all you’d need to do is check that you met the requirements and reply to the email. If they use your answer in their post, they’ll usually credit you with a backlink.

The problem with HARO is that they send three emails a day. Given that most of the requests won’t be relevant to you, that can be overwhelming.

Luckily, this issue is easily solved with Gmail filters.

Here’s what to do:

Once you’ve signed up for HARO and subscribed to the topics that interest you, head over to your Gmail and hit the caret in the search bar. In the “From” field, enter haro@helpareporter.com, enter “[HARO]” in the “Subject” field, and then enter the keyword or keywords you want to monitor in the “Has the words” field.

11 gmail filters haro

Next, hit search and check a few results to make sure they’re relevant. If they are, hit the caret and click “Create filter.”

You’ll then have options to mark it as important, apply labels, or forward it to another team member to take care of.

12 gmail filters haro

If you’re not yet ranking number one for your target keyword, then it might be because competitors have more high-quality backlinks. You can get a sense of whether this is the case with Ahrefs’ free SERP checker.

If the pages that outrank you have more websites linking to them (referring domains), that might be holding you back.

13 keyword research backlinks

One way to begin fixing this is to monitor people linking to less deserving content, then try to get those people to link to you instead.

How? First, open a few top-ranking pages with backlinks and look for inaccurate, outdated, misleading, or missing information (that your content covers). You’re essentially looking for areas where your page trumps theirs.

For example, Moz’s list of Google search operators has tons of links, but it misses tons of operators like define:, cache:, and site:.

14 competing post

Armed with this information, the next step is to create a new backlinks alert in Ahrefs’ Alerts. Just paste in your competitors URL, then set the Scope to “New backlinks” and the alert frequency to daily or weekly.

15 backlink alert

Look through each alert email for links that you deserve more than your competitor.

For example, this page recently linked to Moz’s list of operators when talking about the site: operator, even though Moz doesn’t list that operator on their page:

16 backlink email alert

Because it would make more sense for them to reference our page, it’d be worth reaching out to see if they’d consider changing the link.

Backlinks to dead pages are effectively wasted. They’re not helping the page rank because it no longer exists, and they’re probably not helping other pages rank much either.

How do you know if you have broken backlinks?

Filter for 404 pages in the Best by Links report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

17 bbl 404

If there are any pages with referring domains, then those backlinks are broken.

There are three ways to fix these:

  • Reinstate: If the dead page was deleted by mistake, put it back. All of the backlinks will then point to a working page.
  • Redirect: If the dead page exists at a new URL, redirect the old URL to the new one. If the old page no longer exists, but you have a similar page on your site, redirect the old URL there. Read this to learn how to do redirects.
  • Request a link change: If someone made a mistake when linking to your page (e.g., they added a space to the end of the URL), then it’s worth reaching out to let them know.

Just know that it’s only worth fixing these issues if the dead pages have high-quality backlinks. If not, it’s usually fine to leave them as 404’s.

You can check the quality of a page’s backlinks in the Backlinks report.

For example, this dead URL has a couple of backlinks:

18 two dead links

But if we look at the actual backlinks, we see that they’re junk and not worth worrying about:

19 low quality backlinks

On the other hand, this dead URL has a few high-quality backlinks, so it’s worth redirecting:

20 good backlinks

If you have custom illustrations or infographics on your site, it’s highly likely that others will use them in their content.

For example, here’s a graph from our post about long-tail keywords on another blog:

21 image embed

Most of the time, people link back to the source of the image when using your images, but not always. And that’s the case here. If we check the source code for that page, there’s no link back to ahrefs.com.

22 no link image

Another common issue is people linking directly to the image instead of the page it came from.

For example, if we check the source code for another page where that illustration shows up, they’re linking to the PNG file.

22 image embed png link

Neither of these situations is ideal. If you spot people doing this, it’s worth reaching out and kindly asking them to add or fix the source link.

But how do you find people using your images without proper attribution in the first place?

One way is to right-click on an image on your site, then hit “Search Google for Image.”

24 search google for image

Check the results to see if they’ve linked back to you. If not, reach out.

Here’s another way:

Paste your website into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, go to the Backlinks report, then search for links with .png or .jpg in the backlink URLs.

Screen Recording 2020 08 10 at 02.18 pm

If we do this for the Ahrefs blog, we see hundreds of sites linking directly to images.

25 png search

SIDENOTE.

Site Explorer only finds instances where people link to the image files instead of pages. It won’t find sites that have used your images without linking back to your site at all. You’ll have to use Google for that.

Caching helps speed up your website for visitors, and there are a couple of reasons why that matters:

First, page speed is a ranking factor on both mobile and desktop.

Second, the probability of a visitor bouncing increases as page load time goes up.

26 bounce rate probability google

Although many factors affect pagespeed, installing a caching plugin is a quick and easy win that takes all of two minutes.

To do it in WordPress, log in to your backend, then go to:

Plugins > Add new > search for “WP Super Cache” > Install > Activate

Screen Recording 2020 08 18 at 06.06 pm

Finally, go to the settings page for the plugin and make sure caching is on.

Screen Recording 2020 08 18 at 06.08 pm

Most searches for definitions show a featured snippet like this:

27 featured snippet

Google pulls this information from one of the top-ranking pages. In this case, it comes from our blog post about SERPs.

But here’s the thing: If we didn’t have a definition on our page, there’s no way we could appear in the snippet. Google knows searchers are looking for a definition, so it’s going to pull from a page with that information.

So here’s what you can do:

Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, go to the Organic Keywords report, then filter for top 10 rankings with featured snippets.

Screen Recording 2020 08 10 at 02.34 pm

Next, filter for “what is” and “what are” keywords using the Include filter.

Screen Recording 2020 08 10 at 02.35 pm

Look through the results and make sure there’s a relevant definition on each page.

For example, we rank in position nine for “what is guest blogging”…

28 what is guest blogging

… but there’s no way we could own the snippet because there’s no definition on the page:

29 no definition

By adding a clear definition to that post, there’s a chance we could rank in the featured snippet and get more traffic.

Recommended reading: How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Have you ever noticed that there’s a “Videos” tab in Google search?

30 videos tab

The interesting thing about this tab is that it doesn’t just show YouTube videos. It also shows pages from the web results with relevant video embeds.

For example, take a look at the Videos tab for “affiliate marketing”:

31 affiliate marketing videos blog

The top result is this video, which we uploaded to YouTube:

 

But the result doesn’t take you to a YouTube video. It takes you to our post about affiliate marketing, where we embedded that video.

Screen Recording 2020 08 10 at 02.41 pm

If we check the data in Google Search Console, we see that our video embeds are responsible for sending almost 46,000 visits our way over the past three months.

32 gsc clicks

Admittedly, that’s a small percentage of our organic search traffic (roughly 2%), but we’re certainly not complaining about the extra 15,000 visits a month for such little effort.

Plus, if your site’s in a highly visual niche like recipes, you’ll probably see an even bigger boost.

Final thoughts

None of these tips should take more than 15 minutes. You could implement them all in three hours. That’s not long at all, considering the impact they should have.

The 8 Forms of Success

The 8 Forms of Success

I just gave a full-day leadership seminar attended by managers and top executives of companies like American Express, Infosys, The Gap and Dell. One of the ideas that many of the people in the room told me was most helpful was my “8 Forms of Success” model that I’ve been sharing with our corporate clients over the past year.

In my mind, success isn’t just about making money. There are actually 8 elements that you want to make sure are at world-class levels before you call yourself a winner. Let me identify them:

#1: Inner Success. This includes a positive mindset, high-self respect, internal peace and a strong spiritual connection.

#2: Physical Success. Your health is your wealth. What’s the point of getting to a great place in your career if you get sick doing it? Why be the richest person in the graveyard?

#3. Family Success. When your family life is happy, you will perform better at work. No one gets to the end of their lives and regrets making their family a top priority.

#4. Career Success. Actualizing your highest potential by reaching for your best in your career is incredibily important. Getting to greatness in your profession brings a feeling of satisfaction on a job well done.

#5. Economic Success. Money is important. Makes life easier and better. Money allows you to live in a nice home. Take beautiful vacations and provide well for those you love.

#6. Community Success. Human beings have a psychological need for connection and belonging. A rich network of mentors, interesting thinkers and valued friends just makes life better.

#7. Adventure Success. To be fulfilled, each of us needs mystery in our lives. Challenge is necessary for happiness. The human brain craves novelty. And we are creative beings so we need to be creating constantly if we hope to feel joy. Lots of adventure (ranging from meeting new people to visiting new places) is an essential element of success.

#8. Impact Success. Perhaps the deepest longing of the human heart is to live for something greater than itself. Each of us craves to be significant. To make a difference. To know that the world has somehow been better because we have walked the planet.

I invite you to focus on each of these 8 elements if you want to experience authentic success. Money alone does not define success. There are many rich people who are unhappy and therefore unsuccessful as human beings. By focusing on elevating all 8 of these areas to world-class levels, you will not only shine ever so brightly for all those around you – you will also find contentment that lasts.

5 Different Kinds of Success

5 Different Kinds of Success

Capitalism has trained us to think about success in a very specific way: a boxed-in type of success that almost feels store-bought, packed and shipped right to our front doors. Replaced by things, soul-searching success is left by the wayside. After all, why try to cultivate success when it can be purchased with a single click?

Success for many is being financially stable, an expert in a certain industry, acquiring tangible possessions and status. Although this construct of success works for several entities, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Today, success breaks down the box, builds it back up and calls it something else. Success is more about a feeling than anything we can put our hands on; it’s personal and it’s not always understood by everyone around us. Deconstructing success means self-reflection, but also taking a good look at the types of success society has tried to push upon us. No more swapping hearts for coins, people. We mustn’t lose perspective.

Despite societal pressure, there are various types of success that don’t adhere to the norm or that have been forgotten. And in looking at them, we can open gates that lead us to a success that feels both authentic and rich.

1. Small

How quickly we bypass the small achievements as though they amount to nothing. Whoa, behold, the splendor of success when it lies in the minutest of details. In small successes, we can find larger ones. When we declutter our inboxes or organize our homes, we can address that which all of the clutter was covering up; for we are notorious for hiding behind and beneath things, using them as an excuse, living in fear of the unknown and staying put. When we move away the debris, it’s much easier to unearth that which has remained buried for safekeeping.

Look at it this way:

  • Have you recently cleared out a space in your home to start your creative business? Success. Pat yourself on the back.
  • Have you found an organic, whole-food diet that gives you the energy you need for the entire day and increases your vibrational force? Success. Give yourself a big hug.
  • Have you rid yourself of things, people and attitudes that have been holding you back? Success. You deserve a moment of rest.

OK, maybe these aren’t exactly small successes, but they are in the sense that they are the first actions we must take on the road to success. And not just any kind of success; we’re talking about a lasting, fulfilling, make-your-body-hum-with-happiness-all-over success. When we can look at small successes as indicators of bigger ones, then we’re able to see the whole picture. Plus, this offers us the vision to be able to see that breaking down success into smaller, more manageable pieces is what will bring us closer to that dream life.

2. Simple

If you know what the acronym K.I.S.S. stands for, then you probably have an inkling about what simple success means. We complicate things more often than not and more frequently than necessary. It’s understandable. Goals, dreams and plans to achieve success feel larger than life itself. And inside of our heads, this stress can multiply quickly and spiral out of control. Before we know it, without taking one step in the direction of success, we’ve already talked ourselves out of it.

Rather than keep all those ideas inside, let them flow into the outside world. Write it down, make a collage, a painting, a series of photographs or sketches, talk to someone you trust. When we start to talk about our ideas of success and how to get there, when we manifest the thoughts and desires on the inside into tangible, visual, auditory things on the outside, not only do we feel more in tune, but the universe hears our cry.

Each time we verbalize what we want, someone or something is listening. Talk about your simple needs and desires. Don’t convolute anything. Say what you want, say what you need, speak into reality that which you desire. Say it as simply as possible and say it with conviction. Say it every day and make it a priority. It’s simple, really. The things we love, we give attention to—each and every day without fail. So why not treat your successes the same way? In taking action, talking about your dreams, that is a form of success. It’s simple, but it’s oh, so real.

3. Serene

One of the highest markers of success is serenity. Shame on us for thinking success has to be something of action, something moving and visible to the naked eye. We’ve been tricked to think it looks like a busy body and mind. That’s what society wants to sell us, to keep us distracted, to keep us moving nonstop, to keep us from reflecting on self; and in this way, we dig ourselves deeper into a life that doesn’t include the type of success we deserve. When we can be still, when we can be at peace with ourselves and our surroundings, that is the purest form of success.

Do not underestimate being still, finding serenity. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, that is a huge accomplishment and proves you value yourself in relation to success more than the standard notions of success that, more often than not, leave us feeling empty. Go for a success that is genuine, one that lasts this lifetime and trickles into the next. Dedicating time for the development of self and for peace of mind indicates just how important we are. When we claim, I am important, I love myself, I give to myself, I grant myself space to be still, I gift myself serenity, we are claiming a success that cannot be trapped in a box.

4. Strange

Society says success is having, it’s showing. It says there is one version of success and it is equal to the amount of wealth and power one has—they are inseparable. It’s saying, I’ve gained success and it can be observed, now show me yours. What about success doesn’t fit the mold? What about success isn’t predicated on money as we know it, but rather places value on different types of wealth? What about success is as personal as DNA? Can we give credit to these successes, please?

Strange success equals individual success, and nothing feels better than being authentic. Is your idea of success living off the grid or not spending any money for a year? Is your idea of success learning how to live waste free or taking garbage and turning it into gold? Is your idea of success traveling for a year without working, or working without wages for a worthy cause? Maybe your business endeavor is one of creative proportions. If you have visions of a success that has nothing to do with the commercial success of society, don’t be ashamed, don’t hide from it. Be proud, go for it, and know that the universe and others like you are behind you, supporting you, cheering you on. Whatever it is, don’t deny your version of success, no matter how bizarre, no matter how far-fetched. It’s possible and within your grasp. Start talking about it today, without abandon and with the mindset that it’s already yours.

5. Spiritual

Here is where the water gets deeper and the ether realer. What is ether but a calling, a life mission? And what does that mean for us? What is the ether that resides in each of us? When we can figure that out, well, by gods and goddesses, we’ve stumbled upon a success that has no measure yet, and that is the greatest form of wealth on the planet. No one can take it from us, not if we don’t let them, and it’s so unique to our filaments, our birth charts, our fingerprints that if encountered and followed, it’s like floating on air.

 

The forms of success that society sells must be eradicated for a less tangled form.

 

Success of a spiritual nature doesn’t have to be meditation or giving up all possessions. Not at all, although for some, this is exactly what it means. A spiritual success is one that feels true to the self that dangles from somewhere inside us, the being that’s back there waiting and watching, a little voice in the dark that guides us, a little voice that steers us toward our most authentic self should we be willing and able to listen. Spiritual success cannot be ignored any longer. The forms of success that society sells must be eradicated for a less tangled form. For success as they sell it to us is heavy, it’s a boulder on our backs, it’s a weight pressing down. When we find an ethereal success, we float, we fly, we become magic. And nothing is more magical than watching a human transcend and develop, without the help of capitalistic forces and based solely on a connection to self and the universe.

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