Free traffic from SEO is awesome. Out of all of the potential sources of traffic to your blog or business website, organic traffic from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the other search engines gives the best return on investment. After you've invested time and energy into creating great content and building backlinks check out these counterintuitive hacks for improving search ranking.
Prevent Google from indexing certain pages
You want Google and the other search engines to crawl and index the important pages on your site. Indexing the 3rd page of your blog archives page won’t add much to your search engine standings. That amazing sales page that you only use at Christmas isn’t worth indexing year round and Google might even send traffic there, rather than to your target pages.
You can tell search engines to not crawl certain pages by using the robots.txt file or the. This file lives on the root of your website's file structure. If you use WordPress (if you’re a blogger then you probably should be) install the Yoast SEO plugin and use it's tools tab to get access the robots.txt file directly in the WordPress admin.
Once Yoast is installed, click on SEO in the WordPress administrator. Click Tools and then open the File Editor. You can add a line in here to tell crawlers to ignore certain folders. The following code tells the web crawlers to ignore the ‘disclaimer' page on your site
User-agent: * Disallow: /disclaimer
Yoast also allows you to tell crawlers to NoIndex certain pages on your site using the Titles and Metas section of the plugin. Remove Author Archives for single author websites and removing some extra bloat.
If you prefer to use FTP but don’t currently have an FTP client check out Filezilla.
Reduce the focus keyword count in your post
Reducing the number of times your target keyword appears might seem counterintuitive but it can actually help in several ways.
Overuse of certain words can signal to Google that the content is spammy in nature. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. It might work in some low-competition and highly niche industries, on some posts, but you should avoid this practice in general.
By reducing the number of times a phrase is repeated you make the content seem more natural, as it should be. Use related phrases. A great tactic is to use Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. LSI phrases and words are keywords that are related to your target phrase. The relationship is semantic, meaning the terms are related, not just similar in meaning. Sprinkle your text with LSI keywords and not only will your readers appreciate it, Google will consider the article more thorough and relevant. And that means a higher ranking.
LSIgraph is a great resource for LSI keywords. Serpstat offers some amazing and powerful tools for finding related keywords, keyword clusters, and search suggestions. This is my go-to tool for finding related keywords.
An excellent tool for helping improve your content and removing overused words is Pro Writing Aid. PWA shows you which words are overused, how often you use filler words, and a whole host of other important points.
Spend time on Meta Descriptions & Tags
If you’ve been reading about SEO for any length of time you’ll know that meta tags do not influence the positioning of your article on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Like the practice of keyword stuffing, meta tags crammed with target keywords are old hat.
Not only is this an outdated and useless practice it can be detrimental to your rankings.
Click Through Rates (CTRs), the percentage of users that click your post link in the SERPs affect your rankings. Google monitors how often your content is clicked per keyword search and decides from the CTR whether your content is relevant and appealing to users. One of the biggest influencers of CTRs is the meta description.
Look at the following results for the phrase “best travel blogs 2017”. Almost every one could improve the meta description and make it easier for users to understand what the content is about
Link out to Other Websites
There are a few notions around Pagerank, Page Authority, and Link Juice which have come to influence how people refer to other websites. The error many people make is to think that linking to other sites will harm your page’s authority. This is only true if you link to another website that ranks for your target keywords. There’s no point in helping the competition.
However, related websites and non-competitive (for you) resources show Google that you are trying to provide the best answer to a question. Offering relevant and useful links in your post shows that you care about the user experience. Don’t be afraid to connect to other authority sites. You can even do some blogger outreach by contacting the owners of the websites that you mention. That can help build your network and drive traffic.
Buy 5 Years or More Domain Registration
This one is a controversial one. This might seem like a total waste of money when you can simply renew your domain automatically every year. But the domain age has to do with the long-term commitment of a site owner to his online presence. If you want that little bit of extra juice from Google then this is worth doing. As domain names can be registered for less than $10 a year it’s not a huge amount of money to invest
Now, before anyone points out that Google has publicly stated the contrary, many SEOs have found that domain age does, in fact, carry weight. The truth of the matter is that older domains rank better. Google is also a domain registrar also and has access to this information. It's a small hack but one that you can set and forget.