SEO is an ongoing effort. There is no one-size-fits-all, and there is no one-and-done. Optimizing your website for search engines takes time, effort, and ongoing analysis. If you want organic traffic, you need to be willing to go above and beyond when it comes to your SEO. That being said, there are ways to work smarter, not harder.

Organic traffic is hard to come by. Users know what they want, and they trust the top search results to deliver exactly what they’re looking for. If you’re not in those top results, it’s sometimes impossible to land organic traffic from your target audience. This guide will delve deep into the world of SEO to talk about things you can do now to actually increase your organic traffic. These are things that are currently working in 2018, and they’re much stronger than outdated techniques in the past.

Understand RankBrain

Google’s RankBrain is the newest algorithm that integrates machine learning. It takes user expectations to another level, and that’s why it’s the most important thing on this list. Yes, keywords, meta tags, and backlines are important and will likely always be important. However, they’re not the most important according to RankBrain.

With RankBrain, it’s all about making Google’s users happy. It’s about providing high-quality content. Think of RankBrain as a set of steps each user does. First, the user searches for a specific keyword in Google. Next, RankBrain shows a set of results for these keywords. The user will then click on a result, and their next action will help RankBrain assess the quality of that website. Namely, did the page satisfy the user?

If they quickly click away to something else, that page probably doesn’t have quality content. On the other hand, if they are satisfied and stay on the website without needing a different result, that page is upranked. This all means you need to prioritize your quality content to make sure users are satisfied the first time they visit your website.

SEO steps to take now:

  • Create content that adequately addresses your topic or headline
  • Back your content up with high-quality sources and statistics
  • Include a compelling meta title and description to lure organic clicks

Perform a Content Audit

We all know that content is king, but what happens to bad content? Not all page content and blog posts are created equal, and it’s probably been a while since you took a hard look at your older pages. Low-quality pages will weigh down the rest of your website.

Take a cold, hard look at all your pages and posts. Anything that has zero links, traffic, or conversions is probably ready to be deleted. If you’re not willing to part ways with that content just yet, update it at the very least. These are pages that aren’t adding value to your website. They aren’t a part of your industries conversation, and they’re holding you back.

How do you decide which pages aren’t gaining any traction? Check out the URL Profiler tool which scales the process for you by using your sitemap to review any inbound or outbound links. You can also review your Google Analytics to see your top performing (and lowest performing pages). What is it about your top performers that makes them stand out? How can you learn from them to boost your lower performing pages?

SEO steps to take now:

  • Input your sitemap into a link crawler to determine which pages contribute no backlinks
  • Decide if you’re able to improve these pages
  • Remove any pages you’ve deemed unnecessary and invaluable

Rank for More Keywords

Many new website owners make the mistake of trying to rank for a single keyword phrase. While this is a smart move, you shouldn’t limit yourself. One of the best ways to gain organic traffic is through more keywords. Start by creating a secondary keyword. This will expand the footprint of your content and help you show up in more SERPs.

How do you get started if you don’t know what keywords to use? First, look at articles from your competition. By using a keyword explorer, you can see what terms they’re ranking for and decide if any of these make sense for your own content. You can also continue your own research into specific long-tail keywords. Consider synonyms for your current keyword selection, since these will likely be popular searches as well.

SEO steps to take now:

  • Create a list of synonyms for your current primary keyword
  • Review competitor keywords with an exploring tool
  • Decide on a secondary keyword for your website and begin implementing it

Final Thoughts

As you can see from the tips above, there are a lot of aspects of SEO you have to consider in 2018. Focusing on the user experience, quality content, and creating a larger reach with your website should be a priority. An SEO specialist can help by providing expert consultative advice specific to your industry, but many of these steps you can do on your own.

The most vital step of SEO is to never stop working towards more organic traffic. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s not something you can set up once and leave on its own. As Google continues to understand more about user’s needs, your own optimization methods will need to grow. Start with these tips above to see your organic reach improve.