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5 SEO Tips To Help Your Blog Grow In 2017

5 SEO Tips To Help Your Blog Grow In 2017

Search engine optimization is ever changing. It is essential to stay on top of your website. While the employees at Google are sworn to secrecy about the top secret algorithm, we can analyze and predict trends in search engine and web use to stay ahead of the game. SEO is much like building a wall. Each component discussed in this article is a brick. If one brick isn’t cemented into place, then the whole wall can be severely weakened. The days of skipping corners on SEO are long gone, as this article will explain.

1. Content

According to a recent study, content is still king. There’s nothing new about this. Websites with the best content get a better ranking. See for yourself. Search for any topic you want. Within the top 5 results will be a page with detailed information, a comprehensive read that explores the topic in detail, written in a way relevant to the audience.

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Review your website and look for thin content. Revise it. Add detail. Make sure it’s readable, relevant and informative. Is this something that provides value to the reader? Or a keyword heavy poorly written piece of work? Google may have previously rewarded the latter but the future (and now) rewards detailed and valuable content. There’s no reason to have a page on your site without tons of written content on it.

2. Click-through Rate

One of the major trends we’re seeing lately is the rise in the power of a high clickthrough rate. If your website receives more organic clicks than the websites that rank before it, then your website will be moved ahead of those websites. There are many ways you can increase your SERP CTR. Either you can make natural tweaks, or send more visitors to your website with any sort of industry service. Moz put CTR as one of the top 5 ranking factors, marking CTR as an undeniable factor.

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3. Backlinks

As you probably know, backlinks are crucial to SEO success. However, now the quality of the links matters more than ever. Low quality links directly to your website could result in your site being penalized, although it’s becoming more rare given the presence of negative SEO.

Google wants your website to be linked to from a diverse, range of high quality websites. Reach out to high quality websites in your niche. Continue creating high quality content that websites and businesses want to link to. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure your website is one that people want to link to.

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4. Mobile Optimization

With over half of the world’s searches now coming from mobile devices, it is essential that your website is ‘all device friendly’. iPhones, iPads, Androids, Windows Phones, Laptops, Desktops. Your website needs to be optimized to work on all of these devices. Check how it looks, tweak, check again. Do not think that simply ‘scaling down’ your website is acceptable. It needs to be mobile friendly. Responsive to the device that is being used and the person using it. (Don’t neglect mobile loading speeds).

5. Spring Cleaning

One of the less glamorous SEO tips for 2017 is to have a clean up. Your privacy policies should be condensed into one page (where appropriate), as should your terms and conditions. These pages provide no SEO value for users so consider using the robot.txt file to prevent their indexation.

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Fix broken links on your site. Links on your site, both internal and external that results in a ‘404’ error page hurt your ranking. The spiders stop searching, report a dead end. The search engines think your website has low usability. You are solely responsible for internal links. None of these should result in a ‘404’ error page. When using external links, regularly check that they are live. (Easy tip. Keep sitemaps up to date. Tell Google about changes to your websites structure and indexing).

Conclusion

While SEO can be a vast and complicated area, you can put your website in the best position possible for high rankings. Create a solid foundation to move forward with based on the tips and information in this article.

Treat your website as something you and your business can be proud of. Provide value to your readers. Create content which is relevant to them, that they want to engage with and share.

Featured photo credit: Joe Mongan via joemongan.com

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Josh MacDonald

Internet Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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