If your website has not been getting the traffic you desire, you may need to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics to help improve your site’s visibility. Users typically click on search results that appear on the first page. If you are not ranking on the first page of Google, you will need to make adjustments to your website to help improve your rankings.
Google has a complex ranking algorithm that you will need to gain an understanding of before you start optimizing your website to rank better on Google. When Google ranks your website, they analyze many different items such as keywords, links, content, site speed, mobile friendliness and much more.
If you fail to take steps to update your website according to SEO best practices, you will not improve rankings and may even experience a decrease in rankings. The following are five ways that you can start optimizing your website to rank higher.
1. Keyword Optimization
Keywords are the search terms that users type into the Google search bar. When a user types a word or phrase into the search bar, Google will review all indexed pages across the web in order to find a page that best fits the search query. To begin ranking for keywords, you need to make sure you optimize your page for the keywords your users are most likely to type.
The first step for you to complete should be keyword research. Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner you can get the estimated search volumes for keywords relating to your industry and business. You will want to find keywords that have a significant amount of search volume. Also, you will want to evaluate the current websites that are ranking when those keywords are searched. If there are top brands like Amazon or .gov websites appearing in the top positions, it may be harder to outrank them.
If this is the case, you may need to choose more longtail keywords to try to rank for. Longtail keywords are keyword phrases consisting of 2 or more words. Longtail keywords are less competitive and will allow you to rank for more specific searches.
Once you choose your keywords, it is time to start optimizing your website. You will want to use your chosen keywords in your page titles, meta descriptions, headings and throughout your content. The title is the blue clickable link that appears in the search results and the meta description is the text the appears under the URL. You’ll notice when a user searches for something like “red sneakers,” the following result appears first.
In both the title and meta description the term “red sneakers” appears, and in the meta description, this term is bolded. Having your keywords in your titles and meta descriptions signal to Google that your content is relevant for users searching for a specific keyword.
2. Build Links
Another one of Google’s main ranking factors is links. Google views a link from another website to your website as a vote. The more votes you have, the more credible your website appears to Google. Google values credible websites and will rank them higher. Having a solid link building strategy is essential to building the authority of your website.
If you create high-quality content for your site, it will be easy to reach out to relevant bloggers or websites to get them to link to your content. Also, if you notice someone mentioned your company on their website but did not link to your site, you can politely reach out and request that they link to your site.
Not only are external links to your site important, but also internal linking is important. Internal links on your site help Google understand the hierarchy of your site and allow the search engines to crawl more pages on your site.
Google places a high value on fresh and unique content. Fresh content provides new pages for Google to crawl and index. One way you can continue to provide fresh content is with a blog or news section. Creating many blog articles that are each optimized for unique keywords will provide your site with more opportunities to rank.
One thing that Google does not like is duplicate content. You should analyze your website to find duplicate content. When you have duplicate content on your website, Google does not know which version to rank and show users. Using 301 redirects from the duplicate page to the original page or using a rel=canonical attributes to show search engines your page is a copy of another page can help you address your duplicate content issues.
4. Site Speed
Google wants to provide users with websites that provide great experiences. If a website does not load in under 2 seconds, users are more likely to return to the search results page and choose another website. When your page does not load fast enough for users, and they navigate away from your page, this indicates to Google that your page does not provide a good user experience.
Google’s Page Speed Insights can give you an idea of where your website currently stands. You should start taking steps to improve the speed of your website. The following are a few ways you can optimize your site to improve speed:
- Leverage browser caching
- Enable compression
- Optimize Images
- Prioritize visible content
By taking steps to improve the speed on your site you will not only provide users with a better experience, but you will also rank higher on Google.
Because more and more users are searching on their mobile devices, Google places a large emphasis on ensuring your website is mobile friendly. In 2018, Google will start using mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing means that Google will index the mobile version of your website first and use that as a baseline for your rankings. Sites with a better mobile experience will be rewarded with higher rankings.
To make your page more mobile friendly, you should make sure your pages are responsive and adjust when users view on smaller devices. You should also ensure all buttons and links are easy to click on without resulting in “fat finger” clicks. Taking steps to make your site friendly for mobile users will help your site rank higher.
Start Achieving Better Rankings
By taking steps to optimize your website for Google, you will be able to start achieving higher rankings on Google searches. Although SEO does not happen overnight, with consistent optimization efforts, you will begin to see improved rankings over time.