Search engine optimisation (SEO) can seem daunting, but done right, it can be a long term investment that keeps generating leads for your business. In essence, Google is trying to rank high quality sites that visitors like. That means creating an easy to follow and well thought out portfolio goes a long way to move you up the listings.
Google often change the metrics that determine your exact ranking but there are a few cornerstone tips that can help you get far without taking weeks off work to change the backend of your website. Today, we will look at easy to implements strategies that will help you improve your site and your ranking to get your site in front of more people.
Where are you now?
Remove faulty links
Boost through your brand
Where are you now?
Before you start your quest for better visibility, it is helpful to understand how your site is ranking right now.
To do this and find out what keywords are currently driving traffic to your site, use the Google Webmaster. This tool gives you access to a range of functions like updating your sitemap (a blueprint for Google to find your different pages) and seeing which links are working and not. If you have not already, set up an account and use this as a way to track your progress.
Google will show your average position as well as how well each keyword is doing.
Keywords are one of the main ways that search engines can understand what your business does and how it should list your page. The term "keyword" can be a little misleading. In reality, you can often use a short sentence or a few words that together describe your work or a problem your clients might face. You want to use the same words that potential clients would. For example "how to build a brand" might be easier to understand compared to "visual identity" and hence more searched for.
To find out what keywords you should use, visit Google keyword planner and start searching for terms that you think relate to your business. Google will give you suggestions for other words that are more commonly used. You will also want to pay attention to how competitive a keyword is. A higher competition level will mean it is harder to actually rank for and you might want to consider picking a less used one.
In your search, make sure you specify your country to get the most accurate data.
A meta description is the text you accompany any image or page on your website. You can see your meta descriptions when you look at your Google listing and read the text under the page name. If you do not add anything to this manually, most website builders will automatically populate it with text from the page or the name of the image file.
To create a good description that helps you rank better, you want to include your keywords as well as make it enticing for a reader to click.
The second option is more compelling and also contains their most popular products as keywords.
Remove faulty links
A big factor for Google to decide how to rank your page is how people like your page. If users click on your site but find it unprofessional or irrelevant, they will spend less time on your page and hence it will rank lower. People clicking away from your site quickly is especially damaging.
To find broken links, you can visit your Google webmaster you set up earlier. The dashboard will show you any URL errors such as broken links.
When you find a broken link, you can redirect it to a relevant page. If you have a Wordpress site, there is a free plugin called redirect that let's you input the old and new url very easily.
The page load time affects your SEO in two main ways. If your page is slow to crawl, Google could list your page lower. The average attention span of a website visitor is 7 seconds which means a slow page can also cause people to leave your site. As we mentioned earlier, Google will take this as an indication that visitors do not like your page and hence rank it lower.
You can find out how fast your site is by using Page speed insights.
If you find yourself with slow load times, there are a few key solutions. The easiest way is to reduce the size of images and remove any plugins you do not use. If this does not work, consider using a CDN or enable caching to increase the speed.
If your messaging is consistent between your listing, ads and site, visitors will feel like they arrived at the right place and are more likely to explore. You also want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find the right content just for them. This means having clear calls to action and not overcrowding your site, all in all good website Feng Shui.
Boost through your brand
An unexpected factor that can affect your Google ranking is your brand presence. In order to show search results of trustworthy companies over scams or counter-fits, Google actually look for how trusted a brand is.
You can improve your brand presence by having a unified visual language and messaging strategy across all your platforms and create unique content like blogs.
Having another site link to yours is a sign of confidence. This means that sites with more links from other websites are seen as more trustworthy and as having more "share-worthy" content.
Not all links have equal value. A link has more value if it comes from a highly ranked site like a big brand or a site with a lot of traffic.
“Focusing on quality [backlinks] over quantity is what can help to protect your site as Google updates.” - Adam Riemer, SearchEngineJournal.com
So how do you get other sites to link to yours?
A good way to get started is to write guest posts that link back to your site. If this is not working for you, focus on creating high quality and sharable content like infographics and make sure the content is easy to share directly from your site.
Perhaps your ranking is good in your home market but you want to grow your business further. If this is the case, you might want to start considering an international SEO strategy.
An international strategy is similar to the steps we discussed in this article, but you will need to customise your keywords to each market.
As more and more browsing activity takes place on mobile, Google announced that they will now take a "mobile first" approach in their crawls. This means that sites that are not responsive and mobile friendly will likely have a lower ranking than sites that design with mobile users in mind.
To find out if your site performs well on mobile, you can use Google's mobile-friendly test. You will see a verdict like the one below as well as additional resources to learn more.
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