In the digital world, your Google ranking can mean the difference between profitable traffic and a metaphorical tumbleweed blowing across your website. You could have the most incredible product or service available, but if you don’t rank high on the search engine results page (SERP), chances are no one will find your business. However, there are a few measures you can take to make your website more attractive to Google’s algorithms while simultaneously improving the user experience, and it all starts with SEO.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the process of improving various elements of a website to increase organic traffic numbers. Typically, the goal of a website is to reach the first page of a SERP, if not the first result altogether. Think about it – how many times do you click that second or third page button at the bottom of a Google search? Probably almost never. In fact, a study conducted by Moz discovered that as little as 6% of all website clicks come from second-page results. You can imagine how minimal the traffic is for pages that appear on the third page and beyond, which means you’ll need to really focus your SEO efforts with only ten prime real estate spaces available on the first page. Although this might seem like a tall order in a world where everyone and their mom has a website, a solid marketing strategy can go a long way when it comes to appeasing search algorithms and getting your business in front of potential customers.
Focus on User Experience
Before you start making changes to appease the all-powerful Google, take a moment to stop and remember the goal of increasing your ranking. The object is to bring more traffic to your website in the hopes of generating new customers, but if your website is designed solely with web crawling bots in mind, visitors aren’t likely to stick around. User experience should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to optimizing your website. These five tips will help you boost your Google ranking while ensuring an improved user experience for all of your website visitors.
1. Update with High-Quality Content
So, you’ve made your website, now it’s time to sit back and let the traffic come flooding in, right? Not quite. In terms of content, your website will never really be “done,” because you should constantly be thinking about new, high-quality offerings intended to keep a steady flow of traffic. You won’t always have new products or services to promote, but brand awareness is a constant uphill battle. The best way to ensure your business stays top of mind for new and returning users is to regularly update your website with valuable, educational, and entertaining content. This usually comes in the form of a blog – just make sure you do your keyword research before hitting the keyboard to make sure your topics are relevant.
2. Aim for More Backlinks
Backlinks are the Holy Grail when it comes to Google algorithms. These links, which are featured on other sites and lead back to your own website, can significantly alter your ranking results. However, quality is more important than quantity in this case, and a website with a higher ranking domain authority that backlinks to your site will be more influential than backlinks from lots of low-ranking pages. You can start building this network of links by reaching out to editors of magazines, news sites, or popular bloggers and offering them useful information, but be warned, this will take time and effort. Outline your backlinking strategy as soon as possible to start seeing results.
3. Optimize Your Images
Optimizing your images doesn’t mean making them prettier or bumping up the contrast. In fact, image optimization has almost nothing to do with the image itself and almost everything to do with the way an image is “read” by bots and users. From the perspective of a bot or even visually impaired visitors, images are not impactful unless you’re able to clearly describe the picture or video and its relevance. You can make this more clear for indexing purposes and user comprehension by adding descriptive file names and alternative text, which tell visitors what an image contains. Another way to optimize images on your website is to compress files sizes to ensure your pages load quickly and visitors don’t click out of the site due to blank, slow-loading pages.
4. Use H1 and H2 Tags
Although the actual title of a piece might be obvious to you because it’s at the top of a page (such as 5 Tips to Increase Your Google Ranking), that’s not necessarily the case for web crawlers. H1 tags tell bots what your post is about while emphasizing the main point of the piece. For example, without H1 and H2 tags (and so on), Google wouldn’t know if this page was about “Google Rankings” or “Optimize Your Images.” Header tags are essential for establishing clear delineations throughout your blog post, which will also make it easy for readers to scan the content and find the bite-sized piece of information they’re looking for.
5. Optimize for Mobile Users
People rely on their phones for almost everything from text messages to funny animal videos to questions that need answers. We use our smartphones so much that almost over half of all website traffic occurs on mobile devices, which, you guessed it, Google cares about a lot. Newer algorithms reward mobile-friendly sites while penalizing ones that are clunky, slow to load, and not optimized for mobile use. This all comes back to creating a quality user experience.
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a lot of competition out there, which is why your website needs to be a primary marketing asset. Getting your website to the first SERP can be difficult, but with time and close attention to best practices, you can achieve your goal of ranking higher and attracting more visitors.
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