Your search engine ranking plays an important factor in your online marketing. According to HubSpot, 44 percent of online shoppers begin by using a search engine and 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Many companies feel like they’re doing everything they can to increase their ranking, but search engines just aren’t responding. If you’re building links through social media, press releases, guest posts and other channels, the problem could be with your own website. Below are four steps to ensure your site is optimized to rank highest in search engines:
1. Give your website a checkup – If your site is slow, contains broken links or has duplicate content, search engines will knock it down in their rankings. There are several free tools you can use to ensure your site is in good health. Three tools I use are Google Analytics, PageSpeed Insights, and Webmaster Tools. These online tools will tell you what improvements can be made to increase your ranking.
2. Use the right keywords – One of the biggest mistakes companies make is targeting the wrong keywords. Using free tools, such as Google Trends, Google Analytics, and Google AdWords, you can determine which keywords are driving or could drive the most traffic to your site. However, avoid oversaturating your site with a single keyword or phrase while isolating others. For example, “promotional products” is the most searched term for the industry, but only slightly higher ranked than “promotional items”. By only including the keywords “promotional products” you could be missing out on thousands of potential customers searching for “promotional items”. Search engines also scan for keyword loading and could knock down your ranking if you use the same keyword too often and unnecessarily.
3. Improve user experience – Search engines use visitor data to help rank websites. The more pages users visit and the longer they spend on each page can increase your website’s ranking. Adding interactive content to your site (i.e. video) will keep users on your site longer. A site that follows a logical sequence will make it easier for users to visit more pages. Use Google Analytics to learn how users navigate your site and conduct focus groups to learn what changes can be made to improve user experience.
4. Update content regularly – Search engines take into account how often you’re updating your website content. This could be by adding new pages and products, updating specials, or publishing blog posts. A company blog is the best platform for publishing fresh and relevant content on a regular basis. Furthermore, companies with blogs have 97 percent more inbound links than those without. You can snowball your blog’s impact by making it easy to share on social media so readers can get the word out for you. Blogs are also less formal than other pages on your website and help humanize your brand, which builds trust and positions your company as an industry thought leader. SAGE subscribers can reap these benefits by implementing a SAGE Website, which allows for unlimited pages so you’ll never run out of space for fresh content.
Once you’ve optimized your website for search engines, your other inbound marketing efforts will be more successful. Remember to subscribe to the SAGE Blog and check back next week for a post about link building, the other half of search engine optimization.