A strong and healthy search engine ranking plays an important factor in your online success. It’s like any sport — you want to climb the rankings ladder in order to get a better view of your competition and potential teammates. Just as there are professional leagues, there are also professional search rankings. The top three positions boast a whopping 86% of searches. Source: Haneked Design
If you’re unranked, it’s likely that you’re missing out on over half of your audience.
When you’re trying to rank higher in search engines, you can do a few things to improve your ranking. Here are five steps to help you get started:
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. You can use several free tools to ensure your site is in good health. Three tools I use are Pingdom, GTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights. 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 Ads can help determine which keywords drive, 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 the 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. Source: Design Hill 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. Optimize Your Meta Tags – Search engines use meta tags to index content on a website. When creating meta tags, it’s important to make sure they’re relevant and accurate because this is how search engines determine what words are most important on the page for them to show up in the search results pages, (SERPs).
5. Content is King – Content is what differentiates your website from the competition. It builds trust, authority, and helps with your keyword rankings in search engines. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 300-400 words on each page of your website. Source: Small Biz Club I say this because most people and search engines view a page as low-quality if it has less than 300 words. Also, it’s good to vary the amount of text you have on each page of your site based on the importance of the keywords in those pages’ titles and headers.
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And For Bonus Points: Add Social Sharing Buttons – Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow users to share any webpage they want with their friends and followers instantly through social media networks. Having social sharing buttons on your website makes it easy for people who discover something that interests them on your website to share it with others, instantly.
Once you’ve optimized your website for search engines, your other inbound marketing efforts will be more successful!
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Editors Notes: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.