If your website isn’t on the first page of Google’s search results your business doesn’t exist, at least that’s the way your target audience will see things, the majority of whom won’t stray past that first, all-important search results page. Research shows that 90% of people don’t go further than Page 1 of the search results they’re presented with, which means the above statement is true, albeit somewhat distressing for business owners who aren’t ranking as high as they would like to be. But hope is not yet lost. Ascending the ranks entails long-term SEO strategies but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts as good SEO strategy is cumulative and the hard work you put in today will work hard for you tomorrow.
Research your keywords
Including the right keywords in your website copy is still one of the top ways to improve your SEO rankings, which makes keyword research a must if you’re to identify the best keywords to use. To conduct effective keyword research, use a tool like Moz or Hubspot to determine the search volume for relevant keywords and then optimise your website by including those keywords in the copy on the most important pages of your site. Bear in mind that the most popular search terms will have the most competition, so focus on terms that gain a modest amount of interest as you can really optimise your site to rank favourably for these terms.
Check for Google penalties
A Google penalty can really harm the visibility of your site on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). If you’ve been hit with a manual penalty, which is a penalty that has been applied by a member of Google’s web spam team, you’ll have been notified of this. To check if you’ve been penalised, sign into Google Search Console and click on ‘Messages’. If you’ve done something that Google doesn’t like, there will be a message here detailing where you’ve gone wrong. Fix any issues that have been identified.
Check page speed
Google prioritises webpages that load quickly over those that don’t, making page speed a ranking factor that you don’t want to overlook when optimising your site for SEO. To check your site’s page speed, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Enter your URL and it will give you a score for both mobile and desktop, and provide you with a detailed list of the possible optimisations that you can make to improve page speed. If relevant, it will also present you with a list of the optimisations it has detected that contribute to your current page speed.
With mobile search fast overtaking desktop searches, optimising your website for mobile is essential. Google is already prioritising websites that are mobile-friendly, plus there’s a good chance that your target audience will access your site via mobile devices and if your UX isn’t up to scratch there’s very little point in driving to traffic to your site in the first place.
Focus on UX
Search engines are getting better at detecting quality search results by the day, with Google’s RankBrain an increasingly apt judge of what makes a website a top choice for users. In addition to factors such as page speed and mobile-friendliness, there’s no end of optimisations that you can implement to improve your site’s (user experience), including:
- Bullet points to increase the ease in which users can access information
- White space to help users focus on the individual elements of your site
- Hamburger menus to aid users in finding important information
- High-quality images to better communicate your message
- Videos to increase user engagement and convey information
Many experts are of the opinion that businesses need to merge SEO and UX as search engines focus more on the user experience that websites deliver and place more importance on UX as a ranking factor in SERPs.
Create content regularly
One of the most effective ways to improve website ranking is with regular content creation. Creating content that’s valuable to your target audience goes a long way in helping your site to rank well on SERPs, plus it’s also great for the user experience and can help to establish your business as an authority on relevant topics.