10 Steps to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
Increasing rankings and visibility on search engines is not an easy task. In fact it is often very challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. In this article we introduce our top 10 tips to improve your Google rankings for beginners.
So you launch a new website you’ve spent countless hours designing. But where’s all the visitors? Well, is your website optimized? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of using various techniques to get your website noticed on search engines like Google. When your website is properly optimized, Google will reward your website by placing your website higher up on its search engine rankings.
When you have a new website, it can seem difficult to rank on the first page of Google for relevant search terms…but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you use the below tips, you’ll start seeing your website move up the Google rankings in no time!
Follow these 10 steps to achieve higher rankings in search engines and increase your website traffic:
1. Keyword research
2. Add valuable content
3. Regularly update your content
4. Improve your website’s loading speed
5. Use header tags
6. Use images and videos on your website
7. Improve your design and layout
8. Optimize your website for mobile
9. Add social sharing buttons
10. Boost your backlinks
Step 1: Proper Keyword Research and Usage
Doing proper keyword research is an important aspect to the success of any SEO campaign. It sets the foundation that will help you make your website rank better in the search engine results pages. Keywords are the phrases that people type into search engines to look for information, products, or services so it’s important that your website is sprinkled with keywords that are specific to your business.
Think about how your audience might look for your products or services, or how they would ask a friend for more information on a topic related to your business. Then input these suggestions into Google’s Keywords Planner to get more suggestions, search volumes, competition analyses, and more.
Once you find relevant keywords, use it several times on relevant web pages, especially in the headers, body text, and URL. However, be careful not to over-stuff too many keyword phrases into your pages because Google can penalize your website for over-stuffing keyword phrases. A good rule of thumb is to read your content out loud, and if it starts sounding unnatural, you’re probably overdoing it.
Step #2: Add Valuable Content
Posting quality content to your web pages or your blog is probably the most important factor in driving web traffic and improving your website authority. You need to create content that answers the needs of your target audience.
Once you determine what your audience needs, write about it. Be sure to include keywords in your content as naturally as possible. Also, Google loves valuable content and the more valuable and keyword-rich your content is, the higher your rankings will be on search engines.
Step #3: Refresh Your Content
Search engines like Google appreciate fresh content because it tends to be more relevant. You can make unlimited updates to your content, and generally more frequent updates are better. For blogging, you should post at least once a week to improve your website authority and traffic.
In addition to publishing new content, you can also refresh and update your old content. This can be one effective way to get new traffic from old content.
Step #4: Improve Your Website’s Loading Speed
Website loading speed is one important factor for search engines when it comes to ranking your website. If your site is slow, visitors are more likely to leave and try another website. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, your bounce rate (rate at which people will leave your website) will increase. In order to improve your website loading speed you should follow these steps.
• Minimize the number of plug-ins on your site
• Use caching plug-ins
• Optimize images by reducing the file size
• Use a good hosting provider (the really cheap hosting providers are usually slow)
Step #5: Use Header Tags
Search engines like Google put more focus on keyword-laden header tags. Include relevant terms in the header tags to improve the SEO rankings of your site.
You can format your headers correctly using the following:
• H1 to include the targeted keyword
• H2 for keeping your page concise
• H3 for link groups to other relevant sources
• H4 for targeted, niche subsections related to your topic
Besides boosting your SEO efforts, having proper header tags also helps visitors easily skim your web pages to locate the information they need and navigate your content.
Step #6: Use Images and Videos
Images and videos both improve user experience by grabbing your audience’s attention while delivering a relevant message.
Images grab the user’s attention. They break up all the text to make it easier on the eyes. How long would you read a large block of text without any images? Having relevant images on your pages helps keep users engaged and on your website for longer.
Research has shown that videos improve conversion and engagement rates. In fact, websites that use videos achieve higher conversion rates. So be sure to include relevant videos on your website whenever you can. Some people think that videos placed on websites have to always be professionally done.
In some industries where you’re selling large ticket items, it may make more sense to invest in producing professional videos. However in many industries you don’t need to pay for a professional video.
Research has shown that decent non-professional videos are more genuine and can go a long way. These days the latest iPhone or Android phone can shoot some pretty impressive videos. There are also some good video-editing apps you can use to spiff up your raw footage.
Multimedia elements, including videos and images are important signals for quality content and boost SEO efforts.
Step #7: Improve Your Website’s Design and Layout
To ensure that visitors stay longer on your website, your website design needs to be user friendly.
Proper formatting includes:
• Using a font size and style that is clear to read
• Using font and background colors that are easy on the eyes
• Using bold type to highlight important information
• Presenting lists in a scannable bulleted or numbered formats
A better website experience for users, will help your website rank higher on search result pages.
Step #8: Optimize your Website for Mobile
Recently, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, which penalizes sites that are not optimized for mobile.
More than 80% of web traffic comes from mobile devices in 2020 so if you don’t optimize for mobile, your site won’t be viewed clearly on mobile devices which will hurt your Google rankings. So make sure to test your website’s mobile compatibility since visitors should be able to access and read your website on any mobile device.
There are 3 ways to optimize your website for mobile:
• Responsive Web Design: Serves the same HTML code on the same URL regardless of the users’ device
• Different URLs: Serves different code to each device, and on separate URLs
• Dynamic Serving: Uses the same URL regardless of device, but generates a different version of HTML for different device types
If you don’t optimize your website for mobile devices, you will run the risk of missing out on a large number of potential visitors to your website.
Tip #9: Add Social Sharing Buttons
The number of times your content is shared on social media sites can affect your SEO rankings. Adding social sharing buttons to your site makes it easy for users to share your content. In return, your site will rank better on search engine results pages.
Using social sharing button widgets like AddThis or Social Warfare make it easy for users to share website content which drives relevant traffic to your website.
Tip #10: Boost Your Internal Links And Backlinks
External links are links that direct users AWAY from your website while internal links are links that direct users to different pages of YOUR website. Both external and internal links are important factors for your website ranking.
When linking internally, pay special attention to the anchor text you use. Try to use anchor text from your keyword research that you are optimizing for. This will help Google understand what your website is all about.
One of the main issues with user experience is broken links so make sure to run an audit on your links and fix any broken links to avoid such issues.
Also, you can use tools like Ahrefs and Google Analytics to keep track of any mentions of your site. If any mentions aren’t linked yet, reach out to the appropriate webmasters and ask them to get linked to their site.
You need to pay attention to your article’s length when adding external links as it doesn’t make sense to have 100 links for a small post of 200 to 300 words. So always keep the ratios just right. Otherwise you will create a negative experience. Instead, use targeted links that are designed to connect users with helpful information.
Consistently updating your website content, including headers, videos, and images provides value for users while keeping your website constantly fresh with material for search engines to index.
In the backend, you should optimize your website for mobile devices and improve your website speed. Adding social sharing widgets/buttons and having a good mix of internal and external links will also help search engines recognize that your website is valuable and relevant.
SEO for your website can feel overwhelming and it can be tough to stay on top of the search engine algorithms that are constantly changing. But if you implement these top 10 tips to improve your search engine rankings, you will be on the right path to SEO success.
And if you need help optimizing your website for Google we’re always here to help. Give us a call or fill out a contact form and you can speak to one of our SEO experts.