You've probably heard that it's important to get your website on the first Google search results page. After all, the vast majority of searchers never click past the first page. When was the last time you did?
The importance of making it onto Google's first page is partly due to the time-sensitive nature of most Internet searches. It's also important to acknowledge the continually improving quality of the algorithms Google uses to determine relevance for any given search query.
The Importance of Being First
However, getting onto Google's first page might not be the natural endpoint of your campaign to boost online visibility for your brand. The stakes are higher: According to statistics from Search Engine Watch and others, the first two Google search positions collectively receive more than half of all click-throughs.
In other words, the first two Google search results for any given keyword receive more organic search traffic than all other results for that keyword combined. That's a pretty sobering statistic.
Moreover, the first search result gets about twice as much traffic as the second. On average, the first result for any given keyword attracts about 33 percent of all inbound traffic for that keyword. Accordingly, you should always aim high with your search campaign. Even if you're trying to rank for a competitive keyword, it's critical to make that first result your ultimate goal.
Improve Your Site's Mobile Performance
Even if most of your site's inbound traffic comes from laptop and desktop users, you can't neglect mobile optimization. That's because Google's long-anticipated "Mobile-geddon" algorithm update penalizes websites that don't translate well to mobile navigation and small-screen consumption.
There are a couple of ways to boost your website's mobile functionality, however, one is preferable today. In the past, website owners have invested in separate mobile sites - indicated by an "m." before the main URL - to segment users into mobile and non-mobile groups.
However, Google has indicated that it prefers that you use your main site with a responsive design. A mobile-responsive design automatically adjusts for screen size and ensures an optimal experience on any device. Your visitors will thank you for it - and your position in Google's search results might just improve as well.
Boost Site Speed
Regardless of your website's relationship with mobile devices, site speed is a critical inbound consideration. Site speed has a huge impact on the user experience: With so many other websites - including your direct competitors' - vying for their attention, Internet users are likely to abandon sites whose pages load slowly or in an incomplete fashion. If you notice your site's bounce rate creeping upward, site speed could be a culprit.
Site speed is also important for Google's ranking algorithms. Although it's not known precisely how large a role speed plays in the overall calculation, it's no secret that Google assigns priority to sites and pages that load faster. All other things being equal, it pays to have a speedy website.
Attract Authoritative, High-Quality Inbound Links
Make no bones about it: Google loves high-quality inbound links from domains it considers to be authoritative. Sites with .edu and .gov domain extensions are particularly attractive to the search engine, but .com and .org sites that have been around for a long time and consistently produce valuable content are also useful.
Of course, attracting inbound links from these sites is easier said than done. Since Google now frowns on the practice of "swapping" or "farming" links and tends to penalize sites that use these tactics, attracting links has become a somewhat indirect affair.
For starters, make sure your site's content links to authoritative sites whenever appropriate. If the content is relevant to what's found on the linked-to site, its webmaster may well choose to reward you with an inbound link. However, these so-called "reciprocal links" aren't quite as valuable as pure inbound links. To attract those, you need to step up your social media marketing and inbound marketing efforts.
By boosting your site's online visibility to the folks who manage authoritative sites, you'll boost your chances of attracting high-quality links.
Improve Site Navigation
Ease of navigation is just as important to your Google search rank as site speed. If your users can't find their way around your site, they're not likely to linger very long. Google's bots are even worse at finding their way around confusing websites than human visitors. That means sites with poor navigation frameworks are likely to receive perfunctory treatment from Google. Bots may skip over whole pages and site sections, damaging your search ranking in the process.
Step Up Your Content Creation Efforts
Google and other search engines value fresh, high-quality content that's published frequently. To ensure that your site consistently performs well and enjoys a shot at that all-important first-place rank, you need to follow the best practices of content creation and content marketing.
While you’re not always able to regularly update every single piece of content on your site, including the info found on "sticky" pages such as your Home and About pages, you can certainly build a compelling blog that includes frequent, highly-relevant posts. Incidentally, having a well-updated, relevant blog is also a great way to attract the sorts of authoritative inbound links that Google values so highly.
Build Inbound Traffic to Your Website Today
The importance of boosting your online visibility has never been clearer. Although plenty of factors conspire to support your Internet marketing efforts, you simply can't overlook your website's position in Google's search results.
Whether you're trying to rank for just one or two critical keywords or have a dozen or more that require attention, employing SEO best practices can help you achieve the results you desire - and boost your page views, lead generations and sales in the process. If you need help with your search results improvement campaign, contact us and let’s talk.