Every website wants to make it onto the first page of a Google search - but how do you get there? You probably have a variety of ways to increase traffic and your SEO, but are these the most effective? We’ve put together our favorite SEO tips to help you increase your page ranking, and get your content seen by the right readers.
Write The Right Content
What value does your site offer viewers? There should be clear reasons for people to come to your site - and stay there. In addition to offering valuable content, this content should be optimized for one keyword or phrase so that both Google and reader know what’s important on that page.
It’s recommended you try to place keywords in particular areas: the title tag, in a header or the beginning of the page, 2-3 times in the body copy, the page URL, and in the meta description. However, you don’t want to use keywords too often or use them in a way that doesn’t add to the user experience. If it doesn’t seem sincere to your reader and your content, don’t force it!
Remember - Google likes websites that are updated often, so the frequency of new content updates also affects your page ranking. But your readers like fresh content as well - this is one of the many reasons blogs are such a strong content marketing strategy.
Optimize For Your User’s Experience
What happens when users enjoy your site more? They stay on your site longer - and Google notices this. Just as your technical SEO should be strong, your website should also be designed in a way that is easy to navigate, attractive to look at, and full of easy to read content that matters to your viewers.
Make sure that you’re not overusing your keywords (yes, that’s possible!). Each page should be optimized for a unique keyword so that readers and Google know what is most important about that page.
Strive For Quality Inbound Links
Links have always been an important piece of the PageRank puzzle - but it’s gotten even more complicated. What sites link to you - and how many sites away you are from the top ranked websites of particular keywords - all affect your ranking.
What makes a quality inbound link?
- The age of the website linking to you (like wine, older is often better!)
- The PageRank of the linking page
- The keyword that the page is ranked for - pages ranked for similar keywords are worth more.
- A strong amount of social shares from that page
- A contextual link found embedded in a page’s content
- Higher placement of the link in a page’s content
- Having link title attribution
Other things that affect your PageRank are: how many unique websites link to you, how many different pages (even on the same site) link to you, as well as having diversity in the types of inbound links you’re receiving.
If you’re linking back to the same site that links to you, this is considered a reciprocal link. While reciprocal links can be positive, they don’t hold the same weight as inbound links.
Design For Site Speed
This SEO tip is often forgotten - but you don’t want to neglect this one! Google officially lists site speed as part of your ranking factor for many reasons. How your viewers behave affects your search engine rankings - and slower sites are more prone to higher bounce ratings or people spending less time on your pages. Keep in mind, just a two second delay is enough to cause people to abandon your website!
Another thing to consider is sites that take longer to load will also take longer for search engines to crawl. Google (and many other search engines) only allocate each website a specific “crawl budget” of time that they’ll use to index pages on your site at one time. If your pages take longer to load, it’s likely that fewer pages are going to get crawled and indexed on each visit.
Mobile Optimization Is Your New Friend
As of April 21, 2015, the mobile friendliness of your site will be a much larger part of the new search algorithms. 60% of all Google searches are performed on mobile devices - so it’s only natural that Google wants the sites easily viewed from these devices to be the first that are seen.
Whether you have a responsive site, or a separate mobile site, being mobile accessible is key to ranking well. (Mobile sites do require a bit more SEO upkeep as you must ensure that each individual page redirects to the proper mobile URL for optimum mobile friendliness.) All of the other tips still apply to mobile sites - so don’t let your mobile SEO bring your website down!
A great way to check how this change affects you is to the use Google’s own Webmaster Tools resource to check how Google’s robots view your mobile usability.
These SEO tips may seem simple, but they’re the foundation of building your website’s success. When in doubt, focus on the happiness and enjoyment of your readers - what your readers enjoy and benefit from will likely be the route Google prefers you take.