Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical aspect of a successful digital marketing strategy. SEO refers to the process of using tools and techniques to improve your website and rank it higher on search engines like Google to drive more traffic.
If you run a business, then ranking higher on Google should be one of your top priorities. After all, how can you drive more traffic to your online storefront if your target customers can not easily find you? Search engines like Google process about 63,000 searches every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day. Accordingly, increasing your SERP (search engine results page) rankings not only enhances your ability to increase user engagement and leads but boosts the degree to which users see your business as authentic.
The Google algorithm incorporates thousands of signals and machine learning to determine website search rankings. By aligning your website with Google’s tried and tested ranking factors, you can successfully rank higher on Google. Let us go over some of the most indispensable ranking factors determining how the search engine giant ranks your webpage in its search results.
Incorporating relevant keywords in your web content is integral to creating an effective SEO strategy. Keywords refer to search terms or phrases that users search on a search engine to find information about a specific topic. Conducting a keyword search helps you discover what your target audience is searching for on Google. Accordingly, you can align your content directly with these search queries.
The best way to go about this is to identify and insert long-tail keywords- phrases that contain three or more words. Long-tail keywords help you stand out from the competition as they are more specific to the visitor’s needs. While they may get lesser search traffic, their conversion rate is much higher than general, short keywords.
Once you know which keywords to target, try including them in the title and meta description tag. The meta description is the short description in light grey text that appears under the title displayed in the search results. It helps Google rate how relevant your webpage is and decide how they will rank your site. The more relevant your content is to a user’s search query, the higher it will rank.
Link building is one of the most crucial ranking factors for SEO. Backlinks refer to hyperlinks from other websites to your web page. Backlinks can serve as a powerful indicator to Google that your webpage contains high-quality, relevant, and appealing content. When a credible site with high authority links to your page, it serves as a vote of confidence and boosts your site’s credibility, bringing in more traffic and ultimately improve your search ranking.
It is essential to aim for quality over quantity, as not all links are equal. A single link from a reputed authoritative site will have more weight and go much further in boosting your SEO ranking than dozens of links from not so credible, spammy websites.
Site Speed and Usability
Do you remember the last time you visited a site that would not load, or perhaps you had a hard time navigating because of an unfriendly user interface? Like anyone else, you probably got frustrated and clicked on the exit button soon after. No one likes a slow and sluggish webpage and wants a pain-free browsing experience. That is why having a website with quick load times and an appealing user interface is a core element of technical SEO.
If your site takes a long time to load or does not allow users to browse their categories seamlessly, it is likely to see its bounce rate skyrocket, leading to an unhappy customer experience. That will ultimately affect your bottom line. Some simple steps you can take to improve the site’s performance if it is lagging are compressing image files and streamlining page content.
Did you know that mobile devices account for approximately half of global online searches and website traffic? Accordingly, Google predominantly uses mobile-first indexing for indexing and ranking your website. That means that even if the PC version of your website is flawless, your Google ranking could take a massive hit if the site is not easily accessible through mobile. That renders it crucial to optimize your site and make it functional across various devices to give your audience a seamless user experience, regardless of where they try to access it.
For many marketers, technical SEO may feel daunting as it requires considerable knowledge about website structure and content management systems (CMS) to execute these ranking optimizations. That is where SEO agencies come in. An SEO company can deliver you comprehensive search engine marketing (SEM) results by providing various services. These include but are not limited to auditing your site and developing a tailor-made content strategy to help achieve your ranking goals.
User engagement is one of the top drivers of your search engine rankings. Therefore, there is no substitute for posting high-quality content on your website geared specifically for your intended audience.
Google pays special attention to dwell time on your site. It considers the number of time visitors spend on your webpage to ascertain where you should rank. When users spend more time on your page, it sends signals to the search engines that people find your content readable, engaging, and relevant to their search. But if your site has a high bounce rate, Google will consider your content as either irrelevant or non-engaging. That will hold you back in search engine rankings.
Besides posting appealing content, having a dynamic and updated website is also a heavily weighted factor of your Google rankings. Unless the content is evergreen, it will lose its value over time. For example, your “Top Picks of 2017” blog would not cut it for your audience in 2021. Therefore, you want to have an active website where you add new content regularly. Remove old and underperforming content that has lost its relevance.
However, you may not always have new products, services, or updates about your business to post. That is where customer stories, product videos, and blogs come in. Regularly publishing interesting blogs and videos on the latest happenings within your industry will encourage users to return to your website, which will help your search engine ranking in the long run.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to SEO. Getting on top of search results pages is a slow process that requires ongoing effort on your part. Keeping your website functional and optimized with your target customers in mind will drive your organic growth, and it will not be long before you magically appear at the number one spot soon!