SEO. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
If you’re relying on people to find you through a Google search, search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be at the top of your priority list.
You won’t be able to generate leads for your business if nobody can find you.
Did you know 93% of experiences on the Internet start with a search engine?
What happens after someone makes a search?
The top result on Google has a 33% chance of getting clicked.
That means if you’re not number one on the page, you just missed out on a third of potential traffic.
What’s even more astonishing is that 75% people won’t even click on the second page of the search results.
The reason why other websites are ranking higher than you on Google is because they are making a conscious effort to improve their SEO.
Fortunately, it’s not too late for you to get started.
There are certain things you can do to increase your chances of getting ranked higher on Google searches.
I’ve identified the top 14 ways to improve your SEO ranking. Here they are.
1. Improve your page loading speed
Your page loading time is important for a few reasons.
First of all, if your load speed is too slow, Google will recognize this, and it will harm your ranking.
But a slow website will also impact the way your website visitors engage with your pages.
As a result, those negative interactions will hurt your ranking too.
Look at how abandonment rates increase for websites with long page loading times:
How slow is too slow?
Research shows 40% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
What’s even more shocking is that 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website.
This is terrible for your SEO ranking because it ultimately kills traffic to your site.
But on the flip side, if your page loads fast, people will keep coming back.
Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
If you want to test the speed of your website, there are online services such as Pingdom available for free.
This will allow you to test your website from different locations all over the world.
2. Produce high quality content
How often do you update your website?
If you haven’t touched it since the day you built it, you probably don’t have a great SEO ranking right now.
To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back.
Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant.
Another factor that impacts your SEO ranking is so-called dwell time.
This relates to how much time people spend on your website per visit.
If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your dwell time.
Websites that provide highly informative content typically have long dwell times.
Here’s something else to consider.
Google Chrome controls nearly 45% of the Internet browser market share, making it the most popular browser in the world.
That number will continue to rise as Chrome was also the most downloaded browser of 2017:
When users bookmark your website from a Google Chrome browser, it can help your SEO ranking.
High quality and relevant content will increase the chances of your website being bookmarked by visitors.
3. Optimize your images
Pictures and other images are great for your website.
But you need to make sure they are optimized properly if you want these images to improve your SEO ranking.
I’m referring to factors such as the file format and size.
Huge images can slow your page loading time, which, as I’ve said, hurts your ranking.
Resize or compress your images to optimize them.
You can also use your images to sneak in keywords by naming them accordingly.
For example, let’s say you have a website that sells toiletries or other bath products.
Instead of naming an image something like “shampoo1,” you could name it “best shampoo for long hair.”
You can also strategically use keywords in the title of your image as well as the caption or description.
4. Break up your content with header tags
Headings are another way to help improve the user experience on your website.
They break up the content and make it easier to read or skim.
Plus, headers make everything look more appealing, which is always beneficial.
If your website is just a wall of text, it’s going to discourage people from spending a long time on it.
As a result, your SEO ranking will suffer.
If you’re running your site on WordPress, you can easily change the header tags.
I use header tags for all my websites and blog posts.
If you’re not utilizing this tool, I highly recommend you start ASAP.
5. Start blogging
Blogging is great for your business.
It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors to your website.
But what most people don’t realize is blogging also improves SEO rankings.
As I have already mentioned, producing fresh, updated, and relevant content can drive people to your website and give them a reason to stay on your pages for a while.
Well, blogs are the perfect channel for you to accomplish this.
If you can establish a large group of faithful readers, you can get lots of traffic to your site on a daily basis.
Plus, you can incorporate other things I talked about so far into your posts as well, such as images and header tags.
Other elements, such as links, increased readability, and keywords, can also be incorporated into these posts. I will talk about them shortly.
All of this positively impacts your search engine ranking.
6. Use outbound links
There are certain things you can do to increase the credibility of your website.
Sure, you can make claims, but it looks much better if you back them up.
All of your data claims should be linked to trustworthy and authoritative sources.
As you can see from what you’ve read so far today, I do this myself.
But here’s another example that illustrates what I’m talking about from a blog post I wrote about generating leads on Twitter:
All my facts are citations from authority sources.
And I made sure to use outbound hyperlinks to those websites.
You should not only link to authority sites but also make sure all the information is recent.
Notice that the graph I used in the example above is from 2017.
Outbound links to resources from 2009 are irrelevant and won’t be as effective for your SEO ranking.
You should also include internal links.
These links will direct visitors to other pages on your website.
I used this technique in the first sentence of this section.
If you scroll back up and click on the link, you’ll get redirected to another Quick Sprout blog post.
7. Add more than text
The content on your website shouldn’t be only written words.
As I said earlier, pictures are great too, but there’s more you can add to improve your SEO ranking.
Consider adding other multimedia elements such as videos, slideshows, or audio to your site.
All of this can help improve the user experience.
For starters, consumers want to see more videos:
It’s much easier to watch something than read about it.
But there’s a direct correlation between videos and other multimedia sources on your website, and it’s SEO ranking.
These features can dramatically improve the amount of time someone spends on your website.
Depending on the length of your videos, people could be on your page for several minutes.
If that happens, it will definitely boost your search ranking.
8. Make sure your site is readable
Keep your audience in mind when you’re writing content on your website.
If you want people to visit your site and spend time there, speak in terms they can understand.
Don’t try to sound like a doctor or a lawyer (even if you are one).
Your content should be written in a way the majority of people can understand.
Not sure if your content is readable?
You can use online resources to help.
One of my personal favorites is Readable.io.
Tools like this can help you identify words that might be too long or difficult for people to comprehend.
9. Fix any broken links
If you’re using authority websites for hyperlinks, you shouldn’t have to worry about the links breaking.
But it can still happen.
Broken links can crush your SEO ranking.
Plus, it doesn’t look good when a link you provide to your visitors brings them to an invalid website.
You can use tools like Dead Link Checker to search for links with errors on your website:
You can use this to check your entire website or specific pages.
If you sign up, you can also set up your account to get checked automatically.
Anytime a link goes dead, you’ll be contacted right away so you can replace it.
You can also use this resource to monitor other websites relevant to your industry.
How can that help your SEO?
Well, if a link goes dead on another website, you can notify the webmaster of that page and ask them to replace the dead link with a link to your website instead.
You’re doing them a favor by letting them know about a problem with their site, so they might be willing to do you a favor in return.
This will drive more traffic to your website. Outbound links from other websites to your page will help improve your SEO ranking too.
10. Optimize your site for mobile devices
As I’m sure you know, mobile use is on the rise.
It’s rising so fast that it’s actually overtaken computers and laptop devices.
In fact, over 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices.
Obviously, Google recognizes this and ranks sites accordingly.
Your website needs to be optimized for mobile users.
There’s no way around this.
If your site isn’t optimized, it’ll hinder the user experience, adversely affecting your ranking.
11. Properly format your page
Take your time when you’re coming up with a layout for your website.
It needs to be neat, clear, organized, and uncluttered.
Consider things like your font size and typography.
Use colored text, bold font, and italics sparingly.
Things such as bullet points and checklists make it easy for visitors to scan through your content.
Take a look at this example from Square:
It’s super clean.
They’ve got a simple picture and reasonable amount of text.
The way the text is formatted makes it easy for people to read, especially with the bullet points.
As you can see, Square also included different header tags and subheadings on their page.
If your website is cluttered with too many pictures, advertisements, colors, and blocks of text, it can appear untrustworthy.
Your site architecture and navigation also fall into this category.
A clean format and design will improve your SEO ranking.
12. Provide appropriate contact information
Speaking of appearing untrustworthy, have you ever struggled to find the contact information of a business on a website?
I know I have.
This should never happen.
All your contact information should be clear and in plain sight for people to find.
The worst thing that could happen is for people to start reporting your website just because you forgot to include your phone number, email address, and location.
This will crush your SEO.
13. Encourage sharing on social media
Every business and website needs to be active on social media.
That’s pretty much common knowledge.
But what’s not as well known is that you can get your SEO ranking improved if people share links to your website on social media.
Here’s an example from a pest control website case study in which they ran a campaign specifically designed to increase social sharing:
The infographic was shared 1,117 times in just two weeks.
During those same two weeks, the website’s organic search traffic rose by 15%.
As a result, their SEO ranking improved as well.
And that was just over a couple of weeks.
Imagine the results you’ll see if you encourage social sharing as a regular part of your SEO campaigns.
One of the best ways to do this is by including social sharing icons on all your content.
You should also share links on your social media pages.
When that information appears on people’s timelines, all it takes is just one click for them to share it.
14. Use keywords
Take a look at the components of the Google ranking algorithm:
Keywords play a major role in this formula.
You want to include words people will search for throughout your content.
But do it sparingly.
If you go overboard saturating your website with keywords, Google will pick up on this, and it will have an adverse effect on your ranking.
Keywords should fit naturally into sentences.
Include them in your header tags and even in image captions.
You should also use long-tail keywords, which are three or four word phrases that could be found in a search.
For example, someone probably won’t just search for the word “phone” when they’re looking for something.
But they may type in the phrase “best phone for texting” as an alternative.
If your keywords match their search, your website will have a greater chance of getting ranked higher.
Search engine optimization isn’t just a fad that’s going to phase out soon.
It’s something your website needs to concentrate on right now and in the future as well.
If you’re just starting to focus on SEO, you’re a little bit behind, but it’s definitely not too late to implement the strategies I just talked about.
Don’t get overwhelmed.
I’m not expecting you to make 14 drastic changes to your website overnight.
Start with a few, and move on to the others.
Monitor your results.
Checking your traffic and search ranking will help validate your SEO strategy.
Soon enough, you’ll be making your way toward the top search results on Google.
Who knows, you might even be able to claim that number one spot.
What have you done so far to improve your website’s Google search ranking?