Have you ever been at a dinner party or gathering and someone asks a random question? What happens when no one seems to know the answer?
Everyone goes for their phone. “Let’s ask Google!”
What about when you need a product or service?
This is why SEO is critical to today’s businesses. If internet users can’t find you, do you even exist?
But the question still remains - even 20 years or more into this world of search engines - how can you improve your website’s SEO ranking?
There are so many tips out there, you could spend a lifetime tracking them down and implementing them.
You’ll find technical SEO tips like using headers on your pages. You’ll find creative “new age” SEO tactics like content marketing. You could get as lost as Alice down a rabbit hole.
You could also start a little smaller and scale from there. While these may not be the most important, depending on who you ask, these 10 tips to improve your website’s SEO ranking will get you started.
1) Optimize Your Site for Mobile Users
Back to the question up top - we go to our phones for answers. Obviously mobile use continues to grow. There’s even a common saying that more people on Earth own cell phones than those who own toothbrushes. I’m not sure it’s true… but I wouldn’t be surprised.
In fact mobile us is rising so fast that it’s actually overtaken computers and laptop devices. Over 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices. Since we’re using our phones, Google ranks sites accordingly.
Your website needs to be optimized for mobile users. If your site isn’t optimized, user experience tanks, as will your SERP rankings.
2) Increase Your Page Load Speed
Another user experience metric Google pays attention to (as do other search engines) is how quickly your pages load. For better or worse, fast internet speeds have conditioned us to want information NOW.
That’s why your page loading time is critical. If your load speed is too slow, Google will recognize this, and it will harm your ranking. They know that a slow website impacts the way your visitors engage with your pages. They don’t want their results sending users to bad sites.
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 surprising 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.
Of course 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.
3) Content is Critical: Start Blogging
Yes, we’re still beating the blog drum. Blogging is great for your business. Not only does it get the search engines to crawl your site more consistently, but it helps with visitor engagement and lead generation.
For all these reasons, blogging improves SEO rankings. Producing fresh, relevant, consistent content drives people to your website, giving them a reason to stay on your pages for a while.
More time on site after a search leads to search engines seeing value in your site for their results. Blogs are the perfect channel for this.
If you can establish a large group of faithful readers through email subscriptions and social media engagement, you can get lots of traffic to your site on a daily basis.
4) Make Sure Your Site is Readable
In addition to relevant content, you must have readable content. You must keep your audience in mind when you’re writing content on your website.
Want people to visit your site and spend time there? Give them content they can understand.
Avoid jargon and overly technical writing. Save that for an industry whitepaper. Your content should be written in a way the majority of people can understand. It shouldn't be confounding and confusing.
Use online resources to check the readability of your site. They should help you identify words that might be too long or difficult for people to comprehend. Tools like Readable.com are free!
5) Make Your Site a Multimedia Experience
Of course, the content on your website shouldn’t be only written words.
Add multimedia elements like images, videos, slideshows, or audio to your site. All of this can help improve the user experience.
Consumers don’t want to only read. It doesn’t stick with us. Listening and watching increases retention and engagement both.
Plus, people want it! 68% of consumers prefer watching an explainer video rather than read an explanation to their problem. It’s much easier to watch something than read about it, isn’t it?
You’ll also find a direct correlation between videos and other multimedia sources on your website, and its SEO ranking.
These features can dramatically improve the amount of time someone spends on your website, which is something search engines look for in their results.
6) Use Infographics
One element in a multimedia website people forget about is an infographics.
These information-packed pieces of content actually pack a huge SEO punch. They can help generate more visitors and backlinks. In fact Kissmetrics boasts over 2 million visitors and 41,142 backlinks thanks to their infographic strategy.
Make sure your infographics have great design and great content. Both are vital. Too many people tend to overlook the content when creating them. Poor quality content leads to poor engagement.
7) Use Keywords
This may seem obvious, but remember that keywords play a major role in improving your website’s SEO ranking.
Make sure you’ve done your research, you’ve set a keyword strategy (including learning about things like pillar pages and topic clusters), and you’re focused on relevant content.
Remember that keyword saturating will have an adverse effect on your ranking. Google doesn’t like keyword stuffers. They should be a natural part of your writing.
Write for humans, not algorithms.
A few tips on keywords:
- Include them in your header tags
- Put keywords in image captions and file names
- Use long tail keywords
8) Write Engaging Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
The right page title and meta description should encourage searchers to click through. But keep it concise. Remember the Google only gives you 65 characters to write your page title.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind when creating click-worthy titles:
- Put keywords at the front – We’re impatient creatures, us humans. We tend to scan the first few words of a phrase.
- Keep it consistent – Your page title should send the user to a page that meets their expectations.
- Keep it clear – Clear, concise language helps the user know what your webpage is about quickly.
The other element on search engine result pages (SERP) you need to pay attention to is the meta description. That’s the paragraph under the page title. Let’s let Google give tips on how to create good descriptions.
- Make them descriptive – Front-load keywords that are relevant to the article. If you like formulas, ask “Who? What? Why? When? Where? How?” That’s a formula journalists use to report. It works equally well when writing descriptions.
- Make them unique – Each meta description should be different from other pages’ descriptions.
- Make them short – Google limits meta descriptions to 160 characters or fewer.
9) Provide Accurate Contact Information
Another trust factor search engines look for is contact information. If users can’t find the contact information of a business on a website, neither can Google. That’s a problem.
If you don’t have contact information, are you a legitimate business?
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 drop you from the front search pages quicker than you’d like to imagine.
10) Set Up a Google Business Page
For many businesses, local SEO is more critical than worldwide results. That’s why every business needs to set up an account on Google Business.
As the owner of the page, you get to edit the info on your business, verify contact info, add images, monitor reviews, and more.
When searching for a business, Google serves up an information box on the right side of the results page. It shows company name, phone number, hours, website, and more.
Here’s how you add your site to Google and get your own snazzy business listing.
Now that you know how important SEO is and where to start, it’s time to keep moving forward. Create more content. Make great videos. Start a podcast. Turn up the dial on website conversions. This is the inbound marketing journey, and you’re set up for success!