Websites grow through steady effort at improvement and it wouldn’t surprise you to realize that your dedication to providing the best information or content on your website goes a long way to spreading the word. I know it’s common to increase the popularity of your websites through social media sharing and use of proper management tools.
Studies show that the first page shown for every keyword search on Google usually contains ten WebPages and they receive about 90% of user attention which translates to a large number of web visits daily. This is what is referred to as the “Google ranking”; the websites with the best content for each keyword search are shown on the first or second pages. This article will focus on the importance of growing your Google ranking and most importantly, also how to do it. There are no quick shortcuts but by following the right steps, you can increase your visibility on the web. Henceforth, I should explain a few of the terms I’d be using going forward. They include:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is the process of improving or optimizing a webpage or website’s visibility in a search engine’s results list.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page) refers to the results displayed by a search engine in response to a user’s keyword or key phrase query.
I’ll outline below five pointers you should focus on to improve your Google ranking
Make Your website Mobile Friendly
Previously, this was not a priority but as recently as April 2015, Google began penalizing sites that aren’t mobile optimized by lowering their search engine rankings. With Google pushing forward the mobile-first index, your website needs to pass the Mobile-Friendly Test. This should basically be your target because practically everyone surfs their favorite websites on their phones and More and more users are consuming content on mobile devices, therefore being mobile optimized improves user experience and conversion. Studies show that about 80 percent of executives use their Smartphone to research products or services for their business.
According to Google “… our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content… Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking…”
Discover what users want to do on your site (their first three to five needs) and ensure they easily perform those basic tasks smoothly even while multi-tasking.
Do your visitors find themselves scrolling endlessly through your websites to access the services or products that you offer?
Do images or ads slow loading times on your website? Most of the connections on mobile are usually slower than those of PCs, it’s therefore necessary to work on the load speed of your WebPages. It is recommended that your site has a load time under 3 seconds, more than a few seconds of loading time could create a significant loss of web traffic.
Applications like Mobify, bMobilized can be used to make your website mobile friendly.
Ensure your site uses responsive web design (RWD) quality practices for full functionality with mobile devices. Using the Meta viewport tag at the head of each page informs browsers that the page is adaptable for different devices.
Work on a link Building Strategy
Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google Founders) started the Google ranking algorithm back in the 90’s with the idea that Websites who have incoming links from other websites on the Internet must be more important and useful for users and therefore deserve a higher ranking in Google’s SERPS. This is an idea which is still applied today in ranking. Links have a big impact on rankings.
While getting links are good, link quality is more important. Bad links can do more harm to your website by fetching you a Google penalty. ‘Natural links’ are links added by website owners because they add value to their content and improves their user’s experience (Just like the key phrase ranking links below, I hope). These are the links you need to focus on getting. I’ll give two examples; Firstly, imagine you are reading an article in Goal’s website about the best football boots for a long lasting and comfortable feel, It is natural and necessary that they provide links pointing to different football boot manufacturers so that users can further explore these boots at their convenience or if they’re interested in making a purchase. Secondly, if you are reading the same article on Goal.com, it’s unnatural to have links pointing to a website that deals with gambling or ticket purchases. It’s unrelated and doesn’t aid the user at all.
Building links is complicated and time consuming task so before getting into the implementation part you need to come up with a link building strategy. What to consider:
Google’s algorithm is very smart and identifies link patterns. Don’t build too many links at once; this notifies the algorithm that something is wrong. The website with the most quality links, (not the highest number of links) usually ranks higher. Quality links usually comes from related websites that Google trusts. There are two effective ways to get other websites to link you:
One, steal your competitor’s links by doing back link analysis on their domains to find what websites they are coming from. Send personalized (note: not bulk) messages to those web owners explaining the benefits of linking your content to their users. This works especially if you have updated or better information on related subjects, you should highlight this in your message.
Two, Get other webmaster’s attention. This method is easier; when you reference other websites in your articles, the web owner sees these links when they run analytics (as referral traffic) and may return the favor in their new posts if you have related content or if they like what you are saying about them.
There are many free tools that identify unhealthy links to your webpage. You can use Monitor Backlinks and Linkquidator. I’ll explain how to check for unhealthy links using Linkquidator, type in your site URL and click “search” to show unnatural links. There are two ways of cleaning up your link profile:-
- Request manual link removal – Visit the website and politely ask the site owner to either remove your link or add a no follow tag to it. However, if site owners assume you’re a spammer, visit Google Search Engine Journal to learn the best way to directly contact webmasters about link removal.
- Use Google’s disavow links tool – If you don’t succeed in removing unhealthy links, your next option is using Google’s disavow links tool and it is part of Google Search Console. When you open Search Console, you’ll see a list of all of your sites. Select the site where you want to disavow links. Check for unnatural links and export the links that you find, upload the export file and click “done.”Google can’t actually remove the links as they lack access to the referring sites. However, doing this notifies Google to quit passing link juice (value) from those links to your page content.
Give your website improved Optimization
Be very thorough with your page titles, URLs, image tags (alt-tags), and meta descriptions as they all affect your individual page rank in search results. Quick tip: Using HubSpot’s Marketing Grader, take a snapshot of your website to expose on-site issues and show tips on your next step.
The most important element on your homepage is the 50 to 65-character title tag, the equivalent of a book’s chapter title. It should state clearly what the page is about.
The meta description is usually between 100 to 150 characters long, describe your major services, and should end with a call to action which is best positioned “above the fold” on your homepage, so users can contact your company, without excessive scrolling.
Your H1, the visible headline on your page should be concise, authoritative, very legible and should include your main Google category
Each of your core services should have tabs for their own separate service page. Optimize each usng the same steps for your homepage.
It also helps to have an accurate and consistent Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) information for your business listed in the footer of every page on your site.
Online reviews lets Google know you run a legitimate business. They also help convince prospects to try out your services. All reviews are useful, but Google My Business reviews are the most important for increasing your Google rankings. The best way to get reviews on your Google profile is to create for your customers a direct link where they can post a review. You can also send your customers an email for the direct link.
Google prefers information on the web to travel over secure channels (https). Some browsers will flag unencrypted websites as unsecure. Getting an SSL Certificate is easy and helps get everything up and running on your site.
Best-in-class WebPages should load within 3 seconds. Slower pages encourage visitors to leave your site. Google uses this information seriously in their algorithm. HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is a tool for checking your page speed.
There needs to be patience involved in web building. Your Google ranking is also increased as your domain and the links pointing to your site get older.
Improve on your keywords
Two quick tools I’d recommend for checking your website ranking for specific keywords include: – The Search Engine Genie Google Rank Checker and SEOCentro Rank Checker .These are my choices because they let you check your ranking for free (which is just awesome!) and they are extremely easy to use, trust me. The key is to find keywords that you’re already ranking for, but not ranking very high. When you find these keywords/ key phrases, look for their corresponding page. If you can find the ranking page, you can optimize it better for the phrase and watch your rank increase.
When you research keywords, you learn firsthand about your target audience, what that they want to know, and how and when they want it. This is referred to as user intent and itguides you in writing headlines and contents that rank better as you’ll need to have both informational and commercial keywords in your webpage’s content. Commercial keywords target buyers who are already educated on the product before coming to conduct a Google search. Informational keywords build rapport with visitors who aren’t yet buyers/customers, it’s your job to teach, inspire, and grow their interest before offering products for sale. Using long-tail keywords are also a boost.
Getting Ideas for Keyword from Competing Sites Works because you use what’s working for them.
On the homepage, instead of inputting a seed keyword, simply type your competitor’s URL into the landing page box, then scroll down and click “get ideas.” Next, click the “keyword ideas” tab. You will discover the keywords that your competitor is focused on.
Contacting blog owners or links that you mentioned in your post and asking them to check it out might get a handful of authority sites to link back to you. Whatever you do, knowledge of the right keywords to target is the basis of keyword analysis.
Take note: Use the key phrase severally in the body text, Use the key phrase once in the header, also Use the key phrase once in the page title
Ensure Quality Content and Improve “Dwell Time”
Getting Relevance is mostly determined by quality, a lot is considered; having a great web design, ease of navigation, having a quick load speed, the efficiency of the content of your page etc. But honestly, your goal should be making the best possible page on the internet for that topic with valued and updated information. Don’t attempt to trick Google’s robot. Google’s aim is to help users find the information they’re looking for as easily and efficiently as possible.
Study your content for improvement and work on ways to make your page great. Use detail, examples, links to other great pages, graphics, and videos etc. Use keywords. It’s all about the reader. Continuous improvement is necessary, and it positively affects how your site is crawled and indexed by Google. Call-to-action should be consistent so visitors interact easily, if visitors take too long figuring out how to use your website, it affects the time they should spend on your page’s information or looking at your products. Also, if they can’t find what they need, then they will get frustrated, navigate to other more useful sites and never come back.
“Dwell time” describes the time duration spent by visitors on your website. If you provide useful information, visitors usually spend time on your website consuming the information and consequently, increasing the dwell time. Although word count isn’t a major SEO factor (visitors will only read your stuff if it helps them), longer content gives you the leverage to provide more useful information, incorporate more keywords, include more outbound links, and increase dwell time. Also, creating highly useful content is imperative because when visitors bookmark your page on Chrome, it improves your SEO ranking in Google. Try to insert social media sharing links on your page as this improves traffic and your visibility.
To conclude, Google rankings are influenced by a lot of factors and these are put in place to ensure that the WebPages shown on the first and second page of SERPs provides the best experience for Google users. These pointers above should be enough to optimize your website with continuous improvement being the ultimate goal. Making these changes can have a huge impact on rankings, especially if your page wasn’t well optimized from the start. Also be aware that search engine optimizations require iterative improvements over time. It’s not something done only once, repeat these pointers and make improvements every few months!