No one ever wants to experience that troubling and dreaded feeling when you notice that your website is no longer ranking high on SERPs. You immediately go into what experts often call “SEO panic mode” and frantically start looking for a solution.
For many websites and e-commerce brands that sell products or services, showing up within the initial few listings on search engines can be a huge challenge.
If you want more traffic from Google and other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo, there are plethora of details such as Google’s 200 Ranking Factors that you need to take into consideration when it comes to ranking higher on search engine results. Additionally. SEO requirements are constantly changing,thus making it tricky and difficult to keep up with the latest developments. With SEO, it is not actually how much you know which makes securing a high search engine ranking challenging; rather, it is keeping up with how quickly the rules change.
In this post, I will discuss nine essential tips and tricks you need to improve your visibility in search engine result pages.
1. Post Authoritative Content on Your Website
If you want to get on Google’s radar, authoritative content, such as case studies and trends, is extremely important. Search engines, like Google and Bing, try to provide their users the best, most relevant and useful content. For this reason, it’s important that your content capture the attention of your visitors while delivering real value.
Perhaps, the most authoritative type of content is case studies. Applying relevant tactics and generating real-world results with data to support it is one of the most effective ways to establish yourself as an expert.
Think about the way your readers may search for a specific webpage (with long-tail keywords such as “best accounting firm in San Francisco,” “best application for data privacy,” or “cost of plastic surgery in San Mateo”). Luckily, you do not have to be an SEO expert to know which keywords to use. There are plenty of free SEO research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, Spyfu, MozBar, Woorank, Google Analytics with Google Search Console and more.
As a rule of thumb, you should write for humans first, then for the search engine!
2. Optimize Website Speed
Your site speed is one of the all-important ranking factors. It is worth mentioning that a slow loading site can lead to a bad user experience as well as frustrate users, increasing your bounce rate in the process. According to eConsultancy, 40% of users abandon a site that takes over three seconds to load.
Even a second’s delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions. So take your time and remove anything that slows your site down. Get rid of various non-essential items, such as flash graphics, large images, unessential widgets, music players, and plugins that you don’t need. If you can’t afford to hire a professional SEO expert or developer in order to make your site load faster, you could do the following to optimize your site:
- Remove big images;
- Use sprites rather than small images for minimizing http redirects;
- Move to a quicker hosting provider, etc.
3. Use Sitemaps to Improve Your Ranking
Building and submitting a sitemap is often considered the first step in SEO campaign that can highly influence your organic traffic in the first few months. Oftentimes, people create an XML Sitemap which is a dedicated web page containing all the links to your website. This giant URL structure can easily help increase your SEO ranking.
Using an XML sitemap can greatly help increase your website ranking because popular search engines, such as Google and Bing, use XML sitemaps to quickly index your recent posts in their web directory. It is important for your website because it specifically lists and creates links to all other main pages on the website, allowing search spiders to quickly locate pages, and with greater relevance to the search term in question. As a result, each page on your website is much easier and quicker to find for the users and spiders alike, and reachable with a fewer clicks.
4. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendliness is another important SEO ranking factor nowadays. Research shows that nearly 63% of people use mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones to access the web as opposed to desktops. With a high percentage of organic traffic originating from mobile search, it is not surprising that sites with mobile-friendly interfaces are likely to rank higher on SERPs. As search engines are trying to offer the best experience to their users, the better and more seamless the user experience on the website, the higher you will rank. Some things that you ought to consider:
- Use larger fonts for easy and quick readability on smaller screens;
- Have a responsive and intuitive website that resizes automatically to fit any device;
- Ensure ease of navigability and accessibility; and
- Make sure interstitial adverts don’t hide important content.
5. Add Backlinks
Google confirms that links are the number one factor for Google ranking. Backlinks are links from other sites that drive traffic back to your website, and they’re stronger and more relevant if they derive from websites that search engines respect. This variable is equally important as authority content if you are looking to rank higher. It’s not surprising that the top websites in Google or Yahoo have more links. When building backlinks you have to follow specific rules in order not to get flagged by Google. Stay away from the following “blackhat” techniques:
- Buying backlinks to enhance your website ranking;
- Excessive link exchange with partner pages;
- Submitting your website to ANY directory (instead of niche directory), etc
6. Include Keywords in Your Header and URLs
Including the keyword in the header and in URL is helpful not just for individuals who read your blog posts, but for showing search engines exactly what your post is about.
So for example, if users can’t read or understand your URL, then search engines may be confused as well. When you add keywords to your URL, it improves the position of your search engine. SERPs treat dashes and hyphens as a word separator, so you should include them as an easy way for both search engines and humans to understand.
7. Update Your Site Regularly
Websites with dynamic and quality content usually rank better than sites with static content. Frequently updated content is one of the most reliable indicators of a website’s relevancy. So, make sure you keep it fresh and engaging. This is one of the main reasons why blogs as well as directories (such as Wikipedia) tend to do so well on most search engines. They’re continually updated with fresh content.
8. Use Alt Tags for Videos and Images
Keep in mind that each video and image you have on the website could have descriptive words or phrases added to its imprint known as alternative text descriptions or “alt tags”. These descriptions make it easier for search engines, like Google, to locate your webpage with the keywords in your video and image descriptions, as well as the standard text throughout the website. Describing your video and visual media with alt tags will increase the chances of your website being found during an organic search, which will consequently increase its page ranking.
9. Make Sure Your Site Is Indexed
Indexability has a lot to do with how effectively search engine bots navigate your website. Many search engines automatically find as well as index your content; however, they do not always rely on it because search engines like Google can take weeks to update your website’s search results.
You have to be sure that leading search engines, namely Google, Bing, and Yahoo, crawl your site, so that users can find you online. It is always better to add them directly in case your website is not indexed in search engines.
The very first issue that you may encounter while doing this is tackling duplicate content. Although it is common knowledge nowadays that duplicate or matching content is an SEO no-no, there are times you cannot avoid it. When this occurs, you can tell Bing and Google not to crawl these pages.
Although we just barely scratched the surface of this exciting world of SEO ranking, you cannot go wrong with applying these SEO tips and tricks to your website. Doing so will get you one step ahead of your competition and you’ll likely see a surge in your web traffic.