Maintaining a high search engine ranking is imperative in securing business success, however for many business owners it is time-consuming and challenging. With Google constantly updating its platform, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start with search engine optimisation.
However, with some guidance SEO doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Read on for our insights on search engine optimisation and our top tips on remaining at the top of Google.
What is SEO?
Simply, search engine optimization is the process of improving your site so that it appears higher within search results. There are some simple steps you can take to help optimise your site which will drive visitors to your page and help you gain more traction.
How Does SEO Work?
Google’s bots constantly crawl the web, collecting information and adding it to their vast index of data. Every web page on the internet is crawled and Google’s algorithms then determine where it will sit within the search results pages. The algorithms are based on hundreds of ranking factors – SEO allows us to influence the algorithms and gives us control over our web page ranking.
How Can You Improve Your Search Ranking?
1. Regular content
The first and most important step in ensuring a high search ranking is regular and unique content. Unfortunately, website development isn’t as simple as creating a website, obtaining the domain and releasing it. Websites take work and your page will not be visible if it isn’t updated with content regularly – this is often why company websites have a blog tab. A blog is a great way of publishing regular content relevant to your industry. And remember, content must be unique – Google knows when your copy has been pinched from another site and ranks your site lower in the search results. Content must be written uniquely by you.
2. Relevant keywords
Just as important as posting regular content is posting relevant content. Using keywords relevant to your industry helps Google show your page to the right people. For instance, a business promoting sustainable products may use key words such as “zero-waste” “eco” and “environmentally-friendly” to help show the page to those searching for sustainable products on the internet. It is essential that your web content describes exactly what you do so that your web page isn’t targeting the wrong people. Not only this, but posting content relevant to your industry helps Google assess your credibility.
3. Internal and external linking
Not only should your site link to other pages within your website, but it is also a good tip to link to other reputable sources. Linking externally lets Google know that you are also a reputable source, helping to prove your credibility as a web page. Additionally, linking internally helps Google to understand the architecture of your site. It allows you to give more value to the pages on your site that are more important than others, establishing a hierarchy. For instance, you may link your home and about pages to help establish that these are valuable.
4. Site loading times
Web page loading times are a direct factor on your site ranking. The faster the page, the better. However, any longer than 2 seconds will significantly affect not only your site ranking but also your bounce rate and page views. But don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to keep your page speed down, for example using a tool like TinyPNG to compress all of the images and videos on your site can really help with loading speed.
5. Lengthy content
The longer the content, the more success it tends to have in search rankings. We know producing long content is laborious, but it really is important in maintaining a high search ranking. Content such as a blog must be over 300 words, otherwise Google perceives it to be “thin” content. However we suggest always ensuring it’s over the 1000 word mark – anything less will not rank highly in search results.
6. Analytics tools
There are so many tools out there to help fulfill every need we possibly have, so why not take advantage? First and foremost, using Google Analytics is almost a requisite to having a successful website. Using Google Analytics to track which web pages are performing best is really important in understanding who your audience is and the content they like to see. Google Search Console is another useful tool which helps you understand how your website performs within the search rankings. Additionally, at GearedApp we use tools such as Coschedule Headline Analyser when writing blogs or web content to help us see how our titles and headings stand up next to their competition. The tool provides an SEO score so you can predict how well your content will do. There are millions of other tools out there to help you with your SEO so do your research and find some tools that suit your needs best.
7. SEO friendly URLs and meta descriptions
You may not know this, but Google even crawls the URL of your site (the website link). Every web page should have a short yet descriptive URL that Google can easily understand. 50-60 characters is the optimum length – anything over 80 characters will significantly impact your search results ranking. Additionally, meta descriptions must be both SEO friendly and easily readable to the eye. Meta descriptions are the little snippets of text you see underneath a web page in the search results of Google. Meta descriptions should have enough information that they are descriptive and draw the user in but not so long that it is overwhelming. Anything over 160 is just too long – the recommended length is between 120-158 characters.
8. Think about your audience
Although writing SEO friendly content is necessary, writing content that your audience really wants to read should be your first point of call. At the end of the day you are writing copy for humans so it should be designed for them. Think about your target audience and the sort of information they want to know or the sort of article they find enjoyable to read. Content should always come under one of the three following categories- engaging, informative or educational. Ensure that your content adds value to both your audience and your web page.
9. Tagging images with keywords
By this point, you have probably guessed it, but yes Google’s bots crawl your photos too. However, without any text, how is Google meant to know what the photo is? An image tag, or alt tag is a snippet of text you can add to an image to help Google understand what it is. By using keywords related to the image/your industry on your site images, Google can understand how it correlates with the rest of the page. This helps with getting your page in front of the people that want to see it. Not only this, but it also helps with accessibility in terms of screen reading software. An accessible site doesn’t just open up your customer base, it also helps with SEO too.
10. Remember Google My Business
Google My Business is really important for local search engine optimisation as it means people within your area will be able to find you. Have you ever noticed when you search for a business near you, it pops up along the right hand side of Google? That’s because of Google My Business. Not only does it help with local SEO but it also helps improve your overall search ranking. It is really easy to forget about Google My Business, but it’s so important!
Simple Search Engine Optimisation
If you’re struggling to get your site to the top of Google, look at your current offering, remember these top tips and think about the areas you can improve on.
Optimising your site doesn’t always have to be difficult – break it down, keep it simple and you will be sure of success.
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