Search Engine Optimization has evolved drastically just in the past five years. Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have developed more and more sophisticated ways of delivering relevant, actionable search results to the users who need them. This presents a challenge for businesses of all sizes if they hope to have any chance of getting noticed among the ever-growing sea of online competitors.
Thankfully, there are some fundamental features of a website that Google, in particular, looks at when it makes a determination about where to put you in search result rankings. Once you understand these features, you can take strategic actions to work your way up the search result ranking hierarchy.
To help you accomplish this, here are three tips for improving Google search rankings. These tips are considered ‘white hat’, meaning they leverage value-based online search criteria to sustainably improve Google’s perception of the worth of your website to the visitors who go there.
1. Get to know Google Analytics
In 2015, Google purchased a company called Urchin, a web analytics firm that gave website administrators a window into the performance of their online assets. Google then rebranded Urchin, calling it Google Analytics. Today, Google Analytics is a free and highly useful tool you can use to see exactly where you stand among your competitors.
Using Google Analytics, you can view details about the traffic that comes to your website, giving you critical information related to where your website visitors are coming from, how long they’re spending on your website, and what online assets they’re being drawn to.
To get started with Google Analytics, you’ll need to get an analytics tracking ID. This tracking ID is provided to you after you sign up for a Google Analytics account. The next step is to add analytics tracking to your existing website through the Google Analytics interface. This shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes to set up.
After you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to view your website analytics data and start collecting the site performance information you need to make ongoing changes.
2. Start a blog
Blogs are absolutely crucial to SEO performance, regardless of how big your company is or what industry you’re in. If you don’t know where to start in creating a blog, don’t worry–your competitors are a great place to look to learn about how to best do this.
Head over to the website of one of your biggest competitors and check out their blog. It probably contains a ton of useful information that gives readers genuine value when they visit it. Take notes about what topics your competition is writing about, and start thinking about some similar topics you could focus on as you develop your own blog.
Blog content should be compact, easy-to-read, and, above all, informative. Use your blog as a way to display your subject matter expertise to the world, and have fun with it! The most successful blogs are educational, entertaining, and constantly updated with fresh content.
Remember that Google loves continually updated content that keeps readers on your site. For most blogs, a blogpost length of between 600-1,250 words is ideal. If you operate in an industry that is saturated with thousands of other competitors, consider what blog topics might set you apart from the rest. Don’t be afraid of using humor and current events as inspiration for your blog content.
3. Learn the art of linking
In the world of SEO, there are three main categories of links. They are:
1. Internal links. Internal links are links to other pages within the same website domain. For example, if you were a plumbing company and you provided water heater installation services as well as septic tank installation services, you could embed an internal link to each service from both service pages. This technique tends to keep visitors on your site longer, as you’re making it easier for them to learn more about the value that your company provides. And remember, the more time a visitor spends on your site, the higher up in the search rankings you’ll go.
2. External links. External links are links to locations on the internet that are outside of your website domain. Typically, linking externally to authoritative resources is a good best practice. These resources could be news outlets, clinical research studies, or reputable, industry-specific trade groups that are well-known among your target audience.
3. Backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website from locations outside of your website. So, for example, if someone wrote a blog on their own website talking about your company, they might include a backlink that would send readers to your site for more information. Backlinking strategies vary widely, but the rule of thumb for backlinking is that more is almost always better.
To get more backlinks to your website, consider reaching out to others who have an established online presence. Convince them to publish content that links back to your website. A common method to do this is something called ‘link swapping’, where backlinks are traded between two websites so that they both acquire a new backlink while helping each other in the process.
In closing – stay on top of it
SEO is Constantly Changing, and Your Site Should, Too
No one knows what the future of SEO looks like. However, if past is prologue, it’s likely that value for the site visitor is going to remain a high priority for Google and other web search companies.
To make sure your website visitors are getting the most value possible every time they visit your website, make it a habit of checking in with your analytics on an ongoing basis–say, once a week or so. Identify areas where fresh, engaging content could improve the visitor’s experience on your site, and always be on the lookout for ways to obtain high-quality backlinks.
By implementing the tips listed above, you’ll be well on your way to seeing your search result rankings rise higher and higher. Good luck!