Let’s say you have an awesome e-commerce website/blog. You’re getting some followers on social media in addition to some sales. After a while, you notice that you’re not growing and that the size of your audience has plateaued. Curious, you decide to search your company on Google.
That’s when you see that–yikes!–your website doesn’t even show up on the first page. And now you’re concerned, because when people search for something specific they rarely look beyond that first page. A study shows that 53 percent of organic views only go to the first result link.
So how do you improve your website and stop falling behind your competition?
First Things First
Before going all out to improve your ranking, there are two key factors you should keep in mind: what Google considers when rating websites and how your competition is getting high rankings.
Google wants to provide the searchers with exactly what they ask for: relevant, high quality, popular websites. So you need to analyze and understand exactly what it is your competition is doing to rank that high. Once you know the answer, you can identify what they’re lacking and implement it on your website.
Tips to improve your Google ranking:
1. URL: you have to start from here. Your web address is the first entry point to your website, and has been shown to be a deciding factor for users choosing between search results.
Your URL should:
Be readable and simple. Don’t attack searchers’ eyeballs with a slew of characters, eliminate unnecessary words, and aim for fewer folders (or slashes). Google and Bing can process these longer, more complicated URLs, but users are more likely to trust straight-to-the-point addresses.
Contain keywords that describe the page. For example:
In a search for “best ways to engage an audience”, the keywords “engage” and “audience” clearly showed up in this link from Hamilton.edu. Though it was the third result and not the top one, an individual may choose it over the first two as they were missing those keywords. If you need help picking keywords, we’ve got a post that could get you started: Keyword Post.
Have an appropriate domain. Depending on your industry, you are going to have to decide between .com, .net, .me, and others. Some are more popular–.com is the leader by far–and will likely be more expensive. Some will be cheaper but not carry the same kind of brand recognition. You will have to strike a balance. (source)
2. Title: This is the first thing people are going to read on the page. To catch people’s attention, it must be creative and unique. Make sure you include your keywords in your title so people know they’ve reached the right page of your site. Don’t leave them feeling unsure about the relevance of your page–otherwise they’ll leave and look elsewhere.
3. Description: This appears in the source code that Google reads to decide what your article is about. This should be from 70-160 characters long, should be concise, consists of keywords and includes your call to action. If you can, have a description for each article/site. That will bring all your content onto Google’s radar.
4. Links: You should think about them as votes in favor of your website. Google thinks that if you link to influential and serious websites within your content, then your content must be relevant. Another tip that goes hand in hand with this would be to link back to your own content inside your posts. For example, a post about coats on one’s fashion blog could helpfully link to a previous post about winter trends in 2017. This way, you are inviting readers to keep reading within your own blog. (source)
5. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and is quick to load. A study shows that just one second’s delay can reduce conversions by 7%. Also, make sure you are placing your ads where they’re most visible on the site, and that you have a solid CTA.
6. Describe your visuals and videos using alternative text descriptions (or alt tags). This provides another way for your page to be found–if not by specific words used in your content, then by your visual content.
7. Be careful not to trip up Google’s quality filters. Read more information about those here.
Other than these more technical tips, something to always keep in mind is to make sure that what you’re posting is current, relevant, and meaningful to your audience. There is no way around that. If your competitors are pushing out posts that can be deemed more helpful than yours, Google will choose to put them first.
As mentioned before, make sure you are always changing and implementing your links and tags. That way, next time you search your company or blog on Google, you’ll be greeted by the sight of your link coming up on the first page.
Got any other helpful tips? We’d love to read your suggestions. Comment below!