Everybody wants to be first, especially when it comes to Google search results. But getting the top spot is no easy task. It requires your website to have dynamite search engine optimization (SEO) in order to get the best PageRank possible. And while there are plenty of tricks out there to improve your SEO, for the most part, Google cares about two related things; relevance and user experience.
Google’s goals aren’t all that different from your own website, they want to provide a simple user experience by delivering the right information. To do this, Google looks for signals throughout your website to understand how relevant it is to the search query. SEO is the fine tuning those signals to target the audiences you’re after, and the reward for doing so is huge. Appearing at the top of Google’s organic search page typically results in an outstanding 30% Click Through Rate, With 15% at the second spot and 10% at third.
1. Start With Your Domain Name and Page Titles
This is the first thing potential visitors to your website will see on the organic search page, so make sure it’s relevant to the information and messages you have to offer. Page titles are also one of the most important ranking signals Google looks for in determining your position on the organic search page, so include important keywords and phrases when writing them. This will help twofold, in boosting your SEO and drawing in users interested in what’s offered.
2. Increase Your Page Speed
Google has confirmed that page speed performance has a significant influence on their search algorithms, and they expect it to be fast. Google’s algorithm prioritizes sites with load times of 2 seconds, any slower and your score will be dinged for poor user experience. The longer a page takes to load the more frustrated users become, and the more likely they are to go elsewhere. Google’s goal is to get their users what they’re looking for the first time, so try and keep your bounce rate low.
3. Create Lots of Quality Content
Here’s the big one. The SEO of the actual content on your site is the biggest determining factor in where you will rank on an organic search page. Google is looking for content that’s relevant to the user’s search terms and is pretty good at sifting out filler or junk content. In other words, focus on quality over quantity. Having comprehensive content helps as well, which means you should include not just your target keywords, but search terms related to them as well. Company blogs are a fantastic way to generate and showcase SEO content and offer something to your visitors.
4. Focus on the Right Keywords
When it comes to using the right keywords to build your SEO around, research is your best friend. You’ll want to find out what your target audience is searching for, then try and find opportunities to target them in ways your competitors aren’t. Finding those opportunities will give you the best SEO by decreasing your competition for the top spot. Work on these keywords and relevant terms naturally wherever you can on landing pages, blogs, page titles and in the metadata.
5. Include Quality Links
There are two types of links on your website, and both are great tools to demonstrate your content’s relevance and improve your SEO. Outbound links are links that direct people to other websites, like the source, links found in this article, and give your content merit. Outbound links lend you some benefit in terms of SEO, but what Google really cares about are inbound links. These are the links that direct people to your site from another source. The more people there are linking to your site, the more trustworthy and relevant in becoming in Google's eyes.
6. Optimize Your Design
The design of your website plays an indirect role in your SEO score, mostly in how it relates to your page speed performance. If the design of your site isn’t set up efficiently, your load times will go through the roof, sending visitors scurrying after a just a few seconds. Make sure your website design is responsive, your content is properly sized, and all your plugins are working properly. Better page speed performance will result in better SEO, PageRanks and user experience.
7. Make it Mobile Ready
Part of having a website designed to be search engine optimized is making sure you have a mobile version for users searching on their phones. Without a mobile version of your website, there’s no way you’ll show up on the first page of a mobile search unless they’re searching for you directly. Again, Google’s goal is to deliver the best experience possible by providing the right content, and that includes the platform the content is built for.
Search Engine Optimization is a critical part of any digital marketing plan. In order to present your website to the most people possible, you have to make sure it’s set up to be discovered. Making sure your site’s content is relevant and user-friendly will not only improve your SEO, it will also improve user experience, and create a lasting impression in the mind of your visitors. Once they’re there, the rest is up to you.
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