‘Ranking’ is one of the most important terms to understand when it comes to SEO. In fact, most of the work done to improve a website’s SEO is to get a better ranking.
Simply put, ‘SEO Ranking’ refers to a website’s position in the search engine results (sometimes referred to as SERP, Search Engine Results Page).
Here are examples of how SERP looks in Bing and Google
A website with great SEO will rank on the first page, while others may ‘rank’ further back. This matters since 92% of searchers select businesses on the first page of local search results.
Getting a good ranking requires a lot of hard work. But it is achievable for anyone who aspires to have a strong online presence.
Although boosting your website with performance marketing tactics can help, money alone can’t buy a good Google rank. There are different approaches you can take, but in the end there is no magic button that will skyrocket you to the front page.
We’ve put together a list of 5 things we recommend for keeping a healthy search ‘ranking.’
1: Make sure you’re using the right keywords, designed for humans and not robots
It can be easy to forget that there are actual real-live humans on the other side of all search inquiries. When creating your list of keywords to start using in your content, consider how your audience is thinking. Write for their search tendencies.
Put yourself in your target audience’s situation and ask yourself how they would use Google when looking for your product. Then use these predicted queries to structure your keyword list. You can validate these further using a keyword tool.
Don’t be shy, try out question and comparison keywords as well. These can be great for creating richer and more human like keywords
Always keep these keywords on hand and use them in all of your content.
2: Use Metadata!
Every page you design contains a space to add tags, or metadata. This is information about what is on your page. Depending on how your site has been built, the platform may have automatically generated this for you. Additionally, if you don’t specify any metadata on your webpage, search engines will automatically generate it for you based on the content of your website. With this there is a chance that it will show non-relevant metadata, for example: the history of your company instead of showing your audience the USPs of your product. It’s important to check that this metadata is accurate and contributes to healthy SEO by staying relevant to the information on the page.
There are 3-types of metadata to keep an eye out for:
- Title metadata: responsible for page titles displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. This is the metadata that is of the utmost importance. Arguably, this may be the biggest factor in ensuring visitors click on your webpage. That’s why a simple “click here” title doesn’t have much value for your SEO and search engine rankings.
- Description metadata: the text based description that a browser uses for your page’s search return. This needs to be concise and appealing to describe what is contained within the page, with the goal of enticing people to click on your link. Good descriptions will typically contain two full sentences.
- Keyword metadata: this is rarely used to tabulate search engine rankings. But, since you already know your keyword phrases, it couldn’t hurt to add them into your keyword metadata. For this, include a variety of phrases, try to keep it to about 3-7 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words.
3: Check your URL structures
Make sure that all your URLs are in working order. This is something that’s often overlooked, but is important since Google considers every URL that’s Indexed by its engine. Your URLs should be properly structured, readable, relevant and contain Keywords where possible. It is important for you to know that every page you created will generate its own URL. Therefore, the best practice is 1 URL for 1 Topic (not keyword), to avoid duplicate content.
When looking at the URLs on your site, keep it short and readable (again, think of the humans!) and don’t be afraid to use hyphens and underscores where it makes sense. Remember that the URL is one of the most prominent articles of your search results. It shows up right under your Title in the search engine results, so make sure it’s relevant.
4: Verify that your page load speed is where it should be
Google has been checking your page load speed as a part of their algorithm since 2010. It is an important factor when setting your site up for a good SEO Ranking.
Page Load Speed refers to how quickly your website responds to web requests. This is impacted by different factors including plugins and special effects that may be weighing down your pages. Simple image optimization may also be needed to help improve your load speed. If people need to wait around for things to load they may leave. This can send the wrong signal to Google’s bot, leaving it to assume that your website is not relevant. You want people to land on your site and complete an action, not leave (or bounce) immediately. To have healthy SEO you need to have healthy page load speed. There are a number of tools available for measuring this such as Google Page Speed Insights.
5: Consider your links, both internally and externally
Your website is full of links! Or at least it should be. Internal links help to establish the site architecture and connect your content. These are relevant to your SEO because they help to register the content within your site as being more relevant to Google and other search engines. Not to mention, it helps your website visitors navigate your website to find relevant information.
Linking externally (backlinks) is also good in helping to build up your SEO. When someone else refers to a certain page or article to your website, that is the best way to tell Google that your website is trustworthy and relevant. But be careful, if the referrer has a bad SEO reputation, the negative effects can be forwarded further to your website. That’s why getting a high quality backlinks require huge efforts especially in PR and linking internally is a good place to start before jumping into the headache of backlinks.
While you’re at it, be extra sure that none of your links are broken. Broken links will bring down your ranking. There is no better way to kick your visitors away from your website than serving them a broken page.
There you have it, 5 ways to achieve better Rankings.
As mentioned above, there are many more ways to contribute to a good ‘SEO Ranking’ through search engine optimizations. It can be tedious and time consuming but let’s start with these.
If you need help or have questions or you don’t even know where to start, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Our marketing nerds will help you out.