10 SEO Tips to Improve Your Organic Rankings
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to any business with an online presence. Why? Because search engines have algorithms that they use to determine which websites have the most relevant ‘answer’ to the inquiry being searched. Optimizing your website for search engines means taking specific steps to appeal to those algorithms. As a result, a site can eventually rank in the top results for specific keywords and earn more traffic.
While search engine companies don’t typically reveal all of the factors they use in their algorithms, they have been hinted at by the companies and discovered by industry experts. However, it’s an ongoing battle as the algorithms are continuously updated to provide a better and more accurate service. For example, lately, Google has placed even more focus on good quality content that is mobile-friendly. It’s important to stay up-to-date with SEO updates so you can keep your website visible to your target audience.
Are you interested in improving your position in the search results for your keywords? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track toward online marketing success. Here, we will share 10 SEO tips to help you improve your organic ranking on Google; the search engine holding a 77.43% share of market.
Before you start working on a strategy for SEO, you need to first analyze your website to find out where you are, what is working and what needs to be improved. To do so, you can use the website SEO checkup. This tool is free and will do the analysis work for you. When it finishes, you will be provided with a score as well as a list of what you are doing well and not so well regarding SEO. For example, it may tell you that your website doesn’t respect security protocols or that you don’t have meta descriptions.
Another free tool you can use is SERPs which is a free rank checker. It will tell you the current ranking of your website on Google for specified keywords that matter to your business. With the information from these tools, you can start to work on improving the aspects of your site identified as bad for SEO.
Now let’s look at ten tips that highlight best practices for SEO.
1. Ensure a fast, clean and secure website
Due to the fact that search engines want to provide the best experience for their customers, it’s important that the sites they recommend load fast. Research has shown that the longer a site takes to load, the more people click away to find another solution. In fact, 40% of people will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. With this in mind, your website should not take more than five seconds to load at the absolute maximum. The faster, the better.
Additionally, search engines want websites to be fully functional and “clean.” How do you make yours clean? Here are a few example recommendations, ensure you don’t have broken links, that your URLs are SEO friendly by integrating relevant keywords, and use a caching mechanism for your website. More recommendations will be provided when you use the SEO check up tool. You can also use Google Search Console which helps you identify potential errors on your website.
Lastly, you need your website to be secure through the use of the secure protocol https. It is widely in use across the internet and allows for secure communication over a computer network.
2. Choose your keywords wisely
The next important aspect of SEO is the use of keywords. It’s crucial to identify the right keywords for your business, which are the words your target audience types in when they are looking for your products or services. How do you identify these words?
First, you can use the Google Keyword planner to check search volume data and trends so you can find out which words are being searched by users. A good rule of thumb is that if the search volume for a keyword is less than one thousand per month, don’t target it. The keyword planner also help you get ideas for additional keywords as it will suggest a list related to your business.
Another important aspect of choosing your keywords is finding out how competitive they are. The more general and unspecific a word is, the more competition there will be. For example, the keyword ‘swimsuit’ gets 100K-1 million searches each month while the keyword ‘black tankini’ (a type of swimsuit) get 1k-10k searches. Avoid keywords that are widely used by other businesses and focus in on niche keywords instead. You will have a greater chance of ranking for these more specific keywords because there is less competition.
Lastly, relevance of the keywords is important. You want to avoid targeting words that are too broad or general because, even if you do rank for them, the content on your site may not provide what the searcher is looking for. Focus on specific keywords that have a direct link with your messages and business specialties. For example, if you sell organic make-up products in Hong Kong, you should focus on the speciality of your business, organic make-up, and the location, Hong Kong rather than choosing broad keywords such as ‘beauty products’.
Once you have keywords, how do you use them? The keywords should be added into the copy on your website including in meta titles, meta descriptions, headlines and page titles. Additionally, they should be used in your Google Adword campaigns. While you want them to be featured throughout your website, be careful not to overuse them in an unnatural way. Doing so is considered keyword stuffing and is a practice sanctioned by Google. All content must be relevant and qualitative. So choose keywords that should naturally be on your site and place them strategically.
3. Have great meta titles and descriptions
We talked a little bit about meta descriptions in the tip for keywords, but let’s dig in a little deeper. A meta title is the title of a webpage which will be displayed in search results. Under the meta title, you will find the meta description which is a text of 150 characters that describes what your page is about. Here is an example.
Meta titles and descriptions have to be short and they should give a clear idea of what your page is about. They should also be attractive as users will decide whether they want to click or not on the search results by reading them. Here are some tips on writing each.
How to write a meta title:
- It should not have more than 60 characters
- It should include keywords and the name of the website and provide a short definition of your page.
- It should start with your main keyword = keyword 1 and keyword 2 | brand name
How to write a meta-description:
- It should not have more than 140 characters.
- It should include your main keywords (but don’t try to cheat Google by adding too many.)
- It should clearly explain what the user will find on your page.
4. Provide content of good quality
Search engines want to provide the best, most thorough, answer to a person’s inquiry so the content on your website should be of high-quality in respect to the search terms you are targeting. A great way to create high-quality content is to have a blog you consistently update. Posts should show your expertise. Provide your target audience with answers to their frequently asked questions and context to how your product or service can be used. In doing so, you will provide valuable content to your visitors that will keep them coming back for more content. Being that blogs contain lots of content, it present an opportunity to target keywords and improve your ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).
A few things to be aware of are that all of your content needs to be original as duplicate content is penalized by Google. Also, you want to use keywords where relevant in your headline, copy, meta title, and description; avoiding keyword stuffing.
5. Provide a quality user experience
Next, make sure the experience on your website is as smooth and logical as possible. If it is confusing or clunky, you will likely frustrate users and they will click back to find another solution. The behavior of website visitors is tracked and considered by Google, so if they don’t find the information they were looking for and close your page, it won’t help your SEO. You want to encourage long visits where visitors click through to multiple pages on your website, signaling that your content is relevant and valuable.
6. Use social media to your advantage
Sharing your content on social media is not only essential to amplify your messages and make your brand more visible, it is also important for your SEO. Google weighs social signals when deciding which content is best. The choice of platforms will depend on where is your audience but keep in mind that using Google + contributes heavily to improving your ranking.
7. Be mobile-friendly
Since April 2015, Google Search uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal so having mobile friendly content is now crucial for your SEO. It does not affect your desktop traffic but it has an impact on mobile searches in all languages worldwide.. Find out if your website is mobile-friendly and how you can improve it with this free Mobile Friendly tool.
8. Link: backlinks from authoritative websites and internal linking
Having high quality links from authoritative websites (partners, media, directories…) will contribute to driving traffic to your website and improving your SEO. The more mentions of your site online from other sites with authority, the better you will rank. It’s not just other sites that should link to you, you should also link within your own site to other pages of your own content. This is called internal linking and helps to keep visitors on your website and guide them to other helpful information they may want to know.
Warning: never forget that Google’s priority is QUALITY. As a result, Google Penguin updates sanctions websites with low-quality / spammy inbound links that come from low quality websites. Google Search Console can help you identify these links and to disavow them.
9. Register with Google My Business
If you have a local business, register it on Google Maps by creating a Google my business account. Your users will find you more easily, they will get quick information like your address, phone number, hours and real user reviews, and it will boost your ranking. Doing so, you can increase your chances to rank in the local results section on the top on the page one search results; a highly visible place.
10. Analytics and search queries
SEO is something that needs to be checked and improved all the time. Check the results of your strategy and adapt it if necessary. Use Google Analytics to check if your traffic increased and to see which page / blog post is performing best and worst in terms of unique visits, average time spent, and social media sharing. You can use these insights to adapt your editorial strategy. For example, if your bounce rate is too high (meaning people are clicking away quickly), you might need to rethink your user experience.
Additionally, of course, regularly check the evolution of your ranking on Google for your targeted keywords.
Catalyst Can Help You Improve your Search Engine Ranking
These tips can help you to understand where your site is currently in terms of optimization and where it needs to go. Check your website for each of these factors and you will be on the right track to climbing the ranks toward the coveted ‘page one’ spots. If you’re not sure where to start or would like the advice of a digital marketing expert, you can reach out to the professionals at Catalyst. We will help you learn more about SEO and are available to discuss upcoming projects. Together, we can help you get the increased traffic, conversions, and sales available through SEO.