As a business owner, the internet is one of your most useful resources when it comes to reaching customers. According to a study by Advanced Web Ranking, more than 70% of searches on Google resulted in a page-one organic click. That’s huge!
In plain English – paying for Google ads simply won’t cut it if you want your business to excel online. You’ll have to sharpen up on your SEO routine in order to get the biggest benefit out of your online presence. Discover how to raise your website ranking just below…
SEO 101: What is SEO?
Whenever you type a query into your internet browser, search engine optimization (SEO) is the reason you see certain websites appear higher than others on the results list of search engines such as Google and Bing. It should go without saying that those sites which appear closest to the top of the results list will have a great advantage over all of the other websites underneath them.
Obtaining and maintaining that top position is not something that happens by luck or chance. Far from it! There are many aspects of a website that impact its standing on the search engine results list, and those determining factors can be tweaked and adjusted to optimize your search engine ‘performance’.
By now you’re probably wondering how to improve SEO ranking on Google. That’s what we’re going to explain here, so keep reading to find out how to become an SEO expert…
How can SEO improve my site’s ranking?
The reason SEO is so important to your site’s ranking is that it helps your business earn the trust of potential customers. While paid ads will appear at the top of the results, they are clearly marked as advertisements and are far less appealing to the normal web-browsing individual; the Advanced Web Ranking study also found that Google ads receive less than 15% of all the traffic coming from online searches.
‘Going organic’ is the key. The value of organic search results is far greater than the dollar amount any business may choose to invest in PPC (pay per click) or SEM (search engine marketing). Authenticity will bring in the clicks and the customers, way more than the ‘easy’ way of paying your way to the top of the results column.
Follow these 6 steps to earn your stripes and improve SEO for your business.
1. Improve page loading speed
Apart from the fact that nobody likes to waste their time watching a web page take forever to load, Google actually penalizes those websites that load more slowly.
Your website ranking will suffer as a result of taking too long to load. Customers want you to provide your services in a prompt manner, and so your website’s loading speed will be the first indicator of what customers can expect from your business.
Taking more than approximately 3 seconds will likely result in your potential customer taking his or her search elsewhere. And while the culture of instant-gratification has its downsides, it doesn’t appear to be changing or disappearing anytime soon. Improving your webpage loading speed is one way how to rank higher on Google.
Increase loading speed by:
- Picking the right host – differents hosts can handle different sized pages
- Avoiding large pictures that will take a long time to load – more on that later
- Limiting the number of advertisements that appear on your page
- Simplifying your page’s theme – don’t include too much animation in your page design
2. Utilize high-quality content
What is ‘high-quality content’, anyway?
In short, high-quality content is not only what Google determines is worth sharing, but also what real people find useful and worth sharing as well. Any content that gets linked to, cited, or shared; any content that provides real answers to real questions; any content that people want as entertainment – that’s ‘high-quality content’ in a nutshell.
Frankly, that is much easier said than done. It does take some effort to produce high-quality content, especially because the term ‘quality’ is so subjective. What might be useful for some people could be seen as useless by others.
A few pointers on how to produce high-quality content for your web page:
- Learn who your audience is and speak on their level
- Be consistent, reliable, and accurate with the information you provide
- Don’t be boring; be creative and make your business stand out from the competition
3. Optimize your website’s images
According to httpArchive, nearly 65% of the average web page ‘weight’ is made up of images. Not videos or moving graphics – just plain old still images (see pie-chart below). That’s a hefty price to pay to keep your potential customer’s eyes busy!
Image Source: http://mobile.httparchive.org/
If that statistic alone didn’t make it clear why it’s so important to optimize your website’s images, then consider this: not only will optimizing your website’s images speed up the load time and keep the visitor engaged, but it’ll go beyond just improving customer experience and improve SEO at the same time.
Solution: Before uploading images to your website, use a tool to compress the image such as TinyPNG – this can reduce the size of your images by up to 80%!
If you were wondering how to rank higher on Google, this may be the easiest way to do it today.
4. Master the art of linking
Hyperlinks, or links for short, have two basic functions that they serve for search engines.
First, links direct to new pages. Second, links help search engines assess where a page will stand in their search rankings.
So how can you get better at ‘linking’? And how will that help improve SEO?
As we mentioned above, quality is crucial. Google’s recognized that, and have also made changes to their algorithms to favor high-quality links. To improve the quality of the links on your web page, your first step should be to eliminate the low-quality links. You can do this by applying a “nofollow” attribute.
This basically makes the search bots ignore those links when they scan your page. Generally, the “nofollow” attribute would be applied to links posted on your page by other people in comment sections, because it’s not realistic to scan through every comment and determine the quality of each individual link.
After you’ve taken those undesirable links out of the equation, you’ll want to take into consideration how linking can help you:
- Develop long-lasting connections with other websites that are relevant to your business
- Get other popular websites to link to your web page
- Build your reputation in your industry by showing your creativity and involvement
The term ‘backlinking’ is just a technical term for getting other websites to link to your web page. While Google is always adjusting its algorithms, backlinking remains a powerful tactic because it signals to the search engine that other websites consider your web page a credible-enough source of information to link to.
So, the more backlinks the better – especially when the backlinks are on websites that rank high themselves. This is a rather simplified overview of linking – for a more detailed look at link building, check out this guide.
Top tip: Interlinking between your website’s pages is another great way to authenticate and strengthen the SEO on your pages. For example, if we were to simply enter a link here to our ‘guide to business financing’ it would automatically increase the strength of said page.
5. Know your keywords
While including a number of keywords or key phrases throughout your web page may have happened naturally in the development process, they have a very real impact on your website ranking. So it’s important to go through your site and review where and how you’ve used keywords.
Quick tips on how to use keywords wisely:
- Compile a list of terms relevant to your business – for example, if you own a pizzeria your list may include ‘pizza’, ‘restaurant’, ‘pizzeria’, ‘pepperoni’, ‘mozzarella’, ‘oven’, ‘fresh’, etc.
- Expand those terms into phrases or questions – continuing with the pizzeria example, phrases or questions may include ‘local pizzeria’, ‘where is the best pizza?’, ‘brick oven pizza’, etc.
- Enter your keywords into Google, and see ‘related terms’ – if you choose, you can go one step further and search those ‘related terms’, and see their ‘related terms’.
- Choose a mix of some shorter keywords and some longer keywords – chances are, the competition is much tougher to rank high for a short keyword such as ‘pizza’. You’d likely have a better chance ranking high for a more specific phrase like ‘best pepperoni slice in Mount Vernon’. Find the balance that works best for your business.
- Check how your competitors rank for your keywords – pretty straightforward, punch your keywords into Google and see how your main competitors rank. You may want to challenge their ranking or take advantage of a keyword that they haven’t ranked for. Once again, this is a delicate balance and you’ll have to experiment to find what’s right for your business.
Top tip: You can use a service or tool to help you find your keyword minions. Popular tools include SemRush or Mangools – some offer free trials but to upgrade and take full advantage of the service, you’ll need to spend a little.
6. Optimize your site for mobile
This one is pretty cut and dry. The world has been taken over by smartphones. Want to know how to improve SEO ranking on Google? Follow this one step.
According to a 2017 study by Stone Temple, 63% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. That was two years ago. The tech-wave is continuing to grow, so don’t let your business be left in the wake.
And if that didn’t drive the point home enough for you, Google recently announced that it is changing its algorithms to favor websites that are optimized for use on smartphones. So you don’t need to take our word for it – follow the leader!
If you’re still uncertain how to improve SEO ranking on Google, you may want to get professional assistance. If your next concern is how to pay for that, don’t sweat it. Become can help you obtain a business loan to make improvements to your business.
One important note: Of course, the type of business will affect the kind of industry loans a business needs, as well as the specific circumstances that business finds itself in. Be sure to weigh your options carefully in order to choose the right funding solution for your business.
In a nutshell
The world of SEO is always growing and evolving, so take it in baby steps. No need to bite off more than you can chew. These six pointers will give your website ranking the boost it’s been waiting for.
Just as a quick recap:
- Make your page faster
- Improve the quality of the content
- Save space by compressing images
- Research your industry’s keywords
- Become mobile-friendly
- Start linking smartly
Best of luck to you and your business, be sure to let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!