It is excessively easy to get lost with all the information available on the Web.
So what we want to do today is to sift through all that data and bring you the juiciest parts in chunks that are easy to remember, so you can plot your trajectory in improving your website’s Google ranking.
This list is perfect for you if:
– You have just started out with your website.
– You have a website that has been running for years, but you have had minimal success for being found using the right keywords.
– You do not know how to structure your website so it will be optimized for Google.
– You want to do better this year and make your online presence more profitable.
1. Make Every Visit Count
Google wants websites to be as useful and relevant as possible to Web users. When a website is poorly structured, loads slowly, and has bad content, people complain that Google delivers bad search results.
Google does not want to have a reputation for delivering irrelevant results. So one way that Google avoids this scenario is by increasing the ranking of websites that have natural staying power.
One of the most straightforward ways to keep people engaged and interested in your website is giving them what they need.
People are very specific when they go online to look for a website, and so if they find what they need from your site, they are going to stay, and revisit your site from time to time.
Since you know should have intimate knowledge about your market, ask yourself: what would potential customers need from your site? How can you provide shareable content to make your business known to a wider span of people?
2. Responsive Design
Responsive design refers to the technical aspects of your website. More than 60% of people now sign up for services using their mobile phones.
Ten or fifteen years ago, this was unheard of. We are witnessing a mobile revolution right before our eyes. But the question is – how are you coping with the changes? Has your website been modified and optimized for mobile use yet?
Google has released many guidelines for responsive design on their developer website and blog, and it is just a matter of time before these guidelines become the industry standard.
And the way we see it, the changes are for the better. With responsive design, websites automatically resize themselves to fit the screen of the mobile phone.
No more awkward resizing of pages or scrolling horizontally to read everything on the page.
If you are not abreast of these changes, make sure you talk to an SEO or Web design agency about making these changes to your website. Remember: responsive design can improve your website’s ranking as it is one of the “signals” that Google uses to measure a website’s worthiness to be ranked well.
3. Mind Your Keywords
Google now places emphasis on natural language more than keywords.
But keywords are definitely still important, you just have to know how to use them properly.
Just to provide some historical insights, a decade or so ago, people used “keyword stuffing” strategies on fluff or low quality content to get on top of Google searches.
Google’s metrics then focused on keywords mostly and not on the quality of the content. This was the time when everyone was doing article marketing and uploading to websites like eZine Articles. These days are long gone.
Keyword phrases need to be included in order for your content to be discovered through search engine results.
In the HTML code, they have be included in the page title, the content itself, in paragraph tags, and in paragraph tags. Your metadescription also has to be relevant and catchy, because Google also uses this element to judge the content.
Every element on the page needs to point at the right direction. If you are already producing great content that people naturally gravitate to, you are doing things correctly.
If not, know that there is still enough time for you to turn things around.
If you combine your traditional website efforts with social media engagement for example, then you can expect traffic to flood your website.
All your sincere efforts in connecting with your target audience will eventually bear fruit – you just need to be ready to put in the effort, or work with a company or agency that knows how to do it for you.
The latter option is especially important when you are scaling up your online operations, because one person cannot do it alone. There are just too many steps to accomplish, and you need all the help you can get.
4. Quality, Organic Traffic Comes From Great Content
We cannot emphasize this enough. However, what actually makes great content? Here are some tips:
– Know who you are writing for.
– Know why they are in your website.
– Based on research, provide content that people need to solve problems.
– Make sure that the content is easy to read, formatted properly, and is not merely stuffed with keywords.
Keyword stuffing is when you repeat a word or phrase several times throughout a write-up just because you want Google to notice it. Say for example your keyword phrase is “New York dental service.”
You can add this phrase in the title of the content, or in the introduction, but if you keep adding it throughout the write-up, it is going to sound strange. Remember: the emphasis now is on natural language.
5. Add Value to User Experience
If your website has already been laid out well, it loads quickly, and is ready to please its readers, the next step is to produce textual content.
But textual content has its limits, and not everything can be expressed properly through just words. To add further value to your content, you can add the following:
– Relevant images that make the text easier to understand.
– Infographics or specially crafted images that content important information like statistics and other data, in an easy to read format.
– Related videos – you can share existing videos from YouTube, Daily Motion and other websites, or you can upload your own content. People are highly drawn to videos because it engages nearly all the senses, and YouTube’s billions of views are proof that online video is here to stay.
– Lists (like this one!) are a good way to organize information, to make your concepts more easily understandable.
To be safe too, it would be best to simplify your information so that it will remain accessible to the most number of people.
Avoid using big words, not because we are assuming that people cannot understand big words, but because there is no need for complex or big words most of the time, unless what you are writing is a scientific or engineering paper.
If your content can be understood by 90%+ of your readers, you are doing an amazing job at developing content.
6. Tame Your Ads
We know that ads are important, because they bring in much needed income from your website.
If you are in the business of providing interesting or engaging content, and that is your main bread and butter, of course you would want to earn income from all your efforts.
However, advertisements are universally disliked and browser plug-ins that block ads have been around for years now. Some websites have put up pay walls to save themselves, while others ask for voluntary donations to keep their websites running.
But the meat of it all is that people want and expect free content from the Web, and putting up a pay wall means losing out on the opportunity to reach out to readers who may bring your business in the future.
So how do we solve this problem? People don’t mind seeing some advertisements, they can just choose to ignore these.
However, if all your affiliate links, banners, and advertisements from third-party advertisers are all placed up top, and these actually push your actual content down or to the side where the content is harder to read, then you have a problem with Web design.
The number one thing to feature is the actual, useful content, and never your advertisements.
Finally, remember to provide full disclosure that you are advertising or promoting something when you actually are.
Full disclosure means you want to build trust with your readers, and even though you are promoting something to make money, you are still there for your readers, you are still prioritizing developing good content.
Also be careful when referring to other websites: low quality links will get your website penalized. Not only does Google look at your content, it also examines if you are linking to authority sites, or websites that also provide good content.
Google uses hundreds of “signals” for its metrics efforts, and this is one of the most important ones. Because logically, if a website owner cares for his readers, he will not use poor quality references.