How to Improve SEO Rankings
What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think about SEO? Keywords, right? Well, getting the most out of your keywords may not be enough when you’re trying to improve SEO rankings. You also must improve your website’s usability.
Why? Because a user-friendly website is typically one that has high user engagement. Visitors will easily be able to find the information they are looking for, they won’t find many (if any) errors, and they will remember your site. And when visitors spend a lot of time on your site, peruse more pages, and come back again and again, your Google SEO ranking will also improve.
With that said, here are 10 ways you can make your website more intuitive while also improving your SEO ranking.
10 Ways to Improve Your Google SEO Rankings
(Good) content is king
Edit and proofread all of your content
Improve your site’s visuals
Make mobile your focal point
Fix your site’s broken links
But not just any old content; the content on your website has to appeal to your visitors and customers. It must be engaging, relevant, and practical, not to mention well-written and easy to digest.
If you can tick off each of the characteristics mentioned above, visitors will spend more time on your site because they’ll want to consume as much information about your products and services as they can.
And of course, work pertinent keywords into your content, but keep in mind that keyword stuffing is a digital marketing faux pas. If visitors are distracted by the wording of content or overuse of keywords, it may cause them to bounce. Keep visitors engaged and from leaving your website by executing SEO keyword placement with grace. Rather than putting a percentage on keyword density, just go with the flow and write naturally.
Remember to include helpful outbound links that can enhance your content. Link externally to trusted sources, and there’s a chance those sites may link back to you. As your reach and brand recognition increases, so will your reputation in the industry. Once you become a well-known, trusted entity in the industry, others will link back to your site, thus increasing your SEO rankings.
If you don’t have someone on your staff who can edit and proofread your content before you make it live, hire a freelancer to do so. There’s nothing more off-putting than seeing a bunch of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors on a website. Proofreading and copyediting go hand in hand, as each work to improve the written content with SEO keywords, calls to action, and eye-catching visuals that invite readers to engage.
You want your visitors and customers to regard you as someone who has expertise in a given area and mistakes are a surefire way to get people to click the back button and return to the Google search results page.
Mistakes can influence the way your customers perceive you, and once you go down that road, it’s difficult to win them back. If you want to ensure you’re improving SEO rankings rather than losing them, the editor should help double-check all your facts so that your content is accurate, unlike so much of what’s being shared on the web today. In fact, some sites have been banned for their inaccuracies, and mistakes like this can result in loss of SEO rankings and traffic if Google deems your site untrustworthy.
At any rate, by helping to make your copy as clean and as accurate as possible, you’ll go a long way in winning more conversions.
Beyond ensuring that your images are optimized by using the right format and size for the web, you can make sure Google recognizes their relevance by attaching appropriate keywords to the file names, titles, captions, descriptions, and ALT tags.
Not only can visual content, such as images, videos, infographics, graphical data, and screenshots, improve the aesthetics of your site, which in turn can increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site, it can also improve SEO rankings. After all, it’s important to remember that Google has an image search feature, which can help people combine their search options.
Also, your image optimization strategy should be reflective of Google’s Image Publishing Guidelines. With proper image SEO, search results can become more useful, leading to higher quality traffic to your site. Take Google’s guidelines to heart – create a great user experience, add structured data, optimize for speed, and use good quality photos.
It’s been nearly a year since mobile and tablet usage surpassed desktop usage as the preferred method for accessing the Internet. Nowadays, people want to be able to access the Internet anytime and anywhere they want, so the bottom line is that your site won’t rank high in Google’s search rankings if it’s not mobile-friendly.
When optimizing your site for mobile, there’s obviously less room on a phone’s screen than on a computer’s so you must focus on what’s most important when conveying visuals to your visitors. Make sure you keep that in mind when you’re designing your website. These days, you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics if you build a responsive website.
Take mobile-first indexing to heart. Google now uses the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking. What does this mean for your SEO strategy? To ensure that you continue increasing your Google rankings, making the content of your site mobile-friendly is strongly encouraged, and this can be done with responsive web design or dynamic serving. Ensure your page content loads quickly, the text is easy to read, and buttons and links are easy to click on mobile.
Do you know what else can lead to lost visitors and traffic? Having broken links on your site. If your site has a lot of broken links, this can inhibit you from improving SEO rankings. Let’s say you have a backlink from Moz.com, which is a quality link, but the link is pointing to a dead page on your site. If you haven’t redirected that link to an existing page, your site is losing out on that link equity, which means you’re missing out on improving rankings.
Furthermore, in the eyes of a visitor, the lack of a smooth experience shows that your site is not receiving the attention it needs. Your site can come off as appearing out of date. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hours testing every link to ensure they work. There are several apps and tools that can save you time, including:
Include high-quality outbound links
As mentioned, high-quality outbound links that further educate and inform your audience can help make your content even more valuable. By linking to authoritative sites, you’ll not only signal to your visitors that your content is trustworthy, but you’ll do the same to Google, which is another way of improving your SEO ranking.
Just keep in mind that you can have too much of a good thing; including too many outbound links can divert attention from your content. And if you want your content to be respected and reliable as well, peppering it with too many outbound links makes it seem less so.
Share news on your site using RSS feeds
Another indirect way to improve your SEO ranking is to submit information from your site in RSS feeds. Although you might not generate as much traffic as a mainstream media outlet, it’s still an effective content marketing strategy.
In Google Analytics, the traffic from these sources will be noted as referral traffic, rather than organic traffic. But traffic is traffic and Google will recognize this.
RSS feeds are a good way to backlink to your site, because when you create your feed, it will include a listing of all the content on your site, along with embedded links to your posts and articles. The feeds go to RSS aggregators who distribute the content to hundreds of other locations, thus increasing your visibility.
Take advantage of your network and guest blog
Guest blogging is a good way to get your name out beyond those who already follow you or visit your site. While the practice is a bit dated, it’s can still help improve SEO rankings. Keep in mind, however, that Google has stated you should only be doing this with sources you can vouch for. As you grow your network, increase brand recognition, and begin to become an industry expert, reach out to those in your field and attempt to contribute to other blogs and sites. In your posts, you can backlink to your site, which of course can generate more traffic to your site.
That said, you shouldn’t guest blog just to pitch yourself. If you write about what you know and can illustrate your expertise while including backlinks to relevant pages on your site that complement the blog topic, this will be enough to entice visitors to learn more about your products or services.
But the important thing is to get your name out; the bigger your reach, the more people you’ll meet. And you’ll also improve Google rankings. Of course, don’t forget to pay it forward – you should return the favor by inviting industry experts to contribute to your site and blog. This can help bring traffic and new visitors to your site because your guest bloggers will surely share the link to your site with their followers. Finally, don’t be shy about asking some heavy hitters in your industry to guest blog on your site; the worst thing that can happen is that they say no.
User-friendly site layout and formatting
YYou want your visitors to have a user-friendly experience when they visit your website, so putting in just a little time to ensure that your content is easy to read can go a long way in guaranteeing this. Some of the simple things you can focus on with layout and formatting include:
- Selecting an easy-to-read font and font size.
- Sticking to short paragraphs and adding bulleted and numbered lists where appropriate to ensure that text is easy to read.
- Breaking up text into sections with descriptive headers that include keywords for a structure that helps improve Google rankings.
- Only using bold type and other font colors for emphasis; in other words, use them sparingly.
On the more technical side, you can better organize your content and make it more interactive by utilizing web design features such as sliders, drop-down menus, modal windows, and structured grids.
Sound site architecture and easy navigation
Revamping your website’s design is not a quick fix, but it’s extremely important in the grand scheme of things. After all, your visitors want to be able to find what they’re looking for on your site right away; they don’t want to have to endlessly scroll, click on link after link, and strain their eyes to get to where they want to go. A poorly designed website that doesn’t promote easy navigation is a recipe for disaster and is another factor in high bounce rate.
While a well-organized, easy-to-navigate site doesn’t directly impact your site’s Google ranking, it will go a long way in helping visitors find what they are looking for and enticing them to spend more time on your site. In addition, they’ll be more likely to return to your site, which creates more traffic and improves SEO rankings. That said, if your site has a “flat architecture,” in which each page can be reached in one, two, or three links, it makes it easier for search engines such as Google to crawl your site.
Beyond simply focusing on keywords, the tweaks above can go a long way in improving Google ranking. The key is providing quality content to your visitors while ensuring that your website is optimized to deliver the best user experience.