How to Rank Your Website on Google in 2018
The success of your website can be greatly improved by making it more friendly to search engines. This improved ranking is achieved through both technical and on-page optimization techniques and through advanced link-building strategies.
While search engine optimization is a complex process combining several factors, every company should at least consider this practice. There are various techniques which need to be incorporated into any SEO strategy, all of which contribute to making a website more prosperous.
The Importance of Keywords for Ranking
Keywords were once considered the only important factor in improving SEO. While this is no longer true, they still play a substantial role in optimizing your site.
While keywords are the words and phrases most likely to be typed into a search engine by a user for your site, they’re also the cornerstone to which you build your content around.
To ensure you use appropriate keywords in your website, you need to understand exactly what your potential customers will be searching for.
Visiting relevant online communities and forums, competitor websites, and using LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword generator tools will help you identify customer needs.
Before identifying keywords, you should first create a list of topics and subjects you wish to incorporate into your plans. This should be a set of topics which play to the strengths of what your website offers.
Choosing a list of niche topics will both help you target potential customers and provide a framework from which to organize your website. From here, you can then compile separate lists of keywords for each sub-section.
Whether you have existing content or not, adding your keywords to your website needs to be completed carefully. “Stuffing” keywords into web pages actually has a negative effect. To avoid this potential outcome you should ensure that you do the following:
- Add keywords sparingly and evenly throughout your text
- Place important keywords closer to the top of the page
- Keywords are placed in prominent positions on your pages
- Don’t add too many repetitions of keywords (maximum of twice per 500 words)
- Content reads naturally
- A mixture of head and long-tail keywords are added to each page
- Use one niche topic per page with associated keywords relevant to that subject
- Add keywords to titles and headers on your page as well as in the main body of text
Create High-Quality Content
Writing Relevant Content
The trappings of click-bait sites may be tempting, however, they will prove to be detrimental in the long-term. Ensuring your content is related to both your keywords and your page headlines will provide the user with what they’re looking for.
Similarly, it’s equally important that the content you create is of high-quality and accurate while also being up-to-date. This may require extra work to maintain, however, it will prove hugely beneficial over time.
Never Use Duplicate Content
Duplicating content may not directly impact your rating, however, any repeated content will be filtered and ignored by a search engine in preference of the original material. As such, it’s a corner-cutting technique which should be avoided to maximize your visibility.
Not only is this true of copying content elsewhere online, it also means you shouldn’t duplicate anything over separate pages of your site as this too will effectively count against you.
Publishing Fresh Content
Regularly adding new content is not only a way to keep your site up-to-date, it’s also a way to attract users back onto your site for repeat visits. Building up a regular flow of traffic is much easier with repeat visitors and more traffic will result in a better ranking.
Repeat users also tend to bring above-average dwell-times to your site which is another reason why this can be crucial. Adding fresh content adds a personal touch to connect with the reader and can be achieved by:
- News articles
- Blogging posts
- Event listings
Social Media Marketing
Build your Online Presence
The rise of social media provides an additional presence online for your business profile, growing your number of followers and connections also improves the level of authority with your brand.
In a similar way, the more likes, shares, retweets, etc. that your posts receive will also add to your authority online as a respected source.
Link to Your Website
There are plenty of tools and widgets which can quickly and easily connect your social media profile directly to your website. This will help to link the separate activities in the eyes of a search engine and reward you for external links when picked up by others.
Optimize Posts for Searches
One way to temporarily boost your website’s ranking is to promote it through social media links. For example, if you create a new webpage on your site, creating a targeted post through social media will not only direct users to your page, it will attract the attention of search engines too.
This can be further enhanced using #hashtags and @tags to target popular trends and accounts which will increase your exposure. The timing of your posts should also be timed to coincide with the peak traffic times of your target audience while the volume of posts you make should also be pre-planned to optimize the number of impressions you make.
Engage Your Audience
Not only do you need to attract the maximum number of people, you need to actively engage your audience. The use of images and photos are considered the most important method for this, however, it’s vital you ensure they’re correctly sized and formatted for a professional presentation.
Again, the use of @usernames can target specific profiles and groups on a personal level while games and contests can also be used to attract attention.
Optimize for YouTube Searches
YouTube is now a major player in the world of online searches. With an increase in the number of smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets, these searches are becoming more prevalent in daily activities.
As such, tapping into this source with social media is becoming a great way to promote and stand out in modern marketing.
Web Page Design and Optimization
Provide Value for Visitors
Further to adding keywords, there are other steps you should take to improve your ranking from web searches. The amount of time users spend viewing a page also plays a significant role in how search engines rank a site. As such, you need to engage users quickly to ensure they remain on your site.
- Make the content appealing to your target audience
- Provide informative and accurate material
- Make the content easy to read
- Present the content in an easy-to-read style
- Use pictures and graphics to break up blocks of text
- Tailor your writing style to your target audience
Index Your Pages Properly
Ensuring that your pages are correctly indexed will help search engines pick up the important points of your page when assessing your ranking. Make use of Google’s cache feature to check what is displayed on your page from a search engines point of view.
It’s also worth noting the way in which URLs are constructed also makes a small difference to the way in which pages are picked up by searches.
Optimize Non-Written Content
Not only does the text body of your website need to be well presented, so too does everything on the website. Images, video, slideshows and audio files all play an important part in how the user interacts with your site and how your site ranks in SEO.
By optimizing the format, size, coloring, and quality of what is presented on your page, you will achieve a more efficient and more modern looking website to attract search engines and users alike.
Embrace Rich Snippets
Although the practice of embedding and promoting rich snippets on your site is not necessary, it’s becoming an increasingly popular technique used in more successful sites.
This allows you to push information into view from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) which can further promote your website above other results.
Technical SEO Considerations
The server you use to host your website also has a significant impact on your rating. If the server suffers from regular downtime, this will have a knock-on effect on your site’s rating. If your site is inaccessible on numerous occasions, it will be marked down in terms of ranking as unreliable.
Improve Your Website Load Time
The load-up speed of your page can not only affect your ranking, it can also prevent users accessing your website. The longer it takes to load up a page on the internet, the greater chance the user will abort any attempt to view the page. Furthermore, many users will often avoid sites that have proved problematic during any future searches.
While a lot of this can be placed on the actual server such as capabilities and location, there are also some methods you can use to improve your site’s performance:
- Feature fewer videos, audio clips, flash-based graphics, and high-quality photographs
- Resize and compress the quality of inserted files
- Streamline the content to make it less cumbersome from a coding perspective
- Utilization of page caching
- Limit the number of redirects on your site
- Use of simple formatting and font styles
Perform Regular Maintenance
You should also make regular checks that your site is functioning as intended. If some pages are unavailable, this too can be detrimental to your rating. While not all HTTP status codes have a negative impact on your ranking with a search engine, ensuring there are as few problems as possible will go a long way to improving your site.
This includes broken links which can occur through either human error when inputting them or links to pages which themselves are no longer available.
Internal and External Web Page Links
Hyper-links are an important part of most pages on the web. Beyond removing or refreshing broken links you find in your content, you should also:
- Only use high authority sites in external links
- Embed links within anchor text rather than placing them as add-ons
- Use keywords within the anchor text
- Focus on placing back-links on popular pages and sites
Seek Professional SEO Advice
Because the world of SEO is ever-evolving, the rules to follow are not set in stone. When researching what steps you should take to improve your website’s ranking, always be mindful of how old the information is you’re reading and how reliable the source is for accuracy.
Because search engines such as Google and Bing do not disclose full details of their algorithms used to rank websites, there are no official guidelines to follow regarding SEO. However, there are tried and tested methods but these can become outdated and obsolete within a few years.