Have you ever gone to Google and typed in a keyword that your business should be ranking for but your site is nowhere to be found? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many businesses spend a lot of time and money building an amazing looking website but don’t give much thought to getting traffic to that site. If you could use some help fixing your rankings, keep reading as we walk you through 10 things you can do to rank higher in search results:
- Does Google know you exist? If your website is new, it can take time for Google to find and index it. To help speed up this process, it’s important to let Google know you exist. Register your site with Google Search Console and submit your sitemap so Google can easily find all the pages in your website.
- Is anyone linking to your website? In addition to the content on your website, Google looks closely at the number of inbound links that lead to your site and what types of sites these inbound links are from. If you’re focused on local customers, it's important to build links from other local organizations like the chamber of commerce. If you’re a national manufacturer, Google expects to see backlinks from your distributors or from blogs that talk about your products. A good way to see what types of backlinks Google prefers for your site is to check out the backlinks of the sites appearing in the top 10 for terms you want to rank for. There are several free tools to check the backlinks of your competition. We like https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker; the free version will get you started.
- Is your site blocking Google? This happens more often than you think. All or part of your site could have technical issues that are blocking the search engines from crawling the site and indexing it. Google Search Console can be helpful here as it reports crawl errors.
- Does your site load quickly? Page load time has been a key quality signal for search engines in the past few years. That old saying that “You only have a few minutes to make a good first impression” is more like “You only have a few seconds…” on the internet. If your site doesn’t load quickly, your visitors won't stick around and Google won’t rank you highly for competitive terms. One of the easiest ways to increase site speed is to reduce the size of images on your site using compression technologies like jpegmini.com. This software will reduce the size of your images without losing image quality.
- Are you focused on the right keywords? A good search optimization strategy starts with keyword research. Many companies are focused on very generic keywords that have huge amounts of competition when the customers they really want to reach are searching for more specific keyword phrases.
Let’s say your company makes shrink wrapping machines for packaging beverages. If you are focused on the term “Packaging Equipment”, you’re competing against the entire packaging industry and the visitors that might get to your site from this generic search term may or may not have a need for your specific product. A better term to focus on might be “Beverage Packaging Equipment” or “Shrink Wrap Machines for Beverage Packaging.” Although the traffic is less for these more specific terms, they are often easier to rank for and will bring you better quality traffic that is relevant to what you provide.
Today’s keyword research tools can help you determine which keywords to focus your time and resources on and should be the start of a successful search engine optimization campaign. Check out the free keyword tool: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/ to get started.
- Does your website have good quality unique content? If your site is going to rank well for the search terms you’re targeting, it has to have good quality unique content focused around search terms you wish to rank for. Think of your website like a term paper for college and Google as the professor. The highest grades will go to the student that puts in the most effort. Google loves long form content around relatable topics as well as pictures and videos that engage the visitor. Google's success is based on giving searchers the most relevant results quickly, so their primary goal is to help users find what they are looking for to keep them coming back. If you’re going to rank well for a term, your content has to be better than your competition. If your content is thin or a duplicate of supplier content, you will need to work on making it more robust and making the content unique to you if you hope to rank well.
- Do your title tags contain your target keywords? It’s important to ensure your target keywords are used in tags throughout the page like the title tags and heading tags. It’s also important to make sure your keywords aren’t overused on the page. Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing and can, in some cases, decrease your rankings if you use keyword stuffing techniques.
- Is your website mobile friendly? Last year Google announced that it is now using mobile first indexing, meaning Google will now use the mobile version of your webpage to index and rank websites. If your mobile site isn’t what it should be, you could be hurting your rankings. For more info, check out Google's blog: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/03/rolling-out-mobile-first-indexing.html
- Is your website secure? In late 2014, Google started to focus on making the web more secure. As a part of this effort, Google Chrome browsers will now warn people that a site may not be secure if it does not have an SSL certificate. They also recently announced that having an SSL certificate is a factor in ranking. If your site does not have an SSL certificate, that may be hurting your search engine rankings.
- Does your website use Schema Markup? Schema Markup is a set of tags that you can add to your html to help the search engines read and understand your website. Schema data can be used to mark up all kinds of information on your site from products to store hours and events. Learn more about Schema Markup at https://schema.org/
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming and you’re just too busy running your business to implement any of these solutions, we can help. Our online marketing team can analyze your site and develop a comprehensive plan to help you gain valuable search engine rankings and grow your business. Let’s schedule a call today to start improving your online marketing.
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