May 17, 2021 (Updated: November 17, 2023)
You’ve spent hours building the perfect website for your business, and you’re ready for an influx of new customers. Imagine putting in so much work only to find out that no one is seeing your site. How could this happen? And, more importantly, how can you fix it? The answer is easier than you think.
One of the most effective solutions is to use a process called search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure your site shows up higher on search engine results pages (SERP). Understanding how to increase SEO ranking is a necessary part of business in our digital world, and learning SEO basics will help your business show up where more potential customers can see it.
Your website’s content is just as important as its design when it comes to your site’s SERP ranking. You need to engage your readers while demonstrating to search engines that your content is relevant to visitors. Keep reading for tips on how to optimize your site.
SEO is the process of streamlining your website for both visitors and search engines. You need to make sure your website is engaging and easy to navigate so more readers have a reason to stay once they find your site. You might have already done this while designing your site initially. However, you need to make sure your site appeals to search engines, as well.
Search engines look for certain criteria to decide which sites they recommend to users searching for specific terms. Following SEO practices ensures your site meets as much of that criteria as possible by showing search engines your content is relevant and engaging for visitors. SEO also helps you target users who are looking for your products, so you are more likely to find an interested audience.
If you want to reach a broad range of people and enjoy a free boost to your traffic, apply some simple SEO principles to your site. Good SEO might not change your site’s traffic overnight, but in the long term, especially when combined with other outreach strategies, it can make a significant difference in the number of visitors you see on your site.
While major search engines don’t disclose their exact formula for ranking websites on search engine results pages, they do provide some basic guidelines and indicators. In fact, Google offers a beginner’s guide to improving SEO. Websites like CopyPress also test different strategies to determine which SEO tips are the most helpful. Here are some steps you can take to build an SEO strategy that will improve your site’s SERP position:
Search engines favor sites that produce consistent, quality content. They do this for a few reasons. When a site adds new content regularly, readers tend to return and engage with it. They also spend more time on the site exploring this content. An easy way to provide regular content for your readers is to start a blog on your site that you or one of your employees updates weekly or a couple of times a month with content related to your business.
You can also link to relevant content for your industry. For example, if you sell specialty fishing gear on your website, you can discuss major fishing events or new products available in your shop. If a customer sends in a tip about one of your lures, tell your readers about it. If your readers are local to a certain area, add information about which fish species live at popular nearby fishing areas. Give advice about products that complement yours, and ask readers about their recent fishing trips. You can even feature photos from your customers.
The key to this strategy is consistency. If you have a weekly post about something relevant to your industry, search engines are more likely to recognize your site as one that is actively maintained, and readers are more likely to check your site on the days you post something. You can also use these posts to promote your products or discuss services that complement yours.
Think about your favorite website. Is it easy to find what you need? Is the layout simple to follow? Most likely, you answered yes to both questions. Visitors might not always appreciate a site’s layout when it’s good, but they certainly notice when it isn’t.
Make sure your site has a menu that’s easy to access. That way, visitors can find the pages they need quickly. You also want to be sure your site is accessible for mobile users. Since 2014, people have spent more hours accessing the internet on their mobile devices than on their computers. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors won’t want to browse it on their devices. Search engines might also avoid recommending your site to mobile users. Ways you can make your site easier to navigate include:
A simple way to test your site is to open it on a mobile device yourself and try navigating it. This way, you can experience firsthand whether it functions as intended. Another option is to use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to check your site. This tool tells you if your site is mobile-friendly and shows a screenshot of what it looks like to mobile users, which can be beneficial if you can’t test your site on your own mobile device.
Search engines typically look for keywords when they decide which sites to show users. If you want your site to rank higher on the SERP, consider which terms a potential customer might use to find you. Research common search terms for your industry, and include those in your web content. Ensure you’re targeting visitors who are likely searching for your topic, product, or service. Don’t use a popular search term if it doesn’t apply to your content.
For example, if you sell baking supplies, use keywords related to baking supplies or baking in your area if you have a physical location. Don’t target people who want cooking supplies or baking recipes unless you also offer these on your site.
Sometimes, less popular but more specific keywords can lead customers looking to buy a certain product, such as a crown-shaped bundt cake pan, to your website. Try different keywords, and continually research which ones are most effective for your site. You can use keywords in your page title, URL, or any text on your site. Don’t overload your page with keywords, however, since you only want to target people with an interest in your site.
One way to show your website is current is to link to other popular sites throughout your content. If you create external links to reputable sources, search engines might consider your site more up to date and list it higher on the SERP.
Additionally, consider linking to other pages of your own site. For example, if you have a product that works well with another, link to the other product in the description of the first product. This improves your visitors’ ability to navigate your site and a search engine’s ability to understand your site’s structure. Use URLs that include the page’s title or a description of the page, rather than a random string of numbers or letters.
Another SEO strategy is to encourage other sites to link to yours. Do this by setting up a simple way for visitors to share your site on social media. When someone browsing your site shares one of your webpages with people they know on social media, not only do you receive a boost in traffic but you also show search engines that people are actively interested in your site.
Search engines are designed to show the most relevant results to people who are searching. If other sites have linked to yours, it shows your content is relevant enough to readers that they took the time to show it to others.
Build a site that’s both attractive and easy for visitors to navigate. Use subheadings and interesting titles to show readers what you plan to discuss and help them find what they need as they scan the page. Many readers prefer to skim an article or a page to decide if they want to read it, so visual cues, such as images or subheadings, help them with this decision.
If readers stay and engage with your content, you boost dwell time on your site. Dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on your site, and a higher dwell time shows search engines your content is useful and interesting to visitors. Consider adding multimedia, such as videos or infographics, to increase dwell time and offer readers different ways to consume your content, which can attract a more diverse audience.
Review your site regularly to make sure it functions as you expect it to. Check for broken or dead links, which are links that lead to pages that no longer exist. If a visitor clicks on a link that leads to a nonexistent site, they might decide your content is no longer current, which can hurt your reputation and credibility. In addition, search engines view dead links as a sign you’re not maintaining your site. Fortunately, you can use simple tools to look for and correct these broken or dead links.
Also check your site’s loading time. Visitors might not stick around if they have to wait a long time for a page to load. This can happen if you have too much multimedia on one page. Test how long it takes for your page to load on various devices, including mobile devices. If you notice your page loads slowly, consider some of the following tips:
Regularly check your site’s usability by testing it yourself or using tools that show you typical loading times. This ensures your audience can access your site without a long wait.
Search engine optimization is a very important part of helping people find your site. Thankfully, it’s easy to apply simple SEO techniques that can boost your traffic while also improving your reputation with your readers. These steps ensure the hard work you put into your site pays off by reaching the people interested in supporting your business and purchasing your products or services.
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