Want better search engine rankings? Try these ideas…
The first thing to know is that Google and other engines can determine over time which websites are popular for a given topic, business or industry. Sites that get a lot of traffic and don’t have a lot of pages with high “bounce rates” are obviously popular.
Even in an industry that is very narrowly defined, the sites within that industry that get the most traffic are obviously the popular ones for that industry. So why would Google want to send its users elsewhere than those sites?
Here are some ideas that can help make your site more “popular.” You can review some of our earlier blogs for MORE SPECIFICS on these subjects.
Know What Business You Are In
First and foremost, you must know what business you are really in. For more info on this topic, please refer to our earlier blogs on this subject.
If you haven’t properly defined the business you are in, you may have marketing myopia or be shooting too wide. Either way, you could be losing out on a lot of opportunities.
Secondly, KNOW who your target market is.
Don’t guess, don’t assume, dig in and do your research and surveys and really nail who your prime customers are. A target market is one in which its constituents share common characteristics that define them. You have to know your target market. With those two points well in hand, you can craft a marketing message that will resonate with that target market and generate leads and sales.
IMPORTANT: Establish what your Unique Value Proposition is. It is a KEY part of your message. What do you offer your target market that is unique and differentiates you from similar companies or businesses? You need something that makes you stand out from the crowd, or you are just another “me-too” outfit. See our earlier blogs on this subject.
Your UVP must be obvious when people come to your website. You can even put a button on your site that says, “Why Choose Us” which links to a page that lays out your UVP nicely and concisely.
Good search engine rankings depend on Quality Page Content.
This is extremely important. It is a KEY FACTOR in getting good ranks on the engines. You must have quality, original content on your web pages that will be what your target market is looking for. Real content. Not just a bunch of keywords plastered into the page. And also, it cannot be “scraped content” from other websites. Google is hip to that and does not appreciate it! You want quality, original content.
You should also have some synonyms for your keywords used intelligently in your page copy. And also other terms that would go with your page content. For example, an artist specializing in oil paintings might have terms such as pastels, brushes, colors, textures, palette, and so on woven intelligently into the page as part of the copy, and not just thrown in there willy-nilly.
Google has gotten pretty sophisticated at “natural language processing” and would consider these terms as a somewhat expected part of the topic matter on such a page if it were really about oil paintings.
Again, there must be substantive content on your pages that is compelling, informative and asks for action! If you don’t have quality content that your visitors expect to find when they click through to your site, your pages will get high “bounce rates.” Google detects this and this will keep your pages low on the search engine rankings.
Calls To Action
Make sure you have some CTA’s on your key pages. Simple, understandable statements that tell people what you want them to do. Just don’t overdo this by throwing in a bunch of screaming CTAs. That will turn your visitors off. A CTA can be as simple as: “For more information, Contact Us today! Or call (800) 555-5555.” The words “Contact Us” would contain a link to your contact page. There are many ways to craft a CTA. You can search around on the net for some popular sites and see how they are using them.
Pages are more interesting and more user-friendly if they contain images that support the textual content. They also make the page easier to get through by breaking up the copy a bit. Make sure your images have their “alt tags” filled out, describing what the image contains. Google cannot “read” an image, it needs some descriptive text. That text can contain one of your keywords if that makes sense and is not just stuffed in there for the sake of repetition.
Make sure your pages are easy to get through. Huge blocks of text will turn most visitors off, and they will click away. This causes high bounce rates, which the search engines dislike. Seems obvious right? Yet we still encounter websites with large blocks of solid text that are very hard to get through.
Today, especially with Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms and updates, good SEO walks a fine line between quality optimization and over-optimization.
This means making sure a page is optimized to the point where the search engines can quickly and easily determine what the page is about, without resorting to keyword stuffing, link farms and other shady SEO tactics. (Space does not permit an in-depth discussion of SEO in this article. You can refer to some of our earlier blogs.)
You have to occupy the viewpoint of the search engines as well as your visitor’s viewpoint. Where do search engines want to send their users when they type in search terms? To web pages that align with those search terms by providing the quality content that their user is looking for, judging by his/her search terms.
So obviously, you do need some keywords strategically placed in your pages that concisely sum up what the page is about. These can go in your page’s title, and in a sub-heading or two, and sprinkled into your copy. Again, don’t overdo this, or Google will consider it “keyword stuffing” which it really dislikes.
Quality backlink (links coming to your site from other quality sites) are very important in helping Google determine if you site has good content. A quality backlink is like a vote for your site. On the other hand, spammy or low-quality backlinks can really depress your website in the search engine rankings. Often, site owners don’t even know they have these rank-depressing backlinks attached to their site.
Google has a tool or method for handling these low quality links called the Link Disavow Tool. You can search around for more info on this, but first you have to detect if you have low quality links that need disavowing. So knowing your Webmasters Tools and Google Analytics are two other key elements in making sure your site ranks well.
By now, almost everyone realizes that the social media universe is an important factor for online marketing success. You need to have a good SM presence. To do that, you need to understand the dynamics at play in these media. They all have a certain culture which you have to get familiar with so you utilize them properly in your marketing efforts. See our other blogs on this increasingly important subject.
If you don’t know how to use these powerful networks properly, find someone who does, because you can bet your competitors are using them.
Mobile Devices, Mobile-Usability
By now you have probably heard that your web pages, in order to rank well in mobile searches, must be optimized for mobile users. In other words, mobile-friendly. Just because a page is ranking well in desktop searches, does not mean it will rank well in mobile searches. If you need more info on this, refer to one of our recent blogs on this subject.
As of April 2015 Google will only send mobile searches to web pages that have been optimized for mobile devices and meet Google’s standards for “mobile-usability.” Consult with your webmaster or internet marketing company and ensure that this is being done, or you will not rank well for mobile searches. And mobile searches are rapidly overtaking desktop searches!
If all of this seems a bit daunting, you can always contact us for a complimentary, no-obligation website consultation.
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