Before we dive in, let’s define SEO (search engine optimization). What is it and why is it so important?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, to maximize user traffic to the site.
What is a search engine and how do they function? All search engines have three main functions:
- Crawl: Search the web for content, looking over the code/content for each URL
- Index: Store and organize the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to be displayed as a result to relevant search terms.
- Rank: Provide the sites/pages that will best answer the search terms, which means that results are ordered by most relevant to least relevant.
There are many different techniques to help your website be more visible to users who are looking for services, products, and solutions that your brand or company can provide. But when was the last time you scrolled past the first page of search engine results or commonly known as search engine results page (SERP)?
Now that we know the basic definition of SEO and the function of search engines, I bet you are wondering how to rank first on the SERP. Let’s take a look at 3 tips for SEO that can help your website rank high in search results.
#1: Tips to Rank on the First Page
It’s pretty common knowledge that Google claims over 90% of the market of search engines, with the other search engines being Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other smaller search engines. If your website is not on the first page of Google search results it will be hard for your business to be found. That’s not always true, but it will be more difficult if your website falls on page two and beyond.
Google has their own team of “Googlebots” or “crawlers”, that are designed by Google to collect information from the web to build a searchable index for users to search on Google’s Search Engine.
Having your website easily read and easy to navigate will help Google build an accurate digital picture of your website and then collect information from your website. Many factors go into determining which websites should be placed at the top of the search results.
Google’s ranking factors determine which website should be shown first, second, third and so on, often with only 10 options on the first page of results. The rank spot is determined by several elements that Google looks at when calculating the ranking based on the search terms.
Here are the top 10 factors Google looks for when ranking the search results:
- Age of Domain/URL & Authority
- Secure & Accessible Website (with sitemap available)
- Page Speed (including mobile page speed)
- Responsiveness to Mobile Friendly Devices
- Purpose of Webpage
- Content Quality & Length
- Use Keywords in Content
- Business Information (address, city, state, zip)
- Website Links (external & internal)
- Google Reviews
#2: Develop New & Quality Content
Beyond matching the words in a consumer’s search results with relevant information on the web, search engines also aim to prioritize the most reliable sources & content available. For instance, Google is designed to identify indicators that can help determine which pages demonstrate expertise, trust, knowledge, and authority on a given topic or search.
If you were to do a Google search for just about any term or set of words, you would quickly notice the top-ranking results are generally published in the past year, month, or week. By adding new content and updating current/old content on your website, it will make your site more appealing and will tell Google it’s a better resource and should rank higher than other sites. If all things are considered equal, Google will place a higher priority (higher ranking) on sites that update their content frequently and on a consistent basis. If Google recognizes that your site isn’t being updated, it will hurt the rankings on all pages of your site.
We recommend adding a blog as a great way to add new content in a consistent manner, such as a monthly or weekly blog.
#3 Link Building
Links are important for SEO because they send qualified traffic to your site and link building is an important factor in how Google ranks web pages. Google noted, “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”
There are several simple link building strategies, a few are listed below:
- Create Content & Promote It: Create unique, exciting, powerful, and high-quality content that people will want to link and reference to and tell everyone about it. You can help spread the word by adding to social media, other websites, landing pages, and more.
- Get Reviews: Request feedback and reviews from influencers, customers, patients, and friends. Internal or 1st party feedback is great content & can be shown as testimonials on your website. Also share 3rd-party reviews on your website from Google, Facebook, and 100’s of other third-party sources.
When building your links, think about two different types of links that are good for SEO, External & Internal. We will break down the two types for a better understanding.
External vs. Internal
Most all websites include external and internal links. External links connect your website pages to other website pages often by a hyperlinked text or CTA (call-to-action) to the outside webpage, while internal links connect posts and pages on your own website.
An internal link, or inbound link, is any link from one page of your website to another page on your website. These internal links help users navigate, find content, and flow easily throughout your site. These links also help Google to navigate and index content from your website.
There are several types of internal links, such as your homepage, pages in your menu, category or subpages, blogs, and anchor links. Google will follow your links to discover content and information about your website, this will assist in ranking your website for search results. If a certain page(s) in your website gets a lot of link clicks, that is a indication to Google that this page is a highly-rated or a highly valued page. With the right internal links, you can guide users and Google to your most valued pages within your website.
External links, also called outbound links, are hyperlinks of text, or CTA to another website other than your own. If another site links to your website, this is also called an external link. Many experts say that the external links are the most important source of ranking because search engines like Google count them as 3rd-party votes.
The reason is that external links often have more value (or higher value) than internal links. Search engines believe that what other users say about your business is more important then what you say about yourself. In other words, if more websites link to your site, your website will appear more credible to Google when ranking.
In summary, remember that the objective for any SEO strategy is to get more traffic and exposure to your site. Always look for new ways to boost your views and links. Use our tips to get started on our own SEO strategy. If you aren’t sure where to start, Advantage Marketing can help.
If you would like more information about SEO and our SEO strategies, reach out to us anytime. You can also get a free assessment of your website on the bottom of our home page, www.marketingmich.com. We can help you get started on a new SEO strategy or improve on your current SEO.