Did you know that the rankings found on the first page of a Google search bring in 95 percent of website traffic? Visibility is at the heart of organic search success but a website doesn’t get that without winning a prize spot on that first page. How can websites go about improving their SEO rankings?
What is SEO?
The term SEO, search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website to get organic traffic from search engine result pages. You do this in hopes that search engine optimization, like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., will display your website content as a top result on the search engine page.
By improving your SEO, you can increase your invisibility which will help you reach and engage more potential customers. The more customer engagement and SEO-focused content, you can expand your chances of bringing in organic traffic.
What Does Google’s Algorithm Look For in a Website?
It’s hard to say for certain because Google makes changes to their formula on a daily basis. What is known comes for updates where the company announces a major change. In 2015, Google stated they would favor companies that had mobile-friendly pages, for example.
In 2014, Google announced the release of its Pigeon algorithm that would integrate local search results. The 2013 release of Hummingbird shifted things towards natural language queries that put context over word choice. In other words, Google would put more emphasis on long-tailed keywords. Based on these known modifications to the Google rankings algorithm, it is possible to make white hat changes that will boost the search engine ranking of a website.
Better Content Means Better Rank
One thing Google has made clear is it expects websites to offer informative and quality content. Their documentation style guide provides some details on what they consider quality content:
- Focused conversational tone, simple to understand
- Knowledgeable information that targets the audience
- Standard American spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- Outbound links to other quality sites
The Google Style Guide provides formatting tips, as well. For example, they suggest using tables only for multiple column information only, choosing HTTPS embedded resources and HTML5 in UTF-8 for HTML templates.
Focus on Keyword Phrases
The update to Hummingbird showed the long-tail keywords improve SEO. Instead of “printer”, opt for “printers in Seattle” or “Seattle print services.” Don’t be afraid to add some adjectives to your key phrases: “best print service in Seattle.”
Although keywords are important, they should not trump good writing. Put them in so they sound natural and improve the word flow. Keep in mind your audience is the user, not the search engine.
Be smart when it comes to keywords, too. Consider them seasoning for your pages -- a little goes a long way. A few sprinkled throughout the text helps Google find your page. Too much, though, is a black hat technique called keyword stuffing and it will lower your ranking.
You can tuck keywords into critical areas on the page for an added benefit such as the:
- URL of the page
- Page title
- In the page headings
- Use them as anchors for links to other pages
Add style elements to them occasionally, as well, like bold or italics.
Be Consistent With Updates
A website left to die will do just that — die somewhere back on page 20 in the search results. Post new, fresh content regularly. Don’t rehash old blog pages. Make sure each post is unique and informative.
Metadata is the information that sits between each <head> tag. A metadata description is what shows up on the search engine under the name of the website most of the time, and it’s a must-have for every page. Like the content itself, it should be well-written using simple and conversational language.
The metadata is about more than just a search engine, though. It may be the meta description that wins you the click through, so make it stand out.
You can also opt to add keyword phrases to the metadata, although, it’s not quite as critical. When in doubt, put them in because they might help and they won’t hurt anything.
Use Alt Tags
Images and videos are eye-catching additions to a website but they have an SEO purpose, as well. Alt or alternative text tags help the search engine find a page much like keywords.
Embrace Responsive Design
The last Google update stated that websites that are mobile-friendly are given priority.
It makes sense when you consider that 70 percent of internet traffic is mobile.
A website that isn’t mobile-friendly loses in two ways:
- Google down ranks them
- Users pass them by if the page won’t open on their smartphone
Responsive design means that web pages render on different kinds of devices like laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones.
There are other options when it comes to creating mobile-friendly websites than responsive design. You could literally build a separate website for mobile devices and encode script that switches to the site when a mobile click happens.
The most effective way to improve hits on your website is to show up on that first page of a Google search. To do that, you must properly optimize your pages using white hat SEO practices.
Contact Amplify to help optimize your website to get you found, contact us today!