Most website owners, if not all, want that top spot in search engine results pages (SERPs) so much that they pour in time, effort, and money to get it.
However, landing this much-coveted position is not as easy as it seems. If you are relatively new to Web development, design, and optimisation, you may be wondering why.
Well, sites do not just randomly appear in SERPs. Search engines generally use an algorithm-based formula (which are mathematical equations, in simple terms) to separate relevant content carefully from insubstantial ones. To top it off, they are constantly introducing new updates with stricter guidelines.
For someone planning to set up a website, this information may sound intimidating. Are you hesitant to venture into the virtual world?
You do not have to be as there are ways to work your way around algorithms and get to the top of results pages. The key is SEO. Have a look at the following insights to learn useful tips.
1. Find niche-based keywords
From the mid to late 90’s, cramming as many targeted terms as possible into Web pages can earn you the no.1 position in SERPs.
But this does not work anymore these days, especially with the constant Panda updates (data refreshes) from Google.
So how do you use keywords correctly?
First, find the ideal terms for your niche using these ideas.
- Start by looking into your company’s offers. Are you into retail, wholesale, manufacture, service?
- Determine the words your potential customers might use. You can use tools like Google Insights for Search, Wordtracker, and SEM Rush (to name a few).
- Know the words your competitors are using and if they are ranking in search results for these.
Once you come up with a set of targeted terms, you can integrate these into your content sparingly to keep your webpages from looking like spam.
Now, you do not stop at that. You must also keep track of your keywords’ performance in SERPs using Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools, Rank Checker, or Web CEO.
2. Modify URLs
According to Google Webmaster Tools, the structure of Uniform Resource Locators “should be as simple as possible”.
More specifically, they must be readable, concise, and made up of descriptive words rather random and lengthy ID numbers.
Look at it this way, the users are more inclined to click on a URL that looks likes this http://samplebusinesswebsite.com/store/products/green-clutch-beaded/ instead of this http://samplebusinesswebsite.com/index.php?dc=359075kjdfl=08558059020/.
You have to know that there are more aspects to proper URL restructuring than what I have mentioned. You can learn further by reading Google’s guidelines.
3. Create compelling and original content
So you are using the right keywords and structuring URLs properly. However, your Web pages contain more adverts than valuable information. Your SEO strategies may be successful in leading visitors to your site. But are you sure you can keep them there?
This is where my third tip comes in handy.
Great content draws more users to your website, keep their attention, and make them visit repeatedly. You can increase the likelihood of these circumstances by taking note of the following:
- Originality – Plagiarism is a gross offense, not to mention a violation of writers’ ethics. Respect the ideas of others by making your own. Other than that, you have to be aware that freedom of speech only goes so far; you still have to stick to relevant and timely facts.
- Creativity – There is no such thing as a boring topic. Even if you have to talk about two-ply tissues, it is up to your talent as a writer to create something that readers will find entertaining AND informative.
- Connection – If your business is about cars, avoid writing about food or clothes. Instead, stick to your niche and focus on possible topics that are useful to your target audience.
4. Promote through social media channels
No, you do not just end with creating brilliant articles. If no one knew about them, then you cannot improve your exposure on the Internet.
If you want to let the people know that you have a great website and useful information, add social networking to your “to-do” list of SEO strategies. This is an effective marketing method acknowledged by major search engines, particularly Google and Bing.
With that said, create accounts on leading sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+, and LinkedIn. Moreover, present the same brand or image on all your social pages as well as your website and blog (if you have one). This way, the users can easily recognise you.
Then, start a conversation and interact with your audience. What is more, publish relevant updates, comment on their posts, and request for feedback.
As a general tip, you can make the most of social media by establishing a great relationship with your fans and followers to boost your online reputation.
5. Pay attention to quality and diverse link profile
During the early 2000, keyword stuffing lost its importance with the search engines. In its place emerged off-page optimisation, which involved link building (connecting with other portals). Soon, many webmasters found a way to take advantage of this too by paying for or sending links.
Again, this tactic is not possible nowadays, especially with the launch of Google Penguin—an algorithm change that mostly prohibits Web spam and link schemes.
So how can build links without being penalised by search engines?
First, earn backlinks from authoritative and credible websites by producing compelling and interesting content.
Second, generate inbound links through social media activities such as writing for other bloggers, publishing profile posts, joining in forums or discussion boards, and commenting.
Third, link internally. By that, it means within your website. You can obtain additional insight on this matter by reading Google’s Design and Content Guidelines.
6. Use Google Analytics
With all the effort and time you pour into your SEO campaign, you need to keep track of their effectiveness using reliable metrics. By doing so, you will know whether your methods are actually paying off.
For example, if you have a newly launched page in your website, you should find out if it is successful in gaining quality traffic. A great tool for this is Google Analytics, which gives you in-depth statistics like site visitors and sales activity.
7. Organise the Web design
Proper website structure and visual appeal must always go together to keep your bounce rate from soaring. So how can you combine these aspects?
First, look into these elements—colour scheme, layout, font style, and background. They must be relevant to your theme or business, soothing to the eyes, and professional looking. Most importantly, they should not affect your site’s loading speed.
Second, follow a minimalistic format. Avoid crowded text boxes, do away with bright (almost blinding) font colours, and place social media buttons where readers can easily find them.
Third, prevent crowding your homepage or major webpages with adverts because this can be very annoying to your viewers.
8. Create and submit a Sitemap
This refers to a formatted file, which helps search spiders find available pages on your website. It is often structured using hierarchies, starting from the major categories down to the sub-niches. Oftentimes, it serves as a navigation guide for the users.
You do not need a great mind or high IQ to figure out SEO fully. All it takes is guidance from the experts, some research skills on your part, and the commitment to make your website stand out. When you combine all these, you are more likely to rank high in SERPs.