It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the competitive realm of search engine rankings Every business is trying to get to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) under those search terms that people type in that best reflect what they sell. It’s a neverending competition of refining numerous elements on your website and elsewhere to constantly jockey for a better position on a search giant like Google and smaller ones like Bing.
This fierce competition is not without good reason. The top three listings on the first page of search results get about 75 percent of all clicks. Also, most users won’t scroll past the fifth result. So, if you really want results from your search engine optimization efforts, you not only need to be on the first page of results but you have to be at or very near the top. Depending on your industry and the level of competition within it, this can be extremely challenging. It’s one reason any business should have a diversified marketing approach. That being said, there are tips and strategies that should increase your chances of getting high rankings.
Target Long-Tail Keywords
One primary way to get high rankings on the SERPs under keywords that bring you targeted prospects that are likely to buy is to be selective and specific about what keywords you focus on. For example, if you sell computer components, every other seller of components will be trying to get a high ranking under the keyword “hard drives” or “solid state drive.” You need to get more specific, and you accomplish this by using long-tail keywords.
If you know you have a page selling a “Seagate 3.5-inch internal hard drive” then try using that as the focus keyword for the page on your site for that product. You might at least have a chance of getting near the top of organic search results in this type of longer, more specific keyword, whereas it will be virtually impossible under something as generic as “hard drives.”
Having a website that is mobile-friendly has not been optional for years now if you want any hope of scoring good search engine rankings. Google has about 86 percent of the search engine market share with Bing coming in at around 6.5 percent. In April of 2015, Google came out with a major algorithm update that gave a boost to mobile-friendly webpages when it comes to search rankings. Currently, if you type “how to test website mobile-friendly” into Google, the first result is a box where you can paste the URL of your website and then click the “run test” button. The following page on this simple test will show you details on any page loading issues.
This primarily refers to ensuring your website has its coding, framework and navigation optimized for the search engines to be able to quickly and efficiently crawl and index your site. The goal is to see to it that the infrastructure of your site offers no impediment to Google or Bing doing their job in getting your site evaluated for a search ranking.
Have a Secure Site
You need a secure website if you want a shot at a high search ranking. Many search engines will show a warning indicating a website is unsecured if it uses HTTP protocol instead of the secure HTTPS. You need to buy, activate and install an SSL certificate as part of the process to upgrade to HTTPS. Aside from search ranking considerations, potential e-commerce shoppers will have peace of mind knowing that data passing through your website’s server is encrypted.
Local Landing Pages and Listings
The importance of local SEO will depend on what type of business you are in. If you are an e-commerce retailer selling goods nationally, then it may not be too important to you. If, however, you are a service business in a given locality that depends on regular foot traffic from people in that locality for your survival, then it becomes critical.
To help with local search optimization, you can add geo-targeted keywords that give the locations you serve to those keywords that tell searchers what you are offering. For instance, a divorce attorney in the Atlanta area might be under keywords such as “divorce attorney Dunwoody” or “divorce attorney Sandy Springs.” It will be smart to have a separate landing page on your website that is focused on each of these geographic keywords. You also want to ensure you are listed in any local directories relevant to your type of business.
Optimize for Voice Search
When coming up with keywords to focus on, you should consider how people might speak a search as opposed to how they may type it. With smartphones so prevalent, voice search is here to stay and will only be growing in the foreseeable future. In addition, even people making a computer search from home might be speaking their search phrase into an Amazon Echo or a Google Home smart speaker.
For starters, someone on their phone will be out who knows where and will want to find a business near them. A popular part of any search phrase, therefore, would be the words “near me.” Because they are out, they’ll also be more interested in finding a place “open now.” Think about how you would change the wording of searches depending on whether you are typing one in at home on a laptop or desktop versus doing so when you’re out and about.
Many aspects of search engine optimization have to do with things you do on your website. The content, navigation, coding, overall design plus ensuring it has an XML sitemap and other things that help search engines find their way around on it. Google and other search engines also want to see how the rest of the internet is interacting with your website. This is where backlinks come into the picture.
When you place a listing in a local internet directory for your business, it will include a link back to your website. This is an example of a backlink. The more quality websites that have links back to your site, the more authoritative your website will look in the eyes of Google and Bing, which only enhances your search rank position.
It almost doesn’t matter how good your website is if it doesn’t load quickly. It has been found that 53 percent of sites visited from mobile devices are abandoned if they take longer than three seconds to load. There are enough ways to speed up your website that this could be a separate article unto itself. Fast-loading pages are important for search ranking as well as not losing sales to potential customers.
Don’t Neglect YouTube Optimization
Aside from Google, YouTube should be a focus of your SEO efforts. Beyond being the most popular video site on the internet, it’s also the second biggest search engine. Under innumerable topics that you type into Google, there will be video results, and most of these videos will be on YouTube. This is in addition to people searching on YouTube itself for videos about products or services that cover your company’s field or industry. Try to pick titles for your videos that are focused around a targeted keyword and that will make someone want to click it to watch the video. Video is great for engaging visitors, so you can put them on your website to enhance its search engine optimization as well as on your YouTube channel.
Provide a Positive User Experience
Many of the individual changes you can make to a website to enhance its position in search rankings all add up to providing a superior user experience. Fast-loading and mobile-friendly pages, a secure website and a technically optimized site with content that gives people the information they need to make a decision about your good or service. This all adds up to a website that people will consider valuable and want to hang around on, which also helps your search ranking position.