Everyone turns to Google to find businesses these days, so it’s vital to make sure your website appears in searches before your competitors’ sites. But figuring out how to do this can be a bit of a mystery. What does Google want? What will make your site rise to the top, rather than languish away on page six? It’s all about optimising your website content for search engines (SEO, as the pros call it), and you don’t have to be a tech whiz to know how. Just stick with us, and you’ll have the basics down pat in no time.
Publish relevant content
Google’s pretty clever, and it certainly knows the difference between good and bad content. Focus your efforts on a steady, regular stream of content that’s relevant to your readers. As a quick example, let’s say you run an air conditioning repair business. A blog post about ways to keep your house cool during the summer would be timely, useful, and extremely relevant.
Don’t underestimate the power of content. Content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO. SEO loves keywords and content marketing applies those keywords into articles written for people. And, if those people like your content they will share it by linking back to it, which will do amazing things for your SEO.
Just be sure not to spam your readers with every thought that comes to mind or post the same content many times – Google penalises for both.
Focus on metadata
This may sound fancy, but it really just boils down to the keywords (words or phrases people type into a search engine) you use within your website. Ensure that your headings are keyword rich (“Sydney’s electrical experts share their top lighting trends for 2017”), and always add captions to your photos to let Google identify them. Most importantly, write naturally and conversationally, and don’t try to shoehorn keywords in where they simply don’t fit.
If “keyword strategy” still sounds like gobbledygook to you, there are lots of experts out there that specialise in exactly that; just be sure to check their reviews beforehand to ensure they abide by honest SEO practices. After all, old-school tactics like keyword stuffing (including as many keywords as possible) are likely to do your business more harm than good.
Share your content and business
If you don’t already have Facebook, Twitter or any other social media pages, it might be time to change that. Social media is a great way to reach your potential customers. It can be used to share your deals, blog posts, news and reviews, plus link back to your website for more hits there. If you’re smart about it, all of your online platforms will work in harmony to get your Google ranking on the rise.
What’s more, listing your business on local directories like True Local not only expands your web presence online but also provides a platform where your business can receive online reviews – fantastic for your Google ranking. Online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. Throw into the mix rich snippets, this is where Google showcases extra info about your listing such as star rating and review numbers in search results, and you could increase the potential for customers to click on your listing by 30% . Why? Rich snippets help to inform users about what they can expect to find on your page avoiding bounce backs and they also stand out much more than search results lacking rich snippets.
On top of this, business directories have the technical know-how to optimise their site speed and their SEO standing, meaning you’ve got yourself a recipe for ranking success.
Keep it clean and simple
Everybody likes a user-friendly website, and that includes Google. Well-organised and readable websites rank much higher than cluttered, incomprehensible messes, and they also keep visitors around long enough to consider using the services they offer. Google rewards you when people spend a certain amount of time on your website, so give them a good reason to.
Optimise your site’s load speed
This is another one that sounds harder than it really is, and it’s important to cover off. Google takes into consideration how long a page takes to load on both desktop and mobile, and will penalise websites for slow load times. There are several easy ways to keep your website’s loading speed agreeable to visitors, such as keeping your images under 500kb in size. To find out the size of an image, just right-click it and check its properties. You can also run a free Google PageSpeed test to discover any other areas that might be slowing you down.
Optimise your website for mobile
Mobile-friendly websites are now ranking higher in Google than desktop-only sites, and that could mean the difference between you and a competitor when it comes to showing up first in search results. So, what does it mean to be mobile-friendly? Your site should scale down so that it’s easily navigable on mobile screens – most websites do this through responsive design. Templates on website builders like WIX and Squarespace do the hard work for you, so you don’t have to think about designing two separate websites. To find out how well you’re doing on the mobile-friendliness scale, check out Google’s free testing tool.
Once you’ve gotten stuck into the nitty gritty, you might be expecting an overnight explosion in your Google ranking. It’s important to remember, however, that SEO is a slow burn and relies on consistent effort to see noticeable improvements. The game is also constantly changing, so make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest developments over at our business blog.