If you have a website, search engine optimization (SEO) should be one of your greatest priorities. No matter how wonderful your website is, it is basically useless unless you get traffic to it. The instances where customers visit your website directly are few and far between; over 90% of the time, an online user begins with a search engine like Google when they’re looking for a product or service. And when Google gives them a list of results, 80% of the time, their brain blocks out any paid ads in the search results. Instead, 20% of Google users follow the first organic link in the search results. One in 10 users go to the second result. Each link listed after that gets less attention. If your website appears on the second page of results, there is a 70% chance that it will never see the light of day.
In other words, you want your website to be the first thing Google thinks of when ranking pages. This is where SEO comes in. SEO is the science of getting your website at the top of the organic results that Google (or any other search engine) gives your potential clients. The subject of SEO is so expansive that people dedicate their careers to it, but to get you started, we put together a list of four actionable ways to improve your website’s search engine ranking right away:
If you created your website to be a static billboard for your business, there is not a lot of reason for Google to recommend it to its users. Instead, SEO consulting group DigitalVIVA suggests adding a blog that you regularly update with new and engaging content relating to your industry. Not only does this give users a reason to visit your site, it increases the surface area for keywords that could apply to a particular search. According to Forbes, businesses that have blogs on their website have 434% more content to attract to Google with.
Bonus tip: If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of running a blog, it is surprisingly inexpensive to outsource this.
- Consider Link Building.
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One factor that Google’s robots use to rank pages is the number of links that point to your page. If other websites are referencing your website, Google thinks, “This must be worth looking at.”
However, be cautious of SEO companies who promise to improve your ranking by spamming the interwebs with links to your site. According to the SEO consulting group Youth Noise, Google quickly catches on to unethical tricks like this and actually penalizes your ranking for it. In some cases, they remove your website from their index altogether. This is like online marketing suicide. Instead, focus on slowly building high-quality links that give your website validity.
- Make it shareable.
By creating excellent content (see our first point), your readers will want to share it, and Google eats this up. Incorporate highly visible social media share buttons into your blog, so that your readers can share your content with their followers with the click of a button. Not only does it naturally drive traffic to your business, every share you get is a link to your site, which improves your site ranking (see our second point).
- Diversify your content.
Search engines love when you use mixed-multimedia on your website. According to research giant Forrester, Google is 50 times more likely to list a page with a video in its first page of results than a page with just text. Additionally, pages with images get 150% more social media share than those who don’t.
The subject of search engine optimization is a constantly changing and endless science. We couldn’t possibly encompass all of it in a single article. However, by creating great content, getting other websites to reference yours, making you page easy to share on social media, and by incorporating diverse media into your page, you will get your website on the right path to land itself in the first page of Google’s search results!