Every business wants to rank higher on Google, but how is it actually done? We explain just a few of the ways you can make changes to your site and your strategy to help push your brand to the top of Google’s search results.
Why Does Ranking Matter?
The purpose of having a business website isn’t just so people can find you online when they look for your brand, but also so they can find you when they’re looking for products or services you offer. 49% of Google users say they utilize Google to find new products, and when they do, 37% will click on the first result.
This means that to get more customers online, you need to rank in the top search results that Google provides its users for your products and services. To do this, you need to do SEO and improve your “organic” or natural ranking over time, as Google uses certain factors to determine which websites rank higher.
Here are a few ways to improve your organic ranking on Google.
Optimize your meta data.
Meta data for a website is the information that shows up on search engine results, i.e. the title, description, and url that Google shows to users. Meta data can not only influence a user to click or not, but also affect Google’s ranking of that page.
Some web builders don’t allow you to edit metadata, which will set back your SEO, but if your website is built on WordPress, you can easily edit your meta data for each page with an SEO plugin. You can find one here.
- For meta titles, include the keyword and the name of your business, and make sure it doesn’t go over 60 characters, including spaces.
For example, the meta title of this blog post is: How To Rank Better On Google | Hyvemark
- For meta descriptions, stick to 154-157 characters. Your description should say what the page is about, and should always include a call to action at the end, such as “Learn more,” “Call us,” or “Make an appointment.”
Example: Ranking at the top of Google results is key to your business’ success. Learn a few practical ways you can boost your search engine rankings from Hyvemark.
- For urls, make them fairly short and clean, using hyphens to separate words, and always include the keyword you’re targeting.
Write content for people first.
Even though you’re creating and improving a website so that Google “likes” it more, you should first and foremost write your website copy and your blogs so that the average person understands it and gains something from it. If your copy is Google-approved but it doesn’t engage your customer, you’re doing it wrong.
The truth is that Google actually wants content that’s very human and very unique. The best way to get that is to write for humans, and for your customers, instead of writing content by asking “what does Google want?” This way, you avoid pitfalls like keyword stuffing.
Improve your page loading speeds.
The slower a page loads, the lower Google will rank it — plus, a user will click out of a page if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. To avoid both of these, you can speed up your website’s loading times through several methods, here are some:
One great way is by improving your videos and images. Larger photos and videos make pages load much more slowly. To solve this, you can:
- Compress your images with a tool like Imagify.
- Host your videos on Vimeo.
- Use JPG for your images.
- Resize your images so they’re the right balance of quality and size.
Another way to improve your page’s loading time is to optimize your code. There are often extra characters, unused code, and more that are slowing your site down significantly. There are a few tools that can help you clean up your code.
You can evaluate and keep an eye on your website’s loading time with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Add internal links.
Are the pages in your site linked to each other? Linking pages within your site can help Google understand the content and structure of your site better, and pinpoint which pages are more valuable. This in turn helps your SEO.
Adding internal links is easy to do yourself. Your homepage is a great place to include links to your service pages, your About Us page, and your Contact page. Your service pages could also link to other pages related to that service, or to a blog post, and vice versa.
Every time you create a new page, also make sure to link other pages from your site inside of the page. For example, on this blog post, we can link to Hyvemark’s services page.
This process of linking as you go will ensure that your internal linking strategy is happening consistently.
Create new content.
Google loves fresh content, so new content is often ranked higher. A great way to stay on top of rankings for your keywords is to constantly put out new content about it, or to update old content with new and more relevant information.
Starting a blog is an easy way to do this. Set yourself the goal to write a weekly or bi-weekly blog post about topics related to your product or service, and publish them regularly. (And of course, make sure to add optimized meta data to your post.)
Not only does this give your website a boost in ranking, but it answers your new and potential customers’ questions about your products. In fact, this is a great way to build your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness in your customers’ eyes.
Use Search Console to submit new content and disavow bad content.
Google Search Console is maybe your most essential tool for SEO. There are many actions you can use it for, and one is to submit new content to Google — and also let Google know to ignore other pages.
On Search Console, you can review which pages Google has been ranking, and either allow Google to continue this process on its own, or give it some help.
Submitting new content
You can submit new content that you want Google to rank by creating a list of urls called a sitemap, and submitting it through Search Console. Make sure to include new content and pages that Google will probably not be ranking on its own yet.
Excluding bad content
You can also exclude pages that you don’t want Google to rank. On WordPress, you can use the Yoast plugin to make pages private.
You might want to exclude pages that have repetitive URLs or page errors, fake links, and pages that are just images. These types of pages can hurt your SEO, so excluding them will keep your SEO strategy running smoothly.
Doing an annual content audit will also help you stay on top of bad content and decide whether to delete, consolidate, or update any content.
These are only a few of the actions you can take to improve your website’s SEO. Ultimately, a strategic and long-term approach to your site is the best way to improve rankings on Google and keep them.
Many businesses are either designing a new website or refreshing their old one — a modern and functional site is key to marketing efforts because:
- You need a website to link to your paid ads
- More and more customers are searching for and buying products online
- A website is necessary to drive organic traffic through SEO
If you’re in or about to be in this design process, you may believe your website needs elements such as attractive images and up-to-date information about your business; you may even look for fast loading speeds and responsive design. However, there are several elements that often go overlooked, and that are key to your website’s success as a marketing tool.
An “attractive” website design may seem like enough to engage your audience, and it’s absolutely necessary, since users quickly form an opinion about your site by its appearance. A site with a modern and clean design will be more successful than an outdated and unattractive one.
But beyond the superficial design, what does it take to not just impress a user, but get them to take an action, such as buying a product or contacting you for a service? User experience and interface design (UX/UI) make this happen.
UX/UI involves many factors, but each one focuses on getting a user to act in a specific way, depending on what they’re looking for. Each user has a different purpose for being on your site, including:
- Looking for information on a topic
- Considering/researching a product that you’re offering
- Purchasing your product
Your website should consider these purposes, or stages of consumer behavior, and utilize UX/UI to facilitate the user into taking an action. For example, proper UX/UI will ensure that your customer can easily find a product, add it to their cart, and checkout successfully without too many steps in the way.
Consistency in Branding
More than before, online users will often encounter your business for the first time through your website, and it’s essential to present them with a consistent image of your brand.
Your website should match your brand in every way. When creating a website, take these brand elements into consideration:
The fonts you use in your site should be consistent with your brand, but also appropriate for a web browser. On a website, a font needs to be easy to read — and it should appear the same across operating systems and browsers. Make use of different font weights (bold, medium, regular, light) to highlight information and guide the reader through your content.
Make sure the font you choose has a web version that you can easily access. This is because there are web fonts and print or desktop fonts. Desktop fonts are meant to be used for print, and won’t work for your site without a web font version available.
A great way to maintain consistency in your branding is to choose a desktop font that can be optimized for the web, and make that your signature font. If you’ve already chosen a desktop font for your brand, and it’s not optimized for the web, then your web designer can recommend one that is web-safe and fits your brand. If you need some help finding the right web font, you can also search for open source fonts through Google fonts.
For your website, you’ll have to extend the color palette of your logo, as logos often have only 3-4 colors for printing purposes. Your website has many elements, including buttons, sections, menus, headings, and more, which will require this extended palette.
It’s important to remember that this extension of your colors should remain consistent with your original color palette and branding. The new colors should fit into your branding and feel like natural additions to it, not random splashes of color. A good rule is to use this extended palette in subtle ways, so that your users are introduced to them more slowly.
For your website’s images, it’s worth it to invest in a photographer and/or a graphic designer. Not only will they make sure your images match the tone and style of your brand, but they can ensure that all the technical aspects are on point.
For example, images should be clear and sharp, but not be too large or heavy, so your site will load quickly. Your designer can find the balance between the lowest possible file size, while not sacrificing too much quality.
Consistency will show that your business is reputable, trustworthy, and professional. Maintaining the same look while taking web requirements into consideration will help your customers recognize you the next time they encounter your brand, while retaining a positive experience.
A website is where you exist online, and today’s most basic digital fingerprint. You can leverage your website to get more customers and more sales by ranking higher on search engines through an SEO strategy.
But your website needs to be ready for your SEO efforts, and depending on the platform your website is created on, it may become difficult to do SEO. WordPress is your best option for an SEO-ready site.
How WordPress Primes Your Site For SEO
Creating your site on WordPress ensures that any SEO campaign to start afterwards is possible. Here are a few reasons why:
- WordPress allows you to edit your header tags and meta descriptions — and do it easily, without going into code. This kind of metadata is incredibly important, as it tells Google about your page, which helps Google rank it. Other web builders don’t allow for metadata optimization, which can hold back your SEO.
- Images are easily optimizable on WordPress. Just like metadata, optimizing an image’s tags and descriptions is vital for SEO, and WordPress allows you to make those changes based on your keywords and more.
- WordPress is very secure. If your site gets hacked, or it doesn’t have a proper SSL certificate, it can drop in rankings very quickly. WordPress has excellent security and their team stays on top of any issues.
- WordPress’ SEO plug-ins are top-notch. WordPress is well-known for its many helpful plugins, and their Yoast SEO and All-In-One SEO plugins are incredibly useful for various SEO tasks. And that’s not all: there are many useful SEO plugins to explore. Other web builders don’t offer these tools.
Growing your online presence is not just key to your marketing, but one of the top reasons to have a website at all. Make sure your website is ready to fulfill this purpose.
Create Your Website With Hyvemark
Hyvemark’s integrative approach to marketing includes effective website design and creation. We understand that for your business’ marketing strategies to succeed, you need a website that doesn’t just help them do so, but forms an essential part of that success. We ensure that your site is consistent with your branding and has all the elements needed to rank on Google and convert customers.