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.