Increasing your website’s visitor count and placement in the search engine result pages (SERPs) of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing can be a challenge with strategies listed in the thousands. The effectiveness of these strategies and techniques varies and the results of these optimisations can take time to come into effect. However, some of the most effective alterations users can make to their websites are the simplest and require the least skill. Here are fifteen tips to help improve a website’s search engine ranking.
1. Keep your content fresh
Fresh content is much more appealing to search engines than your generic, static content. Creating new pages, adding content around current or popular topics and substantially altering a page can help boost a page’s ‘freshness’ score—don’t alter too much, though.
The amount of time users spend on a website can also be an indicator of a site’s ‘freshness’ and relevancy. Linking to sites with new and relevant content can also be a great way to increase your own site’s freshness score. Lastly, content isn’t always king and search engines will look at how many links your site has instead of just its content.
2. Change poorly ranked pages
Experimenting with your pages if they don’t produce the results you seek is another common strategy to increase a site’s ranking. This process is tedious, yet effective in discovering what content is preferred by SEO engines, provided that a website isn’t changed too much. Discovering the weaker areas of your website and bolstering them through adding new, quality content instead of completely changing a page can prove effective as well.
3. Narrow down on your keywords and theme
Making sure not to overload pages with a tandem of keywords while also keeping a narrow focus on the overall theme of your website is another great way to allow search engines to easily categorise your website. Pages should only have a few individual keywords within them to allow search engines to easily narrow down the page’s purpose.
4. Include links to non-competitive authorities
Linking to non-competitive authorities is a simple and effective way to increase a website’s ranking without needing to rely on shady link farms and other nefarious means. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites and healthy and non-excessive groups of links to other websites can be one of the most effective ways to increase a site’s search engine ranking.
5. Use search-friendly URLs
Many dynamic links can interfere with search engine indexing, making it harder for your website to rise up the ladder. Be sure to only use search-friendly URLs, as these static URLs contain a website’s keywords and are more user-friendly and easier to decipher by search engines. Minor changes can include simply using underscores (“_”) instead of hyphens (“-”), as Google treats phrases with underscores as one word.
6. Incorporate meta tags into your headings and subheadings
Meta tags are pieces of text that reside in a page’s code which allows search engines to narrow down what a page is all about. There are many kinds of meta tags, however, title tags have a real impact on your SEO ranking which can be found on top of the browser. There are a few major kinds of meta tags that can influence a site’s SEO; however, the title tag is the most effective.
7. Add weight to your pages
Having a minimum of 400 words per page that is supported by keyword research is crucial if the page is to be considered for SEO. Of course, the quality of said content also comes into play and the balance of both a decent word count and quality, researched content is an effective means of increasing a website’s ranking.
8. Do whatever you can to avoid page errors
Having a 404 error appear when loading a page is not a good look for a website. Try to avoid this by having a user be directed back to your homepage or another part of your website. Consider turning a 404 into a 301, updating a page into another section.
8. Don’t hyperlink plain words
Hyperlinking plain words like “buy now” and other such phrases should be avoided and only encompass the page’s keywords. These hyperlinked keywords are called “anchor text” and they should be relevant to the content on the page with blue, underlined text being the most common kind—although the colours can be changed.
9. Utilise bold and italicised text to bolster keywords
Catching the eye of users in order to have them click on a specific hyperlinked phrase is a common strategy among most web users. Being sure to bold and italicise keywords that are not targeted for ranking is a great way to get everything you can out of keywords and contribute to the overall aesthetic of the website.
10. Create merchant accounts if you sell items
Sites that sell products can list them in Google Products, as well as create merchant accounts with Yahoo Shopping, eBay, Amazon and other domains. These can end up working in your favour, helping to further increase a website’s ranking.
11. Don’t associate with link farms
A link farm is a group of websites that hyperlink to other sites in the group with most being created through automated programs. Created in response to Google’s ranking algorithm, pages with the most links are seen as valuable and thus rank higher in SERPs. The links these farms hyperlink to are often unrelated and search engines can easily detect these farms.
12. Don’t change too much
Search engines like Google understand that ‘new’ doesn’t necessarily mean that a website will have quality content. Altering too much content may actually lower your website’s search engine ranking, so be sure to only make meaningful and incremental changes to your website.
13. Include varied content
Incorporating varied content that consists of videos, podcasts, text and interactive media is another easy way to increase your site’s ranking. Broadening your range of services and offering a more diverse user experience that can connect to social media and blogs can also increase your visitor count. Uploading your videos to quality video sites like Yahoo and Vimeo is just as effective as using YouTube, as the videos are still registered in most search engine results.
14. Load speeds matters
The amount of time it takes for a page to load can impact a website’s search engine ranking. The load speed of a page should be under two seconds, as stated by Google. In order to ensure your site conforms to this standard, test your website and remove taxing elements that require more processing power. Anything from removing large background wallpapers for a more simplistic look or re-arranging content can help.
15. Avoid lists
A major part of the what determines a website’s ranking is the number of visitors the site accrues. Avoiding lists and creating individual pages for products and services will add more of an appeal and professional vibe to a website while keeping visitors on the page. Search engines monitor how long a user stays on a website and this, again, plays a huge part in a website’s search engine ranking.