Whether running a personal blog or an online business, you want people to find your site. And the reason is quite simple – to make money online.
But how can people find your website when so many search results are available?
Optimizing your website for search engines is the first step to finding your website. In simple words, it’s making a website or web page easier to find through search engines, such as Google or Bing.
In the past, it was relatively easy to get a website rank on the first page of Google. However, with increased competition and continual Google algorithm updates, it is becoming more difficult.
Fortunately, there are ways to increase your ranking and draw qualified traffic to your website.
This post will share 9 tips and strategies to help you optimize your website for search engines, specifically Google.
Follow the steps below to improve your website’s ranking:
Step #1 – Optimize page load time
If your web page does not load quickly, visitors may abandon it, costing you potential customers and search engine rankings. Studies have shown that most shoppers leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Website speed isn’t just crucial for your conversion rate; it’s also a key measure of your website’s health. Google has started to include page loading speed as a ranking factor in its search algorithm.
Google’s algorithm weighs more than 200 factors when ranking a page, and the page loading speed is one of them.
Google has confirmed that it boosts rankings to sites that load quickly, particularly for mobile devices.
If you want to improve your page load speed, here are some quick tips you can implement.
1. Use a fast web host
While this is more important for hosting blogs, it’s still essential for eCommerce sites. Using a fast host like WPEngine will do wonders for your site speed.
SiteGround is another popular hosting option that is optimized for WordPress and WooCommerce sites.
2. Optimize images
This is an often-overlooked optimization factor because it seems too simple but can significantly impact your site speed.
Optimizing images means reducing their file size, taking up less space, and loading faster. You can optimize images manually or with a plugin like Imagify or ShortPixel Image Optimizer (both work with WooCommerce).
3. Use a CDN (content delivery network)
CDNs are a great way to optimize your site. These services host files on multiple servers worldwide, so your visitors can download them from one that’s close to them, reducing loading time for your page.
To “minimize” these files means removing all unnecessary characters from the code, such as whitespace, line breaks, comments, and block delimiters.
This reduces the file size by about half without changing the code’s functionality.
5. Reduce redirects
Every time a user clicks on a link that leads to another URL (for example, if they click on an image that shows a larger version of that image), it generates a redirect response in their browser, which delays the loading process.
To avoid this delay, use direct URLs instead of redirects where possible.
6. Minimize the number of plugins you’re using
If you’re using WordPress or another content management system (CMS), installing every plugin that seems useful might be tempting, but this may slow down your site.
Plugins often access the database each time a page is loaded, leading to loading delays even if you don’t use the plugin on every page.
In addition, some plugins are poorly coded and will significantly slow down your page loading speed even if you’re only running one or two of them.
Step #2 – Produce high-quality long-form content
One of the most important things to improve SEO rankings is to publish relevant, high-quality content.
SEO content should be clear, concise, and valuable to your target audience. If your content does not add value to your website, it will be difficult for your website to rank well in the search engines.
It is also essential that your web pages include keywords or phrases that are relevant to your business.
Here are some tips for creating SEO-optimized content:
- Determine which keywords to target, look at what other people are searching for, and how competitive those terms are in your industry.
- Use tools like Google Trends to see if there has been an increase in searches over time for those keywords.
- Create a list of all potential keywords you want to rank for on your website.
- Write engaging and informative content but also uses those keywords naturally throughout each page, so it flows well with the rest of the text on that page.
- Use keyword tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find out which words people are searching for and create new content around them
Step #3 – Optimize your site for mobile devices
Mobile-friendliness is becoming more critical to achieving high search engine rankings. For example, Google now uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor.
More and more people are accessing search engines and websites from their smartphones. According to data.ai, people spend 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phones.
Making your site more mobile-friendly will help users find what they’re seeking. This could lead to increased revenue if your site sells products or services.
Use these strategies to make your website mobile-friendly.
1. Create a responsive design
Using a mobile-responsive theme is the best way to optimize your site for mobile devices.
A mobile-responsive theme will automatically adjust its layout to fit the size of the user’s screen without any loss of content or functionality.
2. Use mobile-friendly image formats
Images are critical for engaging users and enhancing your site’s overall experience; however, they can also slow down your page loading speed if not optimized properly.
You can use JPGs or PNGs instead of GIFs or BMPs since they occupy less space while maintaining high-resolution images on smaller screens.
Also, consider compressing images before uploading them. Finally, you can use tools like TinyPNG to reduce their file size as much as possible without compromising their quality.
3. Ensure compatibility across all browsers
You may have designed your site based on one browser, but how will it render on other popular browsers?
Do some research and test how your pages load on different browsers and mobile devices. You may be surprised at how different the results are between each browser.
Step #4 – Properly format your page
When it comes to improving your website’s SEO rankings, formatting your page correctly is vital. The proper format can help boost your visibility in search results.
In contrast, the wrong format can lower your ranking or make people leave your page immediately.
Formatting is basically how your content appears on the page. You need to make sure that your page is arranged in a way that is easy for search engines to read and understand.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have selected a keyword or phrase for the page.
Once you have chosen a keyword or phrase, add it to the title tag, meta tags, and throughout the content on the page.
You need to make sure that you use the keyword often enough that people know what the page is about, but not so much that it sounds repetitive or forced.
Secondly, it’s essential to have content that matches the user’s search intent. For example, if someone searches for “benefits of green tea” on Google, they probably want an article listing the science-backed benefits of drinking green tea.
So you should structure your page like this:
Title: 12 Evidence-Based Benefits of Green Tea
Header 1: What is Green Tea? (brief intro)
Header 2: The Health Benefits of Green Tea (stick to the facts)
Header 3: How to Make Green Tea (instructions)
Another important part of formatting your pages is making sure that they are easy to read and navigate.
This means using bullet points, subheadings, numbered lists, and other formatting techniques that make the text easier to read and follow.
Step #5 – Use google analytics to track metrics
To know how your website is performing, you need to have a way of tracking your site’s metrics. There is plenty of different analytics software, but one of the most popular and best is Google Analytics. The basic version is free, so it’s accessible for anyone who wants to use it.
Google Analytics allows you to track the visitors on your site, including top-performing pages, most visited pages, time on page, etc. It also tracks which search terms people used before arriving at your site.
These are all essential pieces of information for figuring out how to increase your SEO rankings.
Step #6 – Build high-quality backlinks
Creating quality backlinks is one of the best ways to improve your search rankings.
The more quality backlinks (also known as “inbound links”), the higher your site will rank for relevant keywords.
For example, a link from Harvard.edu would be much more beneficial than one from xyzzsblogsite.com.
This is because Google believes that if Harvard trusts your site, you must have quality content and are trustworthy yourself – so you should be ranked higher.
Here are some ways you can build backlinks:
1. Guest blogging
One of the most effective ways to build up your blog’s reputation is to publish guest posts.
This involves inviting other bloggers to write content for your blog in exchange for a backlink. You can also suggest writing a guest post on their blog in return.
This can be a beneficial way of increasing your blog’s reach and attracting high-quality links that help boost your Google rankings.
💡 Pro tip: if you can afford it, make sure you outsource guest blog post creation to a writer, as writing the content yourself is a real timesuck. However, if you don’t have the budget, consider investing in a tool like Jasper AI to help you create content several times faster.
2. Post on social media
Post your content on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Keep it updated with new content regularly.
Since social shares are considered a ranking factor by Google, this will help you get some quality backlinks and drive targeted traffic to your website.
3. Post comments on forums
Find forums where people discuss topics related to your site or business and start commenting there.
When you comment, make sure it is relevant and adds value to the discussion; else, it will be ignored or deleted by the forum moderator
Step #7 – Improve your internal link strategy
One of the best ways to boost your SEO is by improving your website’s internal link structure.
Internal linking is crucial for SEO because it helps search engines understand your site structure. It also spreads link equity (ranking power) around websites.
An internal link is a hypertextual reference to another web page located on the same website. These links can help users navigate and discover more content on your website.
As already stated, internal linking is valuable for SEO because it spreads link equity around your website. By doing this, you’ll see an improvement in your overall rankings and organic traffic.
You can also use internal links to give users the best experience possible while browsing your website. Not to mention, this will reduce bounce rates and increase engagement on your website.
Step #8 – Create a Google My Business page
As a local business owner, you should have a Google My Business page. GMB is a free tool that allows you to manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps.
By setting up and optimizing your GMB profile, you can give potential customers the information they need, such as your address, hours, contact information, reviews, images, etc.
Setting up GMB is also crucial for local SEO because it shows search engines that your business is legitimate and improves your chances of showing up in local results.
If you don’t already have a Google My Business page for your small business, here’s how to set one up:
- Go to google.com/business and click “Manage Now” in the top right corner. You’ll be asked to sign in to your Google account or create one if you don’t already have one.
- Once signed in, enter your business name and confirm that you’re authorized to manage the business. Then click “Next.”
- Enter your address and service area if applicable (ex: the radius around where you provide services). Then click “Next.”
- Enter your phone number or website URL for customers to reach you. Then click “Next.”
- Choose a category that best fits what type of business you run.
Step #9 – Update your content regularly
Updating your website’s content is a great way to improve your SEO. Up-to-date websites are going to get better rankings than those which aren’t.
Old, outdated content will make your website look bad, and it can hurt your ranking.
Google’s algorithm considers page freshness when determining where a web page will rank in its search results.
If you don’t keep your content updated, Google will think that the information on your site is no longer valuable, and it will assign a lower ranking to it. This is why you need to keep your content updated all the time.
In addition to updating existing content, you need to add new content periodically to keep Google readers interested.
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a website to be found in search engines for relevant search terms.
It takes a lot of time and patience to get your site ranked correctly, so follow these steps diligently to see the best results from your efforts.
By implementing some smart SEO strategies, you should quickly see a drastic change in your site’s ranking. And, good luck improving your website’s rank!