Easy Ways to Improve Your Website’s Search Rankings
by Marcy Spiker
Ready to level-up your site’s search ranking? Good SEO starts with a good user experience on your website. Improve your website’s search ranking with these simple fundamentals.
You have a great product or a service you know people want. You have a website filled with high-quality content. Your blog is overflowing with interesting and informative posts you languished over. All lost to the ages unless someone can easily find your page via web search engines.
Read on to understand why search ranking is important for your business and a few simple things you can do right away to improve your site’s position in search results.
Why search rankings are important for your business
If you’ve recently redesigned or launched a new website, you may now find yourself asking: Now what? Sure, you can advertise and spread the word on social media to entice more people to visit your site. But the best ongoing way to drive traffic to your site – and get more leads and sales in the process – is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is about ensuring that search engine crawlers discover your site, efficiently make sense of its content, and help users who are searching for related keywords find you.
SEO is a behind-the-scenes necessity to the web, and it’s more important than ever:
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- The first position on Google results has a 36% click-through rate on desktop
- 71% of B2B users start looking for products and solutions with a generic search71% of B2B users start looking for products and solutions with a generic search
It is therefore key for everyone who has a business website to understand the fundamentals of SEO as well as appreciate the critical role it plays in maintaining a successful online presence.
Unfortunately, SEO is too often shrouded in false promises and misinformation. Chances are your SPAM folder is full of companies pitching miraculous SEO services which they say will catapult your site to the top of Google search results with some quick and secret formula.
The truth is, the formula for good SEO isn’t quick and isn’t secret. Good SEO is fundamentally about quality content, clear organization and a good user experience on your site. There are aspects of SEO that involve some technical knowhow, but you’ll be well served by first and foremost focusing on making your site useful to your target customers.
In subsequent blog posts, we’ll go over some of the more technical steps you can take and tools you can use to identify and add the right keywords for your content. But first, some fundamentals.
Actions you can take to make your site search engine friendly
1. Fix 404 errors with redirects
Don’t strand your audience. 404 errors occur when users click on an old URL leading to a page that simply no longer exists or has moved somewhere else on your site. This can happen on internal links or from another site that links to you.
Broken links are frustrating. The common reaction to landing on a 404 page is for users to simply leave and go somewhere else to find what they need. Google and other search engines recognize this, so 404 errors hurt your site’s search ranking.
You can use Google Webmaster Tools to help you identify 404 errors resulting from non-existent pages. You can then proceed with creating a 301 redirect which tells search indexing robots that your content has moved to a new URL. If you use WordPress, there are several plugins that make it easy to create 301 redirects. You can also use the redirects wizard found in the CPanel of your web hosting account.
2. Check Your Website’s Loading Speed
The loading speed of pages on your site is one of several ranking factors for search. Google began factoring speed into rankings in 2010 – and has been placing increasing emphasis on it ever since. The logic behind this simple. Sluggish site speed offers a poor user experience and most users will abandon a page that is slow to load. Google also recognizes that more people are accessing content via a mobile device where bandwidth can be an issue.
Sites like Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Tools (also found in your Webmaster Tools view) let you test and analyze your website’s page load speed. Both tools provide an overall performance grade as well some suggested steps to improve page speed.
3. Delete Duplicate Site Content
It might seem like a good idea to repurpose the content you create multiple times on your site or elsewhere. After all, having it in more places should make it more likely for people to find it, right? Wrong. Having duplicate content on multiple places on the internet hurts your search engine ranking.
Search engines penalize pages with duplicate content because it is unclear which version should be given authority. You are diluting your efforts with duplicate content by making the search engine choose which link to prioritize.
Check out Webmaster Tools to quickly and easily identify duplicate titles or duplicate descriptions. Once you identify this content, make sure that users are seeing the information you want them to by using 301 redirects and consolidating similar pages on your site.
A little TLC to help your SEO
There are many factors and considerations in the long journey to SEO success. But these simple, actionable steps will soon help your site stand out from the crowd and get seen by search engines.
Have your tried out any of the above methods to help optimize your website? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.