To the uninitiated, search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like an art rather than a science. This seems truer than ever since Google announced its “Hummingbird” search algorithm, which is especially designed to handle complex queries. The important thing to remember is that Google utilizes a variety of methods to determine which pages appear first in search results. Although their exact algorithms are secret, there are several things you can do to help improve your site’s ranking.
Focus on Quality
Make sure that all pages on your site are well written and feature good, high quality content. Remember that you are writing for people, not search engine robots, so avoid gimmicks such as keyword stuffing (the practice of excessively using a keyword or keyword phrase) which can actually harm your site’s ranking.
Use the Right Words
Although Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm has reduced the focus on keywords, they haven’t gone away entirely. Your pages should be using the words and phrases you hope they’ll be found for. Since the Hummingbird algorithm focuses on semantic search, your website should utilize semantic markup (such as schema.org) in its content.
Keep Your Content Fresh
Search engine robots love websites that are frequently updated. The easiest way to do this is by adding a blog to your site and updating it regularly with high quality content.
Be a Social Butterfly
Share your website’s content on social media channels, such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Utilize a Good Linking Strategy
Avoid low quality link sites in favor of sites with higher page ranking. One very easy way to gain nine high quality links is by claiming your business on the following sites: Google, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo Local, Facebook, Citysearch, Manta, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare.
Use Effective Meta Tags
Your HTML meta tags (title, description, headers, etc.) should be clear, concise, and relevant to the page topics.
Make Sure Your Site has Good Architecture
Do an audit of your site. Remove dead links. Look for pages with duplicate content and create redirects as necessary. Now look through your site’s URLS. They should be short and contain keywords that are relevant to page topics.
Check the Speed of Your Site
Your website design should load in four seconds or less. Long load times will frustrate your customers, costing you leads and sales.
Finally, if your site doesn’t have a mobile version, now is the time to create one. Mobile internet traffic is increasing at a startling rate. And if that isn’t enough incentive, Google is now penalizing sites that are not mobile-compatible.
All in all, well organized websites with strong content are the sites that Google and other search engines tend to rank higher. Keep this in mind as you create and/or update your pages. And while the tips listed above won’t guarantee your website a first page placement, they just may help you move up in rankings.
MARION Integrated Marketing has Search Engine Optimization specialists on staff. We utilize a variety of tools to help our clients make the most of their websites and social media channels. Contact us if you’d like to get in touch.