If you want your current website to rank better in the search engines, you must give the search engines what they want. Easier said than done right? You don’t have the countless hours it takes to research and figure this stuff out. Not to worry, I have compiled a list that will help. Do these ten things well and you will rank better.
- Title Tag: When you type a keyword or phrase into a search engine, you get a list of results. The ‘clickable’ first line of each result (often times blue) for each result is called the title tag. Your title tag is extremely important and tells users and search engines what that page is about. Try to get some keywords that you are trying to rank for in your title tag. You may have to test a few variations to see what ranks the best, because you do not want to over do keyword placement (more on that below).
- Meta Description: The meta description is a brief description of what a particular page is about. It is displayed in the search results directly below the Title Tag. This is what people read right after they see your Title Tag. Make sure you your properly describe the page and you will get more visitors.
- Website Content: You may have heard the term, ‘content is king’. It’s true. The words, pictures and video on your website are all extremely important. In addition to the two above items, this is what Google (and other search engines) use to figure out what your page is about and what keywords that page should rank for. Each search engine wants it’s users to get the best results possible, so it is up to you to give them the information they are looking for. Keep them on your website longer and you will be rewarded. If they leave quickly, you will be penalized (more on that in item 10).
- Keyword Density: Using the same keywords that you are trying to rank for over and over is not natural and is not a good way to get better rankings. It is a balancing act because too many of those keywords and your page looks unnatural and too few and you will not rank. Tweaking how keywords are used is often times necessary to get it right. Too many keywords in your title tag, domain name and page content is a great way to get buried into the search results!
- Inbound Links: These are links from other websites that are coming into your website. Think of these like a recommendation from a friend. If Google already knows, likes and trusts a certain website and that website links to your site, that is great. The more sites the better, but more importantly, the better sites the better. Quality over quantity (in most cases) is the name of the game here. Two links from websites that the search engines deem trustworthy are way more powerful that a dozen links from locations that they do not trust.
- Anchor Text: Have you ever seen a link on a website where a word or phrase is underlined and in blue (in most cases) and when you click it, it links to a website? That word or phrase is called the anchor text. The anchor text tells search engines what that website is about. For example, let’s say a local directory links to your website: Bob’s Guide Service. ‘Bob’s Guide Service’ is the anchor text. In addition to the local directory, another website links to your website like this: Destin, Florida Fishing Guide. Assuming you indeed are a fishing guide in Destin, Florida, that is a great link because it tells search engines that the website that linked to you is recommending you as a ‘Destin, Florida Fishing Guide’. Having anchor texts match the keywords you are trying to rank for is extremely important, but be careful, too many of the same keyword and you will be penalized! Monitoring anchor text ratios is essential for increased rankings.
- Outbound Links: Most all websites have links going to other websites. You want to make sure that yours are going to places that help your visitors. Too many outbound links may hurt the ‘power’ of your page, so don’t give a link to just anyone.
- Social Signals: Social media properties are some of the most visited on the web today. Making sure that you are properly represented on top social media sites is important because it shows your relevance. Make sure your website links to your social properties and that your social properties link to your website.
- Citations: These are pages online that show your company name, address, phone number, website address, etc. This ‘proves’ that you are who you say you are. The more of these (from the right places) the better. You will want to make sure they are consistent from website to website too.
- Design: The design of a website is important. Keep in mind, when I say design, I do not mean a fancy looking site, I am talking about the flow. Can your potential customers find the information they are looking for or do they leave your site looking for another. The amount of time visitors spend on your site is important and helps you rank. In order to increase time on site, your web design should be well thought out with pages that are designed in a way that gives people the information they want so they either fill out a form or call you.
I could go on for quite a while, but I wanted to keep this short and sweet. Do the above, and you will rank better. Do the above better than your competition and you will rank better than them. With enough time and resources, you can rank for anything. Remember, you just need to give the search engines what they want and do a better job than your competitors.
Once you get started optimizing your website, you will want to track how your keywords are doing. To do this you will want to use a keyword tracking software. Simply typing in the keywords into your computer is not the most accurate way to track. I use a service called Micro Site Masters. It is a great service and the best part is that they offer free accounts so you can track up to 10 keywords. I recommend getting an account so you can see how you are rising or falling in the rankings as you make tweaks to your website. Contact me if you need help setting it up.
If you would like someone to take a look at your website and give you a some advice on how to rank better, fill out the ‘FREE Website Evaluation’ form. I will review your website and give you actionable advice that will help you increase your rankings in the search engines.