Did you know that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, and that the first five search results account for 68% of clicks? If you’re not optimizing your website for search engines, you’re missing out on a massive amount of traffic. So, how can you improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and rank better in search results?
In this article, we’ll discuss nine of the top ways to improve website SEO to bring more potential customers to your site. At WebFX, we have a team of more than 500 digital marketing experts who help create and implement results-driven SEO campaigns for our clients. If you want to check your website’s SEO performance, try our free SEO Checker tool.
How to improve Google search ranking
How can you increase your website’s Google search ranking? Here are nine ways to improve SEO.
Check how to test and improve your SEO with our Five-step SEO tool kit
1. Create high-quality content
One of the most important things you can do to improve website SEO is create high-quality content. Google wants to rank content that answers users’ questions and provides good user experiences. One of the best ways to ensure your content is high-quality is to think about your audience first when creating content, whether you’re writing a blog post, creating a video, or designing an infographic.
What types of content does your audience want from you? Make sure all your content is useful to your users and covers topics of interest. Your content should also be easy and enjoyable to consume.
Breaking up blocks of text with headings, multimedia elements, and bulleted lists, for example, make your content easier to read. You should also ensure your content contains only accurate information, flows well, and uses proper spelling and grammar.
2. Conduct keyword research
For your audience to find your content in a Google search, you need to optimize it for the keywords they’re searching. To find the best keywords to target, you need to conduct keyword research. Start by brainstorming a list of terms related to your business that your audience might search.
For example, if you run a music store, you might write down “music stores in [name of your city]” and “how to choose a guitar.” To help with the brainstorming process, you can use tools such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Ahrefs to find the keywords your site currently ranks for.
- In Google Search Console, go to Search Traffic, then Search Analytics.
- In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition, then Campaigns, then Organic Keywords.
- In Ahrefs, search your site or page in Site Explorer, then click on Organic keywords.
You can also search your competitor’s pages in these tools to see which keywords they’re ranking for currently. You can likely rank for the same or similar keywords.
Next, search your keyword ideas in tools like Ahref’s Keyword Explorer, Keywords Everywhere, and KeywordsFX to find related keywords you can try to rank for.
For most websites, targeting long-tail keywords is best. These keywords are longer and more specific than short-tail keywords.
For example, “bass guitar stores in Philadelphia” is a long-tail keyword, while “bass guitars” is a short-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for and bring more highly qualified traffic to your site. If someone searches “buy five-string bass guitar in Philadelphia,” they want something very specific.
Someone searching “bass guitars” could be looking for many things.
3. Include keywords in strategic places on your page
Once you know what keywords you want to target, add them to your new content as well as your existing content. Each page should target one main keyword as well as several related keywords. Include your main keyword in your website’s:
Also, aim to use it several times throughout your main content, including once in the first 100 words or so.
You should also include variations of your core keyword and related keywords. For example, if your main keyword is “how to use a taxi service,” you might also include “how to use a cab service” and “how to use a taxicab.” It’s crucial that your keywords fit naturally into your copy. Don’t overuse them, and don’t sacrifice readability for keyword usage.
4. Earn more links to your pages
Getting links from well-known, high-authority websites is one of the most effective methods of strengthening SEO. As you create high-quality content, you’ll naturally earn links, but you can use several tactics to increase the number of links you get. One method is to create highly linkable content, such as infographics and ultimate guides.
Someone may add your infographic to their post and link to your site to add value to their page. If someone wants to add a link to enable their readers to learn more about a topic, an ultimate guide works perfectly. You can also reach out to people directly and recommend that they link to your page.
You might suggest that they, for example, add your page to a list of resources or replace a broken link with a link to your page. Just make sure you avoid spammy link-building techniques like paying for links or adding links to your website in comments on other sites.
5. Keep your content fresh
Google values freshness, so regularly updating your content can improve website SEO. If you notice a page’s rankings dropping, this technique can get it back on track. Freshness is especially important if the information in your post will eventually become outdated.
Periodically go back to old posts and update statistics to reflect the latest research. As you learn more about a topic, add new information to your pages to make them more comprehensive. You can also update older pages to reflect changes in Google’s algorithm or try new SEO techniques you learn.
6. Target featured snippets
At the top of search results pages, Google sometimes shows featured snippets — quick answers to the user’s query taken from a high-ranking page. Here’s an example of a featured snippet:
Featured snippets are also known as position zero because they are placed above the standard position one result. Earning these snippets can increase your site’s visibility and click through rate (CTR) dramatically.
To earn a featured snippet, try matching the format of the current position zero result. The result may be a paragraph, list, or table. Then, seek to provide a helpful, succinct answer to the search query.
For example, if the search query is a question, make the question a heading on your page and answer the question directly below that in a short paragraph.
7. Improve your page speed
More than 80% of users expect pages to load in three seconds or less. A slow-loading page creates a poor user experience and may cause users to leave your site. It can also lower your search engine rankings.
You can check your page speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. The tool will assess your page’s speed and give you recommendations for improving it. Some ways to improve your page speed include:
- Minifying your code
- Compressing your images
- Using browser caching
- Upgrading to a faster server
If you’re not sure how to make these changes, you can have the pros update your page speed with page speed optimization services from a digital marketing company like WebFX.
8. Make your site mobile-friendly
Google now uses mobile-first indexing when ranking your site, meaning it evaluates pages from the perspective of mobile users. So, making your site more mobile-friendly is an excellent method of strengthening SEO. Like with page speed, Google offers a free tool for testing your site’s mobile-friendliness.
If you’re not already, start prioritizing the mobile version of your website. Use responsive design, which allows your site to adjust to the device on which someone views it, to ensure it looks and works great on all kinds of devices, including mobile ones.
9. Use internal links strategically
Strategically placing internal links, which are links to pages on your website, can help give your pages an SEO boost. Here’s how to improve Google search ranking with internal links:
- Find a page that is ranking relatively well but could use a boost to improve its performance, such as something that’s ranking on page two of search results.
- Then, find a page on your site that’s ranking at the top of search results.
- Next, add a link from the high-ranking page to the page you want to boost. This link passes some authority of the high-performing page to the other page, boosting its SEO and potentially getting it from page two to page one.
Improve your website’s SEO with WebFX
Of course, these tips are just a few of the ways to improve website SEO.
Search engines use more than 200 ranking factors, so there are many SEO elements you can focus on to improve your ranking. Implementing these tips, or working with an SEO company that can help you implement them, can give your SEO a significant boost, though! With these recommendations, you can improve your site’s rankings and earn more organic traffic.
If you want to see where your site’s SEO stands, try our free SEO Checker tool. It assesses various crucial elements of your SEO and provides tips for improving your search engine performance. For expert assistance with improving your SEO, request a free quote from us today!
Join our mission to provide industry-leading digital marketing services to businesses around the globe - all while building your personal knowledge and growing as an individual.