5 Free and Simple Things You Should Do to Improve Search Engine Ranking
Let’s face it, the thought of doing your own SEO on your website can be daunting. This is especially true for those less technically minded. The fact is, if you want to improve search engine ranking, there are only two ways to appear near the top of the results pages. The first is with paid listings like Google Adwords which can get very expensive. The second is by improving your organic search engine ranking which requires lots of time, knowledge, and effort. Like most other things in business, getting traffic to your website boils down to spending your time or spending your money.
So just how important is it to be found near the top of the first page of the search results? Let’s consider some real numbers from Google. On the first results page of any search, the first three results get over 60% of the clicks, while less than 10% ever advance past page one. Oh, and those expensive paid listings… they get about 10% of the clicks. These statistics make it pretty clear that being on page one is extremely important for gaining targeted traffic to your website.
Most people have come to believe that getting to the top three spots for a specific keyword phrase requires some magical secret formula. I don’t think there’s as much mystery behind it as one might think. Ranking #1 for a specific search term in a Google search really only requires one thing. You simply need to be considered the most important or authoritative source of information for that search term according to Google. Google’s method for determining these results is a complex algorithm that has evolved over the last two decades. While no one can really give a specific “recipe” for ranking #1 on Google, there are some things that have been proven to improve search engine ranking. Here are five things that most business owners can do on their own to improve organic (not paid) search engine ranking.
- Add Content to Your Website Regularly –
Googlebot is looking specifically at text when it spiders web pages. It’s a known fact that websites that are growing and changing are crawled more frequently and are considered a better source of information than sites that are stagnant. Adding a blog to your website and adding articles on a regular basis is a great way to add content and value to the site and improve search engine ranking.
- Write Content that is Useful to Readers –
Adding content just to add content isn’t really beneficial to your search ranking. Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to detect that type of content. In addition, useful content is far more likely to receive back links (other websites linking to your website). Google considers backlinks almost like votes of confidence for a page and they are known to improve search engine ranking.
- Target Your Keywords in Your Content –
This one is a very tricky, but also very important. Suppose you have a specific product or service that you want to be ranked for. You will obviously need to have content about that product or service in order for Google to consider your web page important for that keyword. While using the keyword is essential to getting ranked for it, overuse of the keyword will get you penalized as spam. Keywords must be used as frequently as possible in a contextually appropriate manner. Read your content out loud and if it sounds like spam, it probably is.
- Look for Linking Opportunities and Do It Right –
Networking is important for most businesses. While we tend to take advantage of real-world networking opportunities, many tend to overlook the importance of networking online. Get involved in online communities and look for linking opportunities. It’s important to understand that there is a right and a wrong way to get and give links. Simply exchanging links with other websites offers very little to boost your search ranking and many believe it can even get your site penalized. Instead consider writing an article for another site’s blog and in exchange add a link or two back to your website. Be sure to use the term you are targeting as the anchor text for your link. This type of arrangement is mutually beneficial for both websites to improve search engine ranking.
- Consider the Use of SEO and Analytics Tools –
There isn’t a magic wand that you can wave over your site to improve organic search engine rankings, but there are some fantastic free tools that can steer you in the right direction. Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Moz Tools are all great analysis tools. You’ll need to brush up on how best to use these, but they can provide free data that will help you form an SEO plan of attack. Keyword tools like Google Keyword planner will also prove beneficial by helping you to find the best keywords to target.
It should be obvious from this article that achieving desirable search engine rankings for specific keywords is a time consuming task. Finding the time to implement the techniques I’ve mentioned isn’t always possible for a busy small business owner. The rewards of achieving higher search engine rankings can be quite profitable and should not be ignored. Consider making this part of an employee’s job for a few hours each week. If that isn’t possible, consider budgeting for an SEO package as part of your monthly website expense. When you discover the potential profitability of improved search engine rankings, you may just wonder why you didn’t invest sooner.