Is Your Website Optimization Getting the Job Done?

Is Your Website Optimization Getting the Job Done?

Your Google website ranking is undeniably important. In fact, research shows that more than half of Google’s traffic goes to the top three ranked websites, and approximately three-quarters of the traffic goes to sites listed on the first page of search results. How do they get on that first page? Here’s the secret:

Their sites are optimized to ensure that they get there.

I’m sure you have already known about Search Engine Optimization, but a lot of local businesses are, quite simply, not getting the job done. They’re focusing on outdated (read: keyword-centered) SEO methods, or else they’ve designed their own websites and missed out on some key opportunities to improve their Google rank.

That stops now. In this post, I’ll walk you through the must-have optimization techniques that will help your website get the lion’s share of traffic for your keywords.

Coding Tips for Optimization

You’re probably not an expert programmer, but with today’s easy-to-use site-building tools, you don’t need to be. However, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore some basic coding issues on your website.

Metadata

Metadata is the first coding issue to address. Metadata includes two things: your title tag and meta description. Both items appear on Google’s SERP, so you need to get them right.

Let’s start with the title tag. Ideally, you want as much of your title as possible to appear on Google. If you shoot for a title tag that’s fewer than 60 characters. (Technically, it’s 600 pixels but that’s a little harder to measure.)

Your title tag should contain your most important keyword as close as possible to the beginning of the title. After that, think about your audience and write a title that’s likely to appeal to them.

The meta description is longer, usually about 155 characters including spaces. Its job is to provide a concise and compelling description of your page. It’s important to have a unique meta description for each page of your website, including blog entries.

Here again, use important keywords but don’t overdo it. You want to give readers a clear idea of what your page is about to make them want to choose your site over the others that are available.

Schema Markup

Next, you’ll want to make sure to include Schema markup on your site. Schema is a collaborative effort by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Yandex. It’s designed to let search engines (and users) know what your website is all about.

For example, a reference to the word “avatar” might refer to:

  • A web ID that represents a user
  • The animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender or the film of the same name
  • The James Cameron film Avatar

Schema code provides context for the language you use on your site. Using it properly will ensure that your site displays properly and that the information you put on it can be understood.

Crawlability

The final coding issue to consider is the crawlability of your site. Google and other search engines send out bots to “crawl” your site – meaning that they check its navigability. Broken links and other issues can make it difficult or impossible for search engines to index your site properly and that can affect your search rank.

You can manually check your site and make sure to repair or remove broken links. You may also want to use a tool like RankSider to check your site’s crawlability.

Your Site’s Content and Optimization

When it comes to getting to the top of Google, your site’s structure and content have a lot to do with where you end up. While you can design your site to your liking, there are certain things you need to have if you want your site to do well.

  1. Global headers and footers will ensure that whatever page a user lands on, they’ll be able to find your home page and get basic information about your company. Your headers and footers should include basic information like your phone number, email address, and social follow buttons. The footer should also have hotlinks to the most important pages on your site.
  2. The About Us page may not contain a ton of keywords, but your site needs to have an awesome one to let people know who you are and what you do.
  3. The Contact Us page should let people know all the ways they can get in touch with you. That means you’ll need to include your address, phone number, email address, social pages, and directions to your office or store.
  4. Each service you provide should be on a dedicated page. Putting all your services on one page limits your SEO impact. You can target more keywords, both in your content and your metadata, if you give each service its own page.
  5. Finally, your site MUST be mobile-friendly. Ideally, you should use a template that’s mobile responsive and will adjust itself to display on any mobile device.

Including these five things on your site will maximize your SEO and ensure that Google’s algorithms give you the rank you deserve.

Web Design and Content

The design of your website might not play a direct role in SEO, but people will be more likely to visit (and revisit) your site if it looks good. That means that you’ll need to have:

  • A simple but memorable logo.
  • Compelling images that let people know what you do (and how you do it). Ideally, you should have original (not stock) images.
  • High-quality video.
  • Compelling written content that sounds natural, has a high degree of readability and uses keywords and LSI artfully. You don’t want your content to be overly repetitive. It should be easy to read and use plenty of white space.
  • Social share buttons make it easy for visitors to your site to share your content with their followers.
  • A click-to-call button is ideal if you want to make it simple for mobile customers to call you.
  • Reviews and testimonials are important. Having a live feed of your Yelp reviews might slow down your site, but you can put links to your pages on key review sites on your testimonial page.

Some companies add additional bells and whistles, but you don’t need to – and your site’s loading speed may be impacted by extras. Keeping it simple is the best way to attract traffic and engage the people who visit your site.

SEO is about more than keywords…

Your site may have qualities and pages that we haven’t listed here, but these are the basics. Doing a quick audit of your site can reveal opportunities for improvement – and make a big difference in your Google placement.

5 Things You Should Know About Google in 2018

5 Things You Should Know About Google in 2018

If people can’t find your website, they’re not going to buy from you.

Sounds simple, right? It’s internet marketing 101. You can’t expect people to purchase your products or try your services if you’re essentially invisible to them.

Google is the world’s top search engine. They also own YouTube, which is the second-largest search engine. That means that getting a high rank on Google can make or break your business.

So, all you need to do is focus on the things that are most important to Google and you’ll be home-free.

Except…

Google’s algorithm is proprietary. That means we don’t know exactly how Google determines rank. They’ve shared some of the bits and pieces but not the entire picture. Marketing & SEO pro’s make a living reading between the lines connecting the dots to help their clients get the highest rank possible.

Here are the 5 things you need to know to improve your site’s rank and rise to the top (or as close as possible) on Google’s SERP.

#1: Backlinks to Quality Sites Still Carry Weight

In a Q & A session from March of 2017, Google revealed their top three ranking factors. Backlinks were number one. Since Google rarely comments publicly about their algorithm, we can’t say for certain that backlinks are still number one, but it’s safe to assume they’re very close to the top.

A backlink is any link that leads from another site to yours. If you want backlinks to have a positive impact on your Google rank, they must be from authority sites. Multiple links from the same site won’t help you since Google evaluates backlinks based on domains, not volume.

Remember that spammy backlinks won’t help you. In fact, they may hurt you. When a low-quality site links to yours, Google may associate your quality site with their low-quality content or practices. Instead of buying links or engaging in other “black hat” practices, focus on organically building quality links.

#2: Content is Still King

The next most important ranking factor is your content. Google’s aim is to provide highly relevant, quality content to searchers. The better your content is, the more likely it is that your site will rise to the top of the SERP.

Not all quality is created equal. You can signal quality to Google by doing the following things:

  • Use keywords properly. Keyword stuffing won’t help you, but using keywords in your URL, title tag, H1/H2 tags, alt tags, and in the first paragraph of your content will.
  • Make your content long enough to be satisfying. There’s no specific word count to aim for. Instead, your goal should be providing visitors to your site with the information they’re looking for. If you do that, they’ll be satisfied – and your rank will reflect it.
  • Make your content comprehensible. By that, we don’t mean making sure people can read it. Rather, it has to do with providing context for your content. The use of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) words can help. In other words, remember that your content doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

To earn a high rank on Google, your content must be relevant and engaging. If people who find your site through Google are happy with your content, they’ll show it by staying on your page and engaging with your content. Their behavior in relation to your content – combined with the other content factors here – will tell Google what it needs to know about your site.

#3: Mobile Responsiveness is a Must

The next thing to consider is whether your site is mobile-friendly. As of 2017, more than half of all Google searches were conducted on mobile devices. That’s not something you can ignore.

If you’ve been paying any attention to developments at Google, you know that their Mobilegeddon update in 2015 penalized sites that weren’t mobile friendly. As of 2018, not being mobile friendly will have a negative impact on your Google rank.

Mobile users expect the sites they visit to be easy to use – whether they’re accessing them on a smartphone or a tablet. They’re not going to frequent your site if:

  • They must wait too long for it to load
  • The buttons are too small for them to use properly
  • They must scroll horizontally to read your content
  • They can’t access the same content they can on a computer

The takeaway here is that mobile users matter, and your site should reflect that.

#4: Slow Loading Pages Will Drive Users Away & Affect Rankings

Web users are notoriously impatient. People who visit your site will expect it load quickly. If it doesn’t, they’ll find another site, instead.

Since “quickly” is a relative word, let’s talk about what it means. One study found that 47% of web users expect a site to load in two seconds. Of those, 40% will navigate away if the site takes longer than that to load.

You can test your site’s speed with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. If it’s too slow to load, you’ll need to address the situation. Some things that may affect your loading speed are:

  • Poorly optimized images
  • No Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • No caching plugin (WP Rocket is an example)

Minimizing your site’s loading speed will ensure that mobile users won’t navigate away from your site out of frustration.

#5: HTTPS is a Must

You probably know that, as of 2017, Google is penalizing sites that aren’t secure. That means that if you aren’t already using HTTPS, you should be.

HTTPS provides a secure user experience for your site. Sites that use HTTPS display a webicon of a lock. Those that aren’t secure get a message stating that the site isn’t secure, instead.

Switching to HTTPS requires buying a security certificate, installing it, and rerouting traffic from your HTTP site to the new HTTPS site. Once you do, your site will display the lock icon and you may get a boost in your Google rank, too.

Google’s Algorithm is Proprietary…

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to improve your site’s rank. The five ranking factors listed here are key to moving up the SERP – and getting the search traffic you deserve.