There are over 1.3 billion websites on the internet, and several billion netizens across the globe. As each of those netizens may know, search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. facilitate the finding of the right content on the internet. But how do these search engines “decide” the order in which websites offering similar details are placed? Why are some websites placed on Page 1 while some others are on Page 2, Page 3, or even Page 33 for that matter? Did you know, more than 90% web users do not go beyond the first page while looking up for something. Out of this 90%, almost 30% users click on the first website there; the number keeps on falling, and only around 2% click on the tenth website listed on the first page. Thus you see, having a good position on a search engine, more so its first page, is extremely crucial for a website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process that helps boost a website’s position on search engines organically (i.e. by unpaid means), thereby improving its quantity and quality of visitors coming in through search engines.
Today, we’ll tell you not only how search engines work, but also what you can do to push your website up the search engine ladder. While SEO has an effect on all search engines, we’ll focus more on Google and how it functions because, as many would agree, it is the most popular search engine across the globe. Also, the internet giant has been living up to its motto of giving its users the most relevant answer they’re searching for, faster. How does it do so? Let’s discuss that with a simple analogy.
How Search Engines Like Google Rank Websites
Let’s take Google to be a college and the numerous websites on internet to be its students. Google follows an algorithm (in simple words ‘formula’) to grade and rank its “students”. This algorithm consists of various parameters on which the websites are graded — like the quality of the website, is it responsive (mobile friendly) or not, how many websites link to the particular website, are the keywords used relevant to popular searches or not, and numerous other parameters, most of which are not even known to the general public. Based on how much a website scores in each of these parameters, a total score is drawn. This score determines the position of the student in the Hall of Fame, i.e. the rank of the website on Google for a particular search. All said and done, the main reason why there’s no sure-shot way of scoring high in this “college” is that it changes its algorithm constantly. Also, there are some important components — like the age of the website and the domain name — that cannot be changed. However, there are some components in the algorithm around which you can work to improve your website’s scores.
Ways To Boost Your Website’s Search Ranking
SEO is a slow process. How long you take to appear in the first few pages of Google depends on your SEO efforts as well as your competitors’. There are numerous ways to help you boost your website’s ranking on a search engine result page (SERP); however, not all of them are legit. If you follow any unfair method, chances are that Google will spot them sooner or later and may penalize you by either blacklisting your website or some other way. So, it’s wise to stick to scrupulous means, be persistent, be creative, and slowly but steadily improve your website’s search ranking.
Here are some effective SEO tips that are in sync with Google’s constants in the algorithm and can help boost your website’s SERP ranking:
SEO Tip 1: Find the right keywords
Finding the right keywords is perhaps the most crucial step of successful SEO. Though there are several websites and tools that help you find the best keywords for your business, we’d suggest you put in a little extra effort and build your keyword list manually. Once you’ve figured out the keywords that work best for your business, you have to plug them in appropriate places throughout the website. In fact, every page must have separate keywords to help better in SEO.
Our next blog will handhold you through the whole process of finding the right keywords for your business. So make sure you go through it.
SEO Tip 2: Craft original content
Copy-pasting from other websites, even if it’s in bits and pieces, is a cardinal sin in the world of SEO. We cannot emphasize enough how important crafting original content is. What’s even more important is that you do not forcefully insert random keywords where they don’t belong. Instead, use relevant keywords seamlessly so that visitors can read the content without realizing the keywords that are aiding your SEO goals.
Example — If you’re a product photographer based in Ottawa, your keyword could be “Product photographer in Ottawa," or “Commercial photographer in Ottawa”. You can include one of these keywords in your ‘About Us’ page as, “I am a commercial photographer based in Ottawa with over 7 years of rich experience in Product Photography.”
SEO Tip 3: Update your content regularly
A lot of elements in a business keep on changing — new products or services may be introduced, some may be discontinued, the address may have changed, etc. Updating your website with these changes is necessary not only to keep your site up-to-date but also to aid SEO. This, however, is only one small step in the SEO process. What’s more important is that you regularly add new relevant content to your website… content that is relevant to your main target audience as well as others who may be on Google looking for some information; this will help you get more organic traffic to your website.
Different kinds of quality content that you may offer on your website are:
Industry news, updates or articles
Tutorials or How-to guides
SEO Tip 4: Get more inbound links
You may have often seen websites sharing some information and using a hyperlink that leads us to its reference article or page (some other website that earlier shared the data or information). This hyperlink forms what is called ‘an inbound link’ for the website offering the reference. In other words, an inbound link is a hyperlink back to your website from other sites. Such inbound links from multiple sites help a great deal in SEO. Here are some reasons why having multiple inbound links is one of the best ways to boost your SERP ranking:
It is one of the constant factors in Google’s ranking algorithm, and hence, one of the most reliable ways to up your position on the search engine.
Since inbound links lead people from other websites to yours, the organic traffic to your site increases.
It could also help potential customers find you organically.
Finally, having as many relevant inbound links as possible will help Google take you as a trusted website.
However, other websites will choose to link to your site only if you provide them with first hand or reliable information. Hence, make sure your website has quality content that other websites would like to backlink to.
SEO Tip 5: Add more outbound links
Just like having more inbound links boosts your reliability factor, linking your website content to other websites (inserting ‘outbound links’) also help a great deal in SEO. You can back your statements that talk about numbers, trends, researches, and other facts by adding relevant outbound links to them. However, ensure that the website to which you’re linking your content is a trusted and authoritative source. Only then will it help you in your SEO goals.
SEO Tip 6: Use metadata and alt tags
Google, when “crawling” or going through a webpage, looks for a quick summary of the page; this summary is called ‘metadata'. Similarly, a keyword-rich short description of an image is called an ‘alt tag’. Metadata and alt tags are as important as keywords if not more, since they are the key to getting a good ranking on SERP. However, there are some dos and don’ts that need to be adhered to while crafting the metadata and alt tags — aspects like the minimum/maximum word limit, keyword density (the percentage of keyword/s) etc. These may change every once in a while, so you either need to be updated about them or consult an SEO expert.
SEO Tip 7: Ensure quality of the website
Google is committed to serving its visitors with quality suggestions. Hence, it avoids listing websites that are subpar. To make it to Google’s standards of quality website, you need to ensure that your website loads quickly, is responsive, uses H1 or H2 header tags to highlight headings, has no broken links, contains more than just text (video, images, etc.), isn’t cluttered, and is properly formatted.
SEO Tip 8: Be clickable
To put it in simple words, Google is not a ‘keyboard person’; it’s a ‘mouse person’. It can only access pages that you can click with a mouse; that’s how it goes from one page to another. So, if your web page is not accessible by a clickable link, chances are that Google may not spot it. So, besides trying to get more inbound links, interlinking your web pages is also necessary.
SEO Tip 9: Spread your online wings
All the SEO tips mentioned above (barring tip 4) are on-page SEO techniques. To amplify their effect on SEO, it’s essential to engage in some off-page SEO techniques too. This will help to spread the word about your website’s existence. Some of the best ways to do that are:
Having a mere social media existence isn’t enough today. You need to build a strong fanbase (or follower base) and engage with them. Also, having social media plugins on your website facilitates easy sharing of content that interests a visitor.
Popular websites like Delicious, Reddit are social bookmarking sites. Here, people store, organize, search, and manage the web pages they like and want to share. The web pages bookmarked at social bookmarking sites are considered quality backlinks by search engines. This helps increase traffic to a website and improves its SERP ranking.
Just like Yellow Pages lists the contact numbers of individuals and businesses, a web directory lists down the website URLs of businesses under different categories and subcategories. Directory submission is the process of submitting your website’s URL on these business directories or web directories to create backlinks. These backlinks help your SEO goals.
Metaphorically speaking, SEO is like writing; everybody can write, but not everybody can write effectively or become a writer. What we mean is, optimizing your website for search engines isn’t a difficult task, but there are certain technicalities that an SEO expert may have learnt through years of experience. They know some tricks of the trade that no amateur can equal just by looking up. So, it’s better to trust a professional SEO expert to help your website climb up the search engine ladder.
Foundous believes in working with you as your design partner so that you can focus on your business. We believe design should be uncompromising as it gives the first impression of your business. That’s why, we give your website the ideal look and feel. Most of all, we understand cashflow; accordingly, we have amortized the cost of building your website, over time, with our affordable pricing. Contact us to know how we can help with your business.