Some business owners mistakenly think that putting a website together will automatically cause a business to boom. It’s true that a website can put you on the map, but if you’re the only one with the map, it won’t amount to much. Using SEO to boost your website’s google search ranking is like giving someone the map and telling them how to get to the “X” that marks the spot…including those that were looking for the map to start with and those that never knew they needed it until just now when they saw your name in Google’s ranked search results.
SEO strategy exists to solve a problem…specifically your Google search ranking problem. It is more than just adding in a few tags, choosing a few random keywords, and creating blog posts. The devil is in the details. It is the overall effect of an effectively run SEO campaign that can make Google sit up and take notice of your website and all of the pages on it.
Before we go any further, let’s see where you stand. Google the name of your business or the type of service you provide and what city you are located (ie. Tax attorney, Houston). Now, look at the first page of results that Google provided. Is your business’s name the first entry? No, well does it appear anywhere on the page? Chances are you might be a little harder to find than you thought.
Now Google Vertical Web and tell me what you see. Every one of Google’s search results directs you to our website. Every single one.
With this illustration of what a well-run SEO campaign can do, let’s get to work.
SEO Best Practices that Can Move Your Google Ranking
Boosting your Google search ranking using SEO best practices is key to getting visitors to your web site and cultivating a relationship with them. Without SEO, it doesn’t matter if you are the only gourmet producer of gelato in one hundred miles, because no one online will know you’re there. But by using some SEO best practices, you can be THE gourmet gelato store everyone wants to visit.
The top eight SEO practices we recommend to contribute to a better Google search ranking include:
- Be BFFs with Google. The search engine uses algorithms to aide in ranking web pages. If you don’t take the time to learn how to meet and exceed their ranking standards, don’t expect your website to be ranked which translates to less visibility. Not only do you have to educate yourself about Google’s algorithms, but you have to KEEP doing it. Why? The search engine’s algorithms are estimated to be changed or tweaked several hundred times each year. This means that you must be able to switch gears often to keep your website ranked by Google.
- Make your keywords count. Although consistent and innovative content for a web page is important, keywords are even more so. Think of it this way. If your website is dedicated to real estate, but a fair amount of your content focuses on the economy without properly referencing how it affects real estate, it is not likely to be a ranked search result for you. Know your audience and what kind of information and services they are looking for and how it relates specifically to your products and services. This is one of the best places to start keyword research.
- Help users read between the lines. It is estimated that seventy-five percent of adults utilize glasses or contact lenses. That could potentially be three-quarters of all of your website visitors. So a priority for your website becomes making it clearly readable for the vast majority of users. Simple ways to make website content easier on the eyes can include incorporating larger font sizes, smaller paragraphs, and the inclusion of a fair amount of white space. Google is looking for the inclusion of certain signals that demonstrate you are doing this. Bulleted lists or numbered lists, not only helps your user but also signals to Google you have added elements that make the page easier to read, scan and digest. All of these techniques lend themselves to a web page appearing cleaner, less cluttered, and more attractive to the eye.
- Ensure a good site speed. It won’t matter what amazing things are on your website if it takes more than ten seconds to download. We live in a culture of immediate gratification, so by five to ten seconds in, if your page has not loaded your web page visitor has moved on and probably to a site that loads faster. One easy way to decrease page load time is to ensure the size of images are not too large for the page to properly handle. Make sure you compress images before posting them and don’t go so overboard with a web design that it adds critical seconds to a page’s overall load time.
- Have accessible content. Google typically defines a website setup that is accessible amongst multiple devices a responsive web design. Why is this important? A website that looks fantastic on a desktop but crashes if you try to access it by smartphone does next to nothing. The goal is to have your website be user friendly and consistent in appearance and function whether someone is visiting it on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. And yes, your website must be accessible to all devices because different demographics use different technology. If you choose to shortchange one demographic, you are just standing in your own way.
- Stay up to date on technology. There is a ton of website technology out there, but that doesn’t mean you should use them all. It will slow the loading time of pages and not only that, but some of them do not work the same across desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Video embedding is something that can be particularly tricky. If you use technology to embed a video that will not play properly, Google knows it and it won’t help your website’s Google ranking. Additionally, make sure your website is up today and free from hacks. A hacked website is often marked as such in the SERPS. This is a bad signal to the end-user about how you do business.
- Avoid giving your users a “fat-finger-complex.” You know what it’s like if you’ve ever tried to type out a text before and your finger keeps hitting everything but the letter you mean to. Be careful not to shrink down graphics, links, and interactive buttons on your web pages so that they are difficult to engage with. It is irritating to users and Google, and no one likes to think they have fat fingers. Google has become so aware of this problem they have newly added Google Core Web Vitals to help address this and other end-user issue that they perceive is an impediment to end-user experience (ux).
- Incorporate SEO into the entire website. Google ranks pages, not websites. It is an important distinction. If you have perfect SEO on only one page of your website, it is the only page that will be ranked. It is like trying to water your lawn with a squirt bottle. Technically it works, but not very well. Make SEO best practices a part of every page of your website to work your way up to the top of Google’s search rankings for the time you are actively pursuing SEO strategy and well after.
Ways a Professional SEO Company Can help
Depending on your technology and SEO comfort level, some of these steps are easier to implement than others. For that reason and the interest of not wasting time that could be earning them money, smart business owners are turning to a professional SEO Company like Vertical Web to help.
Yes, it requires an investment of time and money, but the dividends it yields can be numerous and long-lasting (and pandemic proof). And who doesn’t want that? One of my clients is an international travel agent whose business was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the reduction of funds coming in, he had to suspend his SEO efforts for a season. The beautiful thing about a professional SEO campaign is that it keeps working even after you do, so during the pandemic, his website continued to rank even when he wasn’t producing additional content.
Implementing an SEO culture on a website can seem overwhelming to the inexperienced but it is just part of the job for an SEO professional. They should already have a working knowledge of Google’s algorithms and Google’s Quality User Rating Guidelines, how to find the best keywords, how to boost your Google search ranking with SEO, and everything in between.
The best SEO campaigns are a blend of content strategy, links, email marketing, social media, public relations, and Google My Business. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are examples of some of the SEO and related services we provide:
- Registration on Google My Business registration (with posts)
- Local signals
- Link development and cultivation
- Content development including blog posts and evergreen articles
- Technical SEO and structure
- Social media posts
- Web design
In my opinion, the golden rule when signing with an SEO company is finding one that guarantees results without requiring you to enter into long term contracts. You might want to reread that last sentence again. It’s important. Don’t give your website or money to an entity that says otherwise.
The age-old debate of SEO is whether the investment of time and money upfront is worth it. If nothing else the pandemic has proven is that SEO is a necessary, long term strategy that all businesses need to implement. If you’re thinking about creating an SEO strategy or hiring an SEO professional and have questions, we’re here. And on Google.