Struggling to get your website to rank? You’re not alone. It can be quite tricky to get your website to rank on Google as there are over 200 factors in play. Fortunately for you, we’ve picked out 5 things that you can do to improve your Google rankings and give you maximum impact for the time you spend implementing them.
Claim & Optimise Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is one of the most useful tools that you have as a business and, as an added bonus, it’s free! It allows you to list your business location on Google search results & Google Maps. This will allow you to potentially appear in the Google Map pack giving you exposure to your local audience.
Setting up a Google My Business (GMB for short) profile is relatively easy and once it’s done your listing will be live on Google. It is worth noting that if you have to verify your listing, then it may take a few days to get your GMB page live. If you are prompted to verify your page, Google will generally send a verification code on a postcard to the address you’ve entered on your GMB profile. Most postcards arrive within 14 days but that’s not a guarantee. If you choose not to verify your listing, it will be put into a state of limbo, where your ability to control the information displayed is limited. We’d recommend verifying your listing as soon as possible.
Once your listing is verified, you’ll be able to add all sorts of information to it. We’d recommend adding as much as you can, this will include; your business’s working hours, a brief description of what you do, listing the locations you serve, as well as adding images/photos to your listing to make it more visual (it’s worth noting that you can even add 360° photos and street view tours too). Adding these bits of information will feed into your knowledge graph listing as well as help you appear in the local map pack. GMB also allows you to create short posts on your profile which can give your customers key information about what’s going on in your business, such as sales or new products.
Create Directory Listings & Backlinks To Your Site
Getting other reputable and relevant websites to link to your website is a very important part of SEO and getting your site to appear higher up search results. The concept of links and their importance can be confusing, but the easiest way to think of a link to your website is an association with the website giving the link. Google looks at these associations, both good and bad, and will judge your website accordingly. Sites that have other reputable websites linking to them tend to see higher rankings and sites that have lots of poor quality and irrelevant sites linking to them tend to struggle. Effectively, your website will be judged based on the company it keeps. If your site is new, or your backlink profile is limited, we would recommend listing your website on local high-quality directories as a starter. These directories will act a first step in getting some links to your site.
If you’ve already built directory listings (or had someone do it for you), we would recommend you revisit them to make sure they are relevant and include the correct information. Although creating directory listings and building links from other relevant websites is rewarding, it is also massively time-consuming. Keep at it though, as it will be worth it in the end!
However, having a lot of links pointing to your site can be detrimental if the links in question aren’t relevant to your site and they’re low quality. We recommend steadily building high-quality links which reflect the quality of the content they’re linking to. Building too many links in a short time can send warning signals to Google, which may lead to your website being more closely scrutinised. A really simple way to check whether a site who has linked to your website is high-quality is to take a look at it. If it’s full of paid adverts and contains very little useful information, then it’s likely to fall into the low-quality category. On the other hand, if there are lots of news articles that are relevant to your industry, then it’s a pretty safe bet that this will be seen as relevant.
Optimise Your Meta Titles
Meta titles are instrumental in optimising your site to rank higher on Google and other search engines. They tell both Google & users what your page is about, so it’s extremely important to have them on all of your pages. Meta titles are restricted by character limits though, so to make sure all of your title is visible on Google, we’d recommend that your meta title is no more than 60 characters. Optimising every single one of your meta titles can take a long time, so if you’re in a hurry, optimise the most important pages first. Here’s a useful tool which you can use to check and test that your meta titles are the correct length. It’s important to make sure that all of your meta titles are unique as if you have the same title on multiple pages, Google will have trouble picking up the correct page.
Make Sure Your Content Is Relevant & Up To Date
Great content is a big part of search engine marketing. Whether it’s a service page or a blog post, the content needs to be top-quality to provide value and satisfy a visitor’s search. Some ways to improve your content include going back to old content and ensuring it’s up to date and easy to understand, as well as creating new pieces of content to share on your website and on social media. Making sure your content is relevant to your business and your audience is paramount, as there is no point talking about cars if you’re an emergency plumber!
Optimising old content can be a time-consuming task as sometimes the content will need to be completely rewritten to maintain relevance. It is worth it though as having great quality, well-written content can give you an edge in search results. Being able to provide information to your visitors that none of your competitors offer gives you a very clear advantage, as search engines are looking to provide their users with unique valuable results. This can potentially mean better website engagement, as people take their time to read and absorb your content. Writing and optimising for longer more detailed phrases, also known as long-tail searches, is also a good idea as it can help you rank for a broader range of queries. Optimising for long-tail is particularly powerful as although the specific nature of the search means that less people are looking for it, the specificity of the search also indicates that the user has passed the research stage and is ready to purchase.
Improve On-Page SEO for Specific Pages
There’s a lot you can do to individual pages across your site to help them to be better optimised for both search engines and your visitors. Optimising your headings in the correct format, such as using only one H1 on a page, and structuring subheadings correctly by using the appropriate H-tags. These better structure your content and tell both users and search engines what the content is about.
You can optimise images with ALT text, which is a simple description of what the image is. This is mainly for accessibility purposes, for example, if a user has issues with their eyesight and they are using a screen-reader, they will be given the ALT text description if it’s valid. There are other uses for ALT text too. If the image fails to load the ALT text will display instead. It is also used for ranking images in Google image search.
Internal linking (linking to other pages on your website) can help pass authority to your other pages. This is a great way to help your underperforming pages rank higher for relevant searches. However, you should only link to another page when it’s relevant to do so. Linking when it’s not relevant can be seen as spammy and can have a negative effect.
So while we know there’s a lot to do when it comes to SEO and improving your rankings, if you follow the 5 things we’ve talked about in this post, you should be able to put your website in the best position to improve your rankings. Here’s a summary of what we’ve covered.
- Make sure you claim and optimise your Google My Business listing if you haven’t already. Remember to verify it as soon as you get a postcard from Google.
- Build valuable and high quality backlinks to your site, as this increases Domain Authority. If your backlink profile is relatively limited, you should build local citation links.
- Optimise your meta titles to be relevant and engaging to your audience. Remember the 60 character limit.
- Make sure your content is up to date and is relevant to the audience and topic you’re talking about.
- Improve the on-page SEO for your most valuable pages. This means optimising your headings, and adding internal & external links where relevant.