“If you build it, they will come” – Not if they do not know about it!
While Google does not publish their search engine algorithms, there are some “best practices” that will, over time, increase your search engine rankings. Beware anyone who “guarantees” top rankings, because they cannot!
Tip One: Content Is King
First and most importantly, “Text is King” and is what you “feed” search engines. The more you have AND the more frequently you add it, the higher and faster you rank. Google knows when you update your text. If you update it once a year, then Google will “index” your content once. If you update 6 times a year, then you store that much more text.
Think about how you use a search engine. You enter what you are searching for and Google searches its databases for websites with matching keywords and phrases. Where do they get it? Of course, from your website. The more text you have, the greater the chances that you will become a “result” on the page.
Tip Two: Text Weight Factor
So how do you rank higher? When you add more content to your website you are increasing your “weight factor” for certain keywords and phrases. Let us say you mention “executive search” on a page once, but a competitor mentions it four times. Search engine algorithms believe the website with it four times must be much more related to the phrase and ranks it higher.
Tip Three: Home Page Prominence
Many times, a client in the beginning will ask for a smaller home page with not a lot of content. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with a website for two reasons. Search engines place a “prominence” factor to where your text is, and nothing ranks higher than your home page. Make your Home page a “menu” to the rest of your website with text and imagery.
The second reason is Google likes “Internal Links” which aid your visitors, as well as search engine crawling. When you add more text and internal links to your Home page content, you are increasing your search engine rankings.
Tip Four: Lates News & Blogs
The absolute best way to add more interesting and meaningful text to your website is via a Latest News or Blog system on your Home page. You should always include “snippets & links” from these blog entries to the expanded News items in their own section. Some redundancy is a good thing! Use this section to highlight any relevant information about who and what you are. In your Blog articles, use keywords and phrases that are relevant and used in searches. Remember Tip Two!
Tip Five: Reciprocal Links (Backlinks)
While not as important as they once were, “backlinks” (or reciprocal links) are links on other websites back to yours. Google considers them an endorsement. This is also part of “Content Marketing” and one of the easiest ways to achieve them is to leave comments on social media posts with links to your website. In addition to the main social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. explore comment sections in less visible platforms. Any websites that allow comment posting represent a great way to feed search engines, as well as the benefits of visitors reading your posts. It is a win-win!
Tip Six: You Have Two Audiences
When adding new content to your website remember you have two audiences, the visitors to your website, and the search engines. Always make the content fresh and interesting to readers and remember to use text that you wish to be found on via the search engines.
Tip Seven: General Website Tips
- SSL (Secure Socket Layer): An SSL is the “lock” you see on most websites and all secure shopping carts. You need to have this installed on your website or Google will penalize you. Most times it is free and done by your website hosting company.
- Alternative Text (Alt Tags): Make sure every photo in your website has alternative text in the code. Not only does Google index this but may penalize you if you do not, as it is also used by visually impaired visitors who use text readers.
- Website Loading Speed: Faster loading websites rank higher.
- Sitemap: A sitemap aids your search engines and your visitors. Create one for each.
- Videos: Google owns YouTube. Adding a long description into each video’s description on YouTube can aid your rankings. Videos are also a great way to break up text and add multi-media to your website.