Top 10 SEO Tips to Increase Your Website’s Page Rank on Google
Getting your website to the first page of Google’s search engine is the most coveted real estate on the internet. And getting a piece of that real estate through organic search engine optimization (SEO) – that means without paying for pay per click ads – is what this post is all about.
The first website listed for a search on Google gets a 34.36% clickthrough rate. This means that one-third of people who see your site in the first position on Google will open it and look through it, which translates into lots of eyes and potential buyers perusing your site.
So how do you get to this position?
We have compiled a list of the 10 most important, simple and free strategies that will help you rank on Google’s first page.
These strategies are all designed to make it easier for search engines like Google to identify what your your website is all about, and most importantly, to make Google trust your website. Trust is the most important currency for search engines – if Google trusts your site, then it will readily offer it up to its searchers on its first page.
Top 10 Simple SEO Tips
1. Keyword Research
Google displays websites based on the words that its visitors are searching for. This means that your website has to have the right keywords that match what your potential visitors are searching for and what your business offers.
Placing the right keywords into the content of your website is key to getting on Google’s prime real estate. Make sure you choose keywords that your people are searching for, but not keyphrases that are too competitive; these are keyphrases that you can’t outrank big-name companies with. For example, if you are building a website to sell books, you can’t expect to outrank Amazon for the keyphrase “books”.
So you have to select your keywords carefully. Consider using long-tail keywords – keywords and phrases that are longer than 2-3 words, and indicate a more detailed, specific search.
People searching for long-tail keywords are more likely to turn into leads, making them more valuable visitors.
There are many tools you can use to identify good keyphrases that are not too competitive. Wordtracker is a particularly valuable tool. Though it does cost a minimum of USD27/month to really get the most out of the tool, you can get some valuable ideas of competitive keywords for free too. There’s also Google Keyword Tool. This is designed to be used for a Google Adwords campaign, but you can also use it for free to search for relevant keywords. Another good tool is Keywordtool.io.
Once you’ve identified a few really powerful keywords that your potential site visitors will be using to find you, optimize each page of your site for one to two of these keywords.
The following tips get into how to do just this.
2. H tags
H tags are the headers in HTML – the coding used to create webpages that tells browsers what to do with the information in each page. H tags tell search engines what keywords are important on your website.
You would plug in the keywords and keyphrases you discovered (from step 1 of this Top 10 list) into your H tags.
Using H1 tags, H2 tags, H3 tags and so on throughout a page conveys to search engines what the most important words are on your page.
For example, a website that sells books might use their H1 tag like this:
<h1>Affordable Books for All Ages</h1>
The H1 tag for this web page is <h1>Top 10 Simple SEO Tips</h1>.
If you have another subhead to use further down on your web page, you would use an H2 header, and then an H3 header and so on.
Google and other search engines see that these are the words that matter the most to your site when they crawl your pages. So when people are searching for keywords and keyphrases, Google is more likely to rank those pages that have the same keyphrases in their H tags.
3. Page title tags
The title of each webpage in your site tells search engines what your site is all about. The keywords you discovered should be included in each web page title, as well as your H tags.
Don’t waste this precious opportunity to tell search engines what each page is for. For example, don’t let your title say: “Welcome to the Bookstore” or “Bookstore Home.” Make use of your title and instead say something like: “Books for a Bargain on Cooking, DIY, Science, Romance and All Kinds of Kids Books.”
In HTML, this would be between <Title> tags like this:
<Title>Books for a Bargain on Cooking, DIY, Science, Romance and All Kinds of Kids Books<Title>
Description Meta tags are seen under your page title on Google and they serve as a sort of advertisement for your site, which helps get users to click on your site. The meta tags do not exactly impact SEO, but they do impact user experience.
Here’s an example of a page title and descriptive meta tag for a bookstore website:
The title and meta tag describe what this bookstore offers. The descriptive title gives search engines the information it needs to index this website while the descriptive meta tag gives searchers the information they need to decide whether they want to click on the site.
Keep your title between 40 to 60 characters long and your meta tag to around 150 characters.
4. Navigation system that search engines can read
Before Google and other search engines can rank your website, they have to find, crawl and index your web pages. The best way for them to do this is through backlinks (tip #10 in this list), but submitting your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools is crucial.
Submitting your sitemap to search engines isn’t a guaranteed way to get your site listed, but it can improve the indexing of your site. Sitemaps allow you to categorize and prioritize your content. This means that the pages carrying your most important content will be crawled and indexed faster by search engines than those with a less priority value.
To help ensure your entire website is indexed (because Google indexes page by page), use descriptive language on your navigation bar. For example, avoid the words “Services” and “Products”. Instead, add some details on the type of services or products you offer. This gives more information to search engines and gives each page a better chance to rank.
Remember – each page can rank on Google depending on the keywords users are searching for. Link a page on your sitemap to your main navigation. It helps search engines find all your pages.
5. Domain name – Use .com
Choosing a domain name for your website can be fun and challenging at the same time. Your domain name, also known as your URL, is extremely important and plays a critical role in your brand development.
Your domain name, if possible, should include a keyword or keyphrase you discovered. And also, it is best if it is a .com website. Because people remember .com.
6. Responsive Website
These days, having a website that is functional and optimized on all types of devices – from desktops and mobiles to tablets and ipads – and different browsers and desktop sizes – isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan.
And it is important for SEO: in 2015, Google announced that it would start factoring how well a website displays on a mobile device into its site rankings when a search is carried out on a smartphone.
The best way to ensure your design is responsive – which means that it responds to whatever device or browser it is being viewed on – is to develop the website with a responsive design that utilizes a special type of HTML that automatically changes the layout of a website depending on the device.
7. Go HTTPS
Since 2014, Google’s page ranking algorithm has begun factoring in whether web pages use HTTPS, which means you must start using HTTPS in your web pages.About one-third of page 1 results on Google use HTTPS.
HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure and it ensures that all the communication between the web browser and your website are encrypted. This keeps the information safe from hackers.
This is Google’s way of trying to encourage safety on the web. In short, if Google ranks based on HTTPS, then you better go HTTPS.
8. Update Content
Google rewards good content by ranking sites with valuable content higher. Google also ranks web pages higher when their content is consistently updated. Websites that don’t have regularly updated content are basically just digital brochures. While this may be the main reason you want a website in the first place, your site likely won’t rank well on Google if it doesn’t produce a steady stream of useful content.
Regularly updated content leads to the trust that results in followers, leads and sales. It also helps guarantee more backlinks, which is one of the most important tools for SEO (see #10 on this list).
Including a blog on your website, which produces useful and valuable content to your site visitors, is a great way to keep your website fresh.
Make sure your blog posts are at least 200-400 words per post, so Google really notices that you’ve made changes to the content on your site. And when writing a blog, choose one or two specific keywords for that post and use them several times in the body of the post.
9. Location information
Very likely your business is located somewhere – here in the UAE, or maybe in Singapore or Chicago. Wherever your business is located, you should include the name of the city as one of your keywords. Because obviously, you want people from where your business is located to be doing business with you.
Google will also provide web pages to its searchers based on where their searchers are located. So if you are searching “Pizza” and you are physically in Dubai, then Google will give you pizza options in Dubai, not China. But you have to make sure Google knows where your business is located, and not just on the “Contact Us” page.
Be sure to include your location information on every page, even if it’s just in the footer. And also, put important keywords on the “Contact Us” page, so it’s not just your company name and a street address.
And don’t forget to submit your website with local directories and Google’s local-search index.
10. Get backlinks
Google uses over 200 factors when ranking a website, but no factor is more important than links. When another website links to one of your web pages, it indicates that your web page has some level of relevance and importance, and Google notices this.
But when many websites link to your pages, known as backlinks, that’s even better. But getting backlinks is not easy and takes some time.
Here’s a quick summary of some ways that you can get backlinks:
- Start a blog – blogging is a great way to accrue links back to your site. For example, you write about something relevant and informative, and people notice and link to your web page from their site. And blog sites are often well indexed by Google.
- Register with search directories – find speciality directories that list information for the type of services that your business and website offer.
- Contact companies you do business with – If you’re already doing business with a company, then you can ask them to include a link to your site from theirs.
- Submit to announcement websites or newsletters – These are sites like www.u rlwire.com.
- Mention your site in discussion groups – leave messages in relevant group discussion forums about your site, with links back to your site.
**IMPORTANT: Be mindful that many blogs and discussion forums may employ a “nofollow” attribute on their page. This means that if you leave a link to your site, Google will not follow it and will not index it. You can find out which sites use “nofollow” by pressing CTRL + U, and then searching for the word “nofollow”.