It's no secret that Google can bring you a consistent flow of free and organic traffic when your website's ranking is high. Recent data shows that Google accounts for over 70% of desktop search traffic worldwide, followed by Baidu at 13%, with Bing at 12%, and Yahoo at only 2%. It also reported that the first five search results on Google's first page account for 67.60% of the overall clicks. This is why as a new website owner, it's imperative to focus on your website's ranking to push your rankings to Google's SERP. To start building your search engine ranking, here are five free hacks you should focus on.
1. Get familiar with Google Algorithm
John Mueller and Gary Illyes, two of Google executives confirmed that Google changes its algorithm almost everyday. In a MOZ report, it's estimated that Google changes its algorithm by 500 to 600 times per year. As a business owner, it's important to stay informed of the major algorithm updates to stay ahead of your competition in your niche. As of June 2021, the latest update is in terms of Page Experience, while in 2020 the algorithm heavily focused on content relevance and quality.
2. Do Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of good Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Start by listing keywords that best represent your business and your offer. If you're in the landscaping business, it can be "landscaping company in CA", or if you're selling high-end cars you can use "luxury cars in NY". If you sell products, focus on product-based phrases such as "travel yoga mat" or "wireless speakers". You can also spy on your competitors to have more keyword ideas.
Then, create your list of potential keywords and prioritize according to their popularity. There are free keyword tools that you can use to jumpstart your SEO campaign. They will help you know the popularity of the keywords and their difficulty to rank. Some of the FREE tools you can use include Keyword Surfer, Moz, Ubersuggest, KWFinder, SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, Answerthepublic, SpyFu, and Alsoasked.com.
3. Optimize Your Pages Using Your Target Keywords
Once you determine the keywords that best represent your business that have good search volume and less competition, optimize your website around them. One pro tip is to target only one primary keyword for each page. This will avoid competition against other pages in your website. Here are the things you need to optimize within your website.
Headings give structure to your page's content and help users and Google bots navigate and understand your content. Use H1, H2, and H3 tags to provide hierarchy and structure to your content. Use your primary keyword in the H1 tag and insert other relevant secondary keywords to the other headings.
Customize the URL of your website's individual pages. Each URL must communicate what the page is about. For example, if the page is about a copywriting service, you may use "www.websitename.com/copywriting-service".
Your page copy should be easy to read, informative, compelling, relevant, and keyword-rich. Avoid keyword stuffing or placing too many keywords in your content. The best practices suggest placing your target keyword in the first 100 words of your copy.
Title tags and Meta descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are the first things users see in the search results. Their purpose is to persuade users to click through your site. Google likes high click-through rates (CTR). If you can maintain a high CTR, you'll rank faster in Google.
Google doesn't understand images, so you need to insert descriptive alt text that is connected to your main keyword.
4. Optimize for Local Search
In a report from Google, 46% of all searches contain local intent and that one of the main pieces of information local searches find is the business location. To improve your chances of showing up in local searches, get your Google My Business listing. Once you have this, provide contents with keywords that include your location, get your company listed in local directories, and get as many positive reviews online about your products or services.
5. Improve User Experience
There are several factors why users stay or leave your website. The longer users stay on your page, the better it is for your SEO ranking. Here are some of the things you need to check on to improve user experience.
A study shows that 53% of mobile users abandoned a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Google recommended a under half second threshold for e-commerce sites, and one to two seconds for other websites.
Usability on Mobile
Google predominantly uses the mobile version of pages when crawling websites. Even if your website is flawless in the desktop version, your SEO ranking could take a big hit when not optimized for mobile. Ensure that every page is accessible via mobile. You can use Google's mobile-friendly test tool to see the mobile usability of your site.
Your website ranking is crucial for bringing in free and organic traffic to your website. When you get high traffic to your website, your chances of converting these visits into sales will be higher. Follow the tips above to rank on Google for free.
Whenever you're ready to invest more in your SEO campaigns, a digital marketing agency like Viva la AD can help you improve your rankings.
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