Why do your competitors websites rank higher than yours? Do you struggle with getting new visitors to your business website?
Google considers over 200 factors while determining the rank of a particular website. When the search engines don’t rank yours above your competitors, you are loosing out on new business.
How then can you improve your website to maximise your rankings? It’s all about optimisation – optimising your website in the right ways will improve your chances of ranking higher in the search engines.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to optimise your website for search engine success.
How to Optimise Your Website
Website optimisation involves making changes on your website for a higher rank in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
60% of internet users don’t go beyond the first page of search results. It is therefore essential to perform Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to achieve first page rankings.
How can you use SEO to grow your business? Here are 7 easy ways to optimise your website for better search engine rankings.
1. Target The Right Keywords
Keywords are phrases or words that explain what your website content is all about. They are the words or phrases that prospective customers will type into Google to find the products or services you offer.
The relationship between keywords and website optimisation is pretty simple. Google (and other search engines) will send their bots to visit your website, read and index your content, score the relevancy of your keywords and then rank your website in the SERPs accordingly.
How do you determine the right keywords for your website?
Finding the right keywords to target requires an understanding of your business from a customers perspective.
Learn who your potential customers are and what they need. Brainstorm what keywords they are most likely searching for to find the products or services you offer.
As a starter, an easy (and free) way to find potential keywords is by looking at the ‘related terms’ which are found at the bottom of any Google SERP. Simply perform a search for the keywords related to your business, then scroll down to find alternative keywords.
There are many other ways (both free and paid) to determine your list of keywords. We recommend you read this great guide: Keyword Research: The Definitive Guide
- Due to ever changing search habits, keyword research should be an on-going process to achieve the best results. Your keyword list needs to be re-evaluated periodically.
- Avoid common keywords as they tend to be very competitive. Use creative keywords to stand out from your competitors who are in the same business.
2. Create New Content
Creating new content is necessary to build a loyal base of customers and followers. Remember, there are other competitive websites offering similar products. You need to stand out and be perceived as a thought leader within your industry.
Ensure the content on your website is updated frequently. Make it interesting and engaging to your followers to build loyalty.
Also, Google and other search engines tend to reward websites that publish new, high-quality content. To rank highly in the SERPS, it is best practice to regularly update your website content.
Make sure to include your target keywords within the content. But don’t overdo it, just write naturally.
3. Optimise Your META Tags
META tags are bits of HTML code in the header of a webpage. They are vital for SEO. They help search engines understand the content of the webpage.
The main ones to consider are the Page <title>, and META Description tags as these are (in most cases) shown whenever a webpage appears in the SERPS.
How to Use META Tags Effectively
META tags should be optimised to highlight the most important content of your webpage. They need to make your website stand out in the SERPs, and entice visitors to click through to your website.
The Title Tag can directly impact your search engine rankings.
You should include your main keywords and the name of your brand. Create a unique, creative page title for each and every webpage. Keep it to 50–60 characters in length.
Further Reading: Page Title Optimization – The Holy Grail
The Description tag does not directly impact your search engine rankings.
It should be used to encourage users to visit your website, therefore improving your Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
Include your main keywords, a Call-To-Action and highlight the benefits of your products and services.
Keep it to 150–160 characters in length.
Further Reading: How to create the perfect meta description
How to Change Your META Tags
This is a very easy to do If you’re using a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, or Shopify etc. Just check out their online documentation or contact their support teams.
If your’re not using a CMS then you will need some basic coding knowledge. It’s probably best to get in touch with the developer(s) who built your website, or read this simple guide (but don’t use the Keywords tag, it’s no longer supported).
4. Check on Your Page Load Time
Page load time is the time your webpage takes to show up on your screen.
Google and other search engines penalise websites that load slowly. All things being equal, they will rank a faster website above a slower one.
This is also true of your visitors. If they experience a slow webpage they will leave your website, and bounce back to the SERPs to find your competitors. You’ve lost a lead and/or sale. They will probably never visit your website again.
You can check your page speed score using this free tool from Google.
What should you do to improve your website load time?
There’s many things you can do to improve the speed of your website, but the most common are;
- Host your website on a faster server
- Minimise image sizes
- Minimise HTTP requests
- Remove unused CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
- Enable and optimise browser caching
Don’t worry if this all sounds far too technical, that’s because it is. You’re website developer(s) will know what to do.
5. Make Your Website Responsive
Responsive website design is the process of ensuring your website offers the same user experience when viewed on different screen sizes and devices.
Your website resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being viewed on, such as a desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
How will a responsive website benefit your SEO?
Our habits have changed! We have now shifted from a desktop focused culture to a mobile one. Mobile usage now dominates. Responsive design is no longer a consideration, it’s fundamental to the success of your website.
Also, as of March 2018 Google has been rolling out Mobile First Indexing. This basically means that that they now use the mobile version of a webpage for indexing and ranking purposes. If the mobile version of your webpage doesn’t cut it, your rankings will suffer.
The benefits include;
- Offers a better User Experience – visitors are more likely to convert
- Increased Site Usability – visitors will spend more time on your website
- Faster Page Load Times – resulting in a ranking boost
- Decreased Bounce Rate – less visitors exiting your website
- Less Duplicate Content – a single URL for each webpage regardless of the device being used.
- Ease of Social Sharing – gain more visitors
Is your website responsive?
It’s easy to find out if your website is mobile-friendly! Just plug your website address into this tool. If it isn’t, pay your web developers to make it responsive. It’s worth the investment!
6. Review Your Competitors Websites
If your competitors websites are ranking above you, there’s probably a good reason why!
Visit the websites that are ranking at the top of the SERPS. What are they doing differently? Read their content. Identify the keywords they are targeting. Establish their strengths and weaknesses.
Can you replicate what they’re doing? And make it better?
7. Build Trust
Provide Contact Information
A website with no contact information appears untrustworthy. Would you buy from someone who you cannot contact?
Include your contact information on your main ‘contact us’ webpage, and in the footer at the bottom of every webpage. Include your email address, phone number, physical address, and links to your social media profiles.
Publish The Legal Stuff
You should create the following webpages, and link to them from the footer of your website;
Your website will be using cookies. The GDPR Cookie Law requires your visitors informed consent before storing cookies on their device and/or tracking them.
You MUST inform your visitors about the way you collect data, and provide them with the option to allow them or not. You MUST obtain informed consent prior to your website installing cookies on their device.
Better Website Optimisation = Better Search Engine Rankings
Search Engine Optimisation is all about your visitors. Your website should be user-friendly and customer-centric. The above 7 tips are a good guide on how to optimise your website to get higher search engine rankings, more visitors, and an increase in revenue.
Web Presence are a full service Digital Marketing Agency based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. We’ve been plying our trade since 2004.
Get in touch if you need help on any of the above, or to learn how we can help to grow your small business.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo.