Optimizing your website for search engines should not be a complicated process, but it does seem so more often than not.
A lot of websites find it tough to raise the ranking of their site above their competitors in search results despite following basics such as having an XML sitemap, targeting the right keywords, and making great content. This is also probably why proving the returns on investment is the biggest challenge with SEO.
Although there can be several reasons behind why your site is not rated better than your competitors, you can always experiment with different ideas to see what works out. Even some simple SEO hacks can make tremendous improvements to your SEO ranking.
However, in order to gain success with search engine optimization, it is crucial that you have both the mindset and understanding required to attain better results with adequate efforts invested into it. With just this alone, you can achieve results without having to invest a ton of money in it.
Apply the following mentioned search engine optimization hacks utilized by professionals to improve your ranking on search engines in just a few months, but before we begin, ask yourself whether you’re making these three search engine optimization errors.
Rely on outdated techniques and practices
Search engines such as Google and Bing are constantly improving, which means change. This means, if you’re unaware of the latest search engine optimization techniques and hacks, it is possible that you won’t get any favorable ranking in search results.
Your website is not up to date with standards
The days when search engine optimization primarily cared about external factors like the number of URLs are gone. Nowadays, the site’s design should be user-friendly along with accessibility features and great content to bag more SEO points.
Not following current standards for a website can leave your site behind in search result ranking and leave a wrong impression on your site’s visitors.
You’re shooting your shots blindly
Regardless of what industry or niche your business caters to, or the kind of business you run, you cannot rely on blind guesses to rank higher than your competitor in search results. You should configure Google analytics on your site and define and track your goals through it in simpler terms.
To improve your search result ranking, you should have appropriate data through which you can understand why your site is lagging behind your competitors in search results. Hence, stop with the blind guesses and start defining some SEO goals and track them with Google Analytics’s help.
Now that you are aware of some mistakes that can hinder you in your journey to the top let’s move on to hacks that can help boost your search result ranking.
Try to make content that stays relevant regardless of the time that goes by
You should focus on making content that stays valuable and valid for as long as possible. Content that manages to remain relevant for the longest also tends to attract new visitors consistently, which in turn makes such content one of the most effective search engine optimization hacks.
If you do a bit of research, you’ll find that most of the content that can remain relevant for the longest is on topics that stay relevant regardless of when they are posted. This helps bring traffic growth that is both social and organic while simultaneously generating quality leads for a long time, sometimes even for years to come.
Although this does not deny the value of time bout or news-based content, when you look at the kind of content that garners a higher ROI, you’ll find that content that isn’t sensitive to time wins easily.
In addition, it also aids your brand in building authenticity and trust in the long run and helps you stand out from the rest. This holds especially true when it is supported by genuine research.
While not many brands notice this, placing your focus on making content that remains relevant regardless of the passing time will help you improve your content strategy over time.
Following are some general ideas for such content:
- Relevant case studies
- Detailed guides to achieving a task
- List-based articles
- Authentic product reviews
- Series of tutorials
- Curated blog posts
- Best practices
- Expert interviews
Utilizing rich snippets
Using rich snippets can help make your search result appear more unique and informative compared to your competitors, and once you’ve reached the first page on Google search results, you must make sure that you are getting high clicks on your results. Although various techniques can help you rank higher, when it comes down to improving CTR, rich snippers take the crown.
If you’re unsure what rich snippets are, take a look at the following introduction:
Rich snippets refer to structured data markup, and it is included in your website’s existing markup. It helps search engines understand what your content is all about and provides extra information regarding your page to potential visitors before they click to open the URL to your website. Additionally, it also helps improve the user experience of users as they can get more information before even visiting a site.
In addition, they also help lead to better results in search results. Although the meta description and title tag already inform users with some information about your site, the rich snippet can help make your site stand out from the rest who aren’t using it.
Adding rich snippets to your site in a way is taking advantage of an opportunity that others are not taking, and since the snippet allows you to provide extra details compared to others, you would have a higher chance of getting more users to your site, which is precisely what we are after.
In simpler terms, rich snippets will not directly raise your ranking, but they can improve the chances of getting a better click-through rate.
Spread homepage link authority
Your homepage is the main page of any website, and it is the page that is loaded first whenever a user clicks or visits your website. In comparison to other pages on your site, it is also the site that brings the maximum number of backlinks.
Someone ignorant regarding the value of the link authority of the homepage of a website may leave it be as it is, but if you wish to optimize your website for better results, you should make sure that the link authority of the landing page can direct to other vital pages of your site.
A website’s top navigation already links the primary pages of a website, but if you’re not adding the pages you wish ranked in the SERP, you are making a mistake.
Regardless of how important a particular page might be, be it a product page or an individual blog post, adding links to the main body of your index page will eventually aid you in passing link authority to them, and due to the fact that these URLs are contextual in nature, they’ll give even more link authority in comparison to general navigational links.
Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Ever noticed that quite a few times, web pages appear simple or maybe even stripped down. This is because of AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP is a coding standard for developers and is one of the few SEO methods that gets ignored quite a lot.
Due to the constantly growing popularity of mobile users, providing mobile users a great user experience is crucial to your web application’s success, both in terms of sales and ranking in search results. Hence, AMP’s primary focus is to provide mobile users a better experience by optimizing the website to load faster on mobile devices.
Although websites can be responsive too, they can be clunky or slow sometimes, and this issue is solved with the help of Accelerated Mobile Pages.
When it comes to a web application’s loading speed, even a delay of few seconds can cause the user to leave your site. For Instance, Amazon is known to lose 1% of the sale for every 100-millisecond delay in their site’s loading speed.
While your service or website may not cater to an audience as massive as the eCommerce giant Amazon, it shows how crucial having an optimized and speedy website is, especially on mobile devices. Mobile users make up 56% of traffic on top websites, according to SimilarWeb.
How to implement AMP (Accelerate Mobile Pages) on your site?
First of all, you must maintain two versions of your primary web pages.
- The primary version of your article or blog post.
- Stripped down, AMP version of the same web page.
Following are some of the SEO benefits that are implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages offers:
- There is a higher chance of conversion compared to other websites solely due to the fact that your website is loading faster compared to your competitors.
- After implementing AMP on your site, you would find that your page URL is highlighted with green in search results; your page URL stands out in contrast to others and can help increase click-through rate in the long term.
- One of the primary reason’s users leave a website so quickly is the loading time of a website, making your visitors bored or even frustrated in some cases. Bounce rate is also an essential factor with ranking on Google search results; implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on your website can help improve the website’s loading time on mobile devices.
Increase Organic Click-through Rate (CTR)
Many companies and brands don’t realize the value of getting a high click-through rate (CTR). Their primary focus is on raising their rating on search engines, which is all good.
But there is not much point in getting first on Google search results if only a small number of users are clicking on your site URL. Unless your site gets ranked in the top three, you have to do more to generate clicks.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, maximizing the click-through rate is essential to getting a high investment return. Having a high click-through rate indicates that your website is relevant to the search query. The higher the number of users who click on your site, the more relevant your site gets in the eyes of search engines such as Google. In addition, it also justifies the position of your search result ranking.
There is no doubt whether you’ll have a favorable click-through rate if your website ranks well in search results, but is it enough just to rank well? The answer is obviously no.
For you to attract more visitors to your website, you must focus on other factors too.
Following are some of the things you can do to make sure that more and more users are clicking on your website rather than your competitors.
Your website listing in the SERPs can be more prominent than your competitors with the help of an effective meta description. Having a great meta description can inform potential visitors what your page is all about and increase their chances of clicking and visiting your web page.
While making content, make sure you’re considering the keywords as they are more specific and easier to rank for. In addition, by adding long-tail keywords on your website, you can increase the overall related search queries that you’ll be able to rank for.
Irrespective of the keyword that you may be targeting, you can add it to the URL of your web page and make it more informative, which in turn increases the chances of users clicking on the URL.
Whenever people look at the search result listing, they notice the title of any web page. This is why yours should be anything complicated by including brand name or something else to it at the beginning. It would be best to simplify it by mentioning the core benefits of clicking on the page URL so more people will click on your web page.
There is no perfect formula or trick to writing a great title that ensures click. This is also why you have to test your titles to make sure you’re using the best one. You can try various headlines with the help of numerous free tools available online, on your social media pages, and through pay-per-click advertisements.
Use HTTPS instead of HTTP
Search engine such as Google have explicitly stated that they favor sites utilizing HTTPS, and not HTTP ones. As a matter of fact, they have also announced officially that websites using HTTPS can rank better in comparison to those on HTTP, which makes the switch from HTTP to HTTPS even more enticing.
Even the reason behind why Google favors HTTPS over HTTP is extremely simple, because HTTPS is more secure and therefore is more trusted than HTTP. Google has always tried to serve its customers the best way possible. So, if it had to pick a website, then it would obviously choose a secure website over one that is not for its users.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): it is an effective system for exchanging information over the web. This protocol focuses more how the information is being presented to a user, and not so much about it reaches the user from a source.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure): the name is pretty self-explanatory, in comparison to HTTP, it essentially follows the same protocol but is more secure. This means that when data travels from source to destination, it travels through a secure route. Anyone trying to crack it wouldn’t succeed as they would with a site using HTTP.
If you decide to switch over to HTTPS, it can help improve the ranking of your website in search results.
Following are the three primary benefits of switching to HTTPS:
- Increased ranking in search results
- More referrer data to read into
- Better privacy and security
In addition to other SEO benefits that HTTPS offers, it is an extremely obvious choice to switch to HTTPS to make your website more secure and rank higher in the long run, and there is also little doubt that securing your website for your visitors is one the main reason for this switch.
Publish Long-form, Quality Content
Long form content is more effective than shorter ones, even though users have a short attention span on the internet, well executed and properly formatted long-form content can be helpful in getting more SEO traffic.
Long-form articles can also translate to longer time on your website, and the more time users spent of your website, the higher the chances of them signing up on your mailing list. In addition, long articles also allow you to add more backlinks and internal links in your content. This will ultimately help your search engine optimization efforts.
Publishing long-form content must be on your list of must implement SEO techniques as it can be help you:
- Look like an expert with real field knowledge.
- Boost the share and engagement your content receives.
- Improve your overall search engine ranking for your preferred keyword.
- Grow more brand awareness of your product, brand as well as services.
- Increase the size of your audience that views you as a subject authority.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, no one really knows what algorithm Google uses for ranking a website and taking it to the top 10, but what is known is that long-form content can easily rank higher than pages with thinner content.
According to study by serpIQ across a list of 20,000 keywords, they discovered that the average content length of pages that got ranked in the top 10 were 2,000 plus.
This clearly illustrates that to a broader audience through search engines such as Google, you must be adding lengthy content as it can help improving your rank for better, which in turn bring in a greater return on time and monetary investment, and sometimes both.
Does your webpage include images? If no, then you should start adding them, and if you’re already using images along with text content, make sure that you are optimizing them for search engines.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization techniques and hacks, optimization of images if one that is more often than not overlooked just cause it’s not in the form of written text, but, remember that visual elements are more effective in attracting the attention of users. Hence, getting pictures in front of visitors can make a huge impact. Which is also why it is a core part of your on-page Search Engine Optimization strategy.
Optimization of images may appear tough at first glance but that’s actually far from the truth. Here’s how you can optimize your images more efficiently:
- Name each image in a descriptive manner.
- Name your images in plain or simple language.
- Optimize the alt attribute in images well.
- Reduce the image file size.
- Pick JPEG for the image file extension to get the best possible quality.
As the time goes by, you’ll get better at optimizing images.
Listen to what your customers might have to say
Consumers are the backbone to any business, which is a no brainer as without any customers, running a business would be impossible. So, just hear what they might have to say regarding your product or website, compared to all other Search Engine Optimization hacks available, listening and understanding what your customer wants might sound the most apparent one, but is still not focused on by many.
You should focus on what you customers want; get into their position to understand what they might want. With the help of this mindset, you would be able to make content that they can relate to and would want to stick around to get more of.
Making content that you believe is important can be a poor strategy, you should focus on making content that is able to bring potential customers to your website.