Getting to the top of Google is a lofty goal.
You have to beat out your competition, all 10 million of them.
- SEO. SEO is a way of editing the content and code of a web page so it gets shown higher on the search engine results page “SERP” when someone does a search for your thing. Some SEO is technical, such as using proper heading tags, adding meta tags and identifying keywords.
- Know what people are looking for. In fancy computer talk, we call these key words and phrases. Know what the key terms your users are looking for and use those terms in your content. The more you use it, the better, but don’t over-use it.
- Reduce your competition by focusing on details. Create focused pages for content, such as “buy dress shoes for men” instead of “buy shoes”
- Focus on local customers. Sure, we’d like to market to the entire world, but you have to start small. If you can’t get your neighbor to visit, how are you going to get the people thousands of miles away?
- Answer their questions. What questions is your average searcher asking? Create a page for each topic and answer that question
- Make it fast & easy. Easy to read (no technical jargon or acronyms,) easy to navigate and fast. If the user can’t find their answer in 3-4 clicks, they will leave.
- Imagine your the searcher. What is your skill set? How much do you know about the product? What would you be searching for. Imagine your user can’t remember the name of your product, how would they describe it in a search?
- Make it Mobile Friendly. Your website will not rank well if it is not mobile friendly. Pinching and sliding is not mobile-friendly. To be mobile friendly, your content must fit on the mobile device screen and be readable without the user having to pinch, squeeze, or move the screen around to see all of the text.
- Use SSL. This is also required to rank well. If your hosting company doesn’t provide SSL, then buy one. At $100, it will easily pay for itself.
- External links & authoritativeness. This is the hardest part of SEO. You need people of authority to provide links to your website. One method is to get your vendors and brands to link back to you. If you have certifications or industry-specific memberships, update your profile so it links back to your website. Blog and/or write newsletters for industry-related websites and link back to your website.
Google’s SEO Algorithm
Most people thing Google when they think about searching, so your website should be designed to give Google what it wants. So what does Google want? Google has an algorithm with hundreds of factors that it uses to “rank” your website.
What is an algorithm?
An algorithm, in the computer world, is a set of rules that define what is done with information. An algorithm for sorting laundry could look like: If the clothing is blue, put it in the blue pile. If the clothing is red, put it in the red pile. If the clothing is black, put it in the black pile.
The Top 8 Tacticts
Google keeps their algorithm a secret, and it would probably be a very long, hard read anyways. Below are some of the most important factors:
- High-quality content – this is a “no-brainer.” Publish interesting information that is easy to read, organized and interesting. You also want to organize your website to answer the searcher’s question. Your website is critical source of information for the searcher; not an advertisement. Make sure to use your keywords and keep the content fresh.
- Mobile-first – as of 2021,websites that are mobile-friendly will rank higher.
- Page Experience – How does your website make the user feel? Is it fast, slow, cluttered, sparse, confusing, lots of moving parts and sound? Make a website that is pleasing and not agitating. Make the navigation easy to understand and everything easy to find. It should take the user only 3-4 clicks to find the information they want. SSL is a must. Google punishes sites that don’t use SSL. If you’re using advertisements, carefully consider how they are placed. Bad ads and ad placement will cost you rank.
- Page speed – This goes along with page experience and is another “no-brainer.” If your website is slow, users will leave before the page loads. Make sure you properly size your images and media and use a high quality hosting service.
- On-page optimization – Use proper structure: h1, h2, h3 tags, meta tags, schema.
- Internal links – What this means is that your strategy for linking to different pages on your site should be user-centered first. Then you can focus on how to drive traffic to a fundamental set of pages.
- External links – Earn relevant and authoritative links. If you are a member of a professional group, do they link back to your website? Write articles or newsletters for relevant organizations and have them link back to your website.
- Local –
- Relevance – how closely does your website match what the user searched for.
- Distance – How far is your business from the searcher, especially if “near me” is in the search
- Prominence – how popular is your business? Prominence based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.
It’s good for you and them
These habits will make your site better for you customers and ADA compliant AND help your page rank higher
- Alt Tags – When you put an image in your website, you should describe the image for those with visual impairments. This information will be read to a visually impaired person using a screen reader and by search engines. The search engine will use that information to better understand what the image is about and how it’s relevant. A relevant picture with a relevant description helps build trust with search engines. From the Moz Community “it’s in your best interest to create alt text that both describes the image and, if possible, includes a keyword or keyword phrase you’re targetin”