Having Trouble Getting Your Website in the Search Results?
You have a website, maybe it's a brand new website or perhaps it's an older website that's been online for awhile - either way, the problem is your website isn't ranking in the search engines. You've probably spent some time online looking for answers to the question many website owners have: how do you get your website to rank in the search engines".
I'm sorry to say this, but it's pretty difficult to give you an answer to that question. I know it's not what you want to hear - but wait, just a moment before you click on the back button to scurry away from this post.
Give me a few minutes to help you understand what's happening between your website and the search engines. Perhaps I can even give you a few answers to help the relationship between your website and the search engines to blossom and get your website to rank in the search engines.
I've put together a list of 4 things for you to start looking at in your search to get your website to rank in the search engines.
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1. User Relevancy is a Top Priority
People around the world are using computers - search engines to be exact - to find information. What are they looking for? Everything! Maybe a house cleaning service to clean their new office building, a listing of local events or businesses, where to go kayaking this weekend, someone to repair their roof after the latest storm, or perhaps someone to pressure wash their house to get it ready to sell. Whatever information they're searching for, the search engine's job is to provide them with results that will supply them with the information they need.
So where does this fit in with your search to get your website to rank in the search engines play into this scenario? When a user enters a search for information, the search engines crawl (or search) through the content on a website to see if they can find information that matches the keywords the user is searching for. If your website has information relevant to their search, it might be displayed in the search results.
But remember, your website isn't the only one containing this information. There are several factors which are considered when the search engines make the decision to display a website in the search results. When you start building content on your website put a little something extra into it in order to capture your user's attention.
2. Understand Search Engine Optimization
Let me define a couple things for you first:
Search Engine Ranking is the position where a website is listed in the search engines. Usually a search results page displays a list of 10 websites relevant to the user's search request. This list of results could display links to not only websites but also images, documents, videos, YouTube, or local listings.
Search Engine Ranking Factors are the specific criteria the search engines use to evaluate a web page and determine it's relevancy to keywords that pertain to a user's search request.
Search Optimization is the strategies used to help obtain more visitors to your website by getting a higher ranking in the search engine results
The big jackpot question here is, "what are these factors used by Google to determine where to rank your website in the search engines"?
3. Five Google Ranking Factors to Help Get Your Website to Rank in the Search Engines
Google's ranking factors determine where to rank your website. According to SearchEngineWatch.com, in 2016 Google is the most popular search engine in the US with an average of 1.6 billion unique monthly visitors. Here's how the search engines rate in popularity:
Google - 1.6 billion
Bing - 400 million
Yahoo - 300 million
Ask - 245 million
Aol - 125 million
With that in mind, for the rest of this post I'll be referring to Google and "the search engines" interchangeably when talking about getting your website to rank in the search engines.
It has been reported that Google has over 200 ranking factors which it uses. The exact algorithm used by Google is one of the internet's best kept secrets. If the algorithm was easily available, it would also be easily manipulated.
While we don't know the exact list of ranking factors which make up this top secret algorithm, a lot of research has been done to compile a list of reliable best practices to help get your website to rank in the search engines.
Here's five of Google's ranking factors:
Keywords and Content
Keywords are the signals you website gives to Google to tell the search engine what content it should find on the page being crawled. Your keywords should be placed throughout your page and your content should be written in a way that creates interest and provides valuable information to your users.
Google isn't able to crawl the images on your website. When it sees an image it has no idea what the image means. By adding a few key details to your images such as alt text and title tags, you are able to explain your image to the search engine.
Fresh Content and Website Updates
Google loves fresh content! I'm sure at some point you've heard this exact same phrase. Your content should be kept fresh, new, and unique by frequently updating your website with new content and information.
Google has confirmed link building is one of their top 3 ranking factors . Learning how to build quality backlinks to your website is a must if you want to start getting more search engine traffic. When building backlinks to your site there's a few things to consider, page authority, site authority, and content relevancy.
Mobile-First User Experience
2016 brought a huge change to the SEO industry when Google moved towards their mobile first indexing. Google has placed a priority on crawling the mobile version first versus crawling the desktop version first. Optimizing your website for mobile users has a huge impact to help get your website to rank for the search engines.
4. Local Users are Looking for You
Set up and optimize your business listing on Google My Business. A link to your site will be created along with a map if you have a brick and motor building location. Your local customers will be able to use keywords you optimize your listing with to find you easier in the search engines.
We all know online shopping is a huge thing to consumers right now. But customers still shop locally, eat at local restaurants, and look for local service providers. If you're not optimizing your website and business for local customers you're missing out.
Conclusion - What You Should Takeaway from This
Search Engine Optimization isn't an exact science; there's a lot of work that to get your website to rank in the search engines. In this post I gave you four areas too consider :
- Make your content relevant to what people are searching for.
- Understand search engine optimization not only by the definitions which I gave you but also by understanding other critical factors of SEO such as white hat and black hat techniques, watching for Google's algorithm updates and more.
- Use Google's ranking factors to help encourage the search engine to rank your website higher
- List your business on Google My Business to attract local customers
These steps will get you started towards your goal and possibly help get your website to ranking the search engines. There's many more things you can do which I'll be discussing in future posts. I've also begun writing the next post which will go into more detail of steps you can take with the 5 Google ranking factors I've listed in this post.
Bonus Tip - SEO Maintenance
You might think your job is done once you get your website to rank at the top of the search engines. It's not! SEO should always be monitored and maintained. When your competitor gets knocked out of that first position they're going to implement their own strategy and do whatever it takes to get it back. If you just "do SEO" once and walk away you won't stay in the top position for long. I've put together an ongoing SEO plan that will help you maintain your position once we get your website to rank in the search engines.