This is a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ scenario. Each business is different, and each website is different. Therefore, what works for one site, may not work for another.
That being said, there are a few key levers you can pull to try and get your website to rise up like the champion that it is and dominate search rankings. Here are the top 5 things an SEO novice can do to boost their rankings.
1. Make your content helpful or share-worthy
Google is a bit like the owner of a fancy club with big, scary bouncers outside deciding which sites get in to come in and which are left to fend themselves on the dark, ominous streets of Page 2 and beyond.
One of the main factors Google looks at when deciding whether you’re worthy of the exclusive Page 1 club, is how valuable your content is.
Now, as a machine, Google can’t decide this for itself. Instead, it relies on the opinion of others to decide this – namely, people surfing the web.
It is beyond the scope of this article to go into the nitty-gritty of how Google discerns out good content from bad but suffice it to say that with your content you want to be thinking about how you can best serve the end user.
Are you providing the detail they need? Is your content entertaining or informative? Is it easy to understand and easy to navigate through?
2. Do keyword research
Keywords are the bread and butter of online search. Google uses the search terms that surfers of the web type in and serves up web pages that most closely align to those search terms.
One of the ways in which Google decides which sites will best serve the users needs are through keywords. A keyword is a word on a webpage that matches a search term.
And the more keywords your page has, the more likely it is to rank for search terms related to that keyword.
Let’s say Phil the Fancy Photographer wants to get wedding photography gigs in Las Vegas - the land of long-lasting love.
To do this, he’ll need to do his research - keyword research.
If he can identify what search terms people type when they are looking for wedding photography in Las Vegas, he will have done an ok job at keyword research.
But the online world is fiercely competitive so if Phil wants to have lots of success, he’ll need to drill deeper and find which keywords are high value AND low competition so he will stand a chance of competing with the Goliaths of the internet.
3. Get backlinks galore
A backlink is a link that points from one site ‘back’ to another site. Google considers a backlink like a vote in favour of site.
And just like there is a massive difference between Oprah vouching for someone and a dodgy-looking stranger on the street telling you to trust their friend, not all backlinks hold the same weight.
More backlinks is generally a good thing, but your focus should be on finding high-quality backlinks from authoritative, niche-specific websites. Even a few high-quality backlinks can be enough to signal to Google that you are a wonderful site and shoot you to the top of the search results.
4. Choose the right domain
Domains that contain keywords generally do a little better than sites without.
This is partially because Google sees it as a positive signal of keyword match and partially because people are more likely to click on domains that fit their search term (all other things being equal).
To prove this, let’s say you’re looking for a handyman in Williamsburg, New York. You have to decide between two sites:
If you’re anything like us, you’re gonna go with the first site - because it seems to be a better fit.
There are plenty more reasons why a domain name is a good idea if you want lots of customers. And as you can get a custom domain name with UENI for less than the price of tee-shirt, there are few things that will give you such incredible bang for your buck. Get yours here today.
5. Find balance between image size & quality
People are impatient. They don’t want to wait for the next season of their favorite show, they don’t want to queue for their morning cup of joe, and they certainly don’t want to wait for your site to load.
This means your site needs to be fast.
Luckily for you, UENI sites are built to be fast. The Bruce Lee of free web builders, they’ve been called. But you can make them faster still by optimising your image file size.
Now, we all want our sites to be pretty - and the end-user will very much appreciate this too, but not at the expense of a fast load speed. So some balance must be made between image quality and file size.
Your images should be high quality, but they don’t need to be National Geographic quality.
Equally, images that look like they’ve been taken through a mesh tight during an earthquake, just won’t cut it. Poor images significantly increase bounce rate (the percentage of people that leave your site after only viewing one page). And an increased bounce rate will lead to reduced search rankings.
To summarise, take pretty pictures that really sell your business, but don’t have image file sizes so large your site slows down with the weight.
Getting SEO right is essential to online business success but very quickly gets complex and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve started offering Local SEO Audits.
So take a few months to consider if it is right for you. Search around. Make a spreadsheet and some colorful graphs. Hire an advisor.
Or just get it right now and start rising up the search results so more potential customers get to see how great your business is.