“How do we get found on Google?” asks many a New Edge customer.
The answer is rarely what they want to hear. There’s no silver bullet, magic wand or special digital pill you can take; it simply requires hard work, experience and knowledge of the following key strategies:
1. Make sure it’s mobile responsive
A simple one, this - your website needs to be mobile friendly if it’s to rank highly on Google.
The search giant now operates on a mobile-first index. That means it favours the mobile versions of websites over their desktop counterparts, and if yours is cumbersome when viewed on smaller screens, it’ll be given short shrift.
2. Remember that content is still king
It might be one of digital marketing’s most over-used phrases, but that’s because it’s entirely true.
Content is still king.
Without regular, relevant, unique and well-written content, your website will resemble an old, disused digital shed full of old pages that were once the envy of your competitors. Weekly blogs and regularly updated page content containing a healthy number of inbound links should be a never-ending priority for your business.
3. Don’t forget off-site marketing and brand building
There’s an awful lot you can do beyond the website itself when it comes to SEO.
You’ll need to invest significant time on social media marketing in order to build your brand’s online presence and provide plenty of inbound links to your site. This can be done both organically (with daily posting) and via pay-per-click.
Similarly, targeted email marketing campaigns will vastly improve brand recognition and increase click-throughs to your website.
4. Ensure you’re SSL’d up
Something else Google takes extremely seriously is site security. Make sure you have an SSL certificate applied to yours to demonstrate that you take data security seriously - it’ll benefit your rankings more than you think.
5. Put your foot on the gas: site speed
Time for a bit of homework.
Open your website on a computer or smartphone on which you’ve not accessed it before. How quickly does it load? Are you left drumming your fingers waiting for those all important calls-to-action to appear? Do certain images load as if it’s 1985 and you’re waiting for a Spectrum game to boot up?
Site speed matters a great deal, and search engines are aware of how slow yours is. Work with your web designer to speed it up!
6. Build backlinks
Google wants to see how popular your website is in order to rank it correctly, and one of the ways it does this is to look at how many other websites link to yours.
The more links (from quality, authoritative websites) you have, the more popular you are, and therefore the higher you’ll rank - simple.
Here’s a few great ways to gain backlinks:
- Infographics are incredibly popular, and if you can create a few yourself and send them out via Pinterest and social platforms, other publications may pick them up and publish them too - complete with a highly beneficial link back to your site!
- Guest blogging is a great way to build strong back links. Find websites in your niche that accept guest articles and offer to write a few. Include links back to your site (to something non-salesy), and you’ll increase the domain authority of your website
- Customers and partners could also be a great source of backlinks to your website. Contact them to see if they’ll feature you in the form of testimonials
7. Create a great user experience
Google is frighteningly clever. Beyond the stuff we’ve already covered in this list, it knows what makes a great user experience and the ‘spiders’ it sends out to crawl through websites will take into account the way pages are built.
If yours is cumbersome, full of countless buttons, links and navigational elements, it’ll confuse both the visitor and search engine; do you really want to do that?
8. Spend plenty of time ‘under the hood’
‘Technical SEO’ as it’s known, refers to the tweaks one must make to a website’s raw code in order to make it Google-friendly.
Visitors don’t ‘see’ the technical SEO work you undertake, but Google does, and it will vastly improve your rankings. Here’s some quick-fire examples of what we’re referring to:
- The website needs to be crawlable with zero blocked pages in robots.txt
- Internal links need to be healthy in number, relevant and well-spread
- No broken links - anywhere
- A fresh, clean sitemap
- Mobile-friendly responsive code
9. Invest in video marketing
People love video; Google loves video.
Have you avoided implementing video on your website? You’re missing a trick, if so.
There’s a reason you’re often met with a video as the first piece of content on a website - it’s a great way to engage visitors and show Google you mean business.
Just a thirty second company intro or teaser will do the trick, and if you add it prominently to your website (i.e. don’t hide it pages deep), your bounce rate should reduce, and rankings improve considerably.
10. Take into account voice search
Chances are, you’ll have a device either in your pocket or at home to which you can talk and ask questions. And, sometimes, those questions will result in a Google search.
Voice search is fundamentally changing the way platforms like Google respond. We ask questions differently and far more naturally with our voices, which is why web content needs to be ready with the answers.
You’ll need to focus on the following from now on:
- Humanised content: structure your web pages and blogs naturally and don’t stuff them with keywords
- FAQ content: the quicker you can offer an answer, the quicker you’ll be found by voice search
- Expanding your PPC keywords: how is your audience likely to use voice search to find you? Review your PPC keywords and add those terms
SEO is hard, but if you follow our top ten tips above, you’ll build a site that is ready to take on the digital world.