Having your website show up higher in search engine results could have a massive impact on how much business you get.
When people perform a Google search, about 28.5% will click the first link. This drops to 15.7% for the second link, 11% for the third, and continues to fall from here.
While each business has its own goals, improving your natural rank on search engines should always be something that you strive for. To do this, you need to improve your SEO. It can take some time, but the results are well worth it.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to improve your natural listing.
1. Check Your Current Search Ranking
One of the first things you should do before you try to improve your current ranking is to determine where you currently stand. This information will give you an idea of where you’re at so you can set goals based on where you want to be.
There are various online tools you can use to check your current ranking, Using the details they provide, you can see what keywords you’re ranking well for.
Some tools provide information like Yahoo! and Bing ranking and website load speed. Take note of this information, and you can start determining how you’ll make the improvements that you need.
2. Develop a Keyword List
After checking your ranking, you’ll know what keywords you’re ranking for, and this may or may not alight with your overall aim. You can then define a keyword list and refine it so that your site is more likely to show up in specific searches. Decide what keywords are most relevant to your brand, and you can start using them in your content.
Target your keywords on each page based on what you’re trying to sell, the message you’re conveying, and the stage of the customer journey you expect visitors to be at. When doing this, you should target a mix of words. Have some broad, some exact, and some long-tail keywords that align with what your target audience is searching for.
Think about what central topics your keywords can be grouped into, what will drive conversions, and what engaging content you can generate including your keywords. Google Trends is a very useful tool for finding relevant search queries, so it’s worth using.
3. Optimize Pages for Personas First and Search Engines Second
Page optimization is key for improving your page ranking, and this is something that will look slightly different for every site. This is because you want to optimize your pages with your audience in mind.
Develop several buyer personas based on the customers you’re expecting. Think about their needs and behaviors, then tailor your pages to fit them.
One of the most important things to remember here is that you’re building pages for humans to use – not search engines. This makes it far more likely that people will engage with your brand and share your content with others.
Make the content conversational, digestible, and valuable. Put yourself in the shoes of your user, and ask if the content is what you would be looking for or not. The more people interact with your site, the higher it will show up in search engine results.
4. Have Quality Copy
This ties in with page optimization. Similarly, you want to focus on your audience when creating content as search engines favor content that appeals to humans.
Keywords, anchor text, and headlines are all vital, but you also need to ensure your content is clear, easy to read, digestible, and engaging. One mistake that people often make is keyword stuffing. This is when they try to force as many keywords in as possible to improve page rankings.
This can actually have the opposite effect, however. It’s important to use keywords, but make sure they fit naturally into the content. Hiring a professional copywriter can be a good way of ensuring your copy is suitable and will help increase your organic traffic.
5. Create Cornerstone Pages
Depending on your site structure, you might have several pages based on the same keywords and subjects. Cornerstone pages are a way of bringing relevant content together in one place.
This provides search engines with a ‘master source’ that they can crawl to better understand your website. These pages are rich with information, making them an authoritative source of what’s on your website. Not only will this improve your ranking, but it can help with building brand awareness and raising your search profile.
6. Optimize Page Titles
This is another of the many aspects of your site that you should optimize. HTML tags are vital in terms of metadata, so you want to make sure yours is structured correctly.
A title tag should be short and simple so that it clearly describes the content on a page. Note that you should never have two identical page tags as this will hurt your ranking.
It’s good practice to keep title tags to 70 characters or less. If possible, have the most relevant keywords close to the start. Including your brand keyword can also help with brand authority.
7. Spruce Up Your Meta Descriptions
Unlike many other factors, your meta descriptions aren’t involved in crawling. This means they won’t affect your ranking directly, but they can still have an impact on your organic search engine traffic.
Make sure your meta descriptions are always well-written and impactful. They’re short, so you need to make sure they’re engaging enough to encourage people to click through to your site. This will lead to an increase in authority and higher ranking.
Make sure you use your target keywords in your meta description. When people search for them on Google, they’ll appear bold in your meta description. This makes them more eye-catching and shows people that your site has what they’re looking for.
Every meta description should be unique. Include keywords and keep them under 160 characters for the best results.
8. Use ALT Tags Appropriately
ALT tags are often overlooked, but they also affect your natural ranking, so make sure you take the time to implement them. People often forget about them because they don’t appear visually on web pages. They’re small bodies of text that tie to your images and can have quite an impact on your organic traffic.
ALT text is an HTML element that search engines will crawl, so if they’re used well, your ranking will increase. They can also prove very useful for people with visual impairments.
Screen readers will read ALT text out loud, so those who can’t see images on your page will know what they are. Making sure every image has accurate ALT text is great for accessibility, and this has become a very important ranking factor in recent years.
It’s best to keep ALT text short (ideally three to six words) but descriptive. You should mention the page topic in the ALT tag description. Don’t stuff ALT text with keywords as it will make it read unnaturally.
9. Check URL Structure
URLs typically look a bit complicated already, so many people neglect them. They can actually prove beneficial, however, if you use them right.
For starters, you want to keep it short and simple. Try not to go over 60 characters if possible. Search engines like Google and Bing can process longer URLs without any trouble, but shorter URLs tend to perform better in search results.
The URL of your site should accurately represent your brand. It could be the business name or something else related to what you do if it’s more appropriate. Try to avoid special characters and numbers as these will make it harder for people to remember.
When it comes to individual page tags, you want to make it clear what they are. A blog page, for example, will ideally be simply “/blog”. This makes it clearer to users what they’ll find on these pages.
10. Mix Up Your Anchor Text
Anchor text gives Google some detail about the page that you’re linking to. You can link to both internal and external pages, so this is a good way to guide people to other pages you want them to visit, or provide them with additional information.
It’s best to use variations of target keywords for anchor text. You want them to be relevant to the page you’re linking to.
Something like “click here” isn’t ideal as it provides no information about the page. This is an easy opportunity to boost SEO, so it’s not something you should neglect.
Having links to external sites will help you build more backlinks. Niche edits also serve as a good way to make your use of links more effective.
The Importance of Improving Your Natural Listing
The majority of people will head straight to Google when looking for products, services, or information.
Putting in the work to improve your natural listing will help you increase the organic traffic to your site which is vital if you want your brand to grow and succeed. Make use of all of the tips above to get the best results from your website.
For more business-related articles, check out some of our other blog posts.