If you hear the term SEO being banded around but don’t understand what it means in practice, this article is for you. From exploring the value of SEO through to identifying 8 ways of improving your own website to help it achieve that page one search ranking, following the steps laid out in this article will help to improve your website’s visibility and give it the best possible chance of being found by the right, active audience.
What is Google SEO and why is it important?
Google is always adding and changing its algorithm for being well ranked, but SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is always up there as one of the most important things to focus on. What SEO does is help ensure that your entire website is as well written and laid out as possible for Google to assess it and rank it as high in value and strong in user experience. This in turn means that when users search for the keywords your website is built around, your site will be ranked highly by Google and will show up early in the search results – ideally on page one.
This is when organic traffic is at its highest and click through rates are at their most competitive – after all, does anyone really search for a website beyond the first page of search results? We all know that page one is where the real value and quality lies.
Let’s take a closer look at how to get there.
The 8 steps to Page One
The following steps are all things you can do to give your website the credibility and assurance of quality that Google looks for in ranking different sites. Remember that Google has always been invested in the user experience, and with the release of the new Core Web Vitals algorithm has become even more focussed on how a website creates a seamless and productive experience. As such, you will find that some steps are content based while others are all about the customer journey.
- Identify your top ranking pages
We call these your ‘threshold pages’ – pages that are on the cusp of ranking at Page One status for certain search results but haven’t quite made it. These are the pages to focus on first, because they are already proven to be delivering high quality, credible content… we just need to give them that extra push to Page One.
- Identify and explore the direct competition
This isn’t about just knowing which brands and businesses are your competitors – this means identifying your threshold pages and then identifying those same pages on other sites and assessing why there are ranking more highly than yours.
We often hear business coaches saying that you don’t need to build a new strategy or work frame from scratch – you can simply take the structure of what someone has already built and adjust it for your own business. And that’s exactly what you need to do here.
- Look at the way you use internal linking
In a breakdown of things to do to improve your website, this is one of the easiest to implement and can lead to a significant improvement in the way your site is viewed and assessed by Google. Internal linking refers to the way that different webpages on your own site allude to other pages and posts on your site – creating a chain or network of different experiences that customers can follow to enhance their understanding of certain topics.
A great way of improving this includes linking within blogs and guiding the reader towards certain products, services, or even other blogs that you mention within the content.
This one needs no explanation. Mobile optimisation is one of the most important things you can do for the modern user – and is a huge factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.
- Breathe new life back into previously high performing content pages
This is another point which takes us back to that “don’t reinvent the wheel” mindset. If you have pages that have performed highly in the past, take a look at how and why, and see what you can do to build them back up again into a high performing position.
Some things you can do include building new internal links into content, updating the copy and imagery, and adding new features or keywords.
- Build a network of external links
One of the best ways of becoming a reputable source in your industry is building a network of external links between your site and other well regarded sites in the same industry. Once one or two other sites link and mention your website within their own blogs, you will find your SEO ranking jumps right up – as Google will see that other reputable sources trust you and see you as a valuable resource.
This is something you will have to actively pursue for optimum results, but it’s worth it!
Reassess your customer journey and look at how far away the quality content is from the homepage. Remember that the longer the journey, the more customers you will lose along the way – and it’s important to keep people engaged as they go. Identify your most valuable and popular pages and turn them into the main pages on your website – rather than second or third tier pages that have to be searched for and found.
Make the process as easy as possible and watch as the reader rates stack up.
- Look into the value of Featured Snippets
This is a feature of Google Search which pops one of the top search results into a featured box – a bit like being given a gold star for content and jumping straight to the top of the class. There is no defined way of getting there and there are no guarantees you will make it, but we recommend analysing the structure of past snippets and replicating their format and the way they use keywords as a good starting point.
For more tips on giving your website the boost it deserves to reach Page One, get in touch!