Think back to your last big purchase. You may have been standing in an auto dealership, a clothing store, or even filling a virtual shopping cart. At any point, did you stop to check your mobile device to and Google about the product or service?
According to Marketing Land, 82 per cent of smartphone users would answer yes.
Studies show that where you rank on search engine results pages (known as SERPs) has a direct impact on your website traffic. In fact, Search Engine Watch states that the top position on Google receives 33% of search traffic. For many small to medium-sized businesses, this could be a make or break moment on their customer’s path to purchase. A quick search on Google could reveal a competitor’s sales incentives or top selling features, and ultimately sway a buyer’s decision in the other direction. With search rankings weighing heavily on web traffic and conversion rates, it’s essential to make sure your business comes out on top. But how?
Here are three simple ways to improve your organic, or un-paid, search ranking position on Google—even if you’re not a search engine specialist.
Write longer content, and more of it.
Backlinko recently examined one million Google search engine results to figure out the factors that determine which pages receive top billing. In a summary of the post, Marketing Profs found that content still reigns over the world of SEO and that the “average piece of content on Google's first page contained 1,890 words.” Other forms of content, such as short form blog posts or infographics, are still great ways to offer your audience bite-sized pieces of information relevant to their business. However, it’s important to include timely, relevant and – most importantly – lengthier articles in the mix. Not only will it boost your SEO performance, but you’ll likely find that they lead to higher conversion rates.
Use metadata to ‘file’ your website correctly
Metadata is a term used by web teams and digital marketers to refer to the data on your site that’s been inputted to describe the actual on-page information. It helps to think of a search engine as a virtual library, and each web page a book with a unique title and description that help users locate it. You can check on your website’s metadata manually by right-clicking anywhere on a page and selecting “View Page Source”, and scrolling to the top or <head> of the page. Alternatively, you could use a free online application like SEOCentro to generate a report. Given the billions of web pages on the internet, users have no choice but to judge a book by it's cover – it’s important to make this opportunity count!
In addition to your title and description, certain tags can help search engines properly index your site to improve SEO. Search Engine Watch sites the robots tag as one of the most important, “not so much for the proper implementation, but the improper.” When used incorrectly, these tags could quickly remove your site from a search engine’s index altogether, but can just as easily be reversed.
Metadata can be updated easily in your content management system (CMS) or with the help of your web team. And be sure to check in on how search engines are using metadata, as this changes frequently. When describing the once-crucial keywords tag, Search Engine Watch stated: “Much like the dinosaurs, this tag is a fossil from ancient search engine times.”
Reduce, reuse, and republish
Like a fine wine or cheese, a good web page gets better with age – at least according to Google, who doesn’t take age into consideration when ranking quality content. For example, here are the top two results for “how to improve organic search,” both of which are over a year old:
Updating content is not only an opportunity to re-visit an article or blog post for mistakes, dated information, or missed opportunities, but it can also help boost your SEO. A case study by Backlinko recently found that updating and republishing a post increased organic traffic by 111.37%. Not only is this a great way to save time and money on curating new content, it can ensure that older pages are still presenting accurate information – all while improving your organic search rankings.
One of the first steps to succeeding at SEO is assessing and monitoring your progress, so start by using free online tools like Google Search Console or SEOSiteCheckup that can help you determine where your website stands against its competitors. Like your annual physical, this will give you an idea of how you’re doing and where to improve over the year ahead.