If you are a business, your online presence is crucial to your success. Google is the world’s number 1 search engine and being found on Google is a deciding factor for a lot of customers whether to go with your business or your competitors. These are the 7 big reasons that you are not ranking higher on Google’s search results page.
What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimising a website so that it can be found easily on a search engine, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. There are many factors that affect where you rank on a search engine’s search results page. We shall be focusing on Google in this article, as it is the biggest search engine.
On-page SEO are all elements that are directly under the publisher’s control. This includes:
Google loves content. The more the merrier. However, there is such a thing as bad content.
Are all your pages well written? Having good quality content on your website is not only crucial for ranking higher on Google, it also affects how users perceive your brand and how long they stay on your website. The longer a user is on your website for, the more likely that they are to become a customer. Checking your content for grammatical errors is a sure-fire way to step up your content creation game.
There are some useful tools that can help you in your content creation journey. Grammarly is a great free spelling and grammar checker with the option for additional paid features.
How do you capitalize a title the correct way? Capitalize My Title is a free tool that capitalizes your titles to fit AP/APA/Chicago/MLA styles.
Keyword research is a huge part of SEO. Knowing the keywords that people use to find your business allows you to add those keywords in your content, further increasing your chances of being found on Google. Finding the right keywords can be difficult if you don’t know how to look for them.
Ubersuggest is a great tool that lets you see what keywords you rank for, related keywords, content ideas, etc. It is also great for seeing why your competitors are outranking you on Google.
Ranking for keywords can be quite difficult. Trying to rank for key-phrases is an easier way to rank higher.
Fresh content is what lets Google know that you are an active business. Creating content bi-monthly is the bare minimum to have what is referred to as “fresh content”. Fresh content is not only recent content but also content relating to news and “hot topics” that relate to your product or service. Keeping up to date with trends, news and technologies can help in creating content for your website. Googling your keyword + “news” can help you find interesting topics to write about.
Directly answering a question scores you extra brownie points with Google. Answering just any question won’t do. You have to answer questions that the internet is asking. Answer The Public is a great tool for finding what people are asking with a related keyword and presenting it in an easy to understand graph or CSV file.
A graph of questions related to “Search Engine Optimization”
Google classifies thin content as content with little or no added value. Some pages that are grouped into this are automatically generated pages, duplicate pages, and scraped content, to name a few. This is seen as spam by Google, and although the majority of thin content has no malicious intent, it brings down the overall ranking of your website. Adding a “No-Index” to autogenerated pages allows search engines to skip this page when crawling your website.
The architecture of your website is crucial to how well it ranks on Google and how users experience your brand. A bad website will deter users from using your business.
You website should we structured in a way that is easy for Google to crawl and index. This includes adding the correct HTML tags, having a robots.txt file
How well does your website handle duplicate content? Does it have canonical tags
As of 2019, 63.4% of internet users access the web via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Your website should be catering to the majority of web users; having a mobile responsive website is how you do that.
Slow sites are bad for your business, bad for your visitors and bad for Google. Users are likely to navigate away from your page if it takes too long to load. Studies by Google have shown that average 3G loading speed is very slow. They also show that users leave the site after about 3 seconds. This means that their experience is bad and Google doesn’t like ranking sites which provide a bad user experience. Slow load speeds can be caused by any number of things – Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool by Google that tells you how fast your website is and what is slowing down your website.
Do your URLs contain keywords that are relevant to the content? Having keywords in your URL will help you rank higher than if you just have numbers.
There is a distinction between User-Friendly URLs and Search Engine-Friendly URLs.
Friendly URLs that are short and easy to remember are considered “user-friendly URLs.” These URLs help visitors remember web addresses, which means they can revisit pages by simply typing in the URL address bar instead of Googling some keywords that may have been on that page, and possibly coming across one of your competitors. Apart from ranking well on a website having a user-readable URL makes it easier for people visiting your site and sharing your content to know what the webpage is about before clicking on it
Search Engine-Friendly URL
Search engines, like Google, look for keywords in the URL and While user-friendly URLs are helpful for visitors, most webmasters are more concerned with creating search engine-friendly URLs. These URLs include important keywords that describe the content of the page. Since most search engines include the Web address as part of the information that describes a page, placing keywords in the URL can help boost the ranking of the page. Therefore, this strategy has become a popular aspect of search engine optimization or SEO.
Does your website provide a secure connection for your visitors? Having an SSL certificate on your website is essential for protecting your website, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information like credit cards. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your websites and your user’s personal information.
Google trust websites with SSL certificates compared to those without. Some modern browsers go as far as to block users from going to websites that don’t have an SSL certification.
When a website has an SSL certificate, it goes from being “HTTP” to “HTTPS”, where the “S” stands for secure. It also gains a little padlock on the left of the navigation bar; this shows visitors that the site is secure.
Meta title tags are a major factor in helping search engines understand what your page is about, and they are the first impression many people have of your page when appearing on Your title tag determines (with a few exceptions) your display title in SERPs, and is a search visitor’s first experience of your site. Even if your site ranks well, a good title can be the make-or-break factor in determining whether or not someone clicks on your link.
Your title tag is also displayed at the top of your web browser and acts as a placeholder, especially for people who have many browser tabs open. Unique and easily recognizable titles with important keywords near the front help ensure that people don’t lose track of your content.
Meta description, whilst Google does not use it to rank your website, it does affect the click-through rate. The meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of a web page. Search engines such as Google often display the meta description in search results where they can highly influence user click-through rates.
Structured microdata provides a way to standardize information about a page and classify the page content. Google uses structured data to enable special search result features and enhancements. For example, a recipe page with the correct structured data may be eligible to appear in a graphical search result, called a rich result, in a host carousel
In the case of these recipes, structured data allows Google to know how the recipe is rated, the preparation time, and the ingredients required.
Structured data can apply to a wide variety of data types. You can view all the types/classes at schema.org, which was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex to create a stand format in which data is structured for the web. You can see if your website is using microdata to enhance search results by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
Headers and subheadings should use the appropriate tags and keywords. Using the right keyword in your header will help your website rank higher than just having the keyword in the body text. Using a single heading with subheadings allows google to know which is the most important information on a website. Strategically placing keywords throughout your headings, sub-headings, and body text makes it easier for Google to create a hierarchy of the information on your website.
It is important not to keyword stuff. Google has gotten extremely proficient at knowing when a website is keyword stuffing. Especially with the implementation of BERT, Google’s Natural Language AI, keyword stuffing will lower your relevancy, thus lowering your ranking on google. Also, people tend to not click on websites that implement keyword stuffing.
With these tips in hand, you are off to a great start in getting your website ranked higher on Google. Create content that uses the right keywords that will attract your audience.