Hitting the top spots of search Engine Results Pages is what every business aspires for.
If you are worried why isn’t your website ranking at the top yet? You are not alone. There are several others like you who want to see how SEO can deliver great ROI for their business. We have just the right solution for you. Our Search Engine Optimization services are tailored to your business needs, target Geos, language and audience.
Search Engine Optimization is the only long term low-cost digital marketing technique that can help you tame the search engine monster.
This article walks you through everything you need to know to get ranked in search engines.
What are Search Engines, actually?
Search engines gather information and content from everywhere throughout the web and store it in a database and offer the most relevant results to the questions searchers are asking. They are basically answering machines on the world wide web.
Some of the most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex.
As per net market share, over 75% of all searches are powered by Google (mobile share is even higher at 90%) followed by Bing with 7.91%. It’s evident that Google is the big daddy of the search market and controls most of the traffic on the internet.
So let us see what you need to do to rank on Google?
It is NOT an Overnight Process!
SEO is a longterm game but the results are worth the wait.
You need to research, create and implement the right SEO strategy, then you need to wait for Google to acknowledge your SEO efforts and changes as it evaluates your pages to see if you are really providing value to your customers who are looking for you. If you are, then it will start showing you higher and higher in the search results.
However, you need to know that search results are uncertain. Google particularly updates its algorithm very often, based on which, it decides where to rank a website. So adopting the changes and getting your pages rank in search results has become a long drawn and iterative process in recent years.
So What Works?
There are 4 fundamental sutras to succeed at SEO.
- Understand your customers’ needs and expectations
- Optimization Cheat Sheet for Better SEO
- How to get other sites to link to yours?
- How to measure the success of SEO performance?
Step 1: Understand your Customer’s needs and expectations
Knowing your customers well and understanding their needs is the key to the success of any business endeavour. Once you are aware of customer perceptions, you can align your practices and optimize your site accordingly. But how to determine customer needs?
You can start making sense of this data just by applying common sense.
For instance, assume you own a resort in Bangalore. Here in this scenario, it doesn’t require great intelligence to comprehend the user’s perspective and guess the most likely keywords for the search query.
The search queries may probably be like
- resorts in Bangalore
- A place to stay in Bangalore
- accommodation in Bangalore
List out these ideas and try them in search engines, you will get to know what all sites are ranking for those particular keywords. Observe the top-ranking pages and their titles.
This approach will give a clear perception of what really works.
In addition, make sure the keywords you list out are worth targeting by checking in tools like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer. This tool provides you a list of keywords along with the metrics such as search volume(the number of monthly searches, on average); and keyword difficulty (an estimate as to how easy or hard it will be to appear on the search engine page results). Based on these concepts and metrics, you can conclude on the right keywords for your business.
If you want to dig a little deeper, the Google Autocomplete feature comes to your rescue!
This search engine optimization feature within Google provides the user with a dropdown list of suggestions to predict a user’s search query depending upon popular searches. The user is just required to initiate typing for the Google autocomplete feature to create predictions. This step can be repeated to get more results. If you want to know more about the user’s pulse, check for “people also ask” box in Google’s search results.
All these additional intriguing features will make your life at work way better.
Another important aspect of SEO revolves around creating valuable and engaging content. Ensure to create the best content to naturally attract a larger pool of target audience. This can be achieved either by creating a compelling title or by assigning focussed keywords to the pages on your site. Also, ensure the page speed is high to avoid a higher bounce rate.
Step 2: Optimization Cheat Sheet for Better SEO
On-page optimization is an important strategy to optimize positioning in search rankings. It refers to all the measures essential to gain visibility in the search results.
Measures include, but not limited to
- URL Structure – Keep it simple and well organized. Use the primary keyword and always prefer hyphens to separate words.
Ex: domain.com/blog – ü
- Meta Title and Description – Meta tags are vital for Search engine Optimization, as they directly impact the site’s ranking. Ensure you are following character limit, using high-value keywords and write legible, readable copy: make it as compelling and as relevant as possible.
- Header Tags – These HTML tags are designed for search engines to understand the importance of individual sections of your page. These tags are typically defined using <h1> to <h6> tags, which contains information related to the title and heading of the related content. The H1 tag is the most vital among the six, as it reflects your page’s title. It is recommended to use one H1 tag and multiple H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 tags (based on the requirement).
- Image Optimization –Google bots struggle to understand images, so in order to simplify the process there is the need to provide alt tags (Alternative text tags) for each image.
- Schema set up – Schema.org is a code that you put on your website, which adds an enhanced description and helps search engines return the best results for users who are searching for the relevant data.
So adding schema can be of great significance to your website.
Perform the following procedure to generate schema:
- Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
- Select the type of data
- Glue the URL of the page you’d prefer to mark-up
- Select the type of elements, from provided mark-up—tagging items
- Finally, create the HTML
- Test the generated schema mark-up using Structured Data Testing Tool and then add it to your web page
- Sitemap and Robots.txt – Sitemap (roadmap)is a file with a list of all individual pages of your website. Instead of relying on your site architecture, search engines use the information in a sitemap to crawl the site.
The sitemap.xml file can be created using Free Sitemap Generator.
To register it, go to Google Webmaster Tools, click Sitemaps and submit the sitemap.xml file at the ADD/TEST SITEMAP button.
Whereas Robots.txt is a text file that instructs search engines to not crawl certain pages of a website.
The format is pretty simple:
Everything that mentioned after “disallow” are pages or sections that you want to block.
Once the set-up is done, make sure it is error-free using Robots Testing Tool.
Step 3: How to get other Sites to Link to Yours?
Link building is one such factor, which constantly influences your site’s ranking. Google considers it as a trust factor, as someone is approving your site and actually permitting to add your link in their site. According to Google, backlinks are one of the top 3 ‘ranking factors.’
Reviewing and analyzing your competitors’ approach towards link building can prove beneficial. Tools like ahref can assist you in competitor analysis.
Besides this, there are many strategies to acquire and build backlinks such as bookmarking, Directory Submissions, Document Sharing, Guest Blogging, Blog Commenting, Forum Submissions, Business Listings, and Search Engine Submissions.
You need to register in all these communities and share your site’s information (submit your site’s URL). It is crucial because it increases business exposure and indicates how the world perceives your website.
Step 4: How to Measure the Success of SEO?
The final step is to monitor and measure the entire search engine optimization process. It is crucial to figure out what strategies are actually acting in your favor and what not for timely amendments as necessary.
Go to Google Analytics, click the Sign-Up button and fill the fields to organize your account. At the beneath of the page, click the “Get Tracking ID” button. The generated code must be installed on every page on your website.
Now you will start getting your Audience Overview report in Analytics.
This Google service allows you to analyze in-depth details about the visitors routing to your website.
Google Search Console is another efficient tool to check your site’s performance. This tool helps you get all the details about the average position, impressions and clicks you get for various keywords.
The aforesaid two insights can help you define the success strategy of your business.
Want to know more? Download our SEO Whitepaper
I wish I could tell you that if you just follow the key pointers as discussed above, you can witness a surprising change in your site’s ranking. Analyze your current situation, start small and wait for the big difference.
If you are eager to improve your site ranking and want to dig a little deeper, we recommend reading The Go-To Guy’s White Paper for SEO.
And if you are unclear what suits you best, fear not, we have experts who can assist you with 1 hour SEO consultation. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Let me know what are the other strategies you learned or executed in SEO?