In the complex digital marketplace of today, search engine optimization is a topic that concerns every small business owner. The importance of search engine optimization is felt more than ever before because a majority of all consumers take the help of digital search engines like Google and others to find the best products, brands and services located around them.
While the importance of search engine optimization is hidden from none, there is some confusion with regards to the path to achieving SEO optimization. Improving your SEO ranking is no easy feat.
Knowing just how hard it can be to improve your SEO results without proper guidance, we have put together an ultimate guide for better SEO results. Use the tips and information in this article to improve your reach in the digital world.
How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Google Ranking?
One question that all small business owners have in mind is just how long it takes to improve Google ranking. Time is money for most businesses, and they can’t waste unnecessary resources on SEO efforts.
There is no right answer to this question. The benefits you derive from your SEO campaign and the results that you get are based on a number of factors. Just some of the elements that determine the time it takes for you to get a decent SEO ranking include:
- Skill: SEO does have a lot of technical information involved in it. Does your business have the in-house technical skill set required to improve your SEO results? Do you realize and understand where to get started? Your SEO skill set and understanding of digital concepts play an important role in the time it takes for you to improve your SEO scores.
- Budget: The next factor impacting time is your budget. What kind of budget are you currently working with for your SEO campaign? The larger and more flexible the budget, the easier it is for marketing managers to focus on SEO results and get the best outcomes possible. Businesses working on a limited budget have to take things slow and recognize that strategic steps have to be on the bull’s eye without any room for error.
- Competition: The competition in your digital market also determines the time it will take for you to improve your SEO score. Different industries have different competition levels for different keywords. Obviously, some industries might be less competitive than others. Hence, operators and businesses in less competitive industries will be able to rank on Google faster than other organizations in industries with more competition.
- Current Website Condition: What condition is your website in currently? Do you have an established website that just needs a minor revamp to jump on the SEO bandwagon? Or do you need to start from scratch and amend the damage that you had previously inflicted on your website? The current condition and quality of the website plays an important role as well.
These are just some of the factors that determine the time it takes to improve your SEO. With the tips we mention in this detailed guide, you can get started today and improve your SEO ranking one step at a time.
Steps to Improve Your Website’s SEO Ranking
Start with a Website Audit
The very first thing you should do if you want to improve your website’s SEO ranking is start with an SEO audit for your website. The audit is extremely necessary and will help you identify the current strengths and weaknesses of your brand.
This way, you can play your strengths and mitigate weaknesses to signal strategic improvements across your SEO campaign. A strategic website audit should oversee the following content:
- The structure of your website
- The existing content currently mentioned on your website
- The information architecture and the depth of the information that you are currently providing clients and customers
The point of an SEO audit is to identify all major areas in your SEO campaign that need significant improvement. While the audit itself is not a big step toward brilliance in SEO, it will help clarify outcomes for you and help guide you toward what is required of you to improve your SEO ranking.
Improve Site Navigation
Google is clever. It looks after its users and wants to direct them to websites that provide the best possible site navigation experience. For this very reason, the platform rewards and ranks websites that provide a positive user experience, without any glitches or flaws whatsoever.
Part of offering good user experience on your website is ensuring easy navigation on it. A website with easy navigation should be easy to move around for customers without being overwhelmed by the amount of information.
If you’ve stacked your home page with tons of information and keywords to rank well without working on site navigation, then you sadly won’t be recognized by Google in its ranking. If you want to be rewarded by Google and are looking to improve your website ranking, you should make sure that the website is properly tuned and has everything incorporated in it.
Poor navigation also impacts bounce rates and customer satisfaction. Customers will definitely shy away from websites that are hard to navigate and do not provide a simple user experience.
Fix Duplicate Content
Duplicate content issues on your website can negatively impact your ranking and search engine optimization efforts. Duplicate content might sound like a decent strategy when you are first starting your SEO journey. In fact, we are astounded by the number of organizations that follow this strategy in the long run. While you might even rank on a few articles in the beginning, you will sooner or later realize that the strategy is pulling you back.
Google wants to reward all websites that have a clear content strategy and aren’t hell bent on providing duplicate content. Google also recognizes when your website has multiple versions of the same page, so it might not be a good idea to duplicate your own content and post it on different pages.
To solve this issue, you need to come up with a clear content and keywords strategy. Your content team should ensure that the content on the website is entirely new and offers value to readers and visitors. Additionally, the website design team should run through the links of your website to ensure that there isn’t any repetition in the content or in the links for that matter.
Internet usage patterns have changed over the years. Gone are the days when people would only access the internet through their desktops. With the advent of internet access on multiple devices, the internet can now be accessed through multiple platforms. We are well over more than a decade into smartphone usage now, and it is about time that organizations optimized their platforms for mobile users.
As a customer centric organization, you need to realize that over 55 percent of all of your users are visiting from mobile devices. Mobile is just easier to operate and customers can easily check into the website or the search result they require without having to go through an elongated process.
Mobile site optimization is a necessary requirement that businesses cannot compromise on anymore. The UI or user experience of your website significantly drops on mobile if the website and its graphics have not been optimized for mobile users.
Mobile optimization includes reworking the design of your web pages and your images to ensure that the content appears in a comprehensible manner for mobile users as well. Desktop website formats can get distorted and lose their shape on mobiles.
Offer More Speed
Website speed is another important factor that Google considers in its algorithm when ranking websites and web pages for SEO. The longer it takes for a webpage on your website to load, the more frustrated customers will become and the less likely it is for you to get a decent rank on Google’s algorithm.
According to data released by Akamai, any webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load eventually ends up losing 50 percent of all website visitors. To improve your SERP ranking and to improve your website speeds, you might have to incorporate a few changes to your website. The changes mentioned below will help improve load times and offer more speed to users:
- Reconsider Image File Sizes: If your website takes a long time to load, it is necessary that you reconsider image file sizes. Larger images take longer to load, impacting the speed of your website’s launch. You can compress your images to optimize load times if necessary. You can also reduce unnecessary images by clearing the clutter from your website.
- Browser Caching; A browser is typically loading a number of resources when it loads a website. Browser caching can help store these resources on a user’s computer to help improve load times the next time.
- Script Handling: All CSS and JS files can slow down the speed of your website. Talk to your designers and only implement these if you really need them.
Improving the general speed of your website has a number of benefits other than just improved SEO. For starters, better speed usually means more lead generation abilities.
Produce Quality Content
There is very little that the design, placement, load, speed and keywords on your website can do if the content itself is worth nothing. High quality content on a consistent basis helps improve your search engine optimization results. Regardless of the changes you implement on your website, there is no way around high quality content.
Besides just being well-researched and well-written, your content should also specifically appeal to your target audience. The content should be relevant to them and create a sense of value in their eyes.
The first step of your content strategy is to brainstorm ideas. Once you’ve come up with cool titles, you should back them up with quality keywords. A great way to start your brainstorming process is to think of questions that your audience might generally have. You should also consider adding images within your content as they can capture users’ interest and convey your point to them in a better manner.
Websites that upload quality content are able to generate good SEO results, even while compromising on UI or website design. The other factors matter in the long run, but not as much as quality content and consistency in output. Make sure you maintain a monthly blog post with constant updates rather than posting a dozen blogs one day, every year, and expecting results.
We cannot focus enough on the importance of metadata for SEO rankings. If you want to improve your SEO results, you should make it easier for Google to understand what your pages are about. By ensuring the presence of metadata on your pages, you can rank better on relevant results. Even if you do have metadata added across your website, it is a good practice to revisit this information every quarter and make some strategic changes.
Some elements that you should manage here include:
- Title: This is the title that shows on top of the browser window or as your page’s headline on the SERP. Keywords should be added in the title.
- Alt Tags: Alt tags or alternative text tags should describe all visual images on the page. This helps Google rank images from your page as well.
- Description: The meta description is necessary as it shows on the SERP and tells users what the page is about.
With the guidance and details provided in this article, you can not only keep an eye on your website, but also help improve SEO results in the long run.