6 Tips to Improve Your Google Ranking
Updated: Jan 23
Small businesses with a good SEO strategy attract more customers
Many factors affect your site’s Google ranking — over 200, in fact. There’s great debate on which of these is most important.
And as we all know, Google changes its algorithms from time to time. There have been thousands of algorithm changes since 2006.
Eek! How to keep up with it all…
For a small business owner, keeping up with search engine optimization (SEO) trends can be exhausting. Luckily there are professionals like me whose jobs are to stay in the know on how to boost Google rankings.
Below are my most recent findings on how to improve your ranking and give your site a competitive edge.
Provide a good website user experience
User experience is an important factor when it comes to search engine rankings. There’s nothing more frustrating for a reader than going to a website and seeing chaos.
A site with a collection of haphazard thoughts scattered about will cause your reader to quickly leave or “bounce.” A high bounce rate tells search engines that visitors aren’t interested in your content.
A high bounce can lower your search engine ranking.
So how do you create a good website user experience?
When writing content for your website, keep the three types of readers in mind: diggers, skimmers, and Google.
Diggers are those individuals who do thorough research before buying a product or service. They want to read reviews, see the stats, and compare offerings.
Skimmers are the people who want the information quickly. They don’t need all the little details, “Just the facts ma’am.” I may be dating myself with that reference.
Google…well, we all know Google. Yes, there are other search engines, but let’s be honest, Google has the others beaten by a landslide. Over 92% of searches are done on Google followed by Bing at around 3%.
Yep, Google’s the clear winner with around 3.5 billion searches a day.
While the end goal may be to get your business to the top of this popular search engine’s results, always prioritize your human readers.
Put them first by providing a pleasurable reading experience of quality, valuable content that’s well-organized.
If you’re not sure how to do that, take inventory of your website and ask yourself these three questions:
Is my website easy to navigate?
Use headings and subheadings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to organize information for better readability. Your skimmers love headings! They help users AND Google understand what a page is about.
Now there’s some debate about how much H1 - H3 tags directly impact SEO. But remember, headings help break up large blocks of text so your content is digestible.
When your readers can quickly find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to stay on your site. This lowers your bounce rate and tells Google you have what people are looking for.
Google is then more likely to reward you with higher search engine rankings and more traffic.
Is my website enjoyable to use?
People are visual creatures. Besides having valuable content on your website, you want your site to be aesthetically pleasing.
Relevant images catch the reader’s attention and help break up sections of text.
Sites like Pixabay — one of my personal favorites — provide royalty-free images you can download and use on your site.
Large blocks of text, ornate fonts, and pages with multi-colors are difficult for some readers, especially seniors or people with visual processing disorders.
White space is your best friend! Use it between paragraphs for improved readability. And keep paragraphs to a few sentences, like this one.
Use easy-to-read fonts and stick to only one or two. Stay away from red, and green, and avoid overusing bright or neon colors. I typically avoid them altogether.
Does my website provide valuable content?
People search the internet for two reasons:
They’re seeking a solution to a problem
They’re looking to satisfy a desire
Most of the time they’re seeking solutions to a problem. In copywriting and marketing we call this a pain point. It could be a health problem, a homeowner problem, a parenting problem…you get the picture.
You were probably trying to learn how to boost your Google ranking when you landed on this blog article. See there? Valuable problem-solving content.
If your product or service solves a particular problem, the content on your site should clearly relay that to your readers, which is a great segway to the next section.
Ad a blog to your site
Blogs help establish a brand’s authority with customers and search engines. Remember to always write FIRST for your human readers and second for Google.
When you give your readers quality content about topics they’re interested in, the rest falls into place.
Longer articles provide more value to your reader. Remember the digger? These readers like to do their research and want ALL the information before they buy a product or service.
Your headings will keep the skimmers happy.
Be consistent. Consistent blogging updates your website regularly, sending an “invite” to crawlers letting them know there’s new information to index.
The more you blog the more invites go out to the crawlers. I recommend publishing a minimum of two blog articles per month. Each blog should be at least 1,000 words. Longer articles show Google that you’re relevant in your industry.
An added bonus of blogs is that they can be repurposed for social media, email marketing, and video scripts. All of which help drive traffic back to your site.
Pro Copywriting Tips
Use short sentences when writing your blog articles.
Write for a fifth-grade reading level.
And write like you talk.
Yes, you can start a sentence with coordinating conjunctions in copy (and, but, because). In fact, it’s preferred.
Ohhh…this pains the English teachers. I know. But most people don’t like stuffy content that reads like a master’s thesis.
Hello, snooze fest.
If you’re wondering what topics people are searching for, the next section will give you tips on how to find out.
Use keywords & long-tail keywords on your website
Web crawlers, also called spiders and search engine bots, index information on the internet so Google knows where to retrieve information when someone searches for it.
Think library card catalog.
Web pages should include keywords and long-tail keywords or phrases naturally sprinkled throughout. These are the topics people are looking for on the internet.
Keywords are one or two words. Long-tail keywords are those longer phrases, about three to five words.
SEO is a keyword.
How to improve SEO for small business is a long-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords tend to have less search traffic but a better conversion rate because people searching for these longer terms are more motivated to take action, that is buy a product or service.
Be sure not to keyword stuff. Google knows what you’re trying to do and will punish you for it.
Also, try not to duplicate keywords on multiple pages because they’ll compete against one another for ranking. Although Google’s getting smarter in this area so it may not be a big issue for long.
You can find out what topics people are searching for by using free tools like Keywords everywhere and Ubersuggest.
Include relevant links on your website
Another way Google decides if a site has authority is by its links. Your link-building strategy is an important element of your overall SEO strategy.
Links to and from relevant, trustworthy sites will help boost your ranking in search engines. You can use the same free tools mentioned above to check a site’s quality and ranking.
Internal linking is equally important. Linking from one page to another on your website helps Google understand your site’s structure. Internal linking also passes authority to other pages and helps users navigate between relevant pages.
Pro Link Building Tips:
Place internal links in the body of your pages and blog articles.
Place external links at the button of your pages and articles under a “Sources” heading, like I did below.
If you prefer to put external links in the body of your content, change the settings so the page opens in a new window. Opening the external page in a new window keeps your readers on your site rather than navigating them away.
Sending readers away from your website raises your bounce rate.
Write good alt text to describe images on your website
Search engines don’t have the ability to crawl images. Alt text, also called alt tags and alt descriptions, helps Google relate the image to the keyword you’re trying to rank for on a page.
Alt text is also what shows if the image fails to load.
More importantly, alt tags enable screen-reading tools to describe images to visually impaired visitors, making your website more readable for everyone and keeping your site ADA compliant.
Keep alt text short and descriptive, and don’t use the words, “photo of” or “image of.” Hubspot has a helpful article about this topic on its website. I’ve linked it at the end of this article.
And if you’d like more information on web accessibility and the ADA, I’ve provided that link, too.
Craft your own title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are two elements that don’t directly affect Google rankings. However, they’re important for garnering reader attention, so don’t neglect them.
Title tags are the titles of web pages that show up on Google when a user searches for a topic. Meta descriptions are the words below the title telling readers what the web page is about.
Google automatically creates meta descriptions based on the content it thinks is relevant.
BUT… those descriptions can be flat and boring. You’ll benefit from writing your own — or by having a professional copywriter create them.
If your pages’ meta descriptions don’t pique the reader’s attention, they’re less likely to click on your site.
And if the description doesn’t accurately portray the page’s information, the reader may click on the link but quickly leave because it wasn’t what they were looking for.
Similar to headings, this can affect your bounce rate and lower your ranking.
Boosting your Google ranking takes time, persistence, and a good SEO strategy. It’s tough for a small business owner to stay on top of trends and create consistent, quality content for their readers.
The good news is, you don’t have to! A copywriter who understands SEO can take this burden off your hands so you can focus on other areas of your business.
Ready to hand this task off to someone else? Schedule a free call with me today to start freeing up your time.