A website’s ranking within search engine results pages (SERPs) can greatly influence the amount of traffic coming to the site. It’s a simple narrative: People use search engines more frequently than ever to find information (more than 75% of B2B website traffic comes from search) and they expect search engines to serve up the right information in the top positions (65% of clicks happen on positions 1-5). In fact, a common joke among SEO experts is that if you ever want to hide a dead body, the best place to do so is on page two of Google search results. So how do you get your website to appear in one of those coveted top spots on page one? Short answer: Do what Google wants.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of understanding and implementing a range of tactics that search engines deem important. These tactics typically fall within four major categories:
In this guide, we’ll walk through best practices for all four categories to improve your brand’s SERP rankings. (Note: Although there are other search engines out there like Yahoo!, Bing, DuckDuckGo, we’ll be focusing on Google, which accounts for 75% of the search market.)
When writing copy for your website, or any type of content for that matter, ask yourself: Who is my audience? What are they looking for? Why are they looking for it? How can I present it in a way that makes sense for them? In other words, don’t think about what you want on the page, think about what they want. Not only is it good for customers and prospects, but Google likes it too.
Here are a few other ways you can keep your web content focused on your users, and in turn, focused on search engine performance.
While the inclusion of these keywords is important, the placement and frequency of them may be even more so. After all, audiences (and Google Bots) can tell if you’re writing just to fit in a few more keywords, which undermines the quality of your content and harms your placement on SERPs.
The key is to use keywords in key places: page titles, meta descriptions, section headers, file names, image alt text and of course sprinkled strategically into your page’s content. This ensures your target keywords and phrases fit into the piece naturally. Once your keywords are placed in those spots, forget about them entirely. Instead, focus on crafting a clear and compelling narrative for the page that ultimately fulfills the needs of new and returning visitors.
It’s not enough to simply have a website. You need a website that is strategically optimized to have a high E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) score.
Google and other search engines have bots that crawl websites and store important information to determine E-A-T score, flagging things like keywords and phrases, content publish dates, internal links and more.
Recall that the A in E-A-T, authoritativeness, is a major factor Google considers for its rankings. It’s a measure of what the rest of the internet says about a page and is calculated by things like how often the webpage is mentioned through backlinks – instances of other websites linking to your website. But how exactly do you go about earning these backlinks?
Google offers several products that can help sites boost curb appeal and deliver traffic from SERPs. That said, Google’s full product catalog can be overwhelming, so let’s just focus on three of its offerings:
There are many efforts you can undertake to try and boost SEO and improve SERP rankings. These tasks take time and require ongoing attention, so don’t try to tackle them all at once. Create a plan and set measurable and attainable goals.