The Best Practices to Improve Your Website Search Engine Ranking

Share Post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on reddit
What does Google even want? That is the question every time you put up new content, but search engines don’t seem to give you a nod. Website search engine ranking has many metrics which determine your position in search engine result pages (SERPs).
No one can deny the thrill of seeing their first post on page number one. But why all the craze about ranking high?
According to Backlinko, the first result on Google is 10 times more likely to receive a click than the tenth. The lower you go, the fewer the clicks. Organic traffic has a long-term effect on your conversion rate.
Each day, search engines are improving their algorithms to ensure there is no compromise for quality. Therefore, many websites have seen a nosedive in organic traffic because of trying to cut corners.
Google has penalized sites because of trying dubious means to rank high or attract traffic. In this article, we look at the proven ways to improve your ranking without worrying about penalties.

How to Rank High on Search Engines without Penalties

1. Give Search Intent Priority

Search intent refers to the intention of conducting an online query. The purpose can be:
  • Navigational intent – to visit a specific site. For example, if you search for “Twitter”, the most probable intention is to log into your account but not learn about the company’s history.
  • Transactional intent – know the price of a product or buy it. With the surge in online commerce, there are millions of people who google to make a purchase or compare prices.
  • Informational intent – understand the meaning of a word or quench some curiosity. This is the most common intent of most searches. Whether it is a student doing their searches for academic purposes or a parent who wants to know how to raise teenagers, they want to get information.
  • Commercial intent – although not buying at the moment, these audiences want to search for future purchases. For example, a search on the best washing machines shows that the person may purchase in the future.
As the information supplier, you should ensure you meet the expectations of the searcher. But is that always the case? There are times you click through a website, and the results are quite different from your expectation. What is the next course of action? Leave the site.
A high bounce rate can negatively affect your website. Google values the intention of its users, and that is why you can rank high for days if you write to please the Google algorithm without your target audience in mind.

2. Optimize for Relevant Keywords

You can write the best content globally, but if you don’t point Google to your site with keywords, no one will ever know it existed. Keywords are pointers for search engine crawlers that this is your intention.
Keyword research is essential at this stage to determine which keywords are relevant to the content you want to put up. If you want to improve your website ranking, you should understand semantically related keywords. For example, you don’t expect to find a website on digital marketing focusing on a keyword about passion fruit farming.
But there is a catch. Most people confuse the use of keywords with keyword stuffing. You should use the primary keyword 3-6 times in a 1000 words text.
Keyword stuffing is one of the most common black hat SEO, which can lead to Google penalties. Avoid it at all costs.
Keyword research helps you to understand the phrases your target audience is using and their intention. Most keyword research tools, like ahref and SEMrush, provide essential metrics to help you determine the most relevant keywords.
Some of the factors you should consider when targeting a keyword include:
  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Competitors
  • Trends
Your meta description and meta title should relate to your content. Ensure that you have the keyword in your meta description and it is relevant. Although metadata doesn’t appear in the actual content, it helps searchers know whether your content is relevant.

3. Keep Your Content Updated

Old is gold, but not always. Outdated content which does not resonate with the current audience can affect your website negatively.
Keeping your content up to date will improve your website ranking on search engines. Consequently, this will increase your visibility and improve your company image because most internet users tend to trust websites ranking number 1. It is also important for your brand’s well-being, which means it’s also good for business.
Let’s see how outdated content can do your website a disservice.
Someone searches for “the best car dealers in 2021”. Fortunately, a listicle you had done in 2019 is still ranking on the first page. However, it still reads “the best car dealers in 2019”.
Although your content may still be relevant, you will have a low click-through rate because of the year’s inclusion. You should update your content regularly to keep up with the changing trends.
Unless your website focuses on evergreen content like “how to tie a tie” (which we don’t expect to change soon), you should keep up with the changes.

4. Consistency – Keep Doing It!

Consistent and quality content is key if you want a better website ranking. Search engine crawlers do it regularly every month. Therefore, you should update your blog or pages with fresh content before the spiders visit your website.
Google keeps updating its algorithm to fit the changing dynamics of the internet. Regular posting shows that you are up to date with new developments. If you posted last in 2019, it shows that you could be missing out on the updates.
Apart from Google, you should keep your audience posted. Consistency, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, is essential in brand management.
Most customers visit your social media or website to explore whether you have the authority in the industry.

5. Quality Content is a Must

Content is king, but this is only true if it is quality content. According to statistics from Woldometers, close to 8 million blog posts are written every day. With such competition, you need to put your best foot forward if your website will rank on the first page.
Fortunately, most of these blog posts are junk. But you are also competing against some websites which have a high domain authority after existence for years, if not decades.
If you want to keep your readers glued, reduce bounce rate, and increase your website ranking, quality shouldn’t be a gamble. Google rewards quality SEO content. Rarely will you find boring content on the first page, leave alone the first position.
Don’t just write; write quality content!

6. Good Content Structure

Imagine a book without chapters, subtitles, or page numbers. Who would dare read that? The author, maybe.
For the best user experience, you should ensure your content has titles and subtitles. Apart from that, the content should flow, and one point leads to the next. Bringing together disjointed sentences will make your audience doze off.
Right from the first word to the sentence structure, paragraph, and subtitles, thoughts should flow. Make it effortless for your readers to follow ideas.
You can include a table of content to make it possible to skim through the content. Google loves tables, and you might land on Google position zero. Position zero appears at the top of all search results and gives the best answer for search queries.
You can include a table of content to make it possible to skim through the content. Google loves tables, and you might land on Google position zero. Position zero appears at the top of all search results and gives the best answer for search queries.

Use H tags

Search engines understand header tags to know how your content is structured. For example, if you want to write about SEO, you can follow the following flow:
H1: Everything You Need to Know About SEO
H2: Different SEO Strategies
H3: White Hat SEO
H4: Proper Use of Keywords
From the example, the first header leads to the second; the third flows from the second, and so on. Arranging your content in a structured way makes it each for web crawlers to go through your content with ease.
The header tags are not only essential for search engines but also web users. It is easier to navigate through a page or blog posts with structured content. your content with ease.

7. Use Images, Infographics, and Videos

Images and infographics are core elements of SEO. Krista Neher, a marketing industry influencer, argues that the human brain can process an image 60,000 times faster than words. According to Visual, articles with images receive 94% more viewership than those without images.
If that is not enough, people are likely to share infographics 3 times more than any other content! That is according to research by Hubspot.
Do we mention videos? According to a report by Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester, a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words.
The stats above show the importance of visual content in SEO. And search engines reward content with images, infographics, or videos.
You can use platforms like Pixabay, Canva, or Unsplash to get free images, infographics, and videos or create customized ones.
But how do search engines recognize visual content? You should use alternative tags to describe your images and videos to make them easily crawlable. You can use the keywords to describe the content if they are relevant.
But visual content can also lead to low site speed if not used in the right size or format. You can use images in jpg format to reduce the size and compress them before uploading.
Next time you upload a blog post, ensure you include relevant visuals to improve your website search engine ranking.

8. Keep Track of Your Performance

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will lead you there”. These are the words of Lewis Carroll, and they fit like a jigsaw in our context.
You should have an objective when putting up content. If you want to attract organic traffic to your site, then ranking high in search engine result pages is not an option but the only way.
But how do you track your performance to know areas of improvement? Various website ranking tracking tools can help you achieve your goal with ease. You can use tools like:
  • SEMrush
  • Ahref
  • Google Console
  • Moz
  • Ubersuggest
Apart from tracking your site performance, you can also identify your competitors for specific keywords. Through this, you can identify areas of improvement and know where your competitors are doing better.
Web analytics helps you to identify gaps in your content and adverse effects like keyword cannibalization. This refers to a situation where different pages on your website are competing for the same keyword. It is easier to optimize one page for a different keyword.

9. Go for Internal and External Links

Just like in human relationships, networks are very important. What family connections are to us, internal links are to websites. On the other hand, external links are like networks with friends.
But what is all the fuss about internal and external links? If you want to build your site’s credibility and content, you should get external links from other sources. But don’t buy! Google will penalize you for that.
If you follow all the tips we have highlighted this far, other websites will fall in love with your content, and you will get the links.
Internal links work best when you have inter-related content, which is mostly the case. For example, when you want to write about search engine optimization, improving your website ranking is a relevant keyword to link with.

How to Get Credible External Links

For most website owners, this is always the dilemma. When starting up, it isn’t easy to get links from other websites. How do you get external links to boost SEO?
  • Request links from other websites that mention your brand.
  • Guest posting for relevant industries. Avoid backlinks from unrelated topics because they can be flagged as spammy.
  • Pitch relevant content to sites with broken links from competitors.
Backlinks and internal links are one of the most abused SEO strategies. You should avoid spammy links because you don’t know when Google will crack the whip.
Backlinks and internal links are one of the most abused SEO strategies. You should avoid spammy links because you don’t know when Google will crack the whip.

10. Optimize for Mobile Users

Eric Schmidt, the Google chairman, in 2014 talked about a mobile-first approach after smartphones overtook computers in browsing. Currently, information consumption on mobile phones is by far higher than on computers. But is the trend changing?
Smart Insights show that over 80% of the global population access the internet through mobile phones. With such stats, you better optimize your website for mobile users. How do you go about it?
  • Take advantage of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Markup: Google introduced AMP in 2016 to help websites optimize for mobile devices. The strategy allows you to rank high in mobile SERPs, at times even above paid ads.
  • Test and ask for user feedback: Mobile users form the biggest percentage of internet users. Therefore, you should ensure they can navigate through your website flawlessly.
  • Design a mobile-friendly interface: Having a mobile-friendly menu and search box will make it easy for mobile users to navigate your content.
  • Optimize for speed: Site speed is essential for mobile users, and heavy images can ruin the experience. Avoid pictures, videos, or infographics that occupy large space and hide your text.
  • Don’t cram white space: There is a tendency to try and fit as much information on the viewable space. But that will not work with mobile users. A cramped-up website is a turnoff.
  • Have simple forms: who has all the time to fill endless questions on a smartphone? You should make your forms as simple as possible to increase conversion.
You have every reason to optimize for mobile users if you want to boost your website SEO ranking. Search engines give mobile users a priority, but it doesn’t mean you should ignore computer browsers.

11. Work on the Website Speed

Have you ever tried to load a site, and it took almost forever? How many people are even patient enough to wait for a website that takes 10 seconds to load?
The average load time for a website is around 3 seconds, and if it takes more, close to half of the visits will leave. No one would like to have their potential customers go when they are at the door before they even check what you have.
That said, how do you improve your website speed:
You can test the speed of your site using Google PageSpeed Insights. If you want to increase your conversion, retaining the visits after clicking should be a priority.
Site speed is an essential factor in bounce rates. If you want to keep the visitors on the site, they should get value for their time.

12. Eliminate Broken Links

Nothing broken is good. Whether it is user experience or search engine crawlers, they will shrug at any broken links on your site.
That “page not found” response doesn’t augur well with your audience. You should avoid linking to broken links and remove any pages on your site which are broken.
According to gomez, 88% of your site visitors may never come back after a bad experience. If the bounce rate on your site is high, search engines assume that the visitors have a negative user experience. Consequently, the Google algorithms will push your pages further down the result pages.
Go ahead and fix those broken links to improve your SEO performance.

13. Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to any pages with considerably similar content. Although Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content, it may have an impact on your website ranking.
Google filters the page to use because it can’t include both pages on search engine result pages. The action affects your clicks and impressions because they are divided between two or more pages.
Search engines may not pick the best version of the duplicate content. If Google crawlers choose the second-best page, you may not get enough traffic on the best page.
What about the impact of inbound links? Instead of getting all the external links for a single page, they are shared between them. Consequently, the authority of any of the duplicate pages reduces.
Calm down; Google won’t penalize you for duplicates unless they are extreme and raise the alarm. Even when scrapers republish your content, it does not harm your site. However, from the highlights above, you may lose your SEO ranking indirectly.

14. Outdo Your Competitors

Here is a good strategy you can consider:
  • Identify your top 10 competitors for a certain keyword.
  • Do a keyword analysis of the competing pages.
  • Identify what they do right.
  • Check gaps in their content.
  • Then, write content 10 times better than the best.
It is better said than done. But if you aim at the sun and hit the moon, you have no loss to count.
Some of the features you can include in your content to outdo competitors are tables, tables of content, infographics, and videos (if necessary).

Action Point: Improve Your Website Ranking

That being said, it is time to take action. These are small facets that combine to create a robust and sure better ranking strategy. You can use the tips to improve your ranking for existing or new content.
At Digital Marksmen, we can help you to identify gaps in your content through our SEO services. After that, we modify the pages to rank high. Consequently, you will increase site visits. More visits to your website mean better conversion. After that, you will increase your business margins.
Time to take massive action!

Table of Contents