Deciding to improve Google search results is one of the most powerful choices you can make. After all, Google is the #1 search engine, and sends more than 77% of search traffic, which is more than the next two search engines combined. When people talk about improving their website ranking, they’re pretty much always talking about Google.
The process to improve Google search results actually has a few parts, but for simplicity, let’s break these down into technical framework and then visitor experience. Both are important, and work together to create improved search ranking.
If we start with the technical side (since that is the area most people tend to have questions in), there are three things you can do, right now, to improve the technical framework of your site.
1) Check page speed and site loading times. You can use the free Google tool Page Speed Insights which will tell you how fast your website loads, and if it’s slower than it should be, it also tells you why it’s slow. You may be able to fix some of the reasons yourself, or your website developer should be able to do this for you.
2) Define page descriptions for at least 5 key pages to start. Most people write web copy and publish it, without giving thought to how that web copy might be seen or read by the search engines. Either they let the description sit completely empty, or they use the default setting, which often just excerpts a certain number of characters. Page descriptions are a powerful way to bridge technical optimization with user experience. Focus on writing page descriptions that will be within Google’s guidelines of about 160 characters AND which will entice a web reader to click on your article to learn more. Repeat this process for a week, or more, until all your pages have tailored descriptions. Make sure these are unique, too.
This one tip can improve Google search results very quickly.
Now, let’s look more specifically at improving user experience, so that your site visitors stay longer, and perhaps share or bookmark your pages. These signals of engagement matter to Google too. They want to be sure they are providing the best search results they can, and one way they measure this is by how long visitors stay on the page, and by how many pages they visit while they are there.
3) Write content for each of your site offers as a priority. I’ve been blogging since 2003, and this is something I wish I’d known early on. I used to spend hours trying to come up with new content topics, skipping over the ones that tied to services and products I was already offering. (Duh.) If you sell products and services, your content should focus on informing the visitor about those products and services- not just through sales letters and “buy this now” but through content that shows them why they want the service, how it can help them, how they might use it, and what benefit they might gain. Remember, the goal of marketing is education- and turning that education into desire for your product or service. You can improve Google search results and build your business at the same time.
4) Link your site content to your site offers. This is another hybrid of technical + user experience. On the technical side, linking your content pages (such as blog posts) to your product or service pages allows the Google robots to travel your site, finding more and more relevant content. Interlinking the pages of your site has benefits as far as creating link value. Linking to your products and services also helps the visitor to know how you might be able to help them. This can also be good for your income. The more engaging your content, the longer visitors will stay, and giving them links to follow will further increase their time on site. This is another way to improve Google search results.
5) Expand on your existing business pages. If you’ve looked around the internet lately, it seems like websites are going towards high design and very little content. They have huge headers, multiple small text blocks, lots of icons and images, and tons of white space. While these create an attractive site that is easy to navigate, can you really tell the whole story of your company in just three little snippets, each with an icon? There needs to be a balance between appearance and value. You and I probably like attractive websites as much as the next person, but when we are searching for information, we want the websites to be usable too- and usable means to have the information we need to make choices and decisions. Again, if you keep an eye on visitor experience, and not just design, you can improve your Google search results and build your business at the same time.
When you implement these five tips, you’ll be on your way in your plan to improve Google search results.
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