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Improve Your Google Search Placing With These Fixes

Updated on March 12, 2015
A series of practical steps that you can take right now to improve the visibility of your website and other online content
A series of practical steps that you can take right now to improve the visibility of your website and other online content | Source

Introduction

Everyone is looking for better search ranking in Google. If you're a website publisher, you know how important and difficult it can be to get on the front page of the search results. Despite this, there are a number of simple, practical, easy steps that you can take right now to increase the chances of your website ranking and appearing in Google's organic Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

There are many, many ways to improve ranking in search results, although its far from an exact science. Google uses over 200 'signals' from your website, the internet as a whole, links and many other areas to decide what to show people searching for a specific keyword.

So, where do you start when creating a webpage or article? Here's a list of practical steps that you can take right now to provide a foundation, enhance your chances of appearing in search and attract visitors to your website or blog.

This is a starting point

This guide should be viewed as a foundation, relatively quick and easy things that you can do without too much effort to improve the quality and reputation of your website.

Once you've completed these, you can then do further research to improve your results further. In this article, we'll cover the following:

  • Realizing that SEO is not an exact science
  • Making some basic onsite changes
  • Improving the way you create content
  • Making some offsite, link changes
  • Getting your link anchor text right
  • Understanding social signals
  • Making your content shareable

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are many benefits to SEO, specifically it:

  • Increases your website ranking in search results
  • Drives more traffic to your website
  • Results in more people clicking and reading your site, looking at ads or purchasing
  • Builds trust in your website

The whole aim being to get people to see your site in search, encourage them to click through and then take a desired action on your site (buy a product, provide information, sign-up etc.)

Following these steps will enhance your chances of ranking in organic search results
Following these steps will enhance your chances of ranking in organic search results | Source

Step 1 - Realize that Search Engine Optimization ( SEO) is not an exact science

Just because there has been lots of analysis, tracking, anecdotal information and more, no-one outside Google understands exactly how their algorithm works. Even if they did, it is being tweaked all the time to provide more relevant search results. This means two things:

  • Firstly, its very difficult to 'game' the system - they will catch you eventually if you use underhanded, dishonest techniques
  • Secondly, just because these factors feature in better performing web pages, that doesn't mean its the cause of the high rankings, simply that they are common (in other words, correlation does not equal causation). However, making these changes will improve your chances

Step 2 - Make 'onsite' changes to your webpages - The basics

Onsite changes refer to thing you can change directly on your site or page, in other words you don't need to go to other sites and create links etc, instead, you can optimize these yourself, relatively easily. The main, basic areas to focus on are:

  • Create a title that accurately describe the contents of your page - Describe exactly what people will find on your page as it is the page title that appears in SERPs
  • Make sure that your title and URL (web address) are not overly 'keyword optimized' - This means that you should not stuff them with keywords
  • Place your keyword as close to the front of the page title as possible
  • Description - Write a description / summary of your webpage in the description tags if possible
  • Make sure that you have a 'Heading 1' tag in place - This should be at the top of the page. Most online content systems will create this for you automatically
  • Make sure that you subdivide your text with 'Heading 2' tags - This tells the search engines what parts of your content relate to the searcher

Everything starts with writing great content; from that, all else follows
Everything starts with writing great content; from that, all else follows | Source

Step 3 - Make 'onsite' changes to your content

In addition to the basic SEO changes above, you also need to think carefully about the content that you are creating. You should aim for the following:

  • Word count - Write at least 600 words / 3-4,000 characters, the more the better
  • Images - Include at least two or three relevant images in your article; make sure that they are named properly and that they have 'alt text'; remember to properly attribute your images and don't break copyright
  • If appropriate, include other media - If you find videos or other media that will add to your content, put them into your article (as long as you have permission)
  • Link to other authority sites - Google likes it when articles link to other, good quality content
  • Write naturally - Don't write for the search engines, write for people. This means using easily understandable, clear language, explaining key points, providing original research and creating useful, actionable articles that inform, educate, inspire or entertain
  • Interlink your own content - Create internal links between your content and articles, using varying anchor text; not only will this help in search engines, it will also encourage people to read more of your work

Please note that 'keyword' relates to the word that people type into Google that you want your article to appear for.

Links to your website (backlinks) are one of the most important factors to appearing in organic search
Links to your website (backlinks) are one of the most important factors to appearing in organic search | Source

Step 4 - Understand important 'offsite' ranking factors - Links

Offsite ranking factors are those that you don't necessarily have complete, immediate control over. These are things that normally occur on other webpages or sites, the majority of which are links. The techniques here are:

  • Create backlinks in a natural way - Don't post your article to lots of different places at once; instead, post links in relevant places (via social networks, on forums, in communities etc) in a sensible and useful way
  • Create quality content that people want to link to - If you write something of good quality in the first place, people will find it and link to it; focus on the writing first and the linking second
  • Have a diverse backlinking profile - Google likes to see backlinks from lots of different areas - Forums, social networks, communities, webpages and more
  • Backlinks from sites with high SEO visibility are much more valuable

Step 5 - Understand important 'offsite' ranking factors - Anchor text

Anchor text is simply the text that is hyperlinked, via URL, to your content.

  • 'No follow' links are fine and expected; 'rel=nofollow' links are typically generated when you post a link to a blog or some other places. Google expects to see these as part of a natural link profile, and they are good for your site
  • Use three or fewer words in your anchor (link) text - You don't need to keyword optimize or have long linking text, in fact, this looks 'unnatural' to Google
  • You do not need to have your keyword in the anchor text
  • There should be a good diversity of 'stop words' in link anchor text (e.g. 'here')

Social network signals can help your placing in search results
Social network signals can help your placing in search results | Source

Step 6 - Understand what social signals are important

Social signals are very important to achieving good SEO; in all cases, more is better, in descending order, the most relevant, correlating social signals are:

  • Number of Google +1s
  • Number of Facebook shares
  • Number of Facebook comments
  • Number of Facebook likes
  • Number of Pinterest pins
  • Number of Tweets

This means sharing your content in a useful, relevant and clickable way on social networks.

Step 6 - Make your content shareable

Although not specifically SEO related, making your content clickable and shareable by others will definitely improve your rankings; some simple tips here include:

  • Create a snappy title - An original headline that's interesting and provokes curiosity
  • Create a good, shareable and clickable header / thumbnail image - An image that makes people want to find out more
  • Create a decent description - The summary of your article is very important to getting people to click through
  • Share your article responsibly - Don't spam communities; share your article in context and it will do better

Search engine optimization tips in 2015

What's the next aspect of SEO that you're going to work on?

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In closing

Using these techniques will help your site to rank better in search results.

Once you have made these basic changes, you can then make further tweaks and refinements to your website, expand your reach and content and enjoy the benefits of good ranking on Google and other search engines as well.

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