Search Engine Optimization

How to improve your site’s SEO rankings

Today, we’ll talk about how to improve your site’s SEO rankings. You launched your site, and you added your site to Google Search console, so you’re on your way! But being “on Google” isn’t enough if you show up in the 15th page of results for your search terms. Your visitors need to be able to find your site easily.

How can you improve your site’s SEO rankings?

Do some keyword research and specific keywords

What keywords are you attempting to rank for? Brainstorm and write down the terms you think people will use when looking for your website or service. Do you have a lot of competition for those terms? How can you stand out? If you run a bakery whose main business is delivering cakes and baked goods locally, don’t try to rank for “best bakery” or “cakes and baked goods.” Those terms are far too broad. Instead, try to narrow your focus and rank for local terms like “best cakes in Hill City, South Dakota.” Check out Yoast’s article on keyword research for more tips.

Write high quality content

First of all, remember that high quality content is king. Make sure that your content is relevant to your site and your audience, is easy to read, and that users can easily navigate to find what they are looking for. Don’t just fill your site with keywords that lack context. That strategy went out years ago, and your site could be penalized for keyword stuffing. Use natural-sounding text to communicate with your visitors and concentrate on the subjects that are important to you and to them. Not sure what to write? Consider hiring a copywriter to help flesh out your ideas.

Improve your website speed

Speed counts in website rankings. Use tools like Pingdom, GT Metrix, or Google PageSpeed Insights to test your site speed. See here for tips on how to improve your site speed. Speed is a complex topic because there are different measurements for different things: time to first byte, first contentful paint, cumulative layout shift, and more. DreamHost explains more about some of these measurements here.

Optimize for local searches

Remember that your site should be optimized for your audience. If you sell shoes in Clatonia, Nebraska, and your clientele is mostly local, aim to reach those people. Include phrases like “shoes in Clatonia” or “shoestores in Clatonia, Nebraska” in your content, where those phrases fit in naturally.

Keep your website secure

Google and other search engines may drop your site or add warnings in the search results if they find your site contains malware or viruses. So keeping your WordPress website secure also protects your SEO rankings. Read more about how security affects SEO. If your site has been blocklisted by Google, see how to fix it.

Set up your business or organization on Google My Business

Claim your website in Google My Business, and add relevant information. Once this is set up, if a visitor searches for you, you will have one of these fancy boxes on the side of the search results:

Google My Business

Links from trustworthy sources

When Google or other search engines see that other websites link to you, they see you as a more important or authoritative website. In the 1990s, people used to do “link exchanges” – I’ll link to your site if you’ll link to mine. As with keyword stuffing, the point is not to have random websites link to you. You can still reach out to other businesses, but the link should be legitimate.

Example: If you run an organic chicken farm, you may want to write content telling your customers about a nearby organic spinach farm in your area, and the spinach farm may in turn want to mention your chickens. This can be part of a larger strategy of creating a community that works together for mutual benefit – both the businesses’ benefit and that of the consumers looking for similar products.

Learn more about SEO

Consult with a specialist on how to improve your site’s SEO rankings

If your website isn’t ranking the way you think it should be, speak with an SEO specialist. Best practices for SEO change often, and an SEO consultant is the best person to advise you in this case.

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