Let’s come straight to the point – how to rank your website higher in Google using 100% ethical techniques and no spam? Here you go.
It all starts with your website
Be brave and admit that it all starts with your website. Stop looking for ways to generate links, links, and links all the time. Cut at least 50% of your link-building time and invest it in your website – making it better and friendlier to the visitors and Google. But the question is – how to make a website SEO-Friendly and ready for search engine optimization in 2014?
I said 2014 as SEO has changed a lot this year. Now, it’s the world dominated by humming-bird integrated Google which is now more intelligent than ever before. It now knows what exactly your website offers and how relevant and useful is it to the users’ search queries. If you are trying to manipulate with its algorithms, you are only calling troubles to your end. Most importantly, if you invest your time helping Google to serve its users with the most relevant search results, you can rank your website higher in just half the time you usually spend on SEO.
So, what are the things that you need to optimize on your website for its better performance with search engines? They are –
- Easy, responsive or adaptive design layout
- User-friendly navigation and internal linking
- Naturally optimized on-page metrics
- Properly integrated Meta Data
- Optimized Page Speed
- Original Contents with Semantically integrated keywords
Now let me talk about it all in detail.
Easy, responsive, or adaptive design layout
Let’s first understand the real meaning of it. Having an easy and responsive or adaptive layout means, getting your website developed in a way that it opens up for a better reading experience no matter what screen size does the user use. To be more precise, it means your website layout should be liquid enough to flow and fit the screen size of users’ device. It should open up perfect on all device size, be it a widescreen desktop, a simple laptop, iPad, Smartphones, or mobile phones. In short, your website should deliver a consistent user experience across all devices.
Before the advent of responsive website layout, we all were forced to have two separate versions of the website, one for mobile and one for all other devices. But now, things have changed for something really good. You do not need two separate versions of the same website to target both desktop and mobile users. The same design can be optimized to load different layouts on different screen sizes.
So, what’s the catch and why should you use it? Does it relate to SEO anyway?
Okay, go through the paragraphs below –
We recommend using responsive web design because it has many good aspects:
Using a single URL for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content and a single URL for the content helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content.
No redirection is needed for users to get to the device-optimized view, which reduces loading time. Also, user-agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see “Pitfalls when detecting user agents” section for details).
It saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents need to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.
Source – Google Developers
What do you think – does it actually relate to SEO? Yes, of course. If Google itself recommends the use of responsive website design, it obviously has its effect on SEO.
Wait, it does not mean that having an RWD (Responsive Web Design) will rank you higher in Google overnight. Be informed, it is just one of the important factors that matter in having better performance of your website.
User-friendly navigation and internal linking
Even the best-designed website in the world can result in giving the worst user-experience if its navigation and internal linking structure are not properly designed. The primary aims of effective website navigation should be:
- Make it easy for users to browse through your website
- Give clear labels for the pages where navigation links will take users to
- Make relevant links to sub-pages accessible from a page the user is on
- Give a clear indication where the user is currently and how to be back to the page he/she was previously
- Integrate an on-site search feature on every page of the website
Do I need to say more about this? Not actually, I found a very good blog at Hubspot explaining the need of effective navigation in detail.
Naturally optimized on-page metrics
Properly integrated Microdata
Microdata is standard formats of data accepted and used by all three major search engines today namely – Google, Bing, and Yahoo. If you do the proper integration of these data into your website, you are helping search engines to better understand your website and its contents. Google uses these data to show a rich snippet of your website in its search results. You can also find it under Google Webmaster Tools options.
More information on Microdata can be found at schema.org which is formed with the collaboration by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
Wondering how does it relate to your search engine optimization efforts and your website’s ranking with Google? The answer is very candid. If Google is able to understand you better by reading the structured data supplied by you, you will definitely have its benefits in better positioning on your website in its search results. However, it does not directly relate rankings in SEO, but it surely has long-term benefits.
Page speed is a critical factor in the Google Rankings of a website. If your website takes a lot of time loading, it is definitely not friendly to your target visitors, and so is it for search engines.
Google prefers faster loading websites as they save much on its resources used for crawling and indexing those websites. Be informed, Google is not a non-profit organization compelled to like your website even if it uses much of its resources. It can very easily find a better alternative of your website that might load faster than that of yours.
Original Contents with Semantically integrated keywords
You must have read it at least a thousand times by now that ‘original content is very important in SEO’. It’s right to the letters. But in 2014, it’s not enough. You can’t avoid the importance of contents but what is even more significant is that it should be optimized with semantically integrated keywords. What the heck is that?
It means the use of a close variant of keywords in the same set of contents. You must not have a separate page for every keyword like – rank in google, ranking higher in Google, top rank in google etc. These all need to have only one page. Further, take a look at the image below:
What did you notice? Search Spider of Google knows that CCNA is offered by Cisco, and ‘training’ and ‘learning’ are the similar words which do not affect search results badly, rather it makes search results more relevant to the users.
For this reason, make sure you are optimizing your contents accordingly. The easiest way to get started with it is to refer to your ‘Search Queries’ section in the webmaster tool, ‘Searches related to’ section down the bottom on the result page of Google, and using Adwords Keyword tool.
Be generous and distribute free information related to your niche
Yes, this is the best approach to search engine marketing today. Start with setting up a blog for your business, preferably on your own domain and make a habit to post useful articles for customers in your industry. Write ebooks, design infographics, make videos, and freebies to distribute free to your potential customers. Make use of social media to distribute your free materials. But make sure to include a summary of your business offerings with proper contact details in your free distribution materials. Ask for the contact details e.g. email addresses before letting people download your freebies.
What are the benefits of this approach?
They are varied – you get to establish your company as a better brand in the fray, you start getting an audience for your offerings, nurture them with more helpful freebies to start generating leads. It’s not over, you also get something to talk about in your social media channels and it also helps you create engagement with your potential customers.
So what is the benefit in SEO?
When you distribute really useful things, people on the web start talking about it which in turn gives you Links to your website. It flows naturally. For the second thing, using this approach you drive potential social signals to your website which again, in turn, help your website’s overall visibility in the search results.
Create apt and to-the-point pages on your website
Do not clutter your website with useless pages. Try to minimize the number of pages to the best you can. Focus on creating values to your website for your visitors, do not try to confuse your visitors and search engines with unnecessary pages on the same topic on your website. Be informed that having a larger website with thousands of pages do not necessarily mean that you would rank higher in Google on this account only. Watch this video below to get a better understanding of what I mean:
You must be feeling convinced with what I said above, right? Yes, it is wise to focus on quality rather on quantity. In the whim of creating quantity, you might be compromising with quality on your website, it is definitely not going to help you rank higher in Google.
Make use of Google Websites like – Plus and Places
I don’t say that Google places or Plus have a direct impact on your website’s overall first-page ranking, but yes, it does have a positive effect. Make sure to be on Google Plus and Places for Business. Do not just be there, make your presence is felt.
The first significant thing there is to fill in your complete profile information. Do not leave anything blank, fill in the relevant information. Post at least 5 post on Google Plus every day. Talk about your brand, Plus One and comment others’ posts, get into the community, share your thoughts, and be lively.
Similarly on Places for Business, make sure you have filled in the complete profile details, and you have uploaded relevant images and videos to the page. Make sure you do not have a duplicate listing for the same business address. Use the same address and contact details everywhere on internet for local listings. Maintain consistency in it.
Ask your existing customers to leave reviews on your Places for Business page, and respond to their reviews in time.
Keep your website URL linked to both Plus and Places pages, and do not forget to integrate Google Authorship into your website’s blog section. Additionally, create a Publisher account as well and integrated it into your website.
Post less, but post quality, and do it consistently. Consistency is of prime importance, do not act like a one day hero. Stick with it to have real benefits. More importantly, do not expect results overnight, it takes time. At least 3 months to start getting real benefits.
Conclusion: Ranking higher on Google’s first page is definitely not rocket science, it is simple and obvious. But it needs consistency and smart approach to be there. Do not tend to take the short route always, rather invest your time into making a quality marketing strategy that is primarily for people and then for search engines.