The day or week after a website launch, someone will inevitably notice that they can’t find the site on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. This might seem comical since there are thousands of websites launched each day, but it also shows a underestimation of what is required to be found online.
However, this isn’t as funny when your organization’s site has been online for a while and is still not being found. You know your website was indexed by the search engines, but it is listed on page 10 in Google – and no one will ever see it! What do you do?
There is a multi-billion-dollar industry around the science of search engine optimization, so it is not surprising that lots of web managers are confused. What the search engines are looking for changes weekly, if not daily, so unless you are committed to staying up with it all, getting ranked is going to take some professional help.
There is hope!
Here are 10 things you can do right now (in no particular order) to start helping your rankings:
- Get an analytics tool. Ensure you have some sort of analytic tool installed on every page so you can see how people are getting to your site, what they’re looking at the most/longest/least, where they leave your site from the most, what keywords they are typing in to find you, what sites are referring them to you and a whole host of other data. I recommend Google Analytics as it’s free and quite comprehensive.
- Validate your pages. Make sure they are all clear of errors, and are “correct” according to the industry standards that are out there. Again, this might be more of a technical thing, but there are plenty of resources online to help with the process. If your site is not browser compatible, for instance, your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rating will drop. Take the time to make sure everything in your control is as dialed in as possible.
- Make sure each and every page has a good page title. This can be different from the actual title on the page (talk to your web developer) but the page title is critical to your SEO success. Most content management systems have a place to define your page title.
- Define your keywords. Clearly define the keywords that you are trying to rank for and then ensure that as much as possible you include those keywords in each post. This can also hurt your chances if you over-use your keywords, but just make sure that as much as possible your keywords are included within the body of your content. Note: these keywords should also dominate your page titles and section headers.
- Have images in your posts/articles work for you! Make sure you include an “alt” tag in each image that is rich in your desired keywords as well. Note: make sure your images are set to 72 dpi and set exactly to the size you want them. The quicker your images load, the better for your optimization.
- Link to other articles/posts you have written. Use your site to promote your site! When you are writing something and reference a concept you’ve already written about or an event you are promoting, link to it.
- Link correctly! When you are linking (either internally or externally) ensure your link is actually keywords that you value. For instance, instead of just using “Click Here” make sure you include a few other good keywords in that link. Note: much like the “alt” tag in images, utilize the “title” tag in links for better SEO muscle.
- Post often. No matter how big your organization is, if the search engines cannot find new content when they come to spider through, your ranking will drop. Content is and will be king for a while.
- Work to get higher ranking websites to link to you. When they do link to you, make sure they link to a specific page on your site (one that has relevant content) and make sure they use good keywords in their links to you. One good way to achieve this is by having guest-posts by well-known authors. Note: “reciprocal linking” is not as much a factor these days as it has been so abused in the past. What matters with linking is having reputable websites that reference your site for greater validation.
Are there any other key factors you think should be considered? Please chime in!