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The following post was written by the brilliant Hristina Nikolovska of SEOTribunal
“Get a website,” they said. “You’ll get loads more business,” they said. “It will be easy,” they said. Well, we’d love to know who “they” are and be able to give them a stern talking to. In the early days of the internet, all you really had to do was set up your site, put in the right keywords, and bam, you’d hit the top SERP.
Why You Need a Web Presence
But that was a long time ago when the internet was not quite as congested as it is now. There are millions of sites now vying for attention. And that’s not surprising considering how important it has become to have a web presence.
Statista found that 62% of shoppers in the United Kingdom in 2017 researched online before actually going into a store to buy something. So if you don’t have a web presence, you could miss out on a lot of potential business.
Can’t I Just Use PPC Advertising Instead?
There’s no question that PPC advertising drives traffic and that it’s an easy way to end up at the top of the search results. It’s not a long-term strategy, though.
For starters, it can work out pricey. Secondly, around 80% of people will ignore paid search results.
Organic results are given priority by most searchers. Improving your organic ranking is easier on the budget and should get you better click-through rates. So, yes, PPC advertising can be used to boost your traffic, but it shouldn’t be the only tack you take here.
How Do I Improve My Organic Traffic?
That is the big question. As things stand, we know that Google’s algorithm considers over 200 different factors when deciding on whether your site should make the cut in a search.
Unfortunately, exactly what most of those factors are is something that Google doesn’t want to share. In fact, it helpfully states that the best way to rank well is to create great content. That might not seem helpful, but it is excellent advise, especially considering that its algorithm is tweaked several times a year.
The big updates might make the headlines, but there are many smaller tweaks we never hear about. Fortunately, SEO gurus have been able to highlight a few other factors through trial and error experimentation.
Let’s go through them quickly.
How fast your site loads impacts the visitor’s user experience. Anything that impacts the user experience negatively is going to get you smacked down by the search engines. But as Google has made abundantly clear, how fast your site loads on both mobile and desktop needs to be taken into consideration.
You should aim for a maximum load time of three seconds, whether on mobile or desktop. Anything over that and you risk your visitor clicking off and taking their business elsewhere.
Do a complete site audit and check the load speed right now. If things are going a little slowly, check for things on the site that might be slowing things down.
Have you got banners that slow the loading speed? Do you have big photo files? Is anything bloating the size of your site unnecessarily? If so, you’ll need to get a handle on these.
What does high-quality content actually mean? The most important thing is that it is interesting to your target market and that they will want to read it. Think here in terms of visitor-centric content that is useful, rather than pushing sales.
What are the questions that your visitors might want answers to? What problems do they experience? Can you create content that will be useful to them?
It is a good idea to create content that is more long-form in nature. Search engines generally prefer longer-form content as it may be seen as more informative. However, you should remember that you’re not writing just for the sake of search engine, though.
You want the written content to be flawless, helpful, and without fluff so that visitors get value from reading it. You impress Google and the visitor, so it’s a win-win.
The next item to keep in consideration is the bounce rate of your site. We know that this is something that search engines monitor. They do this to continuously evaluate how well your site matched the search terms used.
If someone bounces off again without spending much time on your site, it looks bad for you. The search engines will view this as a sign that your site has nothing on it worthy of notice and you get penalized.
You can avoid this by ensuring that your site loads fast, the content is laid out in a clear, uncluttered manner, and you provide content that your target market is interested in.
Finally, it’s also important to consider the page description here. It must be well-written and interesting but also a proper reflection of the kind of content that users can find on your site.
Over the last few years, SEO has changed a lot. Initially, the more sites that linked to yours, the better. If you had more links than the others, your site was viewed as more credible. That, in turn, led to some webmasters employing black hat techniques like buying links.
This is why the search engines started not only checking how many backlinks you had, but also the quality of the sites that linked to yours. So if you bought links from a spammy site, they’d be able to pick up on that fairly easily, and you’d be penalized.
If, on the other hand, an authority site linked through to yours, your traffic would get a positive boost.
There are those who believe that keywords are no longer going to have an impact on ranking. The reason behind this is that search engines are getting better at understanding the context of searches and natural language.
So the actual keywords used are no longer as important. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. You’ll be better off thinking up key phrases that people might use, or questions that they might ask about your product instead.
The click-through rate is another important ranking factor. That means how many people actually click through to your site from the search engine results. If your site is ignored by the searcher, search engines will assume that it wasn’t relevant to the search requested.
As we well know, though, this is not the only reason. Maybe the page description is poorly written or looks boring. People need a reason to click through to a link, so great writing here is essential.
When it comes to winning at SEO, there are a lot of different factors to take into consideration. We’d say that you should start by ensuring that any content you put out is of the brilliant quality. That is going to be the best long-term strategy for ranking better.
Click here to see Ranking in 2019 – All The SEO Stats & Trends You Need To Know Infographic.
As the Marketing Manager at SEO Tribunal, part of Tina’s daily engagements involve raising awareness of the importance of digital marketing when it comes to the success of small businesses. As her first step towards this journey was in the field of content marketing, she’s still using every opportunity she gets to put her thoughts into educational articles.