This post includes, 10 things which can help your blog/website appear higher in Google, where each point, has simplified bullet points to make sure nothing has missed. Every point includes information for the most basic and advanced SEO goers.
The 10 points included are :
1. Page Titles
2. Images on a webpage
3. Internal links
4. Social media
5. No keyword stuffing
6. URL structure and website structure
7. Digital Champions
9. Webpage content
10. Check for mistakes
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Now, this may be the first time a digital marketing piece has started with a little philosophy but let’s dismiss that and use a similar question to your blog or website. If you have a website and no one looks at it (bar the pesky semalt crawler), does it do anything for you? The easy answer to this is, “no”!
In 2012 there were 664 million websites online, and of course, this has only grown with the amount of internet users. So in theory the internet is very competitive, though every day a whole range of websites get hundreds of visitors coming and engaging with their website. And yes, there is a huge range of ways getting people to your website, including:
- Social media.
- Paid advertising.
- Visitors coming directly to the website.
- Search engine traffic.
But one thing which is a common factor for most websites, is, the value of traffic coming from search engines. If you look at it simply, people coming to your website from typing a particular keyword in a search engine, are normally unknowns and are “FREE”. That’s right free, like those mini samples of food which get all the attention in a super market.
OK, I hope you’re now with me, when you realise how useful search engine traffic is! And the best thing, it is not black magic and it is not illegal. Truly, getting people to your website through search engines is the process of making your website, meet a search engines standard.
Hence, why I thought it best for me to share the, “Top 10 things which will allow my blog/website to rank on Google!”
You may be asking, why only Google and again that answer is pretty simple, Google is the big daddy of search engines, and Google’s biggest competitors run much the same way as Google, i.e you appear in Google you will most probably appear in the other search engines.
So let’s stop procrastinating and get to the top 10:
1. Page titles
This one may be easier to implement for the word press and web developers users out there. Similar to a school essay, or a piece of work, every web page has a main title. Google has to crawl millions/billions of web pages daily, meaning the best way for Google to traditionally understand what a page is about, is to read its title. Similar to what you would do for an essay.
The page title can be easily viewed in the web page’s tab and/or the search engines, search results (SERPs) as seen below in blue and should be written to include what the page is about, and what keyword you would like to rank for.
Things to note when writing a page title are:
- Keep the page title around 50/60 characters long and use http://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag ,to check if your page title is the correct length.
- Include your brand at the end of the page title.
- Don’t keyword stuff and have only 1/2 keyword per page.
- Add the keyword/ phrase you think is most applicable for that page to the page Title. For example. “10 tips to allow a blog to appear on Google – Digital Dancer”
- Finally check what your competitors have written and or are optimising for inspiration.
2. Images on a webpage
OK, there is a saying which states, “the devil is in the detail” and unfortunately this is ludicrously true in the SEO world. When you upload an image to your blog/ website, make sure it’s title (alt text) is relevant to the picture and the webpage it is on i.e, no search engine wants to see the image title “76582x.jpg”, where it will gain no information about the picture or the page. A search engine would rather see and crawl a title relevant to that page/ photo. Again the photo’s title can help clarify what the webpage is about.
Things to note for when optimising an image:
- Keyword specific alt text titles are essential to each image.
- Remove the hyperlink (link) from the image, so, if someone clicks on the image they are not transported to a page with just the duplicated image, and no text. Of course, sometimes, you need to have this hyperlink because the image is too small. However you have to remember, Google can influence negatively websites which demonstrate minimal text across the website.
- Again removing the link and changing the alt text is pretty simple on WordPress, as demonstrated below by the highlighted areas. To get to this screen, click on an image in edit and press edit. If you do not use WordPress you should learn how perform these actions for your own CMS system.
3. Internal Links
Internal linking is quite a common SEO practice and a lot of us argue, it should only be used to enhance a user journey ,I completely agree and internal links should be used to improve the user journey. Similar point number 1 and 2, the link should relate to the page it is pointing to, i.e. if the page is about “eagles”, the link should say something about eagles. Again, helping to highlight to Google what is included on that page but this time through an external source pointing to the page.
Things to note about internal linking:
- The link should be related to the webpage it is linked to.
- The main pages of your website will have more links and the main reason for this is because they are more popular.
- If you want to have a go at an effective internal linking strategy, check out the Moz guide.
4. Social Media
I know this is a strange one, especially as social media doesn’t seem to be linked to a website at all. But let me ask a question, why would a positive amount of social interaction with a website be beneficial for Google?
Google earns a huge majority of its money from paid advertising and what would bring visitors to Google daily; it’s that it’s search results generate the best and most popular results. Social media interaction with a website highlights that a website is still active, so applicable to Google’s audience whilst illustrating it is a popular website. Both of these triggers, actively highlight to Google the website should rank positively in the SERPS.
Things to note for social media:
- Make it easy for people to share any content socially or to follow your website.
- Don’t be scared to ask people to share your content if you think it’s applicable to them.
- Link your social media accounts to your website and vice versa.
5. No Keyword Stuffing
I’m going to make this one short, especially as there has been a lot of information up to this point. Please, oh please, write your content for humans not for search engines. It may help to stuff your content on the short term but in the long term it will be detrimental. Yes, add your keyword to the text but please write for the user not Mr Google.
Things to note for Keyword stuffing:
- Write for the user not the machine.
6. URL structure and website structure
The URL structure of a website and the actual design of a website is huge to easy success; why? Just because! No in all seriousness, Google identifies your most important pages as being the earliest ones. Similar to a pyramid, where the homepage is the pinnacle and the latter pages are the bricks below. I know it’s hard to envision, so I have done an image below of an example website.
So simplifying this image, the longer the URL, i.e www.example.com/category/sub-category the less authority the page naturally carries. So in short, the shorter the URL structure, the easier it will rank. So the wider the pyramid you can envision, the larger quantity of pages can appear with shorter URL’s.
Things to note for URL structure:
- This will rank easy example.com/post-name, as well as example.com/page-name but example.com/category/post-name carries less authority..
- Use hyphens to separate the words.
- Add the keyword into the URL if applicable, remember write it for the user not the search engine.
- Try to remove stop words, (e.g. to, and, at etc.) Only remove the stop words if it does not make the URL look awful.
7. Digital Champions
Again, I will keep this short. I wrote about this theory a few weeks back on the fantastic Moloney King blog. Simply, it states through online networking your blog will grow and your visitors will increase. This is both through brand awareness and your connections linking back to you.
Things to note for digital champions:
- Don’t do it all yourself, get help from the online community.
8. Headings <<<<<<<<<<<<<
You may have seen something in common with most of the previous points, and that is, make sure you actually mention on the webpage, what keyword/ phrase you are trying to appear on Google for. This is the same with the headings; so coming back to the analogy that a webpage is an essay. Another easy way to find, what specific parts of a essay are about, are the headings! Just visualise Google being a skim reader, make sure the content Google wants to notice, is easily seen.
Again, similar to the previous points, please, oh please write the headings for the user not Google. If you are adding keywords, add them when it is natural.
Things to note for the webpage headings:
- Add the keywords when applicable.
- Use the headings to break up your content, allowing a better user experience.
- The main heading is the most important heading to Google.
9. Webpage Content
Another common sense one but take it from me, people do miss this out. Write the content around the keyword you want to rank. If you can make a landing page for each service/ or keyword you want to rank for, do it. If you’re unable to do that, then make sure the content is at least tailored around your keywords.
Things to note for webpage content:
- Check for typos, Google can negatively influence your rankings through typos.
- Write for the user not the search engine!
- Try and have over 150 words of content on each page at least.
10. Check for mistakes
This one was honestly the hardest to decided, because to be honest, there is a lot more you can do to a webpage to make it rank. However I wanted to make this the top 10 things to do. So simply check over your website and make sure there are no mistakes. This includes, typos, duplicated web pages, have an XML sitemap installed correctly and your website can be crawled properly.
Things to note when checking for mistakes:
- Use copyscape to check for both internal and external duplication with other web pages http://www.copyscape.com/.
- Check the Robot text file to make sure Google can crawl all the pages that you want to appear on a search engine.
- Make sure you have an XML sitemap and make sure it is correctly connected to your webmaster tools.
- Use www.siteliner.com to check your website for broken internal and external links
Let’s make the conclusion short and sweet. For the quicker ones of you, you will realise this post is slightly hypocritical. I currently have not implemented all of these things for my website. I will get to it but like any individual, I can only do what I have time for. If you do have any questions, please feel free to comment and thank you for the time in reading this. I hope it helps!
Author: Barrie Smith