When your shop in San Francisco needed a website, an SF web design company probably built it from scratch. But, having a website alone isn’t going to cut it. You still need to rank high on the search engine results page (SERP) for people to choose you over someone else.
Try to remember the last time you bought something online. Did you even go past the first page of Google’s SERP? Exactly our point.
You need to make sure your website ranks high to win over new customers. Working with one of the most popular SEO agencies could be the right move, but it’s okay if you’re not there yet.
Thereby, we’ll go over 5 things you can do to outrank your competitors in 2022.
- Improve your on-page SEO.
On-page SEO is probably the easiest and fastest way to improve your ranking. It consists of different techniques you can use on your web page to make your site better for search engines. To understand what this means, you need to know how Google works.
Basically, Google bots (website crawlers) constantly search for new or updated pages on the internet. Once they find a new page, Google visits it and tries to find out what it’s about. It can analyze written content, images, and videos. This is called indexing.
At last, Google determines the highest quality pages and puts the best ones high on the SERP.
Now, you can help Google do all this better by using on-page SEO. Here’s what you can do.
Include relevant keywords.
The best way to tell Google what the web page is about is to include the right keywords. Of course, they need to be used contextually. For instance, you can’t just put the word “clothes” randomly on a page talking about cars.
There are quite a lot of keyword research tools available online, many of them for free.
When searching for keywords, pay attention to the search volume and the keyword difficulty. If there’s a large search volume, it will be difficult to rank higher than many corporations that have SEO specialists working for them daily.
Match the users’ search intent.
It may seem difficult to know what users expect to get when they search for something. In some searches, they want to find a product, but they’re looking for information in other cases.
The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to recognize what they want. Knowing their age, location, gender, and similar basic information probably won’t be enough. You want to get to know them for real. What are their interests, hobbies, attitudes, and pain points?
When you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll know what kind of content they need and are looking for.
Improve your title tags.
Title tags are HTML elements that specify the page’s title. They’re displayed on the SERP and that’s what users click on when they want to see a certain page.
A title tag needs to be concise and accurate, or the user will abandon your page right away.
Title tags are related to the search intent. You’ll easily craft a good title tag if you know what your target audience is likely to search for.
Keep in mind that your title tags shouldn’t be longer than 60 characters or most browsers won’t be able to display them entirely.
Of course, Google will take the entire title tag into account, even if’s longer, but users just won’t be able to see it.
Use engaging meta descriptions.
The meta description appears right under the title tag on the SERP. It’s a brief summary of the page’s content.
If you don’t optimize your meta descriptions, Google will just insert a random sentence from the entire content.
Now, meta descriptions aren’t always that important. When it comes to informational pages, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to provide what users need in just one sentence. It’s nearly impossible to cover all those different scenarios.
But, when it comes to the home page and product pages, you want to avoid Google using any random heading or product name in the meta description. It could create an illusion that what you’re offering isn’t satisfactory.
So, try to optimize your meta description when you have the chance. You can also include your keywords here.
- Publish high-quality content.
No matter how good you are at finding the right keywords and optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions, you won’t make up for lousy content.
Users are real people, and they don’t care about on-page SEO. What they care about is the content. Is it interesting and useful? Is it engaging? If not, they’ll open the page and abandon it right away.
There’s actually a metric that tells you how many people are doing that and it’s called a bounce rate. It shows you the percentage of people that abandoned your website without visiting the rest of it. Of course, you should be cautious with that and check out your average session duration as well.
If they spend a couple of minutes there and then leave, your content is probably just fine. The sole fact that the users aren’t visiting multiple pages on your website doesn’t mean the content is bad.
Another thing you should pay attention to is updating your old content from time to time. Google bots will know you’ve changed things up and re-rank it. This is what Google calls a “Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)”.
- Include internal and external linking.
Including internal and external linking can also help you rank higher.
Internal linking is when you include a link to another page on your website in your new content. For instance, if you’ve included the Maldives in your blog on the best exotic destinations to visit in 2022, you can link it to a blog on the Maldives you previously wrote.
This helps website crawlers discover new content faster while spreading ranking power around the website.
External linking happens when someone else’s blog leads to your website. These links are even more valuable because a third party is pointing to your website and passing more ranking power. External links also help you build authority.
Waiting for someone to include your website out of the blue can take time. Instead, you can contact people from your industry, such as bloggers, and ask them to include you in one of their blogs by sending them your products and asking for a review. You can also write guest posts or ask for backlinks if you’re just starting.
- Decrease your load times.
Aside from being annoying, a slow-loading web page can impact your ranking.
Though Google does prioritize faster-loading web pages, only a small percentage of web pages are considered too slow. So, Google won’t directly push you down on the SERP based on this.
But users aren’t patient when they click on the website. If it takes too long to load, they’ll most likely abandon it, which can be a sign of a bad user experience. Google will pick up on that through other ranking factors. It may suggest that the content is bad, for instance, even though that’s not the case.
Here’s what you can do to improve your load-time.
Compress the images.
Large files take time to load, which can slow down your web pages. Google advises that you keep images under 150kb for optimal web page speed.
If you have a lot of large images files on your website, don’t worry. You don’t have to manually compress images. There are plugins that can do it for you. It’s also a good idea to allow the plugin to optimize your images directly upon upload.
Alternatively, you can do this manually by using a tool like TinyPNG. All you have to do is upload an image and this tool will compress it in no time.
Optimize the scripts.
The web page speed doesn’t just depend on what you see. Many processes happening behind the scene are impacting the page’s speed, as well. Scripts are an important part of the website. They enable functionalities like embedded videos, chat widgets, and social share buttons.
They can be placed directly in the code of your website, but this can slow down your website. To correct this, hire a developer to assist you in optimizing your scripts.
Include lazy loading.
All web assets load at the same time by default. The more content, images, and videos you have, the longer it takes for them to load.
While this may not be a problem for users with fast internet and great PCs, the reality is different. A lot of people still have slow mobile phones and computers. So, you’ll either have to simplify your website by removing some images, or you can use lazy loading technology.
What does that mean? Well, you set up your website so that it doesn’t load web assets at the same time, but as the user scrolls down. The users will barely notice that and you’ll save yourself the trouble of altering your site completely to speed it up.
- Use social media.
Social media popularity isn’t a ranking factor. But, a lot of new people can find your business on social media platforms, either through paid ads or organically. Another thing social media platforms are great for is building brand awareness.
Users that are already familiar with your brand and its reputation are more likely to click on your ad or listing on the SERP. This will improve your click-through rate (CTR) and help you get to the top of the SERP.
You can also use social media to boost your content performance, gain backlinks, and bring more traffic to your website.
Outranking your competitors can’t be done solely through SEO. You need to fight on multiple fronts to improve your ranking.
Delivering relevant and interesting content, linking your page to someone else’s, speeding up your website and social media can contribute to better ranking as well.
Do you see any room for improvement? And what’s the first thing you plan on doing? Feel free to share your thoughts.