You don’t have to be an expert to rank well
Every person who wants their business site to rank well with search engines has essential tasks to undertake in order to have their site be ranked well and to show up in search engines.
As the primary search engine, Google has said that they want to give searchers the answers and the help they seek within one click.
In order to do that, Google has developed algorithms that prefer fresh, well-written, focused content that has a clear purpose. In addition to this, Google prefers websites which are responsive to device type: meaning that your site responds and formats content sized to display best on the device the searcher is using. Content must be free of spelling and grammatical errors and needs to be linked to other on-site content and reference by hyperlink authoritative content external to your site. Google prioritizes content with substance. “Thin content” or content without substance is demoted in search results pages (SERPS).
In years past, people frequently thought that they were able to game Google and other engines. Those days are gone. So, abandon any expectation that you’ll stuff pages with repeated keywords, or phrases. Instead, author content which is focused on the reason that page exists on your site and is customer-centric. Keep your content fresh and up to date with revisions and updates.
Register for and use Google Analytics and link this with Google’s Search Console, which was previously called Webmaster Tools. The search console allows you to understand how Google “sees” your site, how people find your site, and which of your site’s content is indexed by Google. You can also see when Googlebot last crawled your site. It will identify search phrases and variants used to access and index content within your site. As you learn more about how your site is indexed, accessed and displayed in search, you’ll be prompted to continually improve your website and help increase its search presence.
Website content decisions before you develop your site:
- Understand and map out the challenges, needs, and manner in which you intend to provide services or solutions to your customers. Personas or typical customer bios are great to help keep you focused.
- Prior to any development, create a wireframe of your content’s organization and relationship within the site. A simple spreadsheet with top level content named in the first row and child or sub-page content identified in cells within columns below works well, or you may wish to create a more visually rich flow chart.
- Have a purpose and goal for every page within your website.
- Create anchor content for each page of your site. This content will be fundamental to that section of your site and will serve as an anchor or reference point.
- As you create this content, identify which phrases and words will become internal links, referencing other sections of your site.
- You will also need to determine visual elements to illustrate content. Powerful images help the visitor relate to your content and provide graphical elements visible in shares across social media.
- Decide how frequently you’ll be adding content to the site so that you continue to present a fresh, informed presence to both search engines and potential customers.
- While creating content, understand that readers will respond best to blocks of words which are tightly focused and easy to skim. These blocks of content on the page need to be separated by section heads which help identify the most important idea in the following section. Called sub-heads in magazines and newspapers, these are also critical to helping signal to Google the importance and flow of content on your site/page.
- If you’re using a CMS (content management system) as a site foundation, thoughtfully organize categories and tags (micro-categories) to be relevant to your customers’ needs as you’ve previously outlined them.
- Plan how you’ll be promoting your site’s content via social media and offline.
Post launch must-dos
Evaluate the success of content/performance by regularly reviewing Google Analytics to comprehend how visitors move through your site’s content and how long they remain on each section. These critical indicators will inform and help you improve each page’s rationale within the site.