Where is your website traffic coming from?
If you’re relying on people to find you through a Google search, search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be at the top of your priority list.
You won’t be able to generate leads for your business if nobody can find you.
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Did you know 93% of experiences on the Internet start with a search engine? What happens after someone makes a search?
The top result on Google has a 33% chance of getting clicked.
That means if you’re not number one on the page, you just missed out on a third of potential traffic.
What’s even more astonishing is that 75% people won’t even click on the second page of the search results.
The reason why other websites are ranking higher than you on Google is because they are making a conscious effort to improve their SEO.
Fortunately, it’s not too late for you to get started.
There are certain things you can do to increase your chances of getting ranked higher on Google searches.
Improving SEO Rankings Depends on The Quality of Your Website or Blog
- How to Create a Website – Step by Step
- The Best Website Builders Compared
- The Best Web Hosting Companies Compared
- How to Start a Blog That Makes Money
- Learn How to Make Money Blogging
- The Best Blog Platforms and Sites Compared
Top SEO Tools Pros Really Use to Improve SEO Rankings
If you want to improve SEO rankings, you’ll need an SEO tool. Here’s the best options.
- SEMRush – Best Overall SEO Software
- Ahrefs – Best Advanced SEO Software
- Yoast – Best SEO Plugin for WordPress
- Screaming Frog – Best SEO Crawling Software
- Pitchbox – Best Outreach Software
You can read our full reviews of each SEO tool here.
11 Steps to Improve SEO Rankings
I’ve identified the top ways to improve your SEO ranking. Here they are.
- Improve your page loading speed
- Produce high quality content
- Optimize your links
- Optimize your site for mobile devices
- Properly format your page
- Encourage sharing on social media
- Use keywords appropriately
- Create clean, focused, and optimized URLs
- Get your name out there
- Get set up on Google Business
- Use tools to outperform content marketing
Step 1 – Improve Your Page Loading Speed
Your page loading time is important for a few reasons.
First of all, if your load speed is too slow, Google will recognize this, and it will harm your ranking.
But a slow website will also impact the way your website visitors engage with your pages.
As a result, those negative interactions will hurt your ranking too.
Look at how abandonment rates increase for websites with long page loading times:
How slow is too slow?
Research shows 40% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
What’s even more shocking is that 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website.
This is terrible for your SEO ranking because it ultimately kills traffic to your site.
But on the flip side, if your page loads fast, people will keep coming back.
Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
This makes it extremely important to optimize both your page speed and server response time.
If you want to test the speed of your website, there are online services such as Pingdom available for free.
This will allow you to test your website from different locations all over the world.
If you find that your site is running slow then you may want to check your website theme and plugins.
If your slow server is the culprit then check out my list of the best web hosting providers and transfer to a new host!
Step – 2 Produce High Quality Content
How often do you update your website?
If you haven’t touched it since the day you built it, you probably don’t have a great SEO ranking right now.
To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back.
Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant.
Another factor that impacts your SEO ranking is so-called dwell time.
This relates to how much time people spend on your website per visit.
If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your dwell time.
Websites that provide highly informative content typically have long dwell times.
Save your content ideas in one place across all the document apps you use.
Here’s something else to consider.
Google Chrome controls nearly 45% of the Internet browser market share, making it the most popular browser in the world.
That number will continue to rise as Chrome was also the most downloaded browser of 2017:
When users bookmark your website from a Google Chrome browser, it can help your SEO ranking.
High quality and relevant content will increase the chances of your website being bookmarked by visitors.
Optimize Your Images
Pictures and other images are great for your website.
But you need to make sure they are optimized properly if you want these images to improve your SEO ranking.
I’m referring to factors such as the file format and size.
Huge images can slow your page loading time, which, as I’ve said, hurts your ranking.
Resize or compress your images to optimize them.
You can also use your images to sneak in keywords by naming them accordingly.
For example, let’s say you have a website that sells toiletries or other bath products.
Instead of naming an image something like “shampoo1,” you could name it “best shampoo for long hair.”
You can also strategically use keywords in the title of your image as well as the caption or description.
Five Ways to Improve your Site’s Ranking (SEO)
1. Publish Relevant, Authoritative Content
Quality, authoritative content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings and there is no substitute for great content—this is especially true when doing SEO marketing. Quality content created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic, which improves your site’s authority and relevance. Fine-tune your web writing skills and present yourself as an authority on the topic you are writing about.
Identify and target a specific keyword phrase for each authoritative content page on your website. Think about how your reader might search for that specific page with search terms like:
- online masters in engineering management
- what is biomedical engineering?
- title IX education resources
- photographing northern lights
- how to apply for scholarships?
- when is the FAFSA deadline?
- what is the difference between engineering and engineering technology?
Multiple Keyword Phrases
It is very difficult for a webpage to achieve search engine rankings for multiple keyword phrases—unless those phrases are very similar. A single page may be able to rank for both “biomedical engineering jobs” and “biomedical engineering careers”. Ranking for “student affairs” and “dean of students” or “gender discrimination” and “violence reporting procedures” with a single page is unlikely.
If you want to rank for multiple keywords phrases with your website, you will need to make a separate webpage for each keyword phrase you are targeting.
Once your keyword phrase is chosen for a given page, consider these questions:
- Can I use part or all of the keyword phrase in the page URL (by using keywords in folders)?
- Can I use part or all of the keyword phrase in the page title?
- Can I use part or all of the keyword phrase in page headings and subheadings?
Answering yes to these questions can improve your search engine ranking. Be natural and user-friendly, though. For instance, you do not want the word “engineering” to show up three or more times in the URL or have the phrase Northern Lights repeated in the page title and also every heading. Readability and usability still trump search engine optimization.
Beyond page URL, title, and headings, content is most influential on search engine rankings. Repeat your keyword phrase several times throughout the page—once or twice in the opening and closing paragraphs, and two to four more times throughout the remaining content. Be authoritative. Strategically link to relevant sources and additional information—both within your organizations broad website and even to other websites which are useful.
Don’t forget to use bold, italics, heading tags (especially an H1), and other emphasis tags to highlight these keyword phrases—but don’t overdo it. You still want your language and writing style to read naturally. Never sacrifice good writing for SEO. The best pages are written for the user, not for the search engine. Read more about SEO marketing to help you find new content opportunities.
2. Update Your Content Regularly
You’ve probably noticed that we feel pretty strongly about content. Search engines do, too. Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy, so be sure to keep it fresh. Audit your content on a set schedule (semesterly for example) and make updates as needed.
Writing additional content, rich with keyword phrases, on your departmental news blog can also boost your search engine rankings. Blog posts can even be shorter updates about the specific topics you are targeting. Interlink your related CMS webpages and blog posts when it helps give the reader a better picture or additional information about the topic.
When designing your website, each page contains a space between the <head> tags to insert metadata, or information about the contents of your page. If you have a CMS site originally produced by the UMC web team will have pre-populated this data for you. However, it is important for you to review and update metadata as your site changes over time.
Title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. It is the most important metadata on your page.
For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system for creating the meta title for each webpage based on your page title. This adds to the importance of using well-thought-out page titles rich with keyword phrases.
Description metadata is the textual description that a browser may use in your page search return. Think of it as your site’s window display—a concise and appealing description of what is contained within, with the goal of encouraging people to enter. A good meta description will typically contain two full sentences. Search engines may not always use your meta description, but it is important to give them the option.
Keyword metadata is rarely if ever used to tabulate search engine rankings. However, you should already know your keyword phrases, so it doesn’t hurt to add them into your keyword metadata. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 3-7 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “computer science degree.”
4. Have a link-worthy site
A webpage which is content-rich, authoritative, unbiased, and helps visitors learn more about what they are interested in is most likely to attract links from other websites, which improves your search engine optimization.
Improve your authority and credibility by adding relevant links within the text. Instead of having “click here” links, try writing out the name of the destination. “Click here” has no search engine value beyond the attached URL, whereas “Michigan Tech Enterprise Program” is rich with keywords and will improve your search engine rankings as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to. Always use descriptive links by linking keywords—it not only improves search engine optimization, but also adds value to your readers, including those with disabilities or who are using screen readers.
5. Use alt tags
Always describe your image and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers or screen readers.