How Small Businesses Can Scale their Search Engine Optimization Results
Search engine optimization(SEO) is the first thing that clicks in the mind of someone thinking about digital marketing in the modern world. The fact that consumers now scour the internet for information, services, and products necessitates the need for businesses to pay particular attention to digital marketing.
Search engine ranking depends on several factors, and you ought to understand that getting a site to rank higher online can be challenging.
Fortunately for you, this article has rounded up some useful tips to help you improve your search engine optimization results. Implement them to increase your visibility on the web.
How Long does SEO Take to Provide Results?
A common question among search engine optimization beginners is “How long does it take to get meaningful results from SEO?”.
There is no fixed answer to this question. There are several factors that determine the time it takes for SEO to improve a site’s ranking on search engines. They include:
- Skills- How slow or quick you improve your site ranking will largely depend on your SEO skills. There are several ideas revolving search engine optimization, and learning how to implement them effectively is a sure way to quicken results.
- Budget: Your budget size determines how much you can do in SEO. If you are willing to spend more, it means that you have a better opportunity of exploring various SEO angles than someone on a budget. Unquestionably, you need to select your options carefully when working with a limited budget.
- Website condition: What is the existing condition of your website? Several elements influence the performance of your site, and the more work you have to put into improving them, the longer it will take to notice changes in your ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages).
- Competition: You and your competitors look to appeal to the same target audience in the online marketplace. The higher the competition, the more challenging it may be for you to achieve the targeted results.
You don’t need to panic now that you have learned that optimization is a journey and not an overnight fix. But this doesn’t mean that SEO should take forever. There are proven tricks to get SEO results sooner, as you will discover as the article progresses.
Nonetheless, this triggers the question, “What’s the approximate time for search engine ranking changes?”.
According to a study undertaken by Ahrefs, the pages that feature on the top 10 results are more than two years old, with the first page being at least three years old on average. The same study concludes that most of the pages occupying the top 6% slot came from nowhere to the top 10 position in two to six months.
From these findings, the presence of light at the end of the tunnel is evident, whether you are just setting out in SEO or reviving your dormant optimization. With that said, stick around as we delve into the strategies that will help you increase search engine results.
9 Tricks to Improve Search Engine Optimization Results
So far, you know that search engine optimization is not an overnight journey, but undoubtedly anyone would be eager to know ways to get the most out of optimization. Look no further: here’s an information spring for you. With these tidbits, let’s explore the practical tricks that will get SEO to work for your SERP ranking.
- Audit SEO Status of Your Site
The most successful starting point for implementing any digital technique is determining its current position in your business/ website. This way, you can effectively formulate and execute strategies tailored to your business.
When it comes to search engine optimization, start by identifying SEO weaknesses and strengths. You can maintain the strengths, but there is an urgent need to work on the weaknesses.
In your SEO audit, pay special attention to your web design, information architecture, and published content.
To effectively determine the influence of various aspects of your SEO, it’s essential to use special auditing tools. However, you may not have access to them, especially if you are running a small business, but let this not spell doom to your SEO efforts.
You can instead partner with a well-reputed SEO company that will not only provide a search engine optimization audit on your website but also recommend the appropriate measures as per the findings to help increase your SEO efforts.
- Work on Your Website Navigation
Search engines, especially Google, are now monitoring the user experience(UX) sites offer to their visitors to ensure that only websites that provide the best experience rank higher. You surely don’t want to be left out.
One of the top ways of providing top UX to your site leads is by improving the navigation. Simply put, navigation is the mechanism that allows site users to move from one web page to another.
Poor navigation is a sure recipe for high bounce rates and user dissatisfaction. Consequently, your site ranks poorly on search engines, and losing potential customers to competitors due to poor navigation is the last thing you want.
To improve navigation, experts recommend the 3-clicks model. Here, you ensure that your webpages are not more than three clicks away, regardless of their depth level. Accompany this with clear labeling of the menu to make it easy for users to locate the information, products, or services they are after on your site.
- Eliminate Duplicate Content
Whereas several website owners can correctly define duplicated content as the presence of similar content on different URLs, most are clueless about the many forms it appears on websites.
Content duplication may appear in the form of inconsistent URL structures. Consider the following URLs;
Whereas these URLs seem similar to you, Google search bots recognize them as different. Any similarity of the content in the sites is regarded as duplication. This gives the bots a hard time in determining the best page to display first, consequently impacting the sites’ ranking.
A quick solution to the above problem is setting up 301 redirects whereby search engine bots get redirected from non-preferred URLs to the preferred URLs.
Simply put, 301 redirects help the bots to reach the original URLs through the duplicate pages. This way, search engines regard links to duplicate pages as links to the original sources, and thereby you avoid the penalties.
There are several methods to set 301 redirects, but don’t let this bother you if you don’t have a clue about any. Your site administrator should help you out.
Copying content from other sites without their permission is wrong, and Google doesn’t hold back from penalizing such misgivings. You could also be unintentionally using common phrases present in other sites. The search engine can punish you by either throwing your website further away from the top SERPs or eliminating your site from the results.
You want to ensure that you publish unique content on your site. Go an extra step to run your content through checkers such as Copyscape and Grammarly to fix plagiarism issues before they spell doom for your Search engine optimization.
- Make Your Site Mobile-friendly
If you thought optimizing a website for mobile is a matter of personal preference, it’s time you get everything right; otherwise, your SEO efforts could crumble. Creating a mobile-friendly site is no more an option but a requirement for businesses. If you still doubt this, you might be surprised to learn that Google penalizes non-mobile-friendly websites.
Recent studies reveal that 50+% of search traffic originates from mobile users. A huge number of customers, whether businesses or individuals, use their mobile devices to look for products, services, and information on the web.
You surely don’t want to miss out on this huge traffic and potentially large customer base. Part of making your site visible to a large section of your target audience is to ensure that users can effortlessly access your website on their mobile phones or tablets.
If you have an existing site, get a professional web designer to check it for mobile-friendliness and make appropriate adjustments, if necessary. You also want to insist on mobile optimization when building a new site.
- Optimize Your Site Speed
Online users are unforgiving when it comes to website user experience. It’s important to understand that your site speed creates the first impression of your business, and the slower it is, the more visitors you lose to your competitors.
A slow site will undoubtedly impact your reputation and financial performance. A Hubspot research revealed that a one-second delay in site load time results in a 7% reduction in conversions and 11% downscaling in page views. One second improvement increases business revenue by about 7%.
It’s undeniable that fast sites boast higher ranking on search engines, a higher number of return visits, lower bounce rates, and better engagement accompanied by higher conversion rates. Contrarily, slow websites have low visibility as Google pushes them further down the search results.
It, therefore, becomes necessary for businesses to improve the loading speed of their website to scale their visibility, generate more traffic, and reduce bounce rates.
Some of the measures you can implement to fix site speed issues include;
- Remove unnecessary plugins: Plugins add third-party features to your site, however running them requires extra resources. The more the plugins you install, the more resources required, and hence the slower your site gets. Eliminate the non-functional plugins, while keeping those without lots of styles, scripts, or database queries.
- Optimize your image sizes: whereas images are excellent tools for increasing engagement, their large sizes can delay your site’s response time. Use compression tools to reduce the image sizes without compromising the quality.
- Use web caching: when several users visit a particular page simultaneously, servers get worked up and hence take longer to deliver the requests. Caching helps to eliminate these hassles by storing the loaded resources locally and present them upon user request. By preventing the page from sending database requests now and then, caching is sure to improve a site’s loading speed.
- Publish High-quality and Valuable Content
Google is paying particular attention to the value and quality of content published on websites. It’s no secret that the search engine is rewarding websites that offer high-quality and helpful information with higher rankings compared to their counterparts whose content does not address the needs of its target audience. So, if you want to benefit from SEO, quality content creation is non-negotiable.
High-quality content is well-researched and highly relevant to your niche/industry and target audience. It’s not only a matter of publishing content, but also ensuring that it answers the reader’s question comprehensively.
A well-optimized blog can help you scale your content creation. With a blog, you can provide as much information as possible to your guests, but you will have to decide on the frequency of publishing your blog posts.
The success of a business blog lies in careful research and planning. You want to brainstorm ideas or topics that your readers can resonate with while ensuring that it can be found easily on the web.
Think about the challenges or questions troubling your customers and subsequently provide solutions to these issues via blog posts. The more value you provide, the more your reader will want to engage with your website. It’s via these blog posts that you can direct the readers to your services and products, that is, if you offer any.
To make it easy for web users to find your content, be sure to incorporate relevant keywords in your published content. You want to look at the search terms regularly used by your audience and insert them into your blog posts.
Nonetheless, ensure that the keywords read naturally; otherwise, it becomes easy for a reader to notice forced phrases and words in the content. Anything that doesn’t sound natural is a turnoff.
Something else that you should consider is the use of images in your posts. Visuals have been known to increase engagement and provide necessary reliefs, especially in long-form articles. You can also use images to illustrate your written idea. All in all, it’s indisputable that readers love images.
It’s essential to understand that it takes talent to create engaging content. If you are unsure about your writing skills, consider outsourcing the writing gigs to a pool of writers or a well-reputed writing agency.
Be sure that the writers can provide the desired quality while meeting the agreed deadlines. Excellent communication between involved parties is critical when outsourcing writing projects.
- Optimize Your Metadata
Metadata has remained a critical optimization point since the advent of SEO. Search engine programs known as spiders peruse through your site information to determine how best to display your site on result pages. When you optimize your metadata, it becomes easy for users and search engines to determine what your site is all about.
Good metadata could be the only difference between increased click-through rate(CTR) and users overlooking your content for another site with better metadata. These snippets have the power to drive massive traffic to your website and also keep your conversions growing.
The following are the key elements that you should look to optimize when creating metadata:
- Title tag: the title tag is viable to users and search engine spiders, clearly showing them what your page is about. It appears as an underlined headline in the SERPs or somewhere on the top of the browser window.
Be sure to include the primary keyword for the particular page on your meta title. Keep your titles short and precise. Also, use different title tags for the various pages on your website.
- Meta description: this can be said to be the body of the metadata. It conveys the message to your target audience.
Keep your meta descriptions accurate, relevant, and interesting enough to lure users into your website. SEO experts recommend the insertion of page-relevant keyword in the first five words of the meta description.
Remember that you have about 160 characters to deliver your message; otherwise, Google will truncate the extra words.
- Alt tags: alt tags, also known as alt description and alt attributes are the HTML code used to label visual media, including images and videos.
It’s hard for search engine robots to interpret visuals, although they play a vital role in the way web users engage with websites. Alt tags serve to provide search engine crawlers with readable texts, making it easy for the robots to index and rank your site.
Though it’s highly advisable to optimize your alt tags, avoid stuffing them with keywords as search engines penalize such tricks. It’s also important to understand that Google favors shorter tags.
Creating metadata for each of your blog posts or webpage can be time-consuming, but could make a big difference when it comes to obtaining desirable results with search engine optimization.
- Invest in Quality Link Building
Link building is the art of creating hyperlinks to websites to increase visibility on the web. Years ago, dominant search engines, including Yahoo, ranked pages on their SERPs based fully on the page content. Nonetheless, this strategy changed when Google entered the market, introducing the PageRank algorithm that also looked into the number of people linking to a particular page.
Today, Google not only looks at the quantity of the links but also their quality. Even as you look to obtain links from other sites, you want to be sure about their authority. Undeniably, one link from an authoritative website such as entrepreneur.com is much valuable than links from unknown blogs.
The relevance also matters when it comes to linking. If you own a diet website, it makes no sense to get a link from an authoritative site primarily based on welding.
What makes you worthy of backlinks from authoritative websites? Look no further than effective content creation. Demonstrate your expertise in your industry through valuable and shareable content. By offering more value, you encourage other sites to link to your pages.
You don’t just leave link building at backlinks—link to other blog posts and sites with similar content. External links direct your readers to other helpful resources, while at the same time, increasing your SEO results. Tap into internal links to direct your visitors to other pages of your site and check them periodically to ensure that they are still functional.
- Make Your Content More Readable
Posting well-researched, optimized, and relevant blog posts may not be enough to make readers interact more with your content. You probably didn’t know that most readers skim through content in search of information most relevant to them. This calls for the creation of not only visually appealing content but also one that can be skimmed easily.
Start with the headings and subheadings. Whereas headings invite readers to your content, subheadings help to break large blocks of information into smaller paragraphs that can be easily scanned by the reader. It’s wise to use several subheadings, but ensure that each subhead can tell the reader what the paragraph is about.
Use numbered lists and bullet points to summarize large copy more conveniently. Use numbered lists to present steps where certain steps must be observed. For lists without an order, use bullet points.
Another way of improving readability is by keeping your sentences and paragraphs short. Overly long sentences are a bore and may be hard to interpret. Limit your paragraphs to a maximum of four sentences, while keeping the flow of ideas natural.
If you intend to draw the attention of your readers to certain phrases or words, use bold, color, or italics to highlight them. Avoid underlining the words as this would suggest hyperlinks.
Use fonts tailored to online content, including Georgia and Verdana, while ensuring that it’s large enough for easy reading. There should be enough white space between the lines to ease reading or skimming.
Search engine optimization remains the most popular and recommended form of online marketing. It generates organic traffic that offer long-term benefits to a business.
Although SEO is not a one-day task, you can implement particular measures to increase the results. Be sure to go through the above tips again and pick those that you can implement immediately. But it’s highly recommendable to try all the tricks to maximize your chances of getting SEO results quicker.
You don’t need to have SEO skills to benefit from these tips. Partner with a good digital marketing firm to audit your site for SEO and execute the appropriate measures to rank your site higher on search engines.