With over 1.5 billion sites on the internet today, how do you make sure your customers find your site and not your competitors’? SEO remains the number one strategy for driving traffic to your site, in order to drive leads, sales and meet your business goals.
As SEO strategies develop, it is important to keep up with and even surpass your competition through effective techniques to boost your Google rankings.
Practical Technical SEO Tips to Boost Your Google Rankings
Here are 15 practical SEO tips which you can apply to your business today to boost your Google rankings.
1. Audit Your Site
Before you do anything else, it is imperative that you know how your site is performing. Use Google’s Search Console to conduct an audit on your site and report on SEO strengths and weaknesses, and what you need to address.
2. Measure Your Site Speed
Another metric which you check is your site’s page load speed. Slow load speeds are one of the major factors which harm Google rankings, not to mention harming user experience (UX) for visitors to your site. Check your site speed through the free online tool GTmetrix.
3. Test DNS Health
The third “health check” you should run on your site on a regular basis is a DNS test. Poor DNS (Domain Name System) can cause downtime on your site and make it more difficult for search engine bots to “crawl” your site, thus harming your Google rankings. Check DNS health and view any warnings or errors with the online SEO tool Pingdom.
4. Place Your Keywords Correctly
It is well known that keywords are one of the major factors affecting Google rankings. However, in order to use keywords effectively in SEO, you need to make sure to put them in the key places which Google checks for keyword relevance. The most important places to include keywords in a post are the post title, SEO title, subheadings, and post URL.
5. Link Building
Link building is the process of creating clickable backlinks pointing from other websites to your posts or homepage. Having a number of backlinks from reputable, authoritative sites pointing to your site can greatly improve your Google rankings. Although this process can be quite complex and involved, effectively applying core link building strategies can yield great results for your Google rankings as well as bringing in organic traffic, sales leads and ultimately more revenue.
Google likes to see sites which have a number of links to reputable, well-known sites. Be sure to include quality external links in your content: you can do this when citing facts or figures, mentioning particular companies or organisations, or simply to provide additional information and value to your readers.
7. Site Maps
Sitemaps help to improve SEO because they mean Google can find and index your pages more quickly and easily. Create an XML sitemap (you can do this on WordPress through the Yoast SEO plugin) and submit to Google via Google Search Console.
8. Length of Content
The length of your posts also affects their Google rankings. Although it is difficult to put an exact word count on optimum post length for SEO, we do know that Google ranks longer posts more highly compared to shorter ones. This is also likely due to other factors linked to SEO: for example, users are more likely to spend the most time reading longer (though not excessively long) blog posts. In turn, Google considers the length of time that users spent on a page when assessing it for rankings.
9. Be Mobile Friendly
Make sure your site is mobile friendly: that is, easily readable on a smart phone. Not only is a mobile-friendly site more likely to rank highly on Google, but it also offers the large number of site visitors who will be viewing your site on their smart phone a much better experience.
10. Analyse Competitor Sites
Knowing how your competitors are ranking, and how you compare, is vital in order to gain a competitive edge. Carry out a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis to measure their performance – see this post for more info on how to approach this.
11. Permalink Structure
The permalinks, or URLs, of your posts and pages are one of the main areas which Google checks for relevance to searches. Make it easy for Google to rank your post highly by having a simple, keyword-rich permalink.
You may have noticed that in recent years, many sites have moved from a “http” to a “https” URL, which indicates a secure domain. Not only is this more secure, but sites on https domains are ranked more highly by Google. If you already have an established WordPress site with a “http” domain name, don’t worry: you can transfer your site over to https relatively easily.
13. Internal Links
Linking internally within your site – that is linking to other pages or posts on the same domain – can also improve your site’s Google rankings. This is because internal links make it easy for Google to navigate your site, thus making it easier for Google bots to “crawl” it. Not to mention, internal links make your site more user-friendly for visitors and increase conversions.
14. Use The Right Theme
If your site in run on WordPress, like the majority of sites online today, be sure to choose your theme wisely. Some WordPress themes are more Google-friendly than others, so do some research and choose one which will help you to rank highly on Google.
15. Analyse and Assess
As with any project, it is important to check in and measure performance over time in order to know if you are on track, identify any issues, and address them as appropriate. Use online tools such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics or SEMRush to measure factors influencing SEO and take steps to rectify any issues.