No matter what industry your company competes in there is nothing better than streams of visitors on your website who want what your company offers.
How do you get your website to that point?
A first-page appearance increases the traffic to your website to a level that steadily supplies you with leads.
The first five spots on the organic search listings will absorb for 67% of the total search volume on average. This means you need every advantage at your disposal to make sure your website is a top performer.
There are literally hundreds of ranking factors account for placing your website in a search result. You can’t possibly score perfectly in every category but nailing the big ones down will definitely put you in a position closer to the top.
In order to get the most visitors to your website run through this checklist to see where you can perform better.
- Page Speed
- Mobile Friendly
- Duplicate Content
- Choice of keywords
- Thin content
- Link schemes
- Under optimized
Are you using HTTPS?
If you use Google Chrome you may have noticed a message to the left of URLs that start with HTTP that says “Unsecure” This message began appearing as the final boarding call for all websites to get on board with making the internet a safer place.
HTTPS uses an SSL (security socket layer) certificate to verify the identity of the domain. The integration of HTTPS was intended to reduce and eliminate malicious sites that steal information.
It may not count as a large influencing factor but if your website hasn’t made the switch you are losing one of many ranking factors to make your site more competitive.
How does your page speed compare to your competitors?
With an underlying commitment to UX, Google rewards websites whose load time is faster than others. This is an official ranking factor in which the emphasis on load time can be seen by Google’s effort to help webmasters identify and solve any errors or bottlenecks in the way a web page loads. Enter the URL of your website to get a score on how fast your page loads.
In addition to your page speed score, Google will generate a report on the major issues that slow down your load time.
Using a combination of the W3 Cache plugin and a CDN (content delivery network) will reduce the time your page loads significantly.
Is your site mobile-friendly?
The volume of searches has officially favoured mobile devices since 2016 so if your website isn’t made for mobile-you’re losing traffic.
Once again to emphasize the importance of a mobile design, Google created the Mobile-Friendly Test for webmasters to test how easy it is to use on a mobile device. The test will report a list of items that are reducing the user experience from a mobile perspective.
Have you checked for duplicate content?
If your site has published content that was previously published anywhere online, you are probably experiencing a duplicate content penalty. This penalty is algorithmic and can be solved simply by deleting the duplicate content.
If you only have original content on your site the possibility exists that you’re missing canonical tags that indicate your original page or post. The canonical tag will indicate what page is the original source so that if you are featuring that content on your homepage or archives it won’t count against you as duplicate content.
WordPress adds these tags automatically but if you need to manually add them it looks like this:
Image source: https://moz.com/learn/seo/canonicalization
Have you made the right choice in keywords?
Choosing the right keywords means picking terms and phrases that best describes your offering. If you have chosen phrases that aren’t a good match for what your company offers, you won’t see any results in the traffic that manages to find its way to your site.
The keywords you choose should have enough search volume to achieve the goal your company has set as the objective. Choosing zero-click keywords where users don’t click on any search result other than a Google SERP feature is also a mistake that can result in poor volume of traffic.
Effective keyword research requires you to take into account the monthly volume, organic click-through-rate, keyword difficulty as well as the relevance of the keyword to your business.
Is your content too thin?
There is no magic number for word count because every niche will present it’s own unique requirement for satisfying search intent. Thin content is when a website has limited information based on the industry standard.
If a visitor lands on your site and can’t find enough to satisfy the search they will leave to find another website. Websites who are able to offer depth in their keyword topics are rewarded with improved ranking in the search results.
How’s the strength of your backlink profile?
As one of the top three ranking signals, the number of referring domains plays a direct role in the ranking ability of a domain. If your website is performing poorly in the search results run a backlink report on the top ten websites to compare their backlink profile with yours.
Analyze each backlink your competitors have to see whether a link building opportunity exists. If the prospect was willing to link to your competitor, there’s a good chance they will link to you as well. This is a good way to even the playing field by acquiring the backlinks of the top-ranking websites.
Have you participated in a link scheme?
If you haven’t been paying attention, Google has been exposing link schemes and issuing penalties to every site involved. Any form of link manipulation will land your website a penalty.
Paid links are one way to get your site penalized. There are specific guidelines for how to advertise your website with a paid link and if those guidelines aren’t followed both parties will be penalized for ranking manipulation.
Private blog networks are constantly being exposed and penalized. This is where sites exist solely for the purpose of passing on domain authority.
Other forms of bad linking strategies include spamming blog comments, linking excessively from one website, and the overuse of anchor text.
Abiding by a white hat link building strategy is the safest policy when it comes to acquiring backlinks.
Are you under-optimized?
If your pages aren’t optimized correctly you are missing major signals that communicate the keywords your page should appear for in the search results.
- Include your keyword in the title of your pages. Keep it near the front end to show the importance of the word to your page as well as to protect it from being cut off when it’s being displayed in a search result.
- Place your keyword within the first 100 words of your first paragraph.
- Create search engine friendly URLs that incorporate your keyword in a summary of 3-5 words.
- Use your keyword in at least one subtitle.
- Include your keyword in the image alt description.
- Include your keyword in the meta description
Do you have an internal link strategy?
Enhance the optimization of your page by linking to it from other pages and posts with related content. Use the keyword in an anchor text link but only if it flows naturally with the text.
Linking your pages internally spreads link equity and gives your pages more authority. Link to your most important pages more frequently from related posts to show the importance of the page on your site.
Every detail counts
Getting to the first page of the search results requires sound awareness of the most important factors that influence ranking. Pay attention to all of the details that make a difference and the collective effort will pay off with targeted visitors that become new clients.