Why do you want to rank on Google? You know you need to, but why?
To bring more traffic to your website.
Once users are on your website, it’s your responsibility to convert them into a lead. With this in mind, did you know that leads generated from search results have a 14.6% close rate — in comparison to outbound leads which maintain a measly 1.7% close rate?
Considering that 93% of online experiences begin with a search, it’s imperative for your business to rank online for the right keywords.
To obtain and maintain solid first page rankings on Google, you need to implement a proactive search engine optimization strategy. Many business owners already have a strategy in place, but do not realize some of the “tactics” they use are a detriment to their rankings and overall efforts.
If you want your website to rank online — and you do — do not fall victim to these search engine optimization mistakes.
In the early-ish days of search engine optimization, keywords were worshiped. All you had to do was have the right keyword(s) on your website and you had a decent shot at a quality and competitive search result ranking.
However, as with most things in life, people took advantage of this tactic and developed a terrible SEO tactic called keyword stuffing. Search marketers and business owners placed keywords anywhere and everywhere they possibly could, resulting in spammy websites that provided no value for the user.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, jam pack your website with keywords galore. Google and other search engines see this as a spam tactic and will penalize your website for it.
Duplicating Content or Copying Content
I get it — you’re a busy entrepreneur. You don’t have time to write content for your website. It’s so much easier just to copy it from somewhere else and put it on your website. No one will EVER notice… except for the almighty Google.
Copying content from another website is known as duplicate content, which refers to content located on multiple websites across the Internet.
Moz notes the following three issues Google and other search engines have with duplicate content:
- Search engines do not know which version of the content to include or exclude in their indexes.
- Search engines do not know which website to give the proper credit to.
- Search engines do not know which version of the content or website to rank.
If your content is found on another website, you’re instantly hindering any chance you had of ranking for your targeted keywords.
Plus, this practice is illegal! Have you ever heard of copyright law? How about intellectual property? Remember, content doesn’t apply to words only. It includes videos, images, code, and so much more.
Low-Quality Website Content
If stealing content is the lowest of low, having thin or low-quality website content is the next step up. It will sabotage your rankings, but at least it won’t result in you being fined for copyright infringement.
Your online visitors are coming to your website for a reason. Whether they want more information about your products or services or need a question answered, they have a motive while on your website. It is your responsibility to create and leverage website content that helps them accomplish their goal.
Thin website content is classified as:
- Less than 300 words
- No real value or message being communicated
- Overflowing with keywords
- The bare minimum about your business
Quality content accomplishes the following criteria:
- Includes 400+ words on a page, at the absolute minimum
- Possesses captivating information that educates a reader
- Guides users down a path to purchase or an answer
- Excites the reader and builds brand awareness
- Offers resourceful links and imagery/media to accompany the message
Google ranks websites by the quality of their content (among other factors). If your website fails to meet the bare bones of quality content, you can kiss your rankings goodbye.
Not Leveraging Google Search Console
Google Search Console, (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools), was created by Google to help business owners understand how to better manage their website and rank on Google.
This free tool has the ability to transform your rankings from dismal to delightful — yet, still remains a lesser known tool among business owners and entrepreneurs.
Use Google Search Console to understand the health of your website and what can be done to improve your search rankings.
Too Many, Too Few, or Completely Irrelevant Outbound Links
Your website needs to act as a resource to users. One way to build trust with users and develop your position as a resource is to include links to off-site information and educational resources.
However, there is a fine line to follow when it comes to linking off-site.
Too many unoptimized outbound links and you’ll devalue the authority of the page. Too many links may also appear to Google as using spammy, black hat SEO tactics. Too little, and you’ll struggle to rank since Google will see you as an isolationist. Irrelevant links will also raise red flags and instantly diminish the trusting relationship with your website visitors.
When linking to outside websites, be diligent to link to sources that are:
- Relevant to the topic or user inquiry
- Within your industry
- Not a competitor!
- Beneficial to the user
Speaking of links…make sure they work!
When something is broken, Google knows. Remember Google Search Console? Not only do broken links hinder your ranking abilities, they also frustrate your users. Frustrated users will leave your website quickly, driving up your bounce rate!
The Google algorithm takes the user experience (UX) of your website into consideration when determining your ranking position. Keep this in mind when building your website and attempting to rank online.
Boring, Standard Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Title tags are used in search results to give users insight into the content ranked for their search query. While these tags must be optimized for specific keywords to assist with ranking goals, they also need to peak the interest of the end user. After all, you need to convince them to click on your search result over the others available on the page.
The meta description is the snippet of text that appears under the title and URL in a search result. While meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor, they are beneficial in converting a user into a website visitor. Just like title tags, your meta description must contain relevant keywords and entice a user to click on your search result.
Expert SEO copywriting combines creativity with strategic keywords to devise the perfect title tag and meta description that leads to rankings and phenomenal click-through rates.
Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords
You may think you know your audience, but do you know exactly what they search for online? If not, you may be optimizing your website for the wrong keywords. And while you may rank for those keywords, your target market isn’t searching for them!
To find out what your customers are searching for, use the following bits of advice.
- Google Keyword Planner is your friend. This free tool can help you identify the search habits of users within your market, local area, and industry. Use Google Keyword Planner to find and implement the proper keywords for optimizing your website for ranking success. You can also use the Keyword Planner to find new search terms you may not have thought of.
- Ask them! You’re supposed to be developing strong, lasting relationships with your customers anyway, so a simple discussion won’t hurt.
Waiting Around for a Ranking Miracle
Your website isn’t going to rank on its own. Don’t wait around hoping that one day Google will magically decide to rank you above your competitors. You need to be proactive in your search engine optimization efforts!
Of course, if you’re not experienced in SEO, how will you know where to start or what to do?
Our digital marketing agency is a Certified Google Partner. We’ve been through all of the rigorous testing put in place by Google and understand how to interpret data from Google Analytics to improve website experiences. Providing users with an superior web experience is the first step to organically rank a website locally and/or nationally.
Contact us today with your SEO, ranking, and Google related questions.