SEO – search engine optimization – is an important part of any business’s marketing strategy. When a visitor heads into Google and types in a keyword or phrase, being listed in the rankings is a great way to find potential clients or customers.

Think about your own search strategy for a moment. When you open Google, you type in a few words that pertain to your desired results. And when you hit the search button, up pops the results.

You’ll find a variety of things appear, depending on your previous search habits. You’ll find sponsored listings, organic or naturally ranked results, videos, shopping recommendations, maps showing places you can go. Then it’s up to you to click and discover more.

For most of us, we search through the listings on this first page and make a decision. Is there something interesting to click on? Or should we refine the search to create better listings?

If you want better ranking, you have to ensure your SEO is up to date. To be in that first page of listings, you’d better be focusing in on what it takes to get there.

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Understanding What Google Does

Before we get into ways to change and upgrade your marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how Google ranks.

First and foremost, their goal is always to improve user experience. They listen to their customers diligently, and tweak and change all the time. That means what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. It also means what’s worked in the past might not work today – it can also get you banned.

Online marketing is something you have to work at all the time. You have to change with the times – or your competition will. And they’ll do better.

Next, understand how you will appear in Google’s listings. There are two ways to appear for any keyword: paid results or organic placement. Good marketing strategies will often use both.

For many businesses, they pay to have their ads top the list. And Google rewards people willing to pay with top placement. But below that is organic results. To show up there, you’ll have to have perfect SEO that allows you to show up for that particular keyword.

But what works for one searcher might not work the same for another. You might be #1 in some rankings while falling to #6 or #9 for another.

It’s a consistent movement and shifting process based on Google’s algorithms. And they tweak it all the time.

To win the marketing game and be there when your prospects are looking, you have to play by Google’s rules. While some may change here and there, for the most part, it’s all about trust. Google ranks sites it can trust to provide quality information. It judges that based on results.

Your website performance is key.

Structure

There are many ways to design a website in today’s world. And unfortunately, they aren’t all great at attracting Google’s attention. Some sites might seem good for easy design – why not use templated systems? But your ultimate goal isn’t easy design. Your ultimate goal should be more visitors, more clients or customers, and more profits. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • When was your website designed?
  • Who designed it?
  • Is the coding Google friendly?

If you have questions about site performance, it’s time to find out the answers.

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Web Hosting

We’ve seen many multi-million dollar companies trust their website’s performance to some of the cheapest hosting. These companies may be popular because of how much they advertise, but their networks are equally as busy – and often excruciatingly slow.

How fast your website loads when someone pulls it up online depends on the quality of your host. And if you’ve ever sat watching a site load for more than a few seconds, you probably know what most people do – back away and never return.

There’s a lot more to web hosting than most people realize. There is one backbone to the connection; the further away you are, the slower your page will load.

Then there are shared hosting accounts or dedicated plans. Which do you have? Are you sharing a server with a company that is less than reputable and causing problems?

All of that impacts your rank.

Mobile Friendliness

Mobile search now reigns. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, not only are you not there when your potential customers search for you from their smart devices, you also are being penalized – possible banned – from Google.

Google itself states that here in the USA, 94 percent of smartphone users access local data. The pull out their phones and look for something in their local communities on a regular basis.

Google thinks mobile is so important, they’ve developed a Mobile SEO guide to help you understand it better, and a Mobile Friendly Test to determine just how friendly your site is on mobile applications.

In short, if you want to please Google, you better make sure your website is mobile friendly.

Reader-Friendly Content

Have you ever pulled up a web page and all you see is words? They’re shoved together like a medical journal, with paragraph after paragraph flowing down the page.

Intimidating, right?

No matter how interested you are in the subject matter, no matter how much research you’re doing, we as humans still have the internal desire to be entertained. We want a break. We’re lazy.

Google knows this. Which is why it rewards websites that give their readers a more user-friendly experience.

Isn’t content better when it’s broken up by headers? When you create a web page with headers, you code them with header tags, or H1 tags. If your keyword happens to be in that header tag, it’s an added bonus.

You should also use things to keep your reader engaged.

How about links? You can link to content within your site to keep them clicking around. Or link to other resources beyond your own to prove your own authority.

How about adding graphics, images, and video? Statistics show that visuals can help increase conversion rates. And because you can SEO every graphic you include, it’s an added bonus to help you with your SEO strategy too.

Increasing your chances of being placed organically in Google Search isn’t rocket science. It’s simply about making sure your website performance is the best it can be.

If you aren’t sure where your website stands, or have questions about improving your performance, we can help.

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