In the digital business space, getting to the top of search results is a make-or-break situation. After all, the higher your rank in search results, the more likely people will visit your site. It’s no joke: sites that appear on the second page of Google’s search results see 95% less users than websites on the first page.
So what can you do to get your website to the #1 spot on the first page of search results? Well, it’s not a question that has a clear-cut solution (heck, there’s an entire industry that revolves around doing just that), but there are a few ways that you can D.I.Y yourself onto the top.
Optimize Your Website
There’s something to be said about clean, easy-to-use websites that put them right at the top of search results, and there’s a good reason: an accessible website gets more traffic because people prefer using it, and it helps if Google can find it with SEO, and it helps even further when that website can be accessed anywhere at any time.
There are tons of techniques you can do to optimize your website so it’s more likely to appear on search engine results, and while it’s always best to rely on your professional digital services provider, you could work on it with your company’s web development team. If you’re going to work on optimizing your website on your own, here are some things to keep in mind:
Clean Up Your UI/UX
UI/UX refers to ‘user interface/user experience’ and it’s a concept in web design that forwards the idea that a digital tool’s user interface should be intuitive and easy-to-use so as to positively impact the overall user experience. Basically, if a website makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for and easy to navigate, it makes their experience of your website positive and, ideally, enjoyable.
This means a few things: first, you need to make sure that your site’s sub-pages (e.g. your About Me, products and services pages, Contact Us, etc.) are neatly organized into easy-to-read tabs and categories. This goes a long way into creating a site map that’s easy to navigate and overall better for users and search engines.
Don’t Forget Mobile
One more thing: make sure your site is accessible both on desktop computers and smart devices like smartphones and tablet computers. Remember: more than 2 Billion people access the internet via their smartphone, which accounts for 51% of all internet users. That’s a pretty big customer base that you shouldn’t alienate by having a website that isn’t accessible via mobile.
Of course, if you want search engines to find you (and believe us, you want search engines to find you), you’re going to have do a little bit of SEO.
SEO is the Way to Go
SEO refers to “Search Engine Optimization” and it’s a series of practices that involve making your website more visible to search engines. SEO refers not just to a single discipline, but rather, a collection of elements that web developers need to think about in order for search engines to find your website better.
Here’s how search engines work: when a website is created, it’s logged into the registry of a particular search engine. When an internet user searches for something, the search engine uses a program to sift through the registry to find the most appropriate website. For the search engine to know what the “appropriate” website is, it matches certain words (called keywords) that are present in the website and compares it to the words that a user searched for.
Once the search engine finds websites that match the keywords used by the internet user, it then makes a list of these sites and, using a few other factors, determines which sites go to the top. It’s a complex discipline and it’s best you rely on a dependable SEO services provider to help with your SEO needs.
But what exactly are these ranking factors that Google and other search engines use to find websites? Well, the exact details of that are kept a secret (don’t believe any digital marketer that says they have the one-and-only way to rank!) from the general public, but there are certain factors that have been proven to work, both for ranking websites on Google search results and providing customers with a positive experience.
One of the most important aspects of keeping your website at the top of search results is activity; that is, the more active your website is, the more likely Google will place it as number 1. Active websites are websites that receive a high volume of internet traffic –whether it’s site visits, comments on your blog posts, or constantly updated products and services pages –on a regular basis.
Refresh Your Pages
Google loves seeing websites that get a lot of traffic because it tells them that people like your website, they like what they see, and they trust what you’re giving them. One of the best ways to do this is to refresh the pages of your website with fresh content as often as possible. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to change everything about your site on a daily basis; rather, make sure that your pages are constantly up-to-date with relevant information.
But perhaps one of the best ways to have constant, high-volume internet traffic on your page is to maintain a blog. With a blog, you can create content that’s relevant to your customer’s needs and can link back to your main website. More on this later.
Engage Your Customers
Another ranking factor that Google appreciates is engagement; that is, Google likes it when a website interacts with its users, and vice-versa. The more users engage with a website, the more a search engine thinks that the website is relevant for a particular set of keywords and other ranking factors.
But how do you engage customers on your website? There are tons of ways to keep them engaged, and you are limited only by your creativity: start conversations on your blog by having a comments section, site surveys of what customers want to see on your website, heck, some websites even have mini-games. Whatever it is, however, just make sure it’s still relevant to what your customers want and it doesn’t interview with good UI/UX.
Keep People on Your Site Longer
One of the main goals of engaging content and fresh pages is to keep people on your website longer. The amount of time people spend on your time is measured by digital marketers in terms of ‘bounce rate’, and it refers to the number of people who leave (i.e. bounce) the site rather than staying. The lower a website’s bounce rate, the better, because it means people are staying on your website, and the longer they stay, the higher your chances of converting them into leads, and potentially, turning them into customers.
It also looks good on search engines: in particular, Google loves websites with low bounce rates because it lets their algorithms know that the site is relevant to a user’s needs and is engaging enough for people to stay, which ultimately means that the site is trustworthy.
Content is Always King
So now we know that your website needs to be optimized and it needs to be active, and that to do those things, you need content that is relevant. But what exactly does that mean? Well, to put simply: your website needs content that people actually care about. In the 21st century, marketing collaterals that exist solely to advertise a product or service simply don’t cut it anymore.
Rather, consumers in the digital age want more than just being told to buy something, which means your content needs to be able to address key issues and pain points they have about a particular topic. Having a blog in your website is one of the best ways to not only drive traffic to your site, but it also works to increase your website’s trustworthiness and overall value for your customers.
Of course, no one can accurately predict every single your customers will have about a particular issue that your company is involved in, but there are certain types of content that remain ‘evergreen’, which means it will be forever relevant to what your company does and the kinds of issues your customers face.
Take a good, hard look at your products and services and the most common pain points and issues people have about the industry you’re in and create content that addresses them. Remember, this is better than creating post after post about topical issues that would be irrelevant to users in the future.
Personal Value = Engagement
The more value your content offers your customers, the more likely that they’ll be engaged, which ideally leads to them being more likely to patronize your website. Again, the digital age has made marketing much more customer-centric, which means consumers are looking to buy products that add value to their lives; the age of ‘brand-centric’ marketing is over, and people want products that have use rather than prestige.
It’s one of the reasons why evergreen content is important: it’s the type of content that answers important questions and issues people have over a particular topic, and if you’re able to provide that in a concise, informational, and overall enjoyable manner, then you’ve already won half the battle of coming up at the top of search results.
Getting your website to the top requires a complex series of disciplines that professional digital marketing service providers can do for you, but if you want to do it on your own, just make sure you have the bandwidth to learn as much as you can about these ranking factors to, ideally, get your page at the top of search results