How To Improve Search Engine Ranking Position
If you are struggling to improve your search engine ranking position even though you are building quality links, writing great content and doing good keyword research, there may be underlying issues affecting your site’s ability to rank.
If you don’t already know about these issues, then there is a good chance that you are either:
1. A beginner to search engine optimisation
2. Using a third party to build your site
Sound like you?
Then read on because whichever category you fall under, you will find the information below very helpful in diagnosing the problems that might be affecting your ability to rank your website.
Whether it’s a few minor adjustments or one significant adjustment, these corrections will help you improve your search engine ranking position.
If you are using a third party to build your site, take the tests outlined below for yourself to see what is right and wrong with your site.
This will give you some ammunition to go and see your designer/developer with to find out if they are:
- Aware of these problems
- Capable of dealing with these problems
If it is you building the site, the ball is in your court to educate yourself on how to improve your site’s ability to rank. There may be a lot to read up on, but this article will help.
Using a website designer will have all these bases covered if you use a knowledgeable website designer.
If, on the other hand, they have no idea that these issues are affecting your search engine position ranking, then it is likely time to find yourself a new company to work with for the sake of your website and your business expenses.
The sad truth is that although many will tell you they know what they are doing, some don’t have a clue, even if they do mean well and are giving their best efforts.
Are You Mobile Friendly?
First of all, check if your site works well on mobile devices. You can test this for yourself at https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Even if your site gets the “Page is mobile-friendly” message, there may still be minor tweaks in the “page loading issues” section, so note these. Every improvement you make helps your site’s ability to rank and improves your user experience.
It would be best if you optimised all of your site’s content to fit the size of a mobile screen (smartphones & tablets). It is best to remove some elements from the mobile version of your site for responsiveness.
Significant elements may be difficult to load or too wide to fit the width of a mobile screen. Ultimately, you want your site to be as responsive and aesthetically appealing as possible, regardless of the device someone uses to access it.
Visiting your site on a tablet or mobile phone is an excellent way to test if the site is mobile-friendly. Scroll around and click all of your links and pages to ensure everything is responsive.
Pay attention to scroll times, as well. If you scroll through your site for a significant amount of time to find a critical page/link, you may need to revise your site.
All good? Great.
Is The Speed Of Your Site Up To Scratch?
Next up, let’s make sure your website loading speed is up to par.
Go to: https://gtmetrix.com/
Loading speed directly impacts search engine ranking position, but it can also affect bounce rate and even conversions – the last thing you want to sacrifice.
The slower your site loads, the more likely these things will suffer. Imagine being in a long line for a meal when there’s a shorter line for the same meal at the same price. Instincts tell you to go to the shorter line because that meal is more accessible.
Bear in mind that this may not be a problem with your site or your designer/developer; it might be an issue with your hosting. Certain hosting services can limit your site’s ability to load at efficient speeds, so choosing the best service can be the difference between a conversion and losing a lead’s attention.
Check with your developer to see what they have put in place to help your site load quickly. Consider connecting your site to a new hosting company if it isn’t working.
If you’re managing your site on your own, consider troubleshooting third-party ads, significant elements, and new plugins or services that you’ve added to your website.
Each of these things can affect your sites’ loading speed. You may need to leave some features off or create pages your users will need to access, specifically for those features.
You can read more about site speed and how your site stacks up compared to others in your industry here.
Are You Giving Search Engines Enough Information?
If your site relies on lots of images, videos, and gifs, it may cause your site to be difficult to navigate, and your search engine ranking position may suffer.
Although Google is highly clever, it’s not yet at the stage where it can look at images and tell what your site is about.
You need to have a certain amount of text so that Google can read it and judge what type of visitor they should be sending you. Think about it, a landing page with 30 images and zero paragraphs. Sounds overwhelming, right? Google thinks so too. Be sure to limit the usage of your images to necessary, relevant placement, with text to supplement.
This doesn’t just go for the customer-facing side of your site either; metadata helps even more with search ranking, so make sure this is part of your strategy.
Adding alt-text to your images allows you to describe your image to Google while sneaking in a few more keywords. Instead of Google recognising “image,” alt-text can describe it as “Large Golden Retriever Running”. Now, Google knows to send users interested in Golden Retrievers your way.
This also dramatically improves your site accessibility for the visually impaired. Several consumers use text-to-speech to navigate websites, and Google appreciates your efforts to make the internet more accessible for them.
Head on over to Neil Patel’s site to get a handle on your current situation: https://neilpatel.com/seo-analyzer/
Rich Snippets In Place?
This one is rarely followed, so; if you get a check in the rich snippets box, you are way ahead of the crowd.
Have you ever seen star ratings, products, prices, events, or recipes appear on the search engine results pages? It’s not a coincidence or an accident.
That is rich snippets in action.
Although this doesn’t directly influence your search engine ranking position, catching the eye of searchers gives you a better chance of them clicking through to your site.
And if they are clicking through and you are taking care of them (they don’t bounce), then Google will likely reward you with a better ranking. So, if your rich snippets lead to conversions, your improved ranking can create a snowball effect and multiply those conversions.
Think of it as an unfair advantage if your competitors don’t have this in place. (Yep. you can test their sites too, remember!)
You can apply rich snippets to most pages, so don’t think your options are limited. Your “About” page can contain a snippet explaining yourself or your business; product pages can preview product variants or reviews, and service pages can display a snippet of the different services users can find on that page.
Something as small as “limited edition” or “free consultations” in rich snippets can dramatically increase your site’s traffic.
Is your site set up for rich snippets?
Test it here: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results
Speaking of Bouncing
Ensure you have analytics to monitor your search engine ranking position when visitors hit your site.
If you are not measuring something, there is no way to know what is broken; never mind, fix it!
The norm for analysis is, of course, Google Analytics. Google Analytics can give you insights into which of your pages are generating the most conversions; it is a good idea to look at the pages at the bottom of that list and figure out what you can do to improve them.
There are many more ways to see how visitors interact with your site depending on your needs: Facebook Pixel, CrazyEgg, Split testing, Visitor feedback forms, live/bot chat.
It’s also helpful to conduct A/B testing on sites that you aren’t promoting (as much). This can give you some insights into how to optimise your landing pages, which products users prefer, and if certain products need more advertising.
Once you choose your favourite way to track your site analytics, create a plan to use that data, and you’re ready for the next step.
Is your site’s security top-notch?
Your website must utilise HTTPS. Be sure your SSL Certificate is updated and applied to your site because it directly affects your search engine ranking position and protects users’ information.
You can nearly guarantee yourself to lose a lead if they visit your site to make a purchase and see that it is marked as “not secure.” If your designer/developer hasn’t updated your SSL Certificate, it is probably time to talk with them. Credit card information is nothing you want your consumers to gamble with, and Google understands that.
There are several tutorials on paid & free SSL certificates to ensure your site is safe.
Is everything secure? Great!
Can your users find everything?
Remember, fewer bounces equal higher ranking. When Google sees that your website turns leads into conversions, it sends you more leads, so make sure your website is easy to navigate.
If you have been promoting a product that is difficult to find on your website, you’ll probably have more visitors lose patients and look for a similar product elsewhere.
Your products, contact, about, and blog pages should be easy to find. Your designer/developer should have this in place for you. Again, if not, it may be time to talk to them.
If you are running your site alone, be sure to include a navigation menu that makes finding each page seamless for your users; Adding a search bar help, as well, especially if you have several blog posts.
Does your site have clean URLs?
It may seem tedious, but improving your URL structures help your search engine ranking position. Page URLs have more credibility when they give a clean and readable preview of what users may find on the page. Try to restructure your URLs to have fewer redundant characters and symbols.
URLs are another place to sneak relevant keywords in. Take a look at these two URLs:
The second URL contains keywords, is readable, easier to remember, and much cleaner. Optimised URLs increase your search engine ranking and may lead to more organic traffic. If you ever need to remove a page, it will be easier to create redirects when your URLs are adequately structured.
Successfully building quality links improves your search engine ranking position, but there are more potent proven ways. If you’ve done the work to get your site linked on relevant pages, your next step may be to look at your website’s meat and bones. Schedule a meeting with your designer/developer or explore your options to find a knowledgeable website designer.