Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search engines use a variety of ways to rank websites. Knowing some of these methods can help you ensure your website rises in the ranks and doesn’t remain stagnant or fall. Here are 16 ways to help search engines find your website (plus a bonus tip).
1. Word count
While lesser amounts are acceptable, 300 words or more is recommended on each page. You can boost search engine optimization (SEO) by other methods, but the sweet spot is 300+ words.
2. Original content
Use your own original words. Do not plagiarize! Plagiarizing has a negative effect on your ranking. You can quote another site or person, but be sure to credit them.
3. Site design
Simple, clean designs rank better than complicated and confusing sites. A site map can help people navigate if you have a lot of pages. Choose fonts that are easy to read without a busy background.
Keywords are words or phrases that people might use when searching for your product or services. For example, a restaurant might use the words “Baltimore restaurant” or “Chinese food.” Don’t overdo it. In the past, people were encouraged to overuse keywords which made reading some websites a horrible experience. Sometimes sentences didn’t make any sense because the keywords were used repeatedly. That is called keyword stuffing and it now counts against your SEO by search engines.
A citation is a mention on another website, not necessarily a link to your page, but a mention with your business name, address, phone number or other pertinent information.
A backlink is when another site links back to your site. A few years back, it didn’t matter what websites linked back to you, it was all good. Search engines are more intelligent now and backlinks that make sense are a plus. Backlinks that don’t make sense can be detrimental.
7. Internal links
Linking to pages within your site is also encouraged. If you mention an older blog in your current blog, link back to the older one. Or link a blog with other blogs on a similar topic. Link to your contact page when it makes sense.
The more time someone spends viewing your site, the better. Those internal links can help encourage people to spend more time with your website.
9. External links
Outgoing links are good too. If you mention a product you like in a blog, a link to where you can purchase that product is nice for the reader. Another reason for an external link is to further explain something you mention in the blog. Be sure that when you create an external link, it opens in a new window or tab so that the viewer still has your site open and they don’t lose their place when looking at the other page.
10. Keywords near links
Try to place keywords next to your outbound links. Don’t do it randomly. It needs to be a logical placement.
11. Working links
All of your links must work. Spend a few minutes every week or two and check the links on your site. Non-working links have a negative effect.
12. Page name
Use a keyword or phrase in the name of your page or blog post.
More people use mobile devices than desktop computers these days. Your proximity to the person doing the search has become more important than ever. Make sure your location, at least the city if you don’t use an actual address, is listed in your keywords and on your blogs.
14. Mobile ready
It is amazing how many businesses have sites that do not work correctly on a mobile device. Having a responsive, mobile-ready site is essential to having your site indexed at all. When choosing a template (called a theme in WordPress) for your website, be sure it’s mobile-ready. Check it and make sure all menus work on cell phones and tablets. If not, choose a different template.
The more reviews you have, the better! Hopefully, the reviews are good for other reasons, but for SEO it doesn’t matter. Reviews are a type of citation (#5 on the list).
16. Spread the word
Link your page to your social sites. If you have a guest blogger, ask them to promote it on their social media pages too. The more people who share your info, the more potential for new people to see it.
Bonus Tip: Your email signature
Put your website in your email signature. No one is going to click on your link if you don’t provide it.
If this list is making your head hurt, Social Squids is here to help.