It can often feel impossible to keep up with changes in the online environment. So, while you may not have time for a new website or to kick off a social media strategy for your business, some simple content updates or refinements to your existing website can reap big rewards for your visibility online.
Here are some simple (and free!) activities that any business – large or small – can undertake to ensure they’re leveraging opportunities present in the online environment for reaching a world-wide (web) audience.
A Couple of Tweaks Can Enhance Your Visibility Online
Forbes estimates that Google currently controls 80% of online search results, where 2 million searches are performed every minute. In those same sixty seconds, 571 new websites are created (Daily Mail Australia).
With an explosion in the number of websites and online content since the establishment of Google as our ‘go-to’ to reliably find relevant information on the internet, Google has developed tools to review and measure the ‘value’ and credibility of websites to feed into its search ranking. It is therefore massively important to ensure your site is built according to this criteria set by Google for a ‘credible’ website to maintain visibility online.
So how does Google find web pages to match a query? Basically, Google navigates the web by ‘crawling’ to find and fetch webpages – new and old – relevant to any search query. Pages are sorted by their content among other factors through algorithms created by Google’s engineers to remove ‘spam’ and keep your results relevant. Behind your simple page of results is a complex system, carefully constructed and tested to support more than one-hundred-billion searches each month. Read more about the crawling process here.
How to Improve the Value of Your Website and Search Ranking (Without Paying Anything!)
Don’t let your business get lost in the mass of content online! Here are some simple tips for you to establish a ‘Google-friendly’ site that will improve your search ranking results at no cost.
1. Know the Search Terms and Use Them to Your Advantage
Research the most commonly searched terms for your product or service. Make sure to incorporate these keywords when writing content.
The Google Keyword Planner will help you to identify the popularity of key terms. The Keyword Planner enables you to input a list of keywords related to your product or service and view the search volume for each term. You can easily see which keywords are most competitive and which terms you can best utilise for content on your website. Through historical statistics, you can also obtain forecasts such as predicted clicks and estimated conversions.
2. Relevant, Quality Content
Give your website visitors the information they’re looking for. Think about the keywords they’re using and focus on developing high quality, original content, especially on the homepage.
3. Establish Links
Make sure that other sites link to yours. Links help Google crawlers find your site and can give you greater visibility in search results, as well as boosting the authority of your domain. A great way to gain backlinks is to find guest blogging opportunities or to be interviewed or quoted on other industry relevant blogs. Read some other useful backlinking tips here.
You can also use a tool like Open Site Explorer to gather backlink data from a few of your competitors.
4. Speed and Performance
Make your site speedy! Site speed or the time it takes for a page to load is becoming an increasingly important ranking factor. A good page loading time is anything under two seconds (KISSmetrics).
Here are some common factors that lag page loading times:
- Large image sizes
- Unnecessary site plugins
- Pages with too many scripts
- Redirecting webpages
You can check your page loading time with Google Insights – a score of 85 or above means your site is performing well.
Some Other Free Tools to Help You Along the Way
Quicksprout – Free Website Analyser
Quicksprout is a tool that analyses your website against up to three of your competitors. It shows you what you are doing right and wrong and also offers tips to improve your page rankings. Reports show you the most popular social media platforms, break down the top keywords each site uses, test for any broken links, and you’ll even get to see an overview of backlinks to your site. Overall, this is a ‘quick wins’ tool that enables you to see where you rank against your competitors from a social media and site speed perspective.
AddThis – Drives More Shares and Follows
This is a great tool to increase engagement with your online audience. AddThis is a sharing tool that can take your website to the next level. Users can easily promote your content to the most popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These simple widgets can be easily installed in minutes and look great on any website.
These simple ‘quick wins’ and tips cannot only help to drive your Google search ranking, but also improve the value and effectiveness of your website. They’re easy, straightforward, and – best of all – free.
Many companies, including leading legal software and services firm GlobalX Legal Solutions, have already seen great results in search rankings with these easy and quick approaches and tools. Get tweaking your site to get ranked!