‘How to improve your Google ranking?’ is a common question that crops up online because it is such an important issue. Search engines send, by far, more traffic to websites than any other method, so it makes sense to make the most use of them. You can only do this, however, by ranking highly within them. But how do you do that? Well we have put together 11 free ways that you can use to help improve your Google ranking.
Let’s get started!
1. Give People What They Are Looking For
First things first, in order to attract traffic to your website you will need to know what people are searching for. This may sound simple (and it is really), but too often website owners write for themselves and not for their readers.
The easiest way to go and find what people are searching for is simply to open up Google or Bing and start typing away. Whatever subject/topic/keyphrase/question, etc. that you were aiming to rank for can be instantly adapted to fit in with what people are actually typing in and searching for online. Of course there are some excellent tools online that can help you do this, such as the keyword planner tool and Google trends, but nothing can quite beat a quick manual search on the search engine yourself.
Only by providing this type of targeted content will you be able to improve your Google ranking, so make sure that you spend some extra time to research your keywords and keyphrases. This leads nicely to my next few points…
2. Use Keywords Within Your Post Titles
Once you have identified which keywords and keyphrases that you are aiming for, you need to include them in your content. By far the best and most effective place to do this is by using them within your post titles. It makes sense of course because obviously (as we have just covered) this is what people are typing into the search engines, but also it encourages people to click onto those pages.
Now, before you go cramming as many keywords and keyphrases into your titles as you can possibly fit (titles can only have a maximum of 70 characters), know that the ones that read properly and make sense are the ones that get the most clicks. This is why ‘question’ titles work so well as;
- That is what people are typing in,
- That is what people are wanting answering.
For example, let’s say that I was searching online for help on how to make pancakes. If I type into a search engine “How to make pancakes” all the relevant posts and pages will appear. Any post that wanted to rank for this term but simple stuffed their title with keywords (e.g. Pancakes, Cook Pancakes, Easy Pancakes, Pancake Recipe.) then they won’t stand a chance.
As a rule of thumb, try to only use 1-2 keywords/keyphrases within your title and ALWAYS make sure that it makes sense when you read it.
3. Use Keywords Within Your Post Content
Your keywords and keyphrases should also be used throughout the main body of your content. Search engines don’t read in the traditional sense that we do to understand what an article is about, instead it scans your content for words and phrases and determines what it is about based on that.
Again, this doesn’t mean you should stuff your articles with as many keywords and keyphrases as you possibly can. Search engines wised up to this practice long ago and now penalise sites that do this extensively. They should make up no more than 3-4% of your overall article, but if you write normally anyway, you are bound to include plenty naturally.
4. Use Keywords Within Your Post Headings & Subheadings
Keywords and keyphrases should be included in your headings and subheadings, much for the same reason that we include them in our titles.
As we have said, search engines scan through your content to determine what it is about. What they also do though is they look more closely at the text that you make standout in your posts. Subheadings come under this (also known as H1, H2, H3, etc. tags) as they are a good way to gauge what each of your post sections are about, but this can also apply to italics, bold words, quotes, etc.
5. Internal Links Can Improve Google Ranking
A very simple and effect thing that you can do to help improve your Google ranking is to include internal links within your posts. These are links that point to your other articles and pages of your site.
This is especially relevant when you use internal links that are relevant. For example, since this post has a lot of information about SEO, I could link to another post about other useful SEO tips for you to read as this is relevant to the post. This is actually another way that search engines assess what a post is about by looking at what content you are pointing to (both internal links and external links), so it always helps that they are relevant.
Of course the added benefit of using internal links is that readers will get to find more of your own content and stay on your site for longer, which is always a good thing.
6. External Links & The Importance Of Anchor Text
Whilst internal links are very useful, they are expected as obviously sites want to keep people viewing there content for as long as possible. What search engines do though is they also look specifically at the external links that you include (links that point to other websites).
Search engines value the fact that you are willing to point readers to other sites, but which specific sites you point to is especially relevant. Again the key word here is RELEVANT as sites/posts/articles that you link to should in some way be related to what you are saying.
For example, for this post I can quite happily link to other sites that talk about the benefits of external links and SEO techniques because they are relevant to what I am saying. If on the other hand I randomly linked to a site about Orangutans, that would be out of place.
The same can be said about anchor text (the text that you use for the link). This needs to reflect what you are linking to and not be generic (i.e. ‘click here’ is not as good as ‘SEO techniques’ when linking to a post about on-page SEO techniques).
7. More Links To Your Site = Good
Search engines look at the number of links that point to a site and use them as a way to assess how good that site actually is. Think of it like a popularity contest, sites with lots of links pointing to it clearly must be good because they have so many people wanting to link to it. Sites with not very many links pointing to it must be less popular or not very good. This is clearly a very basic way of putting it as obviously, as we have discussed, there are many other factors that are taken into consideration, but it is one metric that search engines use.
A word of warning though. Don’t just think that you can spam links to your site to help boost your ranking. There are many dodgy companies that offer to sell X thousand links to your site, but you should avoid these like the plague. Often these links are from dodgy sites themselves who you don’t really want to be associated with. Also, search engines look at the rate at which sites build up links. If anything looks unnatural (like buying X thousand) then it looks suspicious and could cause you more harm than good.
8. More Quality Links To Your Site = Better
As the old saying goes – “It’s quality not quantity that matters.”
Search engines look at the sites that are pointing to yours and judge their worth based on how good those sites are. This is done using Google’s PageRank (PR) statistics. High quality PR8 sites are significantly better than much lower PR2 sites.
So having 1,000 links from PR1 sites is good, but it is MUCH better to have 100 links from PR5 sites.
In order to help improve your online Google ranking then, try to aim to get links from quality websites within your niche instead of from any old site.
9. Improve Your Google Ranking By Improving Your Website Speed
Increasingly, search engines are taking into consideration how fast a site is. The faster your page load time is, the better.
This is actually very beneficial to your readers, so this is something that you should look to improve upon anyway, regardless of the search engines or not. It is estimated that people only stick around on a site for a few seconds before getting bored and navigating away. If they click on your site and end up staring at a blank screen whilst waiting for everything to load, then they won’t hang around for long. Instead you really want everything loaded up quickly so that they can start reading or viewing your content.
10. The Longer People Stay On Your Site The Better
Another factor, that is both beneficial for your website in general and search engines, is how long people stick around on your website. This includes;
- Pages / Session
- Avg. Session Duration
- Bounce Rate
If you can increase how long on average people stay on your website and how many posts/pages they view in a single sitting, then you are on your way to dramatically improving your rankings. Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to these problems and can be affected by things like; website design, writing quality, how easy it is to navigate around your site, etc.
11. Your Site Gets Better With Age
Search engines can see and record how long a website is active for. The longer you are around online, the better it looks. Think of it like this – if a site was rubbish and no one was interested in it, then it wouldn’t last very long.
This is why many people like to buy existing sites and “do them up”, so to speak. They get the benefit of a matured domain and everything that comes with that, whilst they can improve upon it and attract more traffic.
Obviously this point is something that you can’t really get around. You simply need to focus on creating and maintaining your site to a high level over time.
Improving your Google ranking is certainly not easy, not least for the fact that search engines never quite let on exactly how they rank sites as they are always changing and adapting. Hopefully though, these free tips will help you to focus your attention on what does work. If there are 3 key things to take from reading this post though, it would be;
- Use relevant links,
- Quality is what really matters,
- Improve your site for your readers and it will improve in the rankings.
What are your views? What other free methods would you add to this list? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to get in touch below via the comments section and we will try to answer them for you.