For every online or brick-and-mortar business with a website, the name of the game is “What Google says, goes.” Basically, if you’re not on Google’s radar to feature in its top 10 list of results for your business’s target keywords, your business might as well not even exist.
Data shows that when online users conduct Google searches, they never click past the first page of results. Why? Well, for one, online users don’t have time to comb through pages and pages of results. Secondly, most searchers feel that results past the first page are just not as credible or reputable as the results on the first page.
In fact, HubSpot research reveals that 75 percent of online users never click past the first page of search engine results. Ranking alone is all the more reason why you need to do everything in your power to make sure your business is one of the lucky few populating the first page of Google’s results when users search specific keywords related to your business.
So, how can your business achieve higher search engine rankings? What can you do to improve your business’s visibility this year? Well, not only will you need to keep current with the constant changes happening within SEO but you’ll also need to hone in on the most essential best practices for SEO too. Here’s how your business can thrive this year with the top SEO best practices.
Improve Your Site’s User Experience
Just as brick-and-mortar business owners want their customers to walk into their store and have an enjoyable experience from the moment they enter the store until they leave, eCommerce business owners want the same thing for visitors to their site. This is what you would call user experience (UX). Everything from your website’s appearance to how fast your pages load are factors that play a pivotal role in a user’s experience on your site. Here are some areas to focus on:
Page Load Speed: According to Google, a page should load in under two seconds, and if it takes longer than three seconds to load, visitors will leave that site. Make sure your website loads in two seconds or less to keep visitors on your site.
Website Appearance: We live in an era of cyber threats, and users will immediately leave a site if it’s not visually appealing or if it looks “sketchy” in the slightest way. Things like the use of proper headings and subheadings, whitespace and color selection can all be the determining factor as to whether a user stays on your site or leaves.
If you have no experience or knowledge in how to properly design a website, you need to invest in a leading web design company to ensure every visitor to your site has a positive user experience.
Pop-Ups: Aside from slow load speeds and questionable web design, intrusive pop-ups are one of the biggest annoyances of visitors to various websites. Think of pop-ups as the digital version of physical store associates coming up to you as soon as you walk into a retail store asking, “Is there anything I can help you find?” The immediate response is usually no because you just walked into the store and want to look around. Well, your site’s pop-ups can be just as annoying.
Pop-ups are actually necessary for certain instances, like growing an email list, but if you’re going to use them, only do so after a user has been on your site for a certain amount of time. If a user spends a long time on your site, it’s an indicator that they’re having a positive user experience and wouldn’t mind seeing a pop-up to learn more about what you’re offering.
How a user behaves on your website plays a big role in your site’s user experience and an even bigger role in how your site ranks on Google.
Ensure Your Content Is in Alignment With Search or User Intent
Search intent is Google’s way of giving users what they’re looking for, and it’s the sole purpose and focus behind search results for every query.
For example, if a user is looking up “how to build a fire pit,” Google recognizes that they’re trying to learn how to do something versus buy something. For a search query like this, Google will display results providing information like videos, guides, blog posts, etc. – informational results. If the user was searching “fire pits for sale,” Google would display results for local businesses that sell fire pits as well as eCommerce stores that sell fire pits.
The goal in understanding search intent is to make sure the content you create aligns with the intent of the user. The types of search intent that need to align with your content include the following:
- Transactional – User’s intent is to make a purchase
- Informational – User’s intent is to get or learn specific types of information
- Commercial –User’s intent is to find a specific service or product but they are not fully willing to invest in it yet
- Navigational – User intent is to find a certain URL or application
Always keep in mind what a user’s search intent could be in relation to what your business offers, and create content centered around that.
Take Advantage of Internal Linking
Internal linking is a great way to get exposure to low-performing pages on your site from high-performing pages. You, of course, want to make sure the internal links you’re using are useful and relevant to the content you’re trying to give a boost to. The positive effect of this best practice is that it helps Google better understand how relevant and helpful your content is. This way, the search engine is encouraged to boost your rankings.
There are many more techniques and tactics to improve your visibility online and achieve higher rankings on Google, but the ones listed above are some of the best practices that will work in 2021 and beyond.