You can have the best content in the world, but it won’t mean anything if people can’t find it! Ranking well on Google search results pages is the best way to ensure visibility for your website. Sometimes it's necessary to go back to the basics of SEO (search engine optimization), because ultimately the groundwork needs to be laid for success to follow.
Unfortunately, the "groundwork" that leads to that "success" shifts at least yearly. Such is the life of a B2B content marketer.
Your website needs to take into account both the user experience, and how Google crawls your site. Google’s algorithm technology looks for a multitude of metrics when trying to determine your page's "authority" -- here are a few keys to consider if you're disappointed with your site's ranking:
Website Not Ranking on Google? 6 Steps
While there are dozens of steps to getting a page ranking in search engine results, here are six immediate steps you can take:
- Target keyword
- Meta description
- Image optimization
1. Identify Your Target Keyword
When it comes to ranking vs. not ranking on Google, it's crucial to identify your target keyword. To put it simply, this is what you want to rank for. Don’t neglect it. Be sure that this is what your content is primarily centered around, but be careful to avoid keyword stuffing.
Break down this process by going back to basics:
- Do your research
- Identify your keyword opportunities -- this includes looking at the competition’s material
- Develop a list of keywords, and optimize your SEO writing
Make sure to include it in your page title - ideally at the beginning. That way, people will be able to easily identify that your website is where they will find the content they’re looking for. The last thing you want to do is to confuse Google and your visitors with a vague title!
2. The Page URL
The page URL is just as important as the page title. After all, it tells the search engine what your site is going to be about. With all things SEO, what you tell the search engine should be fine tuned for both the crawlers and the user. The webpage URL is proven to be a deciding factor in what a user clicks when they are filtering through relevant results.
Given that, it’s crucial that you include the target keyword. Remember, URLs are often shared around the internet, so you’ll want it to provide a clear picture of your content. Keeping your URL brief and concise will help achieve that clarity.
3. Meta Descriptions Done Right
A meta description is the short couple of sentences users see when your page shows up on Google or any other search engine results page. Located under the page title, it summarizes what your web page is about, and what you'll want to rank for ultimately.
This section is your chance to really sell the content users will see when they click your links, so the meta description will have a major influence on whether or not users visit your website. Remember though, there are a few do's and don'ts of meta descriptions you'll want to utilize. The summary should set up the reader's expectations for what they'll get by clicking.
That’s why you want to include the primary keyword, and a "hook" or call to action that conveys the value of visiting your page. Anything you can to entice them to click on that link!
4. Proper Headings
No one likes to read a wall of text. One easy way to prevent that is by using headings for both readability and crawlability. They'll give your site a clean look that’s not only easy on the eyes, but also easy on crawlers.
Using your primary keyword in H1 headings, and at least your first H2 heading if possible, allows search engines to understand the topic of your page. The same goes for your readers -- they’ll have a better understanding of what’s written, simply by scanning the headings to see the main points that will be covered in the article. Not only does this help to answer their initial search, you could become a trusted resource as a high quality resource in the future.
Ranking in Google and readable content = SEO gold! Since organized content is easier to digest, be sure to utilize H1 headings for titles, H2 headings for section titles, H3 headings for subsection titles, and so on...
5. Image Optimization
Images are great additions to any website page. Not only do they provide a break from long strings of text, but they help users to visualize the content as they read along.
You want to follow some basic steps when choosing your image:
- Choose the right image format -- make sure the image is compressed
- Choose a UNIQUE image. Stock images are easily ignorable if everyone’s using the same. Consider skipping page 1 of your stock image search results if you can
- Write the alt text to be SEO friendly
Following these guidelines to optimize your image is crucial. Being sure to make your file name an accurate reflection of the image will not only aid you in keeping your media organized, but it will provide Google with more information about your content to help the ranking.
The alternative text aka "alt text" is just as important. It is another metric that tells Google what your image is about, as well as making the image more accessible for vision-impaired users.
6. Link Building
Why is it important to build links? Doing so tells Google that you’re a trusted resource, and that’s huge if you want your site to rank. Also according to Google, this can be one of the most crucial factors in terms of rank.
Link building is a process that is not easy and may take time. You need to have the other SEO elements optimized in your writing first, and that will allow your relevance to shine. Those who choose to buy links instead of using the proper flow of SEO optimization may see the repercussions of this. Take your time to build them naturally instead. .
For instance, you could write guest posts in exchange for a link back to your site, or try submitting your content to a publication or forum within your industry. Focus on good, quality content that can be ranked. Then, continue to build links from authoritative websites.
Tying Your Website to Brand Visibility
The bottom line is that you want people to see your website - and google to crawl it - but they won’t until you make sure it is optimized. Through these 6 tips we’ve shared today, we hope you’ve learned the importance of SEO for your site’s ranking success.
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2020 and was recently updated.)