Ranking on the first page of the Google Search Results Page is the Holy Grail for most websites. Being number one on that page for any topic is even more impressive a win. There’s a reason for this.
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Recent studies reveal that about 71% of search engine users will only click on a result that’s listed on the first page. And about 28%– more than a quarter –will click on the first item.
This means that if you’re appearing on the second or third pages, the chances that you’ll get any traction approaches zero.
Now, imagine the hundreds of thousands- or millions –that don’t make it to the first page for any of their content. They’re stuck with a much smaller audience than they’d hope to garner.
How can you improve your SEO and make your website rank closer to the top of the Google Search Results Page (SERP)?
That’s the question we’ll answer here.
How To Rank Higher On Search Results
Here are ten ways to make your website crop up at the top of the pile.
Publish Great Content
Most posts on this topic will begin with something about catching the attention of Google’s crawlers. But the most important thing is to have great content. After all, you’re writing for a particular audience, and not for Google’s crawlers.
But what is great content? It’s content that people consider informative, helpful, or entertaining. If it’s one of these things, it’ll likely get more clicks and reads. And this should push it up the ranks.
Use Reader-Friendly Formats
We’re still on the theme of catering to users’ tendencies. One thing they’d generally not like is content that just goes on and on, without breaks. Dense paragraphs and long winding sentences are generally considered tedious too.
Instead, write with shorter paragraphs (you cloud use this article as a standard) and segment the piece into blocks identifiable with sub-headers. This way, it’s easier for readers to digest your piece.
Increase Loading Speeds
What will you do if you’ve clicked on it and it takes too long to open? You’ll probably get irritated and close it. Now think about visitors to your website. Do they find it irritating that your website doesn’t load fast enough?
Culprits for this include plugins, website themes, and your host. If your host is the problem, it’s probably time to switch to another provider.
Use Multimedia Content
Pages with multiple content types rank higher than those with just text. Things you could add to your average article include videos, relevant images, audio, slideshows, and infographics. If you’re adding relevant content formats, visitors will spend more time on your website, and that’ll boost your rankings.
While it’s always a good idea to add relevant images, be careful not to use one that’s large and ‘heavy’ (in terms of file size). If the images you want to use have these characteristics, they will make your pages harder to load. You may want to resize or compress them so that they load faster.
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Optimize for Mobile Phones
A majority of online traffic comes from mobile phones. For Google, it’s over 60%. So if your website isn’t optimized for mobile phones, you’re likely failing to gain the number of visitors your website deserves. Get this sorted out and you may find your site ascending the ladder of search results.
Keywords are the terms that people type into their browser’s search boxes when they’re looking for something online. Content (e.g. articles) that uses these words are more likely to be found closer to the search results page than those which don’t.
These days, you get decent traffic coming your way by using locally relevant long-tail keywords. These are keywords that are longer and frequently used by people in your local area.
Use Attention-Grabbing Headlines
Have a look at these two headlines:
“Smartphones Nigerians Use” and “Top 10 Smartphones In Nigeria Today.”
Many people would be more attracted to the second headline than the first, even if the content of the articles they’re used for is the same. This is a skill you should master if you’re going to get more clicks. Again, Google factors this into its ranking criteria.
If your site has other websites linking to it often, it’ll assume a greater ‘authority’ compared to other sites, and will end up higher on search results pages. One way to achieve this is by guest-blogging on sites that already have a high ‘authority,’ and linking to your website in the article you write for them.
Write Effective Meta Descriptions
A Meta description is a tag (written in HTML) that describes the content on your website. Search engines will usually display that tag underneath the content’s title when it shows up on the search results page. It’s important for SEO because it shows the search engine that your content is exactly what searchers are looking for.
Without it, you may not stand much of a chance of showing up on the results page, especially for competitive topics.
It’s one thing to create content and quite another for it to gain the traction you want it to. We’ve shown you how to achieve the second part. Now it’s time for you to nail both.
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