You probably know by now the importance of ranking highly in Google, or any other search engine – more visibility equals more potential customers. But you probably also know that’s a tough job. In fact, it sometimes feels like you’re riding a rollercoaster as Google’s numerous updates like Penguin and Panda create confusion as to how one can keep up with the twists and turns of search engine optimisation (SEO).
However, ranking well is only half of the battle. In this piece, we’ll look at how you can make the most of your rankings in a way that compliments your search engine optimisation efforts and allows you to attract new customers.
1 – Make your homepage title more magnetic for clicks
Your homepage’s title shows up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as the link text for your web page. If you only add your company or shop name and nothing that describes what you do or what you sell, you’re probably losing customers. By adding some extra information next to your name, you can help potential customers realise that you have what they’re looking for. This can result in more clicks.
For example, if you sell watches but your homepage title is “Joseph’s Shop”, that doesn’t say much. However, a title like “Joseph’s Shop – Clocks & Watches from London, UK” does. What’s interesting is that while this is obvious, many sites neglect to create individual titles for each of their web pages.
2 – Make your meta description sell
Pay attention to your meta description as search engines often use it for the descriptive snippet that appears under your link in the SERPs.
Use this short paragraph to sell your products or services in a way that differentiates you from your competitors. For example, if your competitors don’t offer free shipping but you do, put that in your description. If your prices are lower than those of your rivals, mention that in your meta description.
Here are a few examples:
As you can see, the first one mentions its “150 watch brands” and free delivery, the second one has a “2 year warranty” while the third one mentions “big and oversized watches” and a “no quibble money back guarantee”. All these are good selling points which can result in clicks.
3- Use rich snippets to describe your content better
I’ve written about this before and explained how using rich snippets can help boost organic traffic to your site. The use of rich snippets is vital for any business that wants to stand out from the crowd.
Another great thing you can do is to change your snippets according to a specific season or a holiday or a special event. Here are two examples of snippets for Father’s Day:
4 – Optimise your load time
Did you know that 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load? And that one second delay can see a 50% reduction in a site’s revenue? If your site takes too long to load, users lose patience and hit the back button. That means that you’ve wasted all the time and effort you’ve put into attract that click – people can’t buy from you if they’ve left your site through frustration.
In addition, you can expect your search rankings to suffer, because Google factors in load time when ranking websites.
Although you may have a high click-through rate, if a high proportion of visitors are hitting the back button, this suggests to Google that those users didn’t find what they were looking for. And if this happens quite often, it can be interpreted as an indicator that your site isn’t relevant for that specific search query or that your site isn’t offering a good user experience. And there go your good rankings.
The bottom line is if you want to get more search traffic and rank higher, you need to ensure your site’s load time is optimised.
5 – Cross-link your pages to help them get crawled more
An easy and quick way to increase your rankings is to cross-link your pages as it helps you build high quality internal backlinks. A good internal link structure is one of the important factors that Google considers when ranking sites. (See what I did here? That’s an internal link.)
It’s also good for visitors as it helps them navigate to other areas of your site without having to search again.
If you don’t cross-link your pages, your site will be like a collection of pebbles – disconnected and weak. The best way to turn those pebbles into concrete is to create a powerful internal link structure where pages are interconnected.
Although I strongly believe content marketing is the best way to increase search engine traffic, it’s not the only way. From writing titles and meta descriptions that entice users to click to optimising your site’s load time, there are many things you can do to boost the number of people visiting your site.
In what other ways can you increase your site’s rankings and grow your business online?