How to improve a website’s search ranking is one of the most common questions I get in this field.

Many people interested in Galactic’s services will ask how to get their existing website on the first page of Google’s search results.

The answer to this question is rooted in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Wikipedia defines Search Engine Optimization as the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid “organic” results.

Although Google does not provide an exact recipe for SEO (they are actually quite secretive about their algorithms), they do provide us with best practices to improve your rankings on their search results page.  Below are some of these practices.

Websites are not ‘set it and forget it’.

Google is in the business of providing the internet with the best possible search result. They consistently comb the inter-webs, indexing every website looking for the best, most up-to-date content. They read and catalog your content, also checking how often content is added or changed on your website. In other words, if you want to rise towards the top of Google’s search results, you cannot just launch your website and forget about it.  Making additions regularly will result in Google indexing your website more frequently (a good thing) thereby keeping your website relevant in Google searches. When your website is not updated regularly, Google will be more inclined to skip over your site when indexing in order to save their time and resources.  Thus, your search results will go down.

The easiest way keep your website relevant is to add content through a blog.  Blogging is a great way to engage with your audience with little complexity. There are many tips for writing good posts out there, but my take is to just make sure it is interesting and valuable to your audience, as the more reads (clicks) your post receives, the more important your website will appear to Google. Depending on your industry, adding 1-4 posts per month would be a practical and effective goal. A quick trick is to repost an industry relevant article on your blog, adding your own commentary, with a link to the original article.

Here’s a few quick blog tips for writing your posts:

  • Make sure you incorporate search terms within your article copy.
  • Add Categories and Tags to your blog posts as this helps Google categorize your site effectively.
  • Add external links within your post to provide additional legitimacy to your article when clicked.

Writing blog posts can be intimidating.  It takes time that many do not have and others just do not love to write.  If you find yourself in this boat, Galactic does provide writing services to help with this task. Our copywriter can do a quick interview with you on your topic and ghostwrite it for you. We can even schedule a certain number of blogs for you each month.

There are many foundational and technical Search Engine Optimization best practices that need to be applied to your website.

Here is simple checklist that Galactic provides when building a website:

  • Implement Google Search Console to utilize Google’s tools and reports to help measure your site’s search traffic and performance, identify and fix issues like broken links and 404’s, and do some manual search configuration.
  • Organize your content in an easy-to-read layout as Google cares about user experience (they want to provide the best possible experience to their users just as we do). Use various heading levels (H1, H2, H3) subtitles, and text on each and every page.
  • Make sure you have enough text on each page (avoiding passive voice) so that Google can easily parse your content and attach it to search terms.
  • Add meta-data to your images, descriptive titles, alternative text, image categories, and captions to help Google identify your content. This will also improve your web accessibility.
  • Upgrade to Yoast SEO premium. The premium version allows you to add more than one Keyword per page (page descriptor). Yoast will also email you great articles on writing your web content, etc. for best rankings. Get an understanding of the Basics of the Yoast plugin, in our Galactic instructional library.
  • Incorporate outgoing and incoming links (external links into your site) help legitimize your site with Google. See if some of your partners would put a link of your website up on their page. Google Ads links help with this too.
  • Set up alerts to identify and fend off security threats, plugin vulnerabilities, and/or attacks to your site. When these go unmanaged, it can crush your site and even get it blacklisted.
  • Implement a newsletter email service like MailChimp to send out your newsletters and other mass-recipient emails. These services follow anti-spam guidelines and will keep your website URL safe from being flagged as a spammer (ie. blacklisted).
  • Optimize website performance. A slow loading site, especially on mobile devices will deliver a lower ranking. Optimizing your website images will provide the biggest gains in page loading times. Ensure your WordPress core, theme, and plugins are updated regularly. The amount of plugins used on your website can effect your performance, so we encourage our clients to be selective.

Remember, SEO is a long-term goal. Paid Google Ads is a short term fix to get your ad at the top of a search keyword result in the regions you select. Many in the SEO business say they get better organic (non-ad) search rankings when they have an AdWords campaign going.  Paid ads allow you set a region(s), search terms, and your budget for the month. They have tools that measure traffic activity and the ability to increase your budget if needed due to competitors and other factors.

There is plenty more to write about with Search, but this is the basics.