SEO is one of those topics that everyone talks about, but when you actually start scratching beneath the surface, no-one really knows too much about what’s actually going on. SEO agencies are absolutely booming at the moment, as, even the most established organization has a moment of panic when they realize how much more they can still do!
Working in ecommerce for the last two years has been an eye-opener and in many cases, I have been astounded how easy it is to lose page ranking in the blink of an eye. One day we were on the first page of Google, and the next- second or third. And we all know that no-one’s got time to scroll that far!
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Make Sure Google Can Actually See Your Site
Right, so you have your site up, it’s looking great and you are developing some great content for it. The problem is that you simply are not showing up anywhere and you are not getting indexed anywhere. The solution is simple, your site is actually just blocking Google from being able to crawl the content.
So, here is how it works. Essentially, Google has bots that crawl content across all websites in order to ascertain as much as it can about the site. So yes, they search your site to make your site searchable.
What you need to make sure, when you are submitting your sitemap is that your robots.txt file is not blocking Google or that your Meta tags have a no follow in them. Don’t panic, it’s nothing you have actually done wrong, it sometimes does simply default. If you are using WordPress, to overcome this, you simply need to go to the privacy settings in the administration panel and select that you would like your blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines.
The Basics To Optimize
So, you have a ton of content on your site and you are hoping to get noticed. You have submitted your sitemap, Google can see you and you are ready to go. There are a few things, however, that you need to keep on the top of your mind when you are writing content for your site. Every single piece of content needs to be clearly thought out and be created to make it easy for Google to find you.
So, here are the top things that you can improve upon.
Using a keyword several times. in an article simply makes it easy for Google to pick it up and understand what the article is about and where it belongs. So, if you are an online wine supplier, for example, that is the word that you want to be searched for correct? In every article then, you need to make sure that you use the word on a repetitive basis. Make sure that you are still putting out quality content though, as it is this content that will attract customers.
The trick here is, you can start being smart about it and not just have redundant sentences about wine. This is where keyword research comes in. This allows you to find what words are the most searched, the difficulty of the word and the demand of the word. So, say, for example, I am writing an article to add the wine blog. I would add words like- wineries, red wine, white wine, wine rack, wine glasses.
As I mentioned, don’t overdo it. Keyword stuffing can actually get you severely penalized, so make sure you get your keyword ratio right.
Categories and Tags
These are two vital parts of your blog which are categories and tags. A category allows Google to ascertain where your site fits in within the World Wide Web, while tags indicate the deeper specifications of what you are mentioning within a said blog.
Here is an example. Let’s look back at the wine example. We had several categories for what we released about wine. So, the categories used to include- Wine News, Wine Estates, Wine Reviews, and Wine Knowledge. This just made it easier for the reader to find what they were searching for.
Tags, on the other hand, would go into a lot more detail on what was being discussed in the articles. This could then include the wine estates names, the cultivars, the awards, and even the wine terms. So, if someone was searching for the wine estate to read more about it, the tags allowed this to be searchable.
Quite simply, this is the header you will see when you search any term. What you have to make sure of is that your header has the following attributes-
- It is short and catchy;
- It contains the keyword;
- It is searchable.
If you need help getting your header just right and searchable, there are plenty of online tools to help you out. If you are using Yoast, like we do, adding the meta description is simply plugging in your text and ensuring that it falls within the parameters.
These descriptions are just as important as the titles. The title needs to hook the reader, while the description needs to use relevant keywords to create the clickability. While the header increases the rank directly, the meta simply makes someone want to read more and becomes clickable. This, in turn, increases the rank. There is a lot of guidance on creating a clickable meta description.
Here are some examples of wine headings and meta that have allowed them to rank highly in Google Search.
Get the Right Built-In Tools For Your Site
SEO doesn’t need to be a foreign language. In fact, if your site is on WordPress, for example, it is really easy to get some built-in tools to optimize that SEO! When I was still running the blog on WordPress, I used Yoast and I absolutely loved the functionality of it. It was like SEO for dummies.
The great thing about these tools is that it breaks down EXACTLY what you are doing wrong in your articles.
- You have used the keyword too much, or too little;
- There is no keyword in your Title or Meta Description;
- You have not used the keyword in the first paragraph in your article;
- The paragraphs are too long;
- Your paragraphs are too complicated and you are not using simple language;
- Paragraphs are started the same way repeatedly;
- Your Meta description is too long;
- Your slug has stop words in it;
- The article is just too short.
The list can go on and on and can become more complex, but once you get the green light, literally, your article is good to go ahead!
Move To A Coded Site
We used to work on a drag and drop type site for an extended amount of time and always found ourselves lagging behind in the search results. As we expanded, we brought on a few developers and we started creating a brand new site from scratch. Using genuine code made a massive difference in our ranking, and currently, we are now sitting on the first page at all times.
What I have to warn you about is that it will take a while to get there though. You should not expect immediate results. In fact, expect a massive drop off for a few weeks. Google needs to have a chance to crawl and re-crawl your brand new site and things will be a bit jumbled up at first. We kept finding weird categories popping up with even stranger descriptions under them, but within two weeks, things started balancing out and we now have a top ranking site!
To Wrap Up
Getting your page picked up by Google is not the trickiest feat. There are quick solutions to increase your ranking and then there are more in-depth processes. If you focus on the above throughout the existence of your site, you should be able to see it moving up the ranking scale.
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world and has visited over 65 countries.