Search engine optimization is not a one-time ordeal. It requires constant dedication, strategic adjustments, and diligent research. Google’s algorithm changes every year, and sometimes every month, so it may be difficult for you to keep up with your internet marketing efforts. Nevertheless, there are some simple ways you can keep Google happy, regardless of what the search engine decides to do in the future.
Follow this guide to get consistently great results from your internet marketing campaigns.
Update Your Content Regularly
Google rewards sites that evolve. Those who have regularly changing content are more likely to get to the top. Think about a site like Craigslist, which is rather unappealing from a design perspective. People post thousands of new ads on there a day, making it extremely up-to-date. That is one of the reasons why Craigslist comes up on just about any local search you run: “jobs in Detroit,” “Detroit apartments for rent,” “puppies in Detroit,” etc. You do not have to be this aggressive with your own content, but you should consider upgrading and enhancing from time to time. If you have not changed your web content or web design in a while, think about doing a small upgrade to keep Google happy.
PRO TIP: Start A Blog
Perhaps the easiest way to keep your content consistently up to date is to start a blog on your website. Even if you only make one post a week or two posts a month, you are adding something new to your website. There is a lot more you can do to update your content, but that is a passive option that just about anyone can do.
Make Your Navigation Simple
People should be able to get around your website without having to refer to a user manual. Some developers think that bold graphics are the keys to big hits, and that is not the case. Most visitors would much rather visit a site that looks less-than-perfect and functions well than a site that’s a maze to weave through. If your site is not user friendly, Google will not send people to it. More importantly, if people are not staying on your website long because it is confusing, Google will drop your search engine ranking.
Search engines do not care how visually appealing your website is. They care about how happy your visitors are. If you have a website that keeps people coming back for more, you’re going to automatically rank well in Google.
Keep Load Times Low
When someone pulls up the homepage for your site, he should not have to wait more than a couple seconds to see it. People will leave a site quickly if they feel it is not going to load, so you have to make sure your sites open in a timely manner. That is why flash websites often hinder a business’s success. No matter how great they look, they take too much time to load. You’ll be better off with a quick and simple web design that loads well on every browser and device.
PRO TIP: Reduce Your Image Sizes
If your images take too long to load, try reducing their size. This will make them load much quicker. If you are using WordPress for your content management system, you should be able to adjust your image sizes directly in the media gallery. Otherwise, you can use a program like Paint, Photoshop, or GIMP to reduce the images and make them load better on your site.
Create And Submit A Sitemap
If you have not submitted you sitemap to Google, do so. A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like – a map of your website that shows all of your webpages, blog posts, service pages, etc. Depending on the design of your sitemap, it may also show how pages interact with one another. Parent pages are put in a position above the child pages they link to, or pages of the same category are all listed together. Your sitemap gives Google an easy trail of pages to crawl on your site.
If you do not have a sitemap yet, you will need to make one. People using WordPress can simply download a plugin and let that do the work for them. In most cases, your new sitemap will be under the URL http://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Submit that link to Google using the Google Webmasters Tools, and you will be able to get your website ranked faster, better, and more efficiently in the future.
Build Organic Backlinks
Building organic backlinks for your websites will show Google that other people are interested in what you have to offer. You can do this through social media posts, guest blogging on other websites, affiliating with similar businesses online, and much more. The more buzz you create about your site, the more Google will be interested in promoting you in search results. Use this and the other suggestions in this guide to keep Google happy and keep your website ranked well for years to come.