10 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Higher Search Engine Rankings

The following tips and tricks will be helpful for your website search engine optimization (SEO) to rank higher in search engine results for your potential website visitors and customers.

1. Claim Your Business Listings

Over time, a listing for your business is created and eventually duplicate listings accumulate. It’s important to claim all listings under your business name, remove any duplicates and ensure the remaining listings’ information is accurate and up-to-date.

2. Simplify your URL structure

It might seem like your URLs are not highly significant for SEO. However, if your page addresses are too complicated and don’t follow a logical URL structure, chances are search engines will be confused by them.

Firstly, short and organized URLs, such as example.com/products/item-1, are easier for users to copy and paste into their address bars correctly. This can improve your website’s overall User Experience (UX), which is an indirect ranking factor. Secondly, URLs that are long and messy make it more difficult for Google to crawl your pages, which can negatively impact your SEO.

Therefore, it’s smart to avoid bad practices such as using dynamic URLs, special symbols, random letters, or too many subfolders. Instead, include keywords, use hyphens to separate the words, and make sure users can easily retrace their paths based on your URL structure.

3. Secure Links (SSL)

Two years ago, Google gave an announcement that secured website certificates (SSL) were starting to have an effect on websites ranking. Browsers such as chrome have recently started flagging sites that don’t begin with HTTPS as being potentially insecure.

4. Build pages with HTML header tags

The first heading, or H1 tag, is the most important heading on the page. The H1 tag is typically the first thing a visitor reads on your webpage. Header tags are commonly used for styling but should instead be used for content organization. Making use of subheadings is one of the best ways to improve search engine ranking. For search engines, heading tags have more weight than regular copy and make skimming the page easy on a user. If you’re having trouble editing your heading tags, you’ll likely need a developer to update the page.

5. Optimize Your Meta Data

There has been a lot of debate over whether or not page title tags and meta descriptions are still relevant. Now whether or not they are still a ranking factor (which page title tags will trump meta descriptions), they are still a HUGE element in the first impression your web page has on a potential visitor. If you’re focusing on optimizing for local SEO, your page title tags should include the name of the city that you want to be focused on. Optimize your page title tags to include the name of the city and the product or service you offer.

6. Promote your posts on social media automatically

Speaking of social media, if you’re not already using it to promote your site, you might be losing a lot of potential exposure. While sharing your posts on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t directly contribute to SEO, it can still boost organic traffic. It can also prolong the lifespan of your content and help you establish online authority.

As you’re writing copy for the page, you’ll often find yourself referencing other topics that you’ve already published. Internal linking is selecting a phrase and adding a hyperlink to the blog post or page you are referencing. These links will get some users to click through and read your other pages, but more importantly, search engines will crawl these links too. The keywords you hyperlink are called anchor text. This gives the user and search engines context about the page you link to so it is important to use meaningful keywords in the hyperlink.

8. Use ALT tags with all your images

Images visually support the message on the page. Users love them, and search engines do too. That’s why you should always use descriptive (keyword-rich) ALT tags for all your images. Alt tags also keep your site accessible, which could help you avoid an ADA lawsuit.

9. Mobile-friendly design and page speed

It’s no secret that more and more users are coming to your site from mobile devices. Make sure your website design is mobile-friendly. Also, optimize the images, code, and content to load each page quickly. Visitors will leave slow websites and search engines will notice. This is why having a fast website will improve your search engine ranking. You need great content, but website design and development are important when asking how to make your website rank.

10. Create an XML Sitemap and monitor crawl errors

Submit Sitemap

Submitting a sitemap will help get pages indexed by search engines faster. If you’ve verified Google Search Console for your site in the first step, then you can submit your sitemap with Google. Bing also has a webmaster tools dashboard where you can submit a sitemap.

Crawl Errors and Warnings

Search engines also crawl websites through links on pages. Be sure to monitor any errors or broken links and fix them or create redirects to ensure your site has the best chance to rank well. There are free broken link checkers you’ll find on Google.