Whatever type of business you have, you need a website to market your presence online. And it doesn’t stop there; your website needs to get good SEO rankings or it will not be seen by potential customers, and that would be a major disaster on your part! If people don’t know about you and what you do, how are you going to build up a client base or add to the one you already have?

It all boils down to getting higher SEO rankings. If you are not too clear on what this is, SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation. These are strategies, processes and tactics used online to create a steady flow of visitors to your site. This is done by you getting the highest ranking that you can in the search results when viewers type certain ‘key words’ into a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo etc.

But SEO is not something that you can be complacent about. The rules are continually changing and search engines are getting savvier, also taking into account searches activated by voice. If you are worried that your SEO strategy needs an upgrade, now is the time to get it done or risk falling behind your competitors. The secret is to have good quality content that search engines can understand easily and that your viewers will be drawn to.

Here are just a few tips that you can put into action in order to get your website ranking higher, easily carried out by a good SEO company.

1. HTTPS is very important – a lot of the websites on Google’s first page are HTTPS; this ensures that your website is being viewed safely, with the ‘S’ referring to an SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer), enabling visitors to your site to have their data secured and encrypted. Google are ranking this very highly and even show it in the list of results. For those using the Chrome browser, they will now get a warning if your site is not HTTPS which can easily put viewers off, resulting in them leaving your site and going elsewhere.

2. Get your SERP right (Search Engine Results Page) – this is everything that shows on the results page other than the SEO title, URL and description. Your SERP should be rich and descriptive and a featured snippet rather than an organic one. Featured snippets shown are taken from the results on the first page and normally end up in the top five. Think about what your customers will be looking for and include it; an FAQ page is a great way of doing this as you are directly providing an answer to their every question.

3. Don’t forget about voice searches – more and more people use voice activated searches, made popular due to mobile devices and home speakers such as Alexa or Siri. Statistics show that by 2020 half of searches carried out online will be done by voice. Most voice results are shown as featured snippets so aim for well-structured text-heavy content that your readers and search engines will love.

4. Focus on your searchers – think about what type of questions they will be asking and how you can answer it in the best possible way, remembering that the top SERPs may include videos as well as text. Google use something called Rank Brain which uses AI to understand user searches and provide the best results. Keywords can help to boost your content too but if your focus is on the user rather than ranking, you should do well. It is up to you to understand the type of results that will be given in relation to specific searches. Try checking out the auto-suggest results which are always shown at the bottom of the SERP and you can see what type of results Google thinks should be shown. If you create your content to match these queries, it will help you to get to the top as you will be giving Google what it wants to see.

5. Don’t forget about mobiles – mobile is a really big thing now so ignore it at your peril! With more than half of searches carried out via mobiles, this figure is going to grow and in the future sites may be ranked according to their mobile website, not the desktop one. Google also likes AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) focused on blogs and articles and that provide very fast loading when clicked on. Not only do viewers get immediate results but the SEO is improved: win-win. If your site is not already mobile friendly and responsive, it needs to be.

6. Get high-quality backlinks – these are links from other websites to yours and offer a great way of boosting your rankings. But don’t be fooled into thinking that any backlink will do as they do not all generate the same results. Whilst some won’t enable you to get higher SEO rankings at all, others may even hold you back. But what is a high-quality backlink? Your SEO consultant will be able to advise you on this and may provide you with a ‘must-have’ list of what makes up the perfect backlink. Whilst you may not be able to tick all of the boxes, if your backlinks at least match with a few of these then they are well worth having on your site. Here are some of the things that you should look for when picking out the best backlinks for your website:

a. Make sure they are from a relevant source and associate well with your product or service.
b. They must be from a trusted source as they will directly impact upon the reputation of your site.
c. It is essential that they will send traffic your way, otherwise there is no point in them being on your site.
d. If they are in-content, within a block of text and towards the top, they will be regarded as much better quality that those at the bottom or in a footer.
e. Try to use those from a site with a Page Rank as the higher the PR, the more value is apportioned to the backlink.
f. Try to put your backlinks next to those from high-quality sites – if your backlink is shown on a page alongside other reputable sites and preferably similar to yours, then search engines will value your site as being in the same quality bracket.
g. Ensure your backlinks come from a variety of sources – better to have a good mix with 10 links from 15 sites rather than 50 links from just 2 sites. This is because there is a direct connection between high rankings and the number of unique websites used.
h. Don’t make your backlinks necessarily reciprocal – backlinks of the best quality come from websites that you are not linking to your site.
i. Focus on there not being too many other backlinks on the page – having a link to your site share a page with just a few external links is preferable.
j. Not easily acquired backlinks are more valuable than those that are easy to obtain. You don’t want to have the same backlinks as your competitors as the value is then diminished in your SEO contest with them.
k. Avoid paid-for links as they carry too much risk; search engines state that purchasing backlinks is against their guidelines and will penalise you even if you are paying via a third party.

So there you are – our easy six-step guide to improving your SEO rankings by following our simple guidelines. Whilst you can do a lot of this work yourself, depending upon your level of proficiency, you may find it far more efficient, productive and profitable to harness the services of a professional SEO Agency in Birmingham.

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out the experts say about the SEO trends expected to be big in 2018 and beyond.

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