If you are reading this, you already know how difficult it is to rank your website or blog at the top position or first page on google these days. The competition for ranking on the first page is cutthroat.
I remember the time when I had joined the family business twelve years ago.
Such simple times they were.
WordPress was so new. Blogging was a concept known by the select view.
Since we didn’t have a website, I decided to set one up in WordPress just for bragging rights. What surprised me was how easy it was to rank my company website in Google with just a little focus on content and nothing else.
Within 15 days my site was on the first page and I was getting lots of traffic. I had no knowledge of SEO. I didn’t even know what it meant.
How times have changed!
One fundamental truth that I have come to learn over time is that You have to keep changing with time.
No substitute for Good ORIGINAL Content
Content is king. Content mattered in 2008 when I started. It matters all the more in 2020. There is no alternative to quality content.
Ranking on search engines like Google is one thing. It is also important to sustain that rank over time.
Only and only authentic and original content helps you maintain your position in searches as time goes on.
All other optimizations come later.
I have come across some people suggesting their readers that content may be picked up from popular websites, rewritten using rewriting apps, and then published. This was suggested as an alternative to avoid the hard work that goes into quality research and writing.
You can’t fool search engines like this. At least, not anymore.
Google will always be one step ahead of you. It can identify plagiarized content and also rewritten content, and penalize your blog by hitting its ranking. It’s going to be very hard to recover from a penalty like this.
Quality content = Better Rank Position in Google Search
Security is Essential for Ranking. Use HTTPS always.
A secure website assures your visitors that any information exchanged between them and your site is always safe.
It also indicates to Google that you care for the safety of your readers’ data, just like they do.
These days many top web hosting providers offer free SSL certificates with their hosting plans. So, developing a secure website will not be a hassle for you.
Google will automatically rank your website better in search results if your site uses HTTPS instead of regular HTTP.
Speed matters. So does Responsive Design.
No one likes a slow website. What is the use of good content if your website takes ages to load?
I’m not going to quote any research-based article here.
A quick look at my google analytics insights reveals that more than 90% of my visitors are accessing my blog using a smartphone. Tablet users come next in line. Lastly come PC or Mac users.
It is very easy nowadays to find a mobile-optimized responsive theme for your website. BUT, that isn’t enough anymore. Your site load time is what matters the most to visitors, especially mobile visitors.
- Use a caching plugin like WP-Rocket or W3 Total Cache on WordPress
- Delete any unnecessary plugins in WordPress
- Go for managed WordPress hosting or cloud hosting, instead of regular shared hosting
- Make sure you get to use PHP 7 or later version with your hosting plan
- I prefer the Litespeed server instead of the regular Apache. More on this in a later post.
Even a simple one-second delay can severely impact your website. This is especially true if yours is an e-commerce based site since speed directly impacts conversions. Here are our 12 Tips to Speed Up your WordPress Site.
Faster Site = Better Placement in Search Results
Video content ranks better
Google has been giving special preference to video based content lately.
A video relevant to the topic will not only help your visitor understand better, but it will also increase his engagement with your blog & social media channels.
For example, if you search for a recipe or a review online, chances are that you will see videos from YouTube first. Next, come regular text-based search results.
If you are reviewing a product, record its unboxing and your experience with it. Upload it to YouTube and then blog about it with your video embedded into the post. Your post will rank much better compared to others.
Whenever possible, try to attach a relevant video to your blog post.
Identify & Leverage your Social Media channels
Everyone who’s anyone is on Facebook. Instagram usage has surged over the years.
In fact, there are so many small business owners who put up images of their products on Instagram and use WhatsApp to sell them.
Identification of the right social media channel for promoting your content or product is absolutely essential.
Example Case: Small Business Owner
Let us assume you are a small business owner who sells customized costume jewelry. If you want to sell a pair of earrings to me, would you describe in words about how great it is? Or would you show me the actual product instead and let me make my own decision with a little help from your end?
If you know what you’re doing, you will go for the second option.
Similarly your online target audience will prefer to see high-quality images of your Jewellery items first before they read what it’s all about.
Which social media channel works? No prizes for guessing. INSTAGRAM. Followed by Facebook, Pinterest and the like.
Example Case: Blogger
If you’re a blogger, Facebook is usually your preferred channel. Then Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and others.
Build a Facebook page. Involve yourself in groups discussing your blog niche. Encourage your readers to get engaged in your own Facebook group.
Google can not only track updates on your blog but also knows which Facebook page or Instagram profile belongs to you. If you regularly update your blog but have less to no activity on its social media handles, Google will assume you do not have enough influence.
Social media engagement shows that you can get people to talk about your niche, which in turn indicates to a search engine like Google that you are influential.
The outcome? More Social media engagement = Better ranking in google search results.
Good reviews make you rank better
What do you do before making an online purchase on Amazon? You check the review section to see how other customers have rated the product.
I personally make sure that any product I purchase online has a minimum rating of at least 4.5/5. Kind of makes me feel assured about my purchase.
Similarly, if you are selling a product or service on your website, your customers will definitely want to see what experiences others’ have posted about it.
Example Case : A website selling products
Suppose you are an entrepreneur and have an online store selling furniture.
Before hitting the check out button, your customer would definitely like to check out how that new computer table he has his eyes on, has benefited buyers who have already purchased it.
Did they find it durable? Usable? Did they find the base material of the table to be of good quality?
When he comes across good reviews about that table, it is very likely that the visitor will convert into a paying customer for your business. Existing positive reviews help the visitor get answers to the questions or apprehensions he may have in mind.
Example Case : A website offering services
Lets say that you offer interior design consultancy.
Your target customer would definitely like to find out whether you have had exisiting satisfied clients or not, before he approaches you for a quotation.
In case he doesn’t find good reviews or no reviews at all, he might be tempted to go back to search results and visit your competitors’ website.
Reviews build trust – not only in target customers but also in the eyes of Google.
Positive reviews = More trust = better position in search results
Duplicate content causes decline in ranking
If your site contains material blatantly copy pasted from other websites, intelligent search engines like Google will penalise you by pushing down your website in results.
Content on your pages and posts also should be different from each other.
Two posts having similar content will make them both rank lower in searches. This is because Google will treat them both as copies, assuming that you have a hard time coming up with your own content.
The value of your website greatly reduces in the eyes of Google if you have repeated content in multiple pages.
Don’t write just for the sake of writing. Google is smart enough to understand which content you have written just to show that you regularly update your website and which content was made after actual research and analysis.
Avoid duplicate content at all cost. It will take ages to recover from this penalty.
Search Intent is more important than Keywords
Google has seriously changed the game.
Earlier, it was easy to stuff your post with keywords and its synonyms. Google would crawl the page, deem it relevant for those keywords if they were present in the content with even distribution. This will not work anymore.
Now, if you stuff your post with keywords, it is considered as spam or low quality content, by Google.
Example Case :
Suppose you run an online store selling smartphones and accessories. A new smartphone just launched and you have it in stock. Call it Smartphone X.
Given below is a very approximate analysis of the intent of the searcher.
|Search Term||Likely Intent of Visitor||Analysis|
|Smartphone X||To know more||The search term contains just the name and model. Most probably this searcher is looking for more information about that newly phone.|
|Smartphone X vs iPhone 10||To decide which one to choose – commercial investigation||This visitor most likely already has a fair idea of how Smartphone X is. But, he wants to be sure before purchasing|
|Discounts on Smartphone X||Most likely to purchase||The user has already made up his mind hat this new smartphone is best suited to him. He is now looking for best deals and is very likely to convert into a paying customer the moment finds an attractive offer.|
Not only do you have to identify your target audience by the keywords, but, you also have to take into account if your content is in line with the intention of the visitor. You have to understand why the visitor has used a particular variation of the keyword. It’s not just the keyword that matters anymore.
More relevant your content to the search intent = Higher rank in search result
A back link is a link to your post or your site from another website.
More number of sites linking to your content indicates that your site is valuable enough for other site owners to send their visitor traffic.
More valuable your content seems to others, more likely is it to be ranked better in searches by Google. Or, that’s just what we think?
To understand what better back linking is, have a look at the table below.
|Your Blog / Website Niche||Niche of Blog / Website linking to you||Link Value Analysis|
|E-Commerce website selling handicrafts and show pieces||Leading Travel Blog||Little or no value. A travel blog has no relevance to your website selling handicrafts. This link will not help you rank better in Google searches.|
|Website selling furniture and home improvement items||Leading Interior design blog||A very high-value link. An interior design magazine or blog will definitely want to link to a furniture store. Both niches are closely related. If a blog having a closely related niche finds you valuable enough to share its traffic with, Google will find you much more relevant in that particular niche too. End Result? Better ranking!|
It is not just about how many back links you have. Its also about who is linking to you.
More quality backinks = Better rank in Google Search
Leverage the power of AMP
AMP is short for accelerated mobile pages. According to Searchmetrics, AMP project is a joint initiative between Google, Adobe and WordPress. The sole purpose of this project was to create fast load times for visitors using mobile devices.
AMP in itself is a very broad topic and requires a separate post.
What you need to know is that there are easy ways to implement AMP in your website. For WordPress, there is an official plugin made available by Google that seamlessly implements AMP without any technical knowledge.
They are designed to give the end user what they want the most – content focussed page without any distractions.
When a visitor clicks on a search result that links to an AMP version of your page, he is served your content from google cache. This results in near instant loading time, increasing content engagement and greately enhancing user experience.
AMP = Super Fast Load Times = Great Positioning in Google Search
It is not about writing a simple blog post anymore.
Post it and forget it no longer works.
If you are planning to earn revenue from your blog by monetizing it or set up an online store, it becomes all the more important for you to optimize your content strategy.
So, how are you going about it? Do you have any more tips to share?