Google processes, on average, 4.5 billion searches every day.
Every search query generates results carefully ranked according to Google’s guidelines.
High Google rankings depend on a variety of factors.
The most important search engine signal, however, is your website itself. In fact, effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns focus the majority of their efforts on website content and optimization.
It can be tough navigating SEO optimization, particularly if you are new to the world of Google rankings. The good news about website optimization is that any site owner can tackle it, no matter their experience.
Read on for some website optimization tips that can improve your SEO performance in Google.
1. Know Google’s Guidelines
When first-time SEO marketers learn that Google has actual guidelines that any site owner can peruse, they are often surprised! However, Google cares about transparency, even if it isn’t directly forthcoming about the nature of its algorithms.
Before diving into website optimization, it’s essential to know what Google’s rules actually are.
There are a few pages to peruse in Google’s rulebook. The first is Google’s steps to a Google-friendly site. This page gives concise, detailed insight into the rules you absolutely must follow to get some more Google love.
For example, Google mentions three things that heavily influence search engine rankings: rich content, backlinks, and link structure. We’ll talk about these later on in this post.
Google also cautions users against keyword-stuffing and cloaking, two common strategies used by site owners to “cheat” the SEO system. This means over optimizing pages for specific keywords and using redirects to send users to additional pages.
Webmaster and SEO Guidelines
We also recommend browsing Google’s complete Webmaster Guidelines. These discuss things you should absolutely avoid doing when it comes to content and quality.
Lastly, check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide for more detailed information about how to jump on board the optimization train. This is ideal for SEO newbies, in particular. This guide also rehashes a lot of what we will discuss in this post itself.
Notice that Google spends more time in these pages telling users what they shouldn’t do rather than what they should. This is because Google does take rankings seriously, knowing their value when it comes to business visibility.
If you do break one of Google’s rules, intentionally or otherwise, Google will assign a penalty. This penalty will either be “manual” or “algorithmic,” depending on whether or not a web crawler or Google employee discovered an error.
The good news is that you can recover from a Google penalty. The bad news is that penalties do hurt your rankings.
To avoid penalties and ensure that your website is at peak optimization, keep Google’s rules at the fore as you go about perfecting your site. We recommend printing out the rules and posting them somewhere visible.
Manual penalties will appear in your Google Search Console. Before tackling website optimization, be sure to link your site to Search Console. This tool will also prove valuable down the road for other optimization strategies.
2. Improve Content Readability
At the top of its steps to a Google-friendly site page, Google mentions how important content is when it comes to search engine rankings. It emphasizes that site owners should give visitors the information that they’re looking for.
This means that all of your website content should be relevant to every visitor who drops by your page. But what does this actually mean?
Relevant content is written with specific readers in mind. The best kind of relevant content knows its audience, much like a good marketer knows his target market.
Relevant content is also clear, direct, and useful. It doesn’t pack in a lot of unnecessary details. It is tailored to its title and is distinct from other pages on a certain site.
It should also be well-written and easy to read. Google is less likely to promote sites that have wandering, error-laden copy. It loves sites that think about their visitors, particularly when it comes to digesting large amounts of information in quick bites.
When crafting content for your website, make sure it meets Google’s standards of relevance. If you’re struggling with this step, think about your ideal website visitor. What will this visitor need? What will they be looking for or likely to be interested in?
Make it Readable
Break up all page content into readable forms, making great use of bullets, numbers, lists, and headers. If a page isn’t easily skimmable, it may not be up to Google’s standards for readability.
Be sure that all page titles are descriptive and unique. Reflect accurate page titles in URLs. Get rid of any redundant content.
Google can actually penalize you for having duplicate content, as double pages can be used to earn higher Google rankings than are merited.
If you’re still curious about generating A+ Google content, take a look at the content produced on platforms and sites that you personally admire. What about their content works? What makes it relevant?
Some site owners choose to hire out copywriting services in order to ensure their sites are Google-readable.
3. Choose the “Right” Keywords and Optimize Correctly
When it comes to website optimization tips, keywords are inevitably part of the package. At the end of the day, proper on-page website optimization has to do with picking the right keywords and integrating them well.
The whole notion of keyword optimization is foreign to a lot of business owners. It’s easy to assume that on-page SEO is all about choosing some random phrases and sprinkling them into your content as you would season a nice steak.
Stellar website optimization does involve selecting keywords and “sprinkling,” but there’s a lot more strategy to it than many realize.
The beginning of every Google-friendly site lies in keyword research. Get ready to do a lot of research before you even think about optimizing content!
Most site owners aren’t sure where to begin with keyword research. Luckily, Google has a tool that makes it easier to find keywords that are likely to be high-value for your industry and brand.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to get a sense of how viable a certain keyword is likely to be. Other SEO platforms like SEMRush or Ahrefs have keyword research tools designed to do similar things.
You can also brainstorm your own keywords by analyzing your target user. Think about your ideal customer and what he or she is likely to enter into Google in order to find your product or brand.
Write down these ideas, being sure to think outside the box. For example, viable keywords can include location-based terms, like “concerts in Baltimore” or “ice cream in Maryland.”
Perform a few organic Google searches yourself for these potential keywords. Note what comes up. Pay attention in particular to where your competitors rank in search results and what keywords they are using for optimization.
Keep in mind that keyword research is an ongoing, organic process. Because search engine optimization (SEO) is a shifting field, keywords are also likely to shift in viability and popularity.
If you don’t like the idea of keyword research or selection, hiring professional SEO services may be your answer.
Keyword Website Optimization
In general, choose one distinct cluster of similar keywords per page of content you wish to optimize. When sliding keywords and their synonyms into existing content, be sure to prioritize putting keywords in headings, page titles, introductions, and conclusions.
Avoid keyword-stuffing, which means saturating certain pages with your chosen search terms. Google will catch on to this and issue a penalty.
The aim for optimization should be to not hinder the richness of your content. SEO keywords should be seamlessly integrated with the rest of a site’s text.
If you have images on your website, you can also optimize these for keywords. Do so by naming the image file with the keyword itself and optimizing its ALT description for search terms.
Lastly, make use of those meta descriptions, the blurbs about individual pages that appear in search results. Be sure to use keywords in these too.
Once again, if this part of the optimization process intimidates you, it may be worth hiring a professional.
4. Optimize for Mobile Use
A large portion of search engine traffic comes from mobile users. Given the fact that over three-quarters of the American population has a smartphone, it’s imperative to optimize your website for mobile searches.
One way to do this is to invest in a responsive website design. Responsively designed websites adapt to fit any size screen used to access them.
You can also boost your site’s loading speeds, which can influence Google rankings. In general, Google prioritizes sites that can deliver stellar experiences to visitors, and it will definitely shaft the sites that make their visitors wait for too long.
Boost loading speeds by upgrading web hosts or hosting plans, optimizing images for quick uploads, and generating concise content.
Responsive design and quick loading speeds may not be sufficient, however, when it comes to making your website fully mobile-friendly.
It may be worth investing in professional web design services to ensure that your site suits all devices and is not compromising your search engine rankings. Professional services are also more likely to aid in constructing user-driven design, which emphasizes user site experience even more.
You can learn more about mobile-friendly web design services here.
5. Build a Healthy Link Structure
Internal links actually play a role in your website’s SEO performance. A healthy link structure proves to Google that there is no intention of “cloaking” content, which means sending visitors to redirected pages.
Every page should include at least one link to another page or blog post on your website. If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin like Yoast to ensure that you have the right amount of internal links.
Every link should send visitors exactly where the text says it will send them. For example, if your link’s anchor text is “SEO services pricing,” visitors should expect to navigate to a page that details information about pricing.
Choose anchor texts wisely in this regard, and make sure that they are simple and short.
It’s also important to include external links on your site. External links should be used wisely, and should only reference content that authoritatively supports whatever you are discussing.
Aim for at least one internal link and one external link per page of content.
6. Track Your Performance
Every website optimization campaign requires consistent monitoring to ensure maximum performance. This is because most site owners rarely pick all the “right” keywords the first time.
Track your SEO performance easily through Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both tools can help you identify the nature of the organic traffic your site is receiving, and what keywords are performing best.
Google Analytics can also give insight into bounce rates, page loading speeds, and average lengths of sessions. All of these can tell you whether or not your optimization efforts are truly working, and what you need to do to change them.
You may have to do more keyword research once you’ve spent some time analyzing your optimization performance. Replace low-value terms with higher-value ones, and give weekly or monthly read-throughs of your content to ensure it’s operating at its peak.
We recommend generating timely SEO reports to keep your campaign performance on hand at all times.
Final Thoughts: Website Optimization Tips
When it comes to SEO advice, you can’t get better than these actionable tips for website optimization. Google-friendly optimization should always begin with a solid understanding of Google’s own rules.
It’s also essential to generate the right kind of content for high Google rankings. This content should be valuable to all visitors, free of errors, and easy to read and navigate.
High-performing sites on Google are also user-driven, meaning that they have optimized navigation for mobile and desktop users alike. Their content is optimized for thoroughly researched keywords and not “over-stuffed” with these terms.
Your website is your command center for earning a high Google ranking. Don’t overlook its potential by failing to optimize it in accordance with Google’s rules.
If you’re looking for a concrete plan for how you can personally implement these strategies in your business, book your free breakthrough strategy session today.