While most business owners are aware of the importance of ranking on Google, few are fully aware of what it takes to succeed. Many business owners “hope” that things will begin to improve, but without proper action, these hopes will likely remain unrealized.
According to recent estimates reported by Forbes, between 71 and 92 percent of all Google search activity occurs on the first page. If your business is not ranking on the first page of Google, you’ll inevitably miss out on a huge chunk of the market. If you’re not landing on the first five pages, your chances of success will become even slimmer.
Fortunately, by making just a few fundamental changes, your business can significantly improve its overall performance on Google (and other search engines). In this article, we will discuss five reasons your business may currently be struggling to land on the front page. We will also discuss some of the ways you can potentially improve your website in order to get the best results.
When it comes to developing a website, page speed is incredibly important. While five seconds may not seem like a very long time, it is an eternity in terms of page speed. In fact, while websites that load in 2 seconds will lose 9.6 percent of all visitors, websites that take 7 seconds to load will lose an incredible 32.3 percent of all visitors.
Each additional second it takes for a website to load will cause about 5 percent of visitors to leave. This metric, known as the “bounce rate” will have a major impact on your site’s long-term success. However, the damage caused by slow page speed will extend even further. Google analyzes your site’s bounce rate and—if the bounce rate is well above that of comparable sites—may end up pushing your site off the first page.
Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to improve your current page speed. Simplifying images, videos, and other add-ons will make the page load quicker and decrease the ratio of visitors who leave. Furthermore, considering that 48.7 of web browsing is done via mobile devices, optimizing your site for these specific devices will also improve its overall performance.
Google strives to encourage content that is both relevant and easy to read. If the majority of content on your page is too difficult to digest, your web rankings will begin to decrease.
Even for businesses in highly technical industries, creating readable content is incredibly important. There are quite a few ways you can improve the overall “readability” of your content. In Google’s mind, the internet’s “average reader” reads at about an 8th grade reading level. By minimizing paragraph length, using proper grammar, and checking for readability scores, people will have a better experience with your content and it will rank higher on Google searches.
Whether or not your business has a physical location, you will need to provide a meta title and a meta description. These proponents of your web presence will be where Google first looks to determine what—exactly—your business does and determine how your business can effectively meet people’s needs.
A good meta description should be concise, specific, and easy to read. Instead of trying to “sell” your business, as if it were an advertisement, you should try to focus on describing your business as objectively as you can. You should also work to ensure that all titles and keywords in your content is compatible with what people are searching for. If it matches what people are often typing into Google, the content will be much more likely to reach the front page.
Google considers reviews to be incredibly important. Rather than taking every business’ own word for granted, Google prefers to hear from people who have interacted with the business in the past. If your business is able to secure a large number of quality (4+ star) reviews, it will immediately begin to improve its search engine ranking.
While your business can certainly benefit from a reputation management service, you’ll be even better off if you can cultivate reviews organically. Asking your clients to give you reviews—and giving them some sort of positive feedback for doing so—will improve both the quantity and quality of reviews you currently receive.
Backlinks help connect websites to either other websites or other pages within their own domain. If your site is a completely “dead” link without connections leading to or coming from the page, people will naturally be much less likely to ever stumble upon it.
While you should avoid going overboard with backlinks, incorporating multiple links into your content will help immediately improve its web visibility. As a good rule of thumb, incorporating one link for every 300 words of content will help make your site more credible and accessible. Just be sure to confirm that every link you incorporate is currently live and running.