What is SEO, and how can you rank higher on Google?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a guideline to encourage search engines to consider ranking your website higher in searches. Google crawls your site periodically to see if you are following any of these guidelines, compares this to other websites that fit the same search criteria, and then ranks them accordingly.

Following these guidelines does not mean that you’re going to rank number one or that you’ll immediately see an increase in traffic to your site. There are no guarantees with SEO. As a website owner, if you are approached by anyone or any organization with any SEO guarantee, just run the other way. SEO doesn’t work like that.

However, if you improve at a few of the items we outline below, it can help your SEO and will improve your chances of ranking higher. Following these key items, your website will fit those guidelines a little better and you should see an improvement.

So what are the Google guidelines? To be frank, it’s hard to nail down a specific list. The guidelines are constantly changing. Google changes the search engine algorithm probably about 500 to 600 times a year. It’s almost impossible to keep up with every single detail.

That being said, we want to focus on five key areas that you can look at to give your website a much better chance of ranking higher with Google.

 

Key Item 1 - Write Evergreen Long-Form Content to Engage Your Audience

Number one on our list is evergreen long-form content written for your user. 

Here we are talking about content that is relevant to your user, and is at least a thousand words in length. This content generally solves a common problem for your user. If your website is a business or service website, the content should address a pain point or give the user an insight into something that they’re struggling with. 

No matter the type of website, this content is written for your ideal user/reader. Of course, to do this, you should have an idea of who your target audience is and what they’re looking for.

This long-form content should also be evergreen. It shouldn’t need to change often. This content should be visually appealing and broken up into bite-sized chunks so it is easy to read on both desktop and mobile. 

With this content, you are showing Google your site is a quality site and that your content is quality content. 

Key Item 2 - Update With Regular Fresh Content

This is different from long-form evergreen content. This content can be limited to images, less text-heavy content, event announcements, or product posts if you are running an e-commerce site. This content is meant to keep your site fresh and let Google know that your site is an active environment. 

With long-form content, you’re building quality. Here we are focusing on quantity, showing activity. 


Google can see the regular content and knows your website isn’t old or stagnant, that it is a live, fresh environment that your users are enjoying.

Some experts will suggest using a social media feed on your website to accomplish this. We don’t currently look at this as an alternative. These social feed plugins tend to break often, which leads to broken links and could lead to Google downranking your site.

An argument can also be made that such content isn’t living on your site but being embedded from another site. So Google could be looking at that as a backlink to that social media platform. That backlink could therefore be helping those platforms more than they are helping yours. We recommend sharing articles from your site on social media rather than the other way around. 

 

Key Item 3 - Utilize Google Search Console as a secret weapon

Next, you want to make sure to utilize the Google Search Console. 

Google has a ton of free tools that you can use to improve your website. Most people have heard of Google Analytics, but a tool many website owners don’t know about or use near enough is Google Search Console.
 

Google Analytics is your connection to information about your website and your visitors. 

Which is great. 
 

But Google Search Console is your connection to Google itself. 

It gives you information, not just on how you show up in searches, but it also has tools that can help you improve your SEO and notify Google when to crawl your site and what links on your site are important. It’s a virtual connection to Google that is a must-have for any website owner.

Google Analytics gives you information on your users and how they interact with your site.

Google Search Console gives you information on how your website shows up in searches and gives you some control over what links users will see in search results.

Key Item 4 - Use Keywords in Your Content to Supercharge Your SEO

The fourth item we want to look at is keywords. 

 

With most content management systems, and in our case, we use WordPress with an SEO plugin, you are given a chance to add a keyword or key phrase when building the page. 

 

When you are doing this, you want to make sure that the keyword is also in the headline/title of your page. 

 

Ideally, the keyword should also appear in your body copy and page description. Having that keyword show up in all of those places lets Google see your keyword is part of your content.

 

If you are using an SEO plugin for WordPress, you’ll also find that they will give you tips and hints to improve those keywords and where you should add them.

Key Item 5 - Fix Those Broken Links

So far, we’ve talked about things you want on your site. Here we want to talk about something we don’t want. Google does not like a broken link. So making sure to fix broken links on your website will help your website stay active and high on Google’s quality list. Another benefit of being connected to Google Search Console is that it will alert you and let you know if you have broken links.

And that is our look at SEO and how to rank higher on Google.




Hillhouse Creative can help you design your business website. Contact us today!

Give us a call at 423-239-5431.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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