There’s a lot in PR that we can’t really control. We can’t force journalists to write positively about our brands. We can’t make a post go viral. That’s one of the frustrating things about the job. But when it comes to our website search rankings, there is a lot that we can control. If you want to improve your results for your site as a whole, or particular pages, consider these five tips.
#1 – Write for People, Not Search Engines
This may seem counter intuitive if your goal is to rank better in search, but Google and other engines are getting considerably better at understanding what content is about, not just which words are used. Yes, you should practice good optimization (more on that later), but that should not be your main goal. Your first job is to create content that a reader will find useful in some way. Everything else will flow naturally from that.
#2 – Develop Content with Focus and Depth
Each page should have one main theme and should give the reader a substantial amount of information about that single subject. Sure, sometimes you need a page that is a list of features, but pages that are more single-minded will rank better, especially for longer tail searches.
#3 – Give Your Pages Support
Internal links are one of the few methods you can use to tell Google (and visitors) that a particular page of content is important. If you have a page that is about what to do if you spill water on your laptop, for example, every page on your site that mentions such a mishap, should link to your key site page. You might consider writing a blog post or two that links to your page in order to support it and increase its authority.
#4 – Choose the Right Keywords
I think these are the two worst case scenarios in search. #1 - You have a page perfectly optimized for a search word or phrase that you will never be able to do well on because someone (or many someones) far bigger, and with more domain authority owns the term. “Amazon” springs to mind. #2 – You rank #1 for a term with no search volume. In both cases, you’ve wasted your time. If you want your content to rank well, consider both “win-ability” and volume to find your sweet spot.
#5 – Practice Good Technical SEO
We didn’t start off with the technical SEO stuff because we think it can take up too much space in the conversation about search ratings. But it is important. So make sure that you:
- Include keywords in your header tags, meta description and page title
- Use alt tags and image names that are relevant to the search terms
- Make sure your pages are included in your sitemap
- Keep your meta description to 155 characters or fewer
- Keep your title tag under 60 characters
Organic search is a critical part of any modern marketing strategy. There’s a lot you can do to make sure you are getting found as often as possible. If you write useful, high quality content and take just a few steps to make it easy for Google to understand and rank it, you won’t go wrong.
About the Author
Integrated Communications & Digital Marketing StrategistFollow on Twitter More Content by David Moore