If you’ll allow me to get profound for a second, life is really just a series of rankings, isn’t it? At work, you get the promotion if your boss ranks you the highest. In leisure, you take on the very best middle-aged battler if you’re ranked first in your Sunday tennis league. And at home, you’ve got the barbecue duties if you’re the household’s highest ranked meat flipper.
Rankings are important. As humans in constant search of excellence, we’re drawn toward higher ranked things. And nowhere is this preference more stark than in the world of online search engines.
Here’s a fun fact. After typing “do a barrel roll“, having an immature giggle, then searching for whatever they actually came to Google for, over half of all people won’t even scroll down past the top three results. What’s more, 91 percent of people won’t click through to the next page of results.
For organizations without a good system of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they are horrifying numbers. If you’re a lawyer in London, and don’t show up on the first page of results when you type in “lawyer London”, only nine percent of your potential clientele even have a chance of finding you. And the further back you fall, the more insignificant that percentage becomes.
Never fear – there are ways and means of making yourself just that much more visible to search engines. By considering the points below, you could find your way into Google’s black and icy heart.
Picasso didn’t earn the reputation he enjoys today by copying other people’s work. He brought a creativity and originality to art that the painters of the realism movement just couldn’t compete with.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing love original content, and it’s your best weapon in the race to the top of the search engine rankings. Creating how-to articles, advice blogs or infographics for your audience that are useful and/or fun will enhance your reputation as a relevant and thought-leading site.
You want to ensure your content is littered with the sorts of keywords that your prospects will be typing into Google. For our example above, inserting “London lawyer” into a blog post will give Google something to grab onto when it’s trawling the net.
Keep Your Content Fresh
What search engines don’t appreciate is content that is old and unkempt. If you’re going to commit to run a blog on your site, you need to commit to updating it regularly and ensuring the advice and information delivered in previous blogs is updated when needed as well.
Search engines are very smart things, and can sniff an outdated and irrelevant post a mile off.
The Metadata Game
For those without a decent knowledge of HTML and website construction, this point may feel like a load of gobbledygook that isn’t relevant to their level of knowledge. Wrong. Wrapping your head around metadata is crucial for your search engine ranking. Even if you don’t do the work yourself, ensuring your web design team is taking care of things is a must.
In simple terms, metadata is information on your website that is hidden when you view the site on your browser, but is able to be picked up by search engines. Imagine it as invisible Instagram or Twitter #hashtags that can be applied to the title, description and keywords on your page.
If you are doing your own website upkeep, you need to ensure you are keying in quality metadata, and if you outsource your web design, you need to ensure your web team is on top of it. This can extend to alt tags, which are descriptions that can be applied to media (image/video/sound).
You want to litter relevant links to respected websites throughout your site, but in a natural way. Instead of having a “click here” link on the bottom of an article, try to mix in the URL more naturally, hiding it among relevant keywords. “Click here” isn’t considered at all valuable by a search engine (beyond the attached link), while “London Defense Lawyers”, as an example, is both rich in keywords and provides a link.
Search Engine Optimization is in a constant state of flux – people learn tricks to climb the rankings, Google works out these tricks, they fall back down.
But by using these basic tips, you’ve set yourself a solid SEO foundation, and you can be hopeful that, with a few tweaks, you’ll be hitting that front page consistently.
Search engines, like life, are all about rankings. Let’s get ourselves a podium finish.