Google has recently removed all PPC ads from the right-hand side of the search engine results page. The full results page now absorbs the ads at the top of search rankings. Although the change has made paid ads more visible, competition for these spots has increased as only four ads are shown at the top of the page.
You should aim for the top three organic ad spots to avoid a drop off in click-through rate. In order to earn to top ranking organic spots it is essential that you optimise your SEO strategy. To help you do that, we’ve put together some top tips on improving your search ranking…
Build an XML Sitemap
Building a sitemap is a useful way of alerting search engines to any new or updated content on your site. The map is a file that contains a list of web pages on your site; search engines read this file to learn about the content that your site contains.
By including valuable metadata in your map, such as information about images on your site, you can provide search engines with important information such as how often the page is updated and the importance of the page in relation to other pages on the site.
Although sitemaps don’t directly affect search rankings, they do provide you with a way to let search engines know about pages on your site that have not yet been indexed.
You can generate a sitemap for your website using any free online tool; simply search ‘SEO sitemap generator’ or click here.
Review your page headings
Heading tags are an important component of SEO. They give a clear idea of the content on the page and help sort the content on your site in terms of relevance. Headings also make pages easier to read and help readers digest the content. This will provide a better user experience for your users which could positively affect your search ranking.
H1 and H2 tags have an important role in the organisation of information on your website. H1 tags should include a brief description of the page content, as well as including one or two keywords. Don’t use more than one H1 tag per page and be sure not to duplicate heading tags. It is good practice to use unique headings throughout your site.
Optimise your meta tags
Meta tags are snippets of text that summarise your site’s content. They’re not visible on the page, but they should be built into the code of your site. The two most important meta tags are the description and keyword tags.
A well written description tag should explain what the site is about as well as enticing the reader to visit it, therefore, it can also affect your click through rate. Incorporate one or two relevant keywords into your description tag and remember that the recommended length for the description meta tag is 150 – 200 characters. It should read like a sentence, not a list.
Ensure your domain name is keyword rich
The domain name you choose for your site can affect how you rank in search engines. Ensure that your domain name includes relevant keywords so that your site ranks highly in search.
Keyword rich domain names are also great for branding as they are easier for users to spell and remember.
Add alt tags for your images
Add alt tags to all of your images to strengthen the message for search engine crawlers and improve the accessibility of your website. A descriptive alt tag can add relevant text to your source code which makes it easier for search engines to index your site.
The alt text describes the image and its function on the page. If for some reason your image can’t be displayed or the user can’t see the image, the user can read the descriptive text instead and understand the purpose of the image. Try to include your focus keyword into the alt text for at least one high quality image on the page in order to improve your search ranking.
Follow these tips to improve your SEO and compete for the top ranking organic ad spots on the search engine results page. We’ll be sharing more advanced SEO tips soon, so keep a look out for them!