Better rankings for your website

Before I go into any detail on how to improve your website rankings in the search results of Google and Bing, I want to remind readers that it's simply not wise to rely on search engine traffic alone to gain business enquiries online. There are many other ways to get visitors to your website and your main goal should be to take advantage of all methods available to you. This includes offline as well as online techniques.

If you have just recently had a website built for your company or organisation then the first step is to make sure your website gets found and indexed. You can do this by submitting the website address and details to Google and other search engines of your choice. Most of them have a submission form where you can do this. Another way is to get a link to your website from another website, such as a business directory or a forum or blog. To find out if it is already listed you can use a search query. For example, if you type site:yourdomainname.com into the Google search box, (replacing yourdomainname.com with your own domain name) you should get a list of your website pages that Google has found and indexed. If your website domain does not show up then it still hasn't been indexed.

In some cases a website can get de-indexed if it has been penalised by Google for some reason. This can happen when Google discovers a website is using deceptive methods or poor, spammy content plus 'blackhat' SEO methods and excessive low quality link building in order to get found.

Quality link building is still a good way to boost a website's performance. If you have highly relevant inbound links from external websites that are well ranked then this can help your own website rank higher. But because Google doesn't just rank websites based on external links alone, there are various other factors involved which have an impact on how well your website gets ranked.

These are the methods I advise my clients to consider and implement where time and financial restraints are to be considered. Most of my clients are based in the UK.

1. Get your business and website link included in the top ranking online business directories such as Yell.com FreeIndex.co.uk, Cylex.co.uk. Scoot.co.uk, Yelp.co.uk etc. You can find a list of the best UK business directories by doing a Google search. In addition, find out if there is a good local business directory that is specific for the area your business operates in and get listed in that as well.

2. Another important step is to make sure that the pages on your website are properly optimised for the 'keyword(s)' you are wanting to get found for. If not, then the chances of Google listing it for those keywords will be minimal. A good web designer or SEO company will know how to do this using up to date techniques.

3. At one time the quantity of links pointing to a website used to be a big factor in getting good search results. But now it's more about the quality of inbound links that is important. Avoid getting links from poor quality sites that are poorly ranked or deliver poor content. Good quality content is an important factor for determining the value of a website, and this is often reflected in the search results. This applies to your own website as well.

4. Getting lots of traffic to your website is a sign of popularity. If you have Google Analytics implemented to assess the amount of visits you receive and the time spent on your website Google takes notice of this. Both aspects are of great significance in the eyes of Google. Taking advantage of social media websites such as facebook, twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram to generate traffic to your website can be very useful. Yes, it can be time consuming, but also quite rewarding if used properly.

5. Social media is a great way to generate interest and also more enquiries for your business. I always advise my clients who have a facebook page to politely ask their satisfied customers to recommend them on their customers facebook page along with a link to their website or their business facebook page. Every recommendation counts.

6. YouTube is also becoming a major factor in helping websites gain a better position in the Google search results. New videos that are correctly optimised often show up in the SERPS and YouTube.com is in fact considered to be the second biggest website in the World for doing online searches. This can be a little misleading however, as it's mainly videos that entertain or provide useful information that get the big viewing figures. But videos still have their place for companies who want to advertise or promote their services and products online. A video can also be shared and embedded on your own website, which not only can be helpful and informative, it will also keep a visitor on your website longer, and that is a plus factor for SEO.

7. Websites that are mobile friendly and have an SSL security certificate tend to fare better in the search results because they give the visitor a better experience. Wherever possible, try to make sure your website is a 'responsive' website that looks good on all devices and ask for your web designer or web host to install an SSL certificate on your website domain.

8. Once your website is established there are a couple of other ways to build up the site that will almost guarantee extra enquiries. First keep it regularly updated with fresh content. This is easily done with a blog or news page such as used on most WordPress based sites. Google likes to see good quality articles and 'posts' being added to websites on a regular basis. Secondly, adding new pages to your website provides similar results. Creating optimised landing pages with good content and a 'call to action' can build up to a more highly trafficked site. In my experience this has resulted in these type of websites outperforming smaller competing sites, especially when it comes to local business websites.

9. Though online traffic generation is extremely important to the success of a website, offline advertising should not be overlooked. Advertising in local publications, leaflet distribution, passing out business cards are all tried and tested techniques for getting extra business. Make sure that your website address always appears in your ads. Remember also to include it on emails, business stationery and even your company vehicle whenever possible. It all helps to get your business noticed.

Another popular way to get traffic, and what is undoubtedly one of the quickest ways to get to page one on Google, is to use paid advertising. Google's Pay Per Click advertising enables even the smallest of businesses to compete with other companies by choosing keywords that they want to appear for at the top of the page. To do this you need to sign up with the Google AdWords program.

With Google AdWords you get to choose the 'keywords' and keyword phrases you would like to target. You then bid on how much you would like to pay for each click your ad receives. Bear in mind that you still have to pay whether you get a confirmed enquiry or not. Every time your ad is clicked on you still have to pay the price. This type of advertising is called "pay-per-click" and it's one of the main methods that Google uses to make a lot of money. And I mean a LOT of money! As an advertiser, the higher you bid per click, the higher your ad is likely to appear on the search results page. You can also set a daily budget so that when your budget is used up for that day then no more of your ads will get shown until the next day they are set to be displayed.

Bing has a very similar advertising program but you need to be very familiar with the process of choosing and identifying the best keywords at a budget to suit you and not get carried away with spending too much. But once you are able to set up your Pay Per Click campaigns efficiently, and defining the target locations and devices used to view your ads, then you are likely to get a good return on your investment.

So, I'm sure I've given you plenty to think about here. If you find you are confused or uncertain about any of the information outlined in this article then you can get in touch by email. Or ask your web designer if they can explain how you can get your website to perform better.

For further information on this subject see the links below.

Keyword ranking insights

Do you need an SEO expert

How to get your website found on Google and Bing