Being found online is obviously the key to success. But standing out in a crowded market can seem hard—especially given the number of competitors with huge budgets to hire the biggest marketing or SEO agencies for ‘guaranteed’ results with internet marketing.

Thankfully, you can still improve search rankings without a top-notch SEO agency

That’s right. You don’t have to spend big to get results. First of all, there are plenty of smaller, cheaper and just as effective agencies out there who can help (*waves*). But there are also plenty of online resources available to help you understand and implement your own high quality digital marketing. Which means giving your website visibility is definitely easier (and cheaper) than you think.

Here are 5 tips to improving your website ranking in the search engine results:

1: Ensure all website URLs mean something to potential customers

Hopefully you’ve already picked a clear and concise domain name that says who you are (and maybe what you do). This is important, because it’s one of the first places Google looks for information on what your site is about.

While this helps with ranking, it isn’t enough on its own. As you create pages, you need to make sure they also have clear, concise and easily identifiable URLs that can be indexed accordingly. So no trying to be clever. No weird characters. No long lists of numbers. Keep it short and simple to help both Google AND your potential customers, who want to be able to navigate your website without getting confused.



2: Optimise your keywords using pay per click tools

Keywords are what people type into the search engine when they’re looking for information or a solution to a problem. If you want to appear in their search, you need to make sure each of your pages is written around that keyword (or keyword phrase).

You should have a keyword for your homepage that describes your overall offering (eg. Bookstore) as well as keywords relevant to every other page. Cleaning up those URLs in #1 will certainly help you narrow down the primary words to use on particular pages (eg. ‘Horror Books’), after which you can think about which secondary keywords might also be relevant (eg. ‘Fantasy-Horror’, ‘Thrillers’, ‘Stephen King’, etc).

If you need help second-guessing what words people might be searching for, we suggest that even if you don’t have the budget for pay per click (PPC) advertising, you should still take advantage of their tools. Google Ads has an excellent keyword planner than can provide ideas for keywords that might be worth trying, by showing you how popular they are and how strong the competition is for them. Give this a go to find some really strong keywords to populate your website with.

3: Make your page titles and meta descriptions matter (in the search engine results)

Each page of your website needs a page title and a meta description. We’re still seeing website without them, so make sure you’re not one of them!

Titles and metas are incredibly important because they place your keywords front and centre in the search results—not only telling Google what your page is about (to allow it to be properly indexed), but also indicating to readers that you have the most relevant results to their search.

Page titles need to be short, at around 50-60 characters in length, to appear properly in search. This means being mean and lean with your primary and secondary keywords/phrases. Pick the one or two most relevant to that page to keep it simple for both Google’s bots and your potential customers. (Feel free to use this tool by Moz to see how it will look:

Meta descriptions have a little more room to breathe, at around 50 – 300 characters. But again don’t try to stuff too much in there. Focus on convincing the reader that this page has the information they searched for, based on the one or two keywords that you’ve written it around.

4: Get those headlines working harder for you

You’ve got your URLs cleaned up. All your pages have proper page titles and meta descriptions. You’re all set to hit the first page on Google, right?

Well, not quite. Because the text (or copy) on the main page still needs to be seen as relevant to what you’ve said the page is about. Getting a good writer who can craft the copy naturally using all the relevant keywords would be ideal. Otherwise just make sure you use a hierarchy of headlines that include your keywords, which is good SEO practice and can make the page easier to read too (for both people and Google’s bots). At the end of your tweaks, each page should have a main header (coded as H1) describing the overall subject matter and then a few sub-heads (H2, H3, H4) breaking up the rest of the information into bite-sized chunks.

5: Create high quality content ripe for social media marketing

Search engines have long been said to love fresh content. Which is why blogs have traditionally been seen as good for SEO, because they supply your website with new information on a regular basis. However, while you might once have got away with churning out keyword-stuffed, soulless rubbish every month—playing the numbers game to find the biggest audience you can—it’s essential to now focus on creating high quality content that resonates with people.

What do we mean? Well, the best content is authentic and insightful, offering knowledge only you can provide. It presents it in such a way that it can’t help but engage people. And it will be easily shareable on those social media platforms it’s most likely to find your audience (rather than being spammed across the internet).

So use your internal expertise, along with a range of professional writers, designers and other content creators, and come up with content that’s ripe for sharing—from articles to infographics to videos. Do your homework on where your audience hangs out and what content types might resonate with them. Then fire away! Because if you can reach your audience, and help solve their immediate problem or query in a memorable way, you will instantly create a bond of trust that is likely to bring them back to you when they’re ready to buy.

Is your website in need of an SEO boost? Could it do with some high quality content delivered on a regular basis?