The more traffic your website receives, the easier it will be to generate quality sales leads. If online lead generation is one of your main priorities, then you need to realize the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). Knowing what powerful search engines are looking for when crawling a new website can help you optimize your domain. 

When performing a Google search, over 25 percent of consumers will click the first link on the search engine results page. This is why finding ways to get your website to the top of Google should be one of your top goals. If you want to rank higher on Google, consider the great tips in this article. 

1. Make A Switch to HTTPS

Since 2014, Google has used HTTPS as a ranking signal. When HTTPS is featured at the front of your domain address, it lets both Google and consumers know that it is secure. Modern HTTPS features encryption and the ability to prevent data breaches. If you accept sensitive financial information on your website, then you can’t ignore the importance of keeping it secure. 

2. Description Meta Tags Are a Must

Providing search engines with concise information about page content is a great way to improve your rank. Optimizing your meta tag is the best way to provide this useful information. A descriptive meta description will sometimes be used by Google as a snippet when it shows up on the search engine results page. These snippets also intrigue search engine users and can motivate them to click the link to your website. 

3. Don’t Forget To Optimize Your Images

The bulk of a webpages visual space is taken up by digital images. If the image file sizes on a particular page are large, it will take longer to load them. The longer a website takes to load, the lower it will ultimately rank on Google. This is why optimizing the images on your website to make the file sizes smaller is crucial. Luckily, many software programs on the market are designed to make image optimization easy. 

4. Don’t Display Links or Important Names in Your Images

Conveying information about content, links or names should be done via text. Trying to embed this information in your image alt text can be disastrous. Ideally, you want search engines to crawl the text on your website when attempting to rank higher. If you want to use ALT attributes, keep the content in them short and descriptive. The ALT text should only be used to describe the actual meaning of the image. 

5. Implement Synonyms in Your Content

Most tech-savvy business owners are well aware of the importance of using popular keywords in website content. However, trying to target very popular keywords can be a futile effort. This is why you need to use synonyms for popular keywords in your content. The Google algorithm is smart enough to return results featuring synonyms of the words used by a user. 

6. Include Structured Data Markup

In short, structured data markup is specialized code used for the purpose of helping Google understand page content. With the implementation of structured data markup, you can improve your page display and position on Google search page results. Google uses this data to provide a complex and rich result display, which is why it is vital to include it in your website code. 

7. You Can’t Underestimate the Importance of Mobile Optimization

More consumers than ever before are accessing the Internet from their smartphones. Since the implementation of Google’s mobile-first indexing, many website owners have had to change their approach to web design. 

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, it will be impossible to get on the first page of Google. Instead of allowing this lack of mobile optimization to get in the way of success, you need to work with an experienced web developer to make your domain responsive. 

8. Invest in Custom 404 Pages

The average website will experience various changes over the years. When users come across a page on your website that no longer exists, you want to provide them with information about why they can’t access this information. Customized 404 pages are a great way to provide this information. With the implementation of these custom 404 pages, you can improve the user’s experience. The better the user experience your website provides, the higher it will inevitably rank on Google. 

9. Take Time To Check Your Internal Links

A sound internal/external linking strategy is imperative when trying to improve search engine rank. Some business owners make the mistake of embedding internal links and never checking them again. If these internal links are to pages that no longer exist, it can affect your search engine rank. This is why routinely checking and changing internal links in your content is something you should view as a priority. 

10. Find the Right Mix of Keyword Phrases

One of the main things Google recommends to new website owners is implementing a variety of powerful and useful keywords into their content. Consider your target demographic when choosing the keywords to use in your content. Using broader keywords to attract new customers and more industry-specific ones to attract informed consumers is a wise move. 

11. Write Content For Google’s Featured Snippet

If a search engine user asks a specific question, they will usually be presented with a featured snippet at the top of their results. This snippet is designed to provide users with detailed information about their queries. 

If you want to land in this highly-coveted spot, then you have to create FAQ content for your website. This type of content is designed to address the most common questions about a particular industry, which is why it provides so much value to consumers.

12. Quality Content is Crucial

Having high-quality content on your website can help you increase website traffic and improve your conversion rates. Quality content will also help you get more backlinks from other webmasters. The more backlinks your website has, the higher it will inevitably rank on Google. This is why you need to focus on content quality over content quantity. 

13. Create a Google My Business Listing

If you want to attract attention from Google and consumers in your local area, then creating a Google My Business profile is a no-brainer. Creating this listing is free and provides potential customers with important information about your business. This listing will be prominently featured in relevant search results, which is why creating one for your business is important. 

14. Think About Using Accelerated Mobile Pages

Studies conducted by the team at Google have found that over 53 percent of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes over three seconds to load. To avoid loading issues, you need to use accelerated mobile pages (AMP). With AMP, you are able to create mobile pages that load instantly. The faster your webpages load for mobile users, the easier it will be to keep them engaged and interested in your brand. 

15. Provide Googlebots Access To Your Code Data

Making it easier for Googlebots to crawl your website can help to improve your rank. One of the best ways to simplify the website crawling process for Googlebots is by providing them with access to your code data. Having access to this code data will also help Google to better understand your content. 

16. Search-Friendly URLs are Vital

Great title tags and snippets are very important. If you really want to make your website stand out, then you need to use search-friendly URLs. Descriptive and concise URLs will provide both consumers and webmasters with insight into what the content on the page is about. These SEO-friendly URLs will encourage other websites to link to your website, which can improve your Google rank. 

17. Test Page Speed Frequently

Nothing will send you plummeting down the Google ranks like slow-loading pages. This is why you need to take time to test page loading speeds frequently. If problems are discovered during these tests, you have to address them in a hurry. 

18. Guest Posting Can Be Beneficial

As previously mentioned, a higher number of backlinks can help you get on the first page of Google search engine results. An effective way to generate more backlinks is by guest posting on other websites. Embedding links from this content to your website will get you on Google’s radar and will also help to drive more traffic to your domain. 

19. Improve Your Bounce Rate

The number of website visitors who navigate away from your domain after viewing one page is your bounce rate. Websites that have a high bounce rate percentage usually perform poorly on Google. Fixing issues involving content quality and page load speeds can help you improve your bounce rate. 

20. Match Your Website Content To Search Intent

Knowing who your target demographic is and what type of content they respond to can be beneficial for several reasons. With this information, you can create content that consumers find useful. Matching website content to search intent also helps to boost engagement, which can help you improve your Google rank. 

Do you need help implementing the tips in this article? If so, Small Business SEO is here to assist you.