• Hannah McCreery

10 practical tips to boost your Google rankings

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

You’ve got your website together, you’re reasonably happy with it, it looks good, includes all the necessary information…but traffic is slow.

And the crickets only seem to be getting louder as your competition continues to snap up your customers.

Getting found on Google is by no means your only option to get noticed, but it can be a vital one.

This is where SEO (or search engine optimisation) comes in - AKA how easy you are to find on Google.

10 practical tips to boost your Google rankings

You probably already know your SEO is something you need to get sorted, but it’s hard to get your head around. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. SEO can be a minefield. But luckily, there are some basic things you can do right now that will make a big difference.

Write quality content

This is by far the most important way to give your website the best possible chance of ranking well on Google.

Google is smart. It works for the searcher, and it can tell when content is well-written, engaging and informative. Make sure your content:

  • Flows well, is grammatically correct and free from errors.

  • Covers the information that each page title and heading promises.

  • Is broken down into headings, subheadings and short paragraphs to make it easy to read and quickly scan through.

  • Includes keywords and phrases naturally (see below for more on keywords).

Include keywords naturally

Keywords and phrases are those exact words your customers type into Google when they’re searching for your product or service. So, for me – it might be ‘copywriting service in Hamilton’ or ‘how do I find a professional writer in Hamilton?’

Do some research to find out what your top keywords are. Here’s a handy list of 10 free keyword research tools, put together by marketer, Neil Patel.

Otherwise, don’t be afraid to ask your customers.

People often search in a particular town or city (eg copywriter Hamilton)

A handy tip to remember is that when people search for a service, they’ll often search in a particular town or city (eg copywriter Hamilton), rather than a region (eg copywriter Waikato). Keep that in mind when adding keywords.

Be careful not to overdo it though. Google can tell if you're stuffing keywords in for the sake of it and will penalise you for it. There’s no point adding all the keywords in the world if your content is turning people away because it’s not interesting or engaging. Write for your reader first and foremost, then incorporate keywords and phrases when you do so naturally.

Keep it fresh

Google loves it when you add new and fresh content to your website regularly, that’s well-written and helpful to your visitors.

Unless you feel like re-writing your entire website every few weeks, blogging is a great way to keep things fresh. Of course, blogging has a whole heap of other benefits (and you can read more about that in my guest blog).

More ways you can add regular content to your site:

  • Add or refresh customer testimonials.

  • Update FAQs page with relevant customer questions.

  • Allow readers to comment on blogs or other appropriate content.

  • Add guest blogs or interviews (also has added benefits of wider exposure as they'll often share the content through their channels).

  • Add news updates (eg promote a relevant upcoming event, introduce a new staff member or product, celebrate a milestone, report on industry news).

  • Think about whether a video could work (eg give a short tutorial, how-to tips, demo a product, or simply build your brand by showing your face and introducing yourself).

  • Add team member profiles or freshen them up now and then with new content.

Other ways to improve Google rankings

  • Link to other reputable websites with relevant content. An easy one for New Zealand businesses is to register with business directories. Yellow pages is a good one and they have a free option.

  • Have other websites link to you. Adding links in your social media platforms is an easy way to do this, or you could offer to guest blog for another reputable and relevant company.

  • Make sure your meta tags (the text that appears under your business name in Google) summarises your business well and includes keywords.

  • Make sure your website is optimised for mobile – there’s nothing worse than searching a company and having to zoom in and out to read the text. Often customers will give up and move on to the next option.

  • Use keywords in the alt attributions of your images, if you can do so naturally (whatever text you use here should describe the image).

  • Add your business to Google My Business. Once you’re on there, you can start getting Google reviews which will boost your rankings even further.

  • Site speed is important so make sure you don’t have anything that’s slowing you down (eg large images or unnecessary plug-ins).

Remember, quality content is the number one ingredient to success on Google. At the end of the day, you’re writing to humans so keep that in mind with everything you do when it comes to your website copy.

SEO is a long game and does require effort, but if you’re willing to invest the time, you’ll be in a good position to do well.

Hamilton-based writer, Hannah McCreery
Hannah McCreery (copywriter)

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