Nothing matters more to your success on the web than getting found. A great site won’t help if it doesn’t come up when customers search for the solution you offer.
The good news? Simple changes can have a significant effect on your rankings.
Sites that have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification rank much higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) than those that don’t. Why? Because the SSL’s encryption protects the information users transmit to your site. SSL is essential for eCommerce sites, but lacking an SSL can affect your results if you’re collecting any user information, even something as innocuous as email addresses. In fact, you’ll rank lower even if you’re not collecting any information.
It’s easy to see if you have an SSL. Simply navigate to your website and look in the left end of the browser’s address bar. If it shows a padlock and/or the full website address begins with https instead of http, your SSL is in place. If not, contact your hosting company immediately.
Search engines tend to judge a book by its cover, so make sure your “cover” clearly describes what your page is about.
A page’s title tag (which you may see described as a meta title) is a string of code which tells browsers how to display your page’s name. It’s a great place to put important keywords, so that search engines and users will have a clear idea of what you’re all about.
The most important headline on a given page is the H1 headline, so called because web designers use an H1 HTML tag in their code to designate it. Again, both users and search engines will use this to evaluate the page, so make sure it’s a clear description of what the page is about, includes your most important keyword, and that there’s only one H1 tag on the page.
On an SERP, you’ll see a short paragraph of text under the title of each page. This paragraph is the metadata, sometimes referred to as a snippet. These descriptions are included in the page code and can be changed easily with a site’s page editor; if the code doesn’t include metadata, the search engine uses the first paragraph or so of text on the page.
Metadata tells the search engine more about your site, potentially increasing your ranking. It’s also free advertising space where you can display important facts about a product, service, or your company itself. A page with good metadata gives the prospect confidence that they will find what they’re looking for if they click through.
Alt tags are bits of code that describe what is depicted in a photo or graphic. Search engines can’t grasp a photo, but they can see your description of it (and keywords it includes) and use it in their ranking. Even better, alt tags are a big help to visitors with visual impairments, as their screen reading software will read the tag description out loud.
Search engine algorithms judge sites on their links: Internal links that lead elsewhere on your site, external links that point to other sites, and backlinks, which are links from other sites to yours. To make the most of this, do the following:
Search engines see sites that frequently provide new, useful content for visitors as the most valuable and rank them highly. You and your team are experts on your customer’s needs and the industry you serve. As a result, you have useful information and insights to share. A blog or other regular content posted on the site can boost customer confidence and also boost your rankings.
Not every company has experienced web designers and digital marketers in house or the time to create regular content. We follow the most up-to-date practices and achieve the metrics that matter. Get in touch with Cain & Company for thoughtful, strategic marketing that boosts your bottom line.
Theresa CarlsonMarketing Manager
685 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107