There's no magic way to guarantee your website will rank on the first page of Google due to the complex algorithms it's governed by. There are however plenty of simple things you can do to increase your site's chances of ranking well.
1. Find the right SEO keywords that will work for you
SEO is pretty much based on keywords. The key to a good SEO strategy is to find out what words users type into Google when they look for websites like yours.
The trick is to choose keywords that are popular among users (have a relatively high number of average monthly searches) but have medium or low competition (not many websites try to optimise for those keywords). You can also find out what keywords your competitors use by entering their URL on Google Keywords Planner which can help in formulating your own.
2. Focus your keywords
It is good to optimise a web page with one keyword phrase rather than several ones at a time. By focusing on one keyword phrase, you’ll be sure that it gains all the SEO power it can get. Optimise title and meta tags of a website along with its content (headline, subheadings, body text, links and images).
3. Use readable and meaningful URLs only
If users can’t read or understand your page URL, then Google may be confused as well. A page URL shouldn’t be too long and should be descriptive and relevant to the content on the page.
Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) as Google reads underscores as one single word, this means that ‘/seo_tips_for_your_website’ will be treated by search crawlers as ’/seotipsforyourwebsite’ which you’ll agree is hard to read.
4. Remove anything that slows down your site
Site speed is one of the all important ranking factors, which means if your page is slow to load, you’re fighting a losing battle for organic ranking, regardless of the quality of your content or how well designed your site is, so get rid of any non-essentials that bog down your website.
These may include music players, large images, flash graphics and unnecessary plugins.
You can check your site’s speed on Google PageSpeed Insights.
5. Make the most or your images
Images are important in search engine optimisation. Google has an entire section of its search results dedicated to images.
Users use keywords to search for images, so therefore you should use keywords in your alt tag descriptions and filenames where appropriate so Google can understand what the image is of.
6. Link building
Have other websites link to you
Inbound links to your site are the second most important SEO factor (right after content) for impact on your website’s ranking.
Only links from quality and trusted websites that attract a high amount of traffic can have a serious and good impact on your website’s ranking. If an authoritative website links to yours, some of this “authority” is transferred to your site.
Search engines start to trust your site a bit more. And when they consider it as a good source of knowledge, they are also more willing to rank it higher in their SERPs.
Remember: quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to links, content, and SEO in general. Lots of spammy links will only harm your ranking, not improve it.
Link to other websites with relevant content
If you link to other websites, you not only help to promote their content, but also you let others know that you exist. Simple as that. And if you provide quality content, people whose work you’ve shared will be more willing to promote your website as well.
Quality link building is more about creating relationships, not exchanging links.
7. Create & publish unique content consistently to improve your ranking
One of the most important SEO factors nowadays is a website’s content. If you provide useful and actionable information for users, Google will rank your website higher in SERPs. To get the best optimisation results, you should also update your content as often as it is possible. Blog posts are the easiest way to ensure that your website has new content on a regular basis. This way you’ll keep your website fresh and your audience interested.
8. Write like a human
Write for humans first, search engines second. People need to be engaged by the content you create, so try not to sound like a robot wrote it. Write in your own voice and don’t be afraid to introduce some humour where appropriate.
9. Write unique and relevant meta descriptions for every page
The meta description is the first section that people see when Google serves up your page to search users, so it’s important to put some thought into crafting unique descriptions for each page of your site as Google doesn’t like duplicate content.
10. Give your site structure with the correct heading tags and text formatting
Don’t just publish pieces of text on your website without doing some basic formatting first, as it’s not good for the user experience and works against you in SEO ranking.
General guidelines for formatting a post or page on your website:
- Use H1 tags for the title of your post (there should only be one H1 tag per page)
- Use H2 tags for the main headings of your post.
- Use BOLD and Italics to draw users attention
- Don’t use H2 tags for all your headings
- Write small paragraphs
- Use a font size that is easy to read
11. Mobile-friendly websites
It is believed that around 65% of all google searches are mobile, so with that in mind it makes sense that Google has shifted its focus to mobile-friendly website optimisation in its (SERP) ranking. Put simply it’s suicidal in terms of SEO to not have a mobile-friendly website for your business.
12. Make sure your website is indexed by Google
This can be done by submitting your XML sitemap to Google via Google Console which contains a list of all your website’s pages you want Google to know about so that they can tell their web robots to crawl your website.