Oct 2, 2019

SEO: 5 ways to improve your SERP ranking and beat your competitors

written by Abby Avery
seo-improve-google-ranking-digital-marketing
5 ways to improve your SERP ranking and beat your competitors

There are several reasons why your competitors may be performing better in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and this article will look at ways to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and climb higher up the results. 

To provide a clear example, if a business owner went onto Google and typed in ‘Digital Marketing Agency’, they would be provided with pages of results. Now we all know how important it is to appear on the first page (because who really clicks onto page 2 of Google search results?) but to appear in the top 3 results is where you want to be, and ultimately, the first result. The first digital marketing agency in the search results is the one that will most likely be clicked on; and this is the same for any company a customer is searching for. If your competitors are at the top of the page, then they’ll be taking the business. If this is the case, you need to carefully look at what they’re doing differently and try to analyse and dissect their SEO strategy.

In this article, we look at 5 reasons why your competitors may be performing better in the SERPs and how you can catch up.

 

1. Ensure there are no technical SEO issues with your website

If you have technical issues on your website, then this could be negatively impacting your website’s performance without you even knowing it. Technical problems make your website appear less trustworthy and therefore search engines will not prioritise your website in their results. 

The problem is, a lot of these issues aren’t instantly obvious, and if you’re not running regular health checks on your website then they can be hard to find and even go unnoticed. A lot of issues are caused when your site is updated or altered. Simply redirecting or removing a URL on your site can cause problems if proper protocol is not followed.

If several people within your company have access to the back-end of your website, try to keep the number of people authorised to update and edit your site to minimum and track any changes. We also recommend crawling and reviewing your site every 3-6 months (depending how often it’s updated) to try and ensure the website is technically perfect as much as possible. Some common technical errors to look out for often include:

  • Incorrect redirects
  • URL conflicts
  • Broken links
  • Incorrect image sizes
  • Multiple H1 tags

SEO is hugely important for the success and performance of your website and is best handled by experts who can run things behind the scenes and ensure everything is in working order. For help improving your website SEO, give us a call or drop us a message and we’ll be happy to help.

 

2. Ensure your website has quality backlinks

You’ve likely heard of backlinks before. They’ve been an important part of SEO for many years, and are still an integral aspect of Google’s ranking algorithms. However, several ‘blackhat’ SEO tactics to try and trick Google’s algorithms and cheat their way to better ranking has meant that Google has had to change things up a little bit. Like keywords, it used to be important to have as many backlinks as possible on your website, but now the focus is on quality backlinks rather than quantity. 

With this in mind, if you’re analysing your competitors’ websites and are struggling to find what they’re doing differently to outrank you in the SERPs then this may be the reason. Focus on building high quality, natural, non-spam-like links to your website and you should start to see the organic benefits. An idea to get you started could be to contact the press or respond to #journorequest posts on Twitter. Even a short response to some research or questions a media outlet may have could score you a trustworthy link to your site – and a bit of PR too!

Don’t forget that backlinks do require a bit of up-keep. Be sure to regularly review all URLs in case any have been removed or changed and are now returning 404/410 codes. If this happens then the value of them have been completely lost and they should be correctly redirected to a similar alternative to gain the equity back into your site.

 

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3. Make sure your on-page targeting and keywords are clear

Whilst a lot of SEO lies underneath the surface of your website, it’s also important to take a step back and look at each page of your website from a customer perspective and ask yourself, “is it clear what this page is about?”. If there is any doubt in your answer at all, then the chances are that when a customer is searching for your content, Google may not be fully understanding your page either and your site will not be in the results. 

You must do your keyword and search term research and ensure that you are targeting the most viable option. If a competitor is performing better in the SERPs for the same keyword, then review their targeting and see if you can find any obvious differences. Strengthen your page by focusing on one main keyword in these areas:

Title,

H1,

Inbound anchor text,

Image alt tag,

Page content.

Secondary keywords and variations of your primary keyword can then be introduced once the purpose of your page and its targeting has been made clear.

 

4. Make sure your website content is SEO-optimised

Moving further onto the customer-facing side of your website, and building upon our last point, you need to be sure that all of the on-page content on your website has been SEO optimised. Whilst you want your content to be telling your story or describing your USPs and emulating your brand’s tone of voice, you also need to ensure that your content is clearly telling Google what your page is about. Your content should help potential customers to find your web page. 

Google wants its search results to add value to the user, so it’s important to know exactly who your customer is, and what information they want to know. Provide the answers and the valuable content on your website and Google will pick up on this.

Look at the websites in the top 3 positions in the SERPs and see what content they are providing. This is what Google thinks the users will find most valuable.

 

5. Make sure your business has an active blog

To avoid filing every one of your web pages with countless paragraphs of valuable information, a blog is an excellent solution. A blog provides you with the space to increase your targeting using keywords and longtail search terms. If you research what it is that your customers want to know, you can provide all the answers here. It’s also a great way to add internal links to product or service pages, highlight key areas of your business, increase brand awareness and authority and provide content for your social media channels too. Regularly updating your site with new information is another way to show that your website is active and relevant.

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How’s your business ranking? Do you need help implementing an effective SEO strategy for your business? We’d be happy to help.