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What is organic reach and why it so important to the success of your website? In a nutshell, as incredible as your branding may be or as innovative as your product or service no doubt is, if you're not ranking on the first page of Google's search engine results page (SERPS) for relevant search queries, people may never know that your business exists.
In fact, the number one position on a Google search enjoys a whopping 33% of the traffic - so boosting the ranking of your website and related pages is essential.
Paid ads or PPC will help to increase the search ranking of your web page but you can’t rely on this method for continued commercial success, here are our top ten tips for improving your organic traffic and page ranking.
Check your current search ranking
Before you boost your website's search ranking, it's important to know where you currently stand in Google's search results.
By understanding this information, you'll be able to see where you need to improve and provide yourself with a solid base from which to work. To do so, you can use tools like SERPs.com to check where a site page ranks for a certain keyword or term...
Once you’ve entered this information, you’ll be able to view your page’s search ranking on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, as well as view your site’s loading speed. By storing this information, you’ll be able to understand which efforts to make to improve your site’s overall organic search ranking.
Define a keyword list
Now that you understand where your pages rank for certain key terms, you’ll be able to refine and define a keyword list that you can base your website’s content around - in short, you’ll be able to pick the most relevant keywords for your site to bring in related traffic that increases your page ranking.
If you target the right keywords for each page of your website based on what you're trying to sell, the message you're trying to communicate and where you expect to meet the customer on their buying journey, you'll see a vast improvement in your organic search rankings.
To define the most successful list possible, you should use a targeted mix of both broad, exact and long tail keywords that are specific to what you're selling and how your users search. You should also ask yourself the following questions…
- What keywords will drive conversions?
- What central topics can my keywords be grouped into?
- What keywords could I generate content on that will result in rankings and traffic?
To go about analysing and selecting your keywords, you should use the following tools…
Optimise pages for personas first, search engines second
Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them. – Doug Kessler
By using buyer personas, a website is two - five times more effective and easier to use by targeted users.
Today's consumer is savvier, and empowered than ever before, so to engage with their needs and in turn, build your organic search authority, you'll need to produce high-quality content that is educational, insightful, and personal.
By using a buyer persona and creating your content with a human being in mind, rather than a search engine, you'll stand a far greater chance of your content being consumed and shared, creating backlinks which will increase your search rankings. When you’re improving the copy and content on your site page, always consider if it’s digestible, conversational, and suitable for a human audience - if it’s no good for you, it’ll be no good for others, and it will not rank well.
Not sure how to create a buyer persona? Find out here in our ultimate digital strategy guide.
Quality copy always wins
Decide the effect you want to produce in your reader. - Robert Collier
Following on from our last point: good copy appeals to humans and as a result, will help you rank better in search engines.
Of course, to work for search engines, you need quality copy with strong anchor text and clearly defined headlines. Since Google's Panda algorithm update back in 2011 (where many websites suffered a severe dip in search authority) marketers must focus on creating the best user experience possible to rank well. Good copywriting that incorporates keywords both sparsely and naturally is the key to boosting your organic rankings - allowing you to humanize your brand while creating a better customer experience.
Want to brush up on your copywriting skills? Check out our guide.
Create cornerstone pages
The chances are high that your website has multiple pages loosely based around the same subject or keyword.
When you create one cornerstone page consisting of relevant content from your website’s other pages you'll create a rich, informative and authoritative master resource for search engine bots to crawl.
Innovative cornerstone content is also a great way of building brand awareness and raising your search profile.
For example, HubSpot created a free eBook titled 'How To Turn Facebook Fans Into Paying Customers', pooling resources from previous blog posts and studies. This savvy piece of cornerstone content helped them to grow by a whopping 50% in 2013. No small feat.
Optimize those page titles
When it comes to Google, as well as other popular search engines, the HTML
The title tag should serve as a concise description of your page’s content - and no two title tags should ever be the same (Google doesn't like duplication). To write a title tag that will help boost your page's organic search ranking, you should keep it under 70 characters, with the most relevant or primary keywords near the start. It's also a good idea to include your brand keyword (the keyword used to search for your company name or a variation on this) if you’re trying to boost your brand authority.
So, how should your title tag be structured? Here’s an example of a good title tag…
Esquire Mag, looking to rank well for ‘best burgers in London’ (it currently ranks number one in Google’s organic search results), has included the keyword they want to rank for at the beginning of their page’s title tag; it then goes onto describe the page’s content more specifically in an engaging way that uses the words ‘buns’ rather than repeating the term burgers - this serves to widen the net of search terms that they might appear for. Keyword rich, enticing, concise, and natural - the perfect ingredients for a great title tag.
Spruce up your meta descriptions
While your meta description isn't a direct ranking factor regarding search crawling, it does have an impact and if written well, this small snippet of sales copy encourages people to click through to a webpage, boosting its authority and helping your page to rank better for certain keywords. Also, if you use your target keywords in the description, Google will bold them when your page appears on SERPS, making it more eye-catching to web searchers.
Again, each meta description should be unique, contain keywords and be no longer than 160 characters.
Here's an example of a good meta description…
Not only does this meta description have an excellent Google review star rating - it’s concise, clear and ends with a solid call to action.
Use your ALT tags wisely
This example is the one you’ll usually see in a CMS like Wordpress and it relates to your images. Many people overlook the ALT tag because it's not something you see when an image is displayed on a web page - but it plays an important role in improving page ranking.
This HTML element is designed for search engine crawlers and has usability purposes - screen readers for the visually impaired will read your alt tags to a user. By adding a keyword specific to the page in an ALT tag on your web page, you can help boost your web page’s organic search ranking.
Here are a few golden rules when adding an ALT tag to your image…
●Keep the text short, no longer than three to six words if possible
●Make sure you mention the page topic in your ALT tag description
●Don’t stuff it with keywords. Like your page copy, try to be as natural as possible
URL Structure matters
Although the likes of Google and Bing can process longer URLs without any real issues, studies from MOZ show that shorter URLs tend to perform better in natural search.
Generally, a URL containing less than 100 characters is good, and one consisting of 50 - 60 characters is even better.
Mix up your anchor text
We brushed over anchor text before, so let's shed a little more light on the subject.
What is anchor text exactly, you say?Anchor text helps Google determine what the page being linked to is all about. And it looks like this…
When you link to something in an article both externally and internally, you should try to use variations of target keywords relevant to the page you’re directing people to, rather than wasting an SEO boosting opportunity by linking to something like, click here.
For example, if you’re directing someone to your eBook on brewing novelty beer don’t do this…
If you want to learn how to brew novelty beer, grab my eBook by clicking here.
Instead, do something like this…
If homemade beers are your thing, or you're just curious about how it all works, download my free eBook all about brewing novelty beer.
Using the keyword as anchor text will give search engine crawlers more information on what they’re processing; it will also make sure you’re linking profile is well-structured.
Try to avoid overusing exact match keywords. Taking advantage of close variations will help you rank better for a broader selection of keywords.
In some ways, SEO is a dark art, but as you've now discovered, there are many simple steps you can make to improve your organic search rankings.
There is no fast-track way to gain search authority, but by being strategic, thoughtful, and making sure you follow best practice around SEO, you'll be in first position on Google quicker than you think.