Getting started Tips for web professionals

How do you improve your site’s natural search engine ranking?

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The concept of website ranking covers all the different techniques used to improve the position of a website in the search results displayed by search engines. The more visible a site is to internet users, the more sales of your products and services you will make. In all, there are many different methods for improving your website’s search engine ranking.

Paid search result ranking (SEA) vs. natural ranking (SEO)

Paid search result ranking (SEA)

Paid search result ranking, also called SEA (for Search Engine Advertising), means the creation, development, and optimization of advertising campaigns on search engines. In other words, SEA aims to position an ad on a search engine, in the paid results section (usually identified as such at the top of the search results page). On Google, the search engine preferred by some 92% of internet users in the world, the tool used for this is called Google Ads.
Exemple d'annonce publicitaire SEA sur Google
SEA enables you to immediately increase your site’s traffic as soon as your ad is online. However, this practice has a certain cost associated with it and the boost in your site’s visibility ends when your ad campaign does.

Natural search result ranking (SEO)

Natural website ranking, otherwise known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), means the collection of methods and activities that aim to optimize a website’s ranking in search engine results. Natural search referencing, also referred to as “organic,” is free as it does not involve advertising. It consists of implementing different ranking techniques in order to generate relevant and sustainable traffic to your website. Natural referencing enables you to ensure the number of visits to your websites increases in the long term and earns you additional customers.

Why focus on natural search ranking?

Even though the results from paid search ranking are instantaneous, they stop as soon as the campaign is over. Natural search ranking takes more time to see results, but lasts for the long term. The rankings you achieve through natural search ranking are long lasting, and continue to show their effects over time. Natural search ranking contributes to your website’s image—good search engine ranking gives your users confidence that your website is credible and secure. Lots of internet users avoid sponsored results from SEA campaigns in favor of the first organic search results from natural search ranking. Logically speaking, paid search ranking requires an investment while natural search ranking is free, but it requires some technical knowledge. By following our advice to the letter, you’ll improve your sustainable natural search ranking without spending too much money in ad campaigns. For long-term results, we recommend focusing on SEO.

Our advice for improving your website’s natural ranking

Optimize your content

First of all, your content’s quality is essential: you’ll need to provide quality, accessible, and targeted content to differentiate yourself and attract readers. Regularly creating quality content will boost your natural ranking in search engines and hence your traffic. However, it’s not enouh just to produce large quantities of content. Your content should be given thought and should be optimized.

Work on keywords

Keywords are an essential element of content optimization. To boost your natural search ranking, it’s critical to think about your keywords in terms of your target. List the collection of words specific to your market in order to determine the keywords that internet users are likely to use when searching. On the other hand, it will sometimes be difficult to position yourself on the most used keywords in your area due to strong competition. Determine, then, the most used keywords, but also those that will be easy to rank on compared to your competition. Basically, then, you’ll need to find a balance between the different keywords you’ll use on your site. As an example, for a website that provides translation services, it will be difficult to rank on the word “translation,” since it’s so frequently used. On the other hand, the keyword “language services,” is way less used, allowing you to rank your site at the top of the searches for this term, even if it generates fewer clicks. Once your keywords are chosen, you need to include them as much as possible in your website, without impacting the quality and fluidity of your content. You should try to insert keywords into all your website’s content. Text is the most obvious place, of course, but don’t forget to include them in image attributes, links, and in your titles to maximally boost your SEO.

Optimize your title tags

Inserting keywords in your titles is not the only method for optimizing them. For the best natural search ranking, it’s important to include different categories of titles defined by html tags. For WordPress in particular, these tags correspond to <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. for your main titles, your 2nd level titles, your 3rd level titles, etc. Titles are one often overlooked element taken into account by search engines. Consider, then, using different categories of titles and include keywords in each of these. Another much simpler tag that Google uses for ranking is bolded words. Highlight important keywords in your articles by putting them in bold.

Regularly update your content

The best way to demonstrate that your site is still active is to update your content regularly. Consider publishing and constantly looking for ways to update your website. An up-to-date website is one of several trust signals that reassures visitors to your site that it can be trusted. On the other hand, outdated content can seem obsolete and won’t be very interesting for readers. If users leave your website, considering it out of date, this will increase your “bounce” rate, which will in turn negatively impact your SEO. Updating your content doesn’t just have an impact on your users, but also directly impacts Google’s assessment of your site. Its algorithm takes article publication dates into account in the calculation of your site’s ranking, making it essential to regularly update your website’s content to improve your SEO.

Generate backlinks to boost your SEO

A backlink is a link coming from another website towards your website. These backlinks enable you to get traffic coming from this new link. Essentially, the third parties that talk about you and provide a link to your website will automatically generate visibility for your site. And besides that, backlinks show Google that your site is popular. However, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. It’s better for your backlinks to come from relevant websites recognized by Google. The Google algorithm rewards backlinks that come from sites considered trused by its ranking calculations. In particular, you can look to blogs that specialize in yoru area or people who use your products or services. Avoid using “Link farms,” or sites that artificially increase your site’s prominence through adding links en masse. This practice is considered abusive and you risk Google banning your site. In order to generate backlinks, you can turn to social media to make yourself known, talk to your existing customers or get in touch with blogs that specialize in your field, who you can pitch articles to.

Consider the user experience

User experience, otherwise called UX, refers to the quality of the experience felt by internet users when they navigate to your website. In general, it includes your site’s features, structure, and ease of use. In other words, that means the way your pages link to each other, buttons, and the overall visual look and feel of your website are very important aspects of your site’s ranking. On the other hand, if a user thinks your website is too complicated to navigate, they will quickly leave it and won’t come back. The attractiveness and coherence of your site, then, are essential aspects to take into account.

Consider mobile use of your website

According to a study conducted by Semrush in 2020, 66% of website visits come from smartphones. Making your site responsive and focusing on the mobile experience of your website is now a major issue. A responsive website doesn’t just increase traffic to your website, but also helps to boost your SEO with Google as well. To make your website responsive, you’ll need to revisit your website’s design and adapt it for mobile use and make it easier for use for mobile users. Whether that means adjusting your menus, images, articles, or the general structure of your website, you should consider everything for mobile users. For the mobile version of your site, consider eliminating all superflous elements. Many CMSes like WordPress make it easy to create a responsive design for your website.

Optimize your pages’ load times

User experience can also be impacted by the speed with which your page loads. A site that’s too slow does not encourage internet users to stay on your website. But that’s not all: Google’s ranking also takes page load time into account in its calculations. It is, therefore, essential to take this important metric into account when working on your SEO. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to improve load times. First of all, you should try to optimize and compress the images shown on your website, with image size being one of the main reasons a website may slow down. There are plugins that can help you with this. Particularly, on WordPress, there’s the WP-Optimize plugin that automatically compresses your images. Second, you should also deactivate any plugin that you’re not using and update your CMS regularly. You can also try to reduce the size of your CSS and Javascript files. But don’t worry, there are other plugins available that load automatically. On WordPress, you can get teh WP Fastest Cache plugin for this, which reduces the size of files and also enables you to modify certain settings like cache management to optimize the speed of your site and therefore its SEO. Finally, your choice of host is crucial: a poorly configured or low quality web host can greatly slow down your site. Host your website at Gandi to ensure that it will be fast and secure, and configure your WordPress hosting in just a few minutes.

Conclusion for optimizing your natural search ranking

You now have all the cards in your hand you need to boost your website’s SEO. Our last piece of advice is to be patient! Natural search ranking is a long-term project. By following these simple actions, your site will climb in the ranking of search results over the course of months. There are a few indicators that you can use to track your progress and see if your SEO efforts are working, including: the number of visits to your website, the number of bounces or the amount of time spent on your site. For that, it couldn’t be easier. Google provides its own free tool you can use to follow these stats: Google Analytics. But there’s no requirement to go through Google for this. The WP Statistics WordPress plugin also enables you to follow all these stats for free. Now get optimizing!