No matter the type of website you run, for profit or not for profit, ranking high in the search engines and driving quality traffic are a must for its success. But achieving these goals is usually not an easy task.
We recommend you focus on three key elements discussed below and watch your website achieve the expected outcome. These may just require some small changes or a complete redesign to get the website competitive. The key lies in how better you can be than your competitors in certain areas. You just have to be slightly better than your competitors to get many better results.
If your changes drives you from being one of the discarded sites to the site that is chosen by searchers then your sales will increase.
Your website has to score highly and be exceptionally good in three areas in the fight for the customer:
1: Choose the right keywords
Being better than your competitors starts with choosing the right keywords. If you target keywords that aren’t used by the people who want to buy then you might get a lot of visitors but no sales. Your web pages should be optimized for the keywords that attract people who are looking for the products and services that you sell on your website and who are ready to buy.
There are keyword tools out there that can help you with this.
1.1 How Best to Use Keywords in Your Website Content
Although the role of keywords have been significantly played down especially in Google metadata as a search engine ranking sigal, there are some evidence that it is not yet completely over with keywords. For instance, not using the right keywords in writing your web page title is still seen as a disadvantage for competition because it could affect how Google and other search engines understand the focus and offering of your website and that could seriously affect its search engine placement.
Note that although keywords and content generally can be useful in getting the search engines understand your website and what it talks about, keyword density and the likes are currently not a ranking factor. Ranking today is linked other factors like the website title, external and internal links, freshness of content and social sharing.
The role of keywords and how it affects search engine understanding and placement of a website can be related to a real life story of how we dress to be noticed. People dress well or do something bizarre in order to be noticed or make a statement. To get ahead in life or business one needs to be at the top, first in line. Now more often than not, the World Wide Web too functions along the same principle.
With tough competition between websites, blogs, and e-commerce sites what makes one more successful than others is the position a site gets on search engines. The higher the ranking the larger the number of hits or traffic to the site. To achieve a higher position for your website, you can follow our suggested SEO guide and develop your content such that it contains some of the relevant keywords.
Keyword management is not as simple as using words repeatedly. You need to know which keywords are relevant to your website and pages. Once you have a master list ensure that you do the following :
- Match keyword tag with content. Ensure that the keyword meta tag has around 900 characters or 25 words.
- Ensure that the keyword density in between 3-10% . And, avoid using the same word more than once in a sentence. Check keyword validators to determine the exact density percentage.
- Try and maximize keyword usage in the top half of the page. Many search engine spiders do not go beyond 25-50%.
- Be smart and spell your keywords with variations and also include plurals.
- Go one step ahead and make use of a keyword density checker. This is an automated system that will comb through your web content and highlight words used in higher density. The system will enable you to perfect your pages and provide what search engines or spiders want.
Keyword Density Cloud can be used effectively to crawl selected URLs, analyze word density, and remove common stop words. The tool can be added to your website and play a vital role in Search Engine Optimization.
It is all about knowing how to gather your audience or customers and the keyword density checker or cloud can help you through several stumbling blocks. The golden rules of SEO are: keyword density, keyword frequency, keyword prominence, and keyword proximity.
The basic rule of thumb is to know &quot;what are the keywords your potential customers are likely to use.&quot; Keywords must not be random but relevant to your line of business. The trick is to strike a balance neither too many nor too little. Too many can get your site banned and too little means you get lower rankings and your wonderful site goes unnoticed.
So, while sticking to your marketing plan and focus take a moment to take care of web content and its many nuances. Make content meaningful and relevant, find out the most important words that will be used to find what your site has to offer (put yourself in the user’s shoes). And construct content using all the golden rules and keys mentioned above.
More than that, take quality content very seriously, avoid thin content and do not just churn out content that do not offer value. By refreshing your website with new and relevant content, you will be able to attract more links to your website because your quality content will be linked to. If you tread the right path success in the World Wide Web will be yours.
2: Get on the first results page
Of course, it is important to target the right keywords. However, your website must also be found on the first results page of Google, Yahoo and Bing to attract customers. Most people only take a look at the first results page. If your website cannot be found there then potential customers won’t find your website.
2.1 How to Get High Ranking for Your Website in Google
This is a very important topic for webmasters and especially for managers of competitive website that have a product to sell. Google ranking is crucial and takes a whole lot into account. In a recent post, we discussed some of the factors not commonly discussed yet are important to rank high in Google. All that had been based on our experience at Todhost. Here, we do a more comprehensive evaluation of the factors to take into account to rank high in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
There are many factors to take into account if you want to rank high on Google but some of them are more important than others. What we will outline below are the essential steps that you need to take if you want to get better rankings on the Google search results. It is also important for you to know that patience is required as you walk through this road.
Why you need to rank higher on Google?
Good rankings are hard to get and when you do it’s only after a lot of patience and hard work. By knowing the benefits of having a web page on the first positions of Google you can find the motivation and courage to work until your targets are met. So let us begin with the benefits of good ranking in Google.
- Higher rankings means more traffic – Obviously the first advantage has to do with the traffic gains. The higher your ranking is, the more organic traffic you will get from Google. The more traffic you get, the more likely your conversions will be. Have in mind though that statistically the first 5 positions get the majority of search traffic which accounts for more than 60% of search traffic.
- High ranking is a signal of trust – One of the reasons Google became the World’s most popular search engine is because people trust it. They trust it because they know that when they search for something on Google they will find what they are looking for. Ranking high in Google search engine makes people trust you for quality and reputation. Google is currently using more than 300 ranking signals and more than 15 years of research and development on ranking algorithms and they have become very good in choosing quality websites to show in their search results. When users find your website in the first pages of Google they know that it’s a good website since Google is trusting it and showing it in their results.
- Higher ranking will give you more social media shares and comments – A website found in the first page of Google gets more social shares and comments because it receives more traffic and because of the trust reason explained above.
- Good rankings on other competitive search engines – Once you rank high on Google, you will also rank high on other search engines. Google is not the only search engine available but it’s the one with the most traffic. Nevertheless, the other search engines have SEO rules which are similar to Google and once you get a good ranking position on Google, it is certain that good ranking positions will follow in the other search engines as well.
Now, that you understand the importance of good Google rankings, let go into greater detail about how to get them.
- Age of the domain – This is sometimes neglected. We tend to forget this but a domain that is new will not easily get a high ranking on Google. It will take a lot more work to get the attention of the search giant and establish Google trust. This does not mean that it’s impossible to achieve something good with a new domain, it just means that it will take more time. Another factor that plays out here is if the industry is not very competitive, it is easier for a new domain to rank high.
- Quality of the content – You need to have unique and original content published on your website. This is a must and one of the most important factors for website success. Feeding the search engines with fresh and unique content makes the Search Engines love your site and that is rewarded with higher ranking. In doing this, it is advised not to just copy and republish content from other websites as this will not work since content originality is very important for Google rankings.
- Volume of content – In addition to having quality content, you also need a LOT of content. The competition is huge in any niche you might think off and it is important that you stand out of the crowd. You must ensure you go for quality content and not just roll out more content. Quality is more important than quantity and Google takes all these into consideration.
- Content Length – The content length of a blog post is a ranking factor. Several studies by quicksprout, moz and seriq showed a direct relationship between number of words in a blog post and Google rankings. The conclusion was that articles with more than 1500 words have more chances in achieving higher positions in the Google SERPS. This does not mean you must work towards high volume even if you are not making more sense. Again, we recommend that you will be guided by quality and not quantity.
- Mentions (links) from other websites – To get the attention of Google it is necessary to have mentions (links) from other websites on the web pointing to your website. If the link is coming from big and trusted websites it has more value and that’s even better. Link building is something we will cover in more details in a different article but what is important to note now is that incoming links are like votes from other websites and this is something that Google takes into account when deciding which web pages will get a higher ranking.
- Good on page SEO – Besides the incoming links you also need to make sure that your on-page SEO is correct. On-Page SEO is a set of rules to make your website SEO friendly. An SEO Friendly website is a lot more easier for Google to read and the more information it can understand from a website, the greater are the chances of achieving a good ranking.
- . Inter-linking your pages together – Internal linking is when you add a link to a web page that points to another web page in the same website. Internal links are a very powerful way to tell Google what a page is about, it is good for the user since they can find new pages in the same website and it’s also an incentive for Google to crawl more content from the same website. Internal linking is a powerful way to reduce bounce rates. A good internal link uses anchor text that describes the linking page.
- Website loading speed – Although this is part of on-page SEO. it should be stressed that a fast loading website can get better Google rankings than a slow loading website. Speed is a known ranking factor and very important for usability as well.
- Mobile friendliness is now a ranking signal in Google. This points to Google’s emphasis on user experience. More and more people are using their mobiles to search Google and there are a number of studies that show the importance of mobile search for businesses and website owners. When it comes to rankings, having a mobile friendly website is a must since Google is now punishing websites that don’t offer mobile users a good mobile experience.
- Tell Google about your website – To establish some kind of communication with webmasters, Google created the Google webmaster tools which is now called Google Search Console. Webmaster tools among other things, is a great way to give information to Google about your website and also find out what Google knows about it. There are several settings you can configure within Webmaster tools like preferred URL, target country, sitemap etc and also several diagnostic tools you can use like fetch as google and robots tester that will eventually help you rank high on Google.
- Take advantage of the Social Media – The role social media like Facebook Google Plus and Twitter has to play in Google rankings is a popular subject among digital marketers. There are different opinions as to the effect social has on rankings but what is certain is that a successful social media marketing campaign has a lot of advantages to offer to a website that go beyond rankings and it is something you need to use and benefit from.
Google is constantly looking to find quality websites to add in their index so as to provide the best possible results to their users. Google is concerned about quality and certainly rewards websites that provide the best quality. Google wants people using their search to have te best experience and wants the websites ranking at the top to be of very high quality.
Your goal as a webmaster is to create a website that provides real value to the users, make sure that Google can understand what you website is about and also prove to Google that your website deserves one of their top positions by getting links from other trusted websites.
Finally, be patient – this is key. High google rankings take time to achieve. You will make progress and as long as you keep working in the right direction, you will gain advantageous position.
3: Create a convincing website
It’s not enough to be listed on the first search engine result page. Your website must also be convincing. It should give the customer what he is looking for, it should have a professional design and it should make it as easy as possible to buy.
That is why it is so important to work on improving the conversion rate of your web pages. By improving your conversion rate, you can generate more money “out of thin air” from your existing rankings.
A trustworthy and professional website with a good conversion rate also has positive side-effects. Your customers probably will stay longer with your company and people are more likely to link to your website.
3.1 Build Up Customer Confidence in Your Website with SSL
Customer confidence is a key issue in the e-commerce business. If people cannot trust your website, they are not likely to input their credit card details and authorize payment, make payment and transfers through your platform. Customer confidence is so paramount that once you loose the confidence of your customers, you greatly loose business as far as ecommerce business is concerned.
Customer confidence is also greatly important to effectively win on the side of increasing conversion rates. According to Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, web-based attacks increased by 36 percent from 2014 to 2015, with a fourfold rise in malware attacking Linux – the most widely used operating system on web servers.
With new malware, phishing scams, and other cyber-threats appearing on the web every day, customers need to know whether or not your website can be trusted. That is where Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates come in.
SSL: A Visible Sign of Security
SSL is the standard security protocol used by millions of websites to encrypt their online transactions with their customers. By creating a secure link between an Internet browser and a web server, SSL ensures that all information transmitted between the browser and the server remains private.
The SSL certificate is an essential tool for anyone conducting transactions online. Not only does adding an SSL certificate to your e-commerce site help protect your business, but it also reassures your customers that your online store is a safe, secure e-commerce site. An SSL certificate is a clear, visual confirmation that your business has taken the necessary steps to ensure your online store is a trustworthy place to conduct business.
Trust You Can See
An SSL certificate ensures the secure communication of sensitive information as it’s transferred from the web browser to the web server. The SSL certificate encrypts data at the time it is submitted to a website, thereby preventing hackers from reading the information as it travels across the information superhighway. Once the information has reached the intended recipient, the data is decrypted into its original, usable form.
Since Netscape first began offering the SSL protocol as a security technology in 1996, online customers have been instructed to look for a padlock symbol in the address bar of their browsers before providing sensitive personal information over the Internet. Today, customers associate the padlock symbol with integrity and trust. The padlock represents an encrypted link between you and the customer and shows that your online store is a legitimate business or an accountable legal entity.
Your website visitors can check the authenticity of an SSL certificate and verify the ownership of your website. The ability to validate the ownership of your web domain and other details concerning the legitimacy of your organization gives customers added peace of mind when doing business with you online. Your web visitors will gain the reassurance of knowing your website is secure — and this translates into an increase in conversions for you, the website owner.
Not just for credit cards
A common misconception is that an SSL Certificate is only needed if you accept credit card payments through your website. However an SSL certificate is just as important if you accept payments via third party payment gateways such as PayPal or 2CheckOut since an SSL certificate protects not only payment information, but all data communication between a customer and your website, ensuring personal information such as name &amp; addresses, support requests and more are kept private.
Boost Customer Confidence With an SSL Certificate
You spend a lot of time, energy, and money driving traffic to your online store. To keep visitors on your site and give them the confidence to buy from you, you need to show them that their transaction is safe with your site. Secure your website’s good reputation – and your customers’ confidence – with an SSL certificate.
Todhost offers three dynamic SSL options RapidSSL, QuickSSL Premium, and True BusinessID with EV. RapidSSL is the simplest of the three, while True BusinessID comes with Extended Validation which gives you the green address bar providing the maximum visual assurance to customers that your site is secure and giving them the confidence to complete their transaction.
How do I know a website that is using SSL?
A website that using a valid SSL displays some distinct differences within the browser.
1) The URL says https and not http://
2) There will be a small padlock icon in the URL bar.
It will show up either on the left- or right-hand side of the URL bar, depending on your browser. You can click on the padlock to read more information about the website and the company that provided the certificate.
3) The certificate validity can be verified.
Even if a website has the https:// and a padlock, the certificate could still have expired — meaning your connection will not be secure.
To find out if the certificate is valid, click on the padlock and choose Certificate Information. That’ll take you to a certification authority page, which will show you the time frame of the certificate.
How can I get an SSL certificate for my website?
If you are a Todhost client with a registered and verified account, you can order an SSL certificate from within the client area section of our website.
General Benefits of Using SSL
Why use SSL? To Encrypt Sensitive Information
Primarily, the reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can understand it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server.
Any computer standing between you and the server can see your credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive information if it is not encrypted with an SSL certificate. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to. This protects it from hackers and identity theft.
Additionally, an SSL certificate also provides authentication. This means you can be sure that you are sending information to the right server and not to a criminal’s server. Why is this important? The nature of the Internet means that your customers will often be sending information through several computers. Any of these computers could pretend to be your website and trick your users into sending them personal information. It is only possible to avoid this by using a proper Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), and getting an SSL Certificate from a trusted SSL provider.
Trusted SSL providers will only issue an SSL certificate to a verified company that has gone through several identity checks. Certain types of SSL certificates, like Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates, require more validation than others. How do you know if an SSL provider is trusted? Web browser manufactures verify that SSL providers are following specific practices and have been audited by a third-party using a standard such as WebTrust.
Web browsers give visual cues, such as a lock icon or a green bar, to make sure visitors know when their connection is secured. This means that they will trust your website more when they see these cues and will be more likely to buy from you. SSL providers will also give you a trust seal that instills more trust in your customers.
It is also important to know that you can’t take credit card information on your website unless you pass certain audits such as PCI compliance which require a proper SSL certificate.
SSL protects from phishing
A phishing website or email comes from a criminal who tries to impersonate your website. If sent through email, the email usually includes a link to their fraudulent website or uses a man-in-the-middle attack to use your own domain name. Because it is very difficult for these criminals to receive a proper SSL certificate, they won’t be able to perfectly impersonate your site. This means that your users will be far less likely to fall for a phishing attack because they will be looking for the trust indicators in their browser, such as a green address bar, and they won’t see it.
One thing you will never forget is that it takes some time to optimize your web pages, but it is worth the effort. Patience is required to see the results of your efforts. There will however be nothing wrong with making changes and some adjustments to get better especially making changes based on new discoveries about the right combination of keywords for your website titles and descriptions. Even small changes can have a huge impact on the number of sales that you get.
Remember that your competitors are also working on their websites. Even if you are currently better than your competitors you, have to sustain your current efforts if it is giving you the right results and make adjustments based on changes suggested by Google. That will keep you ahead of your competitors.