In the first part of this article, we had a look at how Google’s Panda update had revolutionised the way business websites were reflected in the search engine results pages, and suggested a few tips about how websites can improve their visibility and online presence whilst staying within the strict parameters that Panda now imposes. In the second part of this article we’ll look at 5 further steps that can be employed to boost business search engine rankings: the use of metrics, optimising page loading speed, bounce rates, the incorporation of social media and how using SEO expertise can save money in the long run.
Measure the effectiveness of your optimisation techniques
There’s no point tweaking, or even re-designing your website completely, if you’re not going to check how effective the changes have been. Business need to constantly monitor and measure their online success rates and ask themselves what changes seem to be working and what aren’t. There are all sorts of metrics available today that you can use, and you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to understand them. Google Analytics is a prime example. Analytics lets you see what your visitors are doing, how long they stay, where they’ve come from and which pages are performing the best. If you don’t currently use these metrics, then you’re really missing a trick.
Optimising your page loading speed
Not many people are aware of this but Google has been using this information as a factor in its ranking algorithm since April 2010. If a page takes an eternity to load, then visitors will bounce away and look elsewhere, so it’s vitally important that your page loads as quickly as possible. It’s recommended that for a page to be most effective, it should take less than a second to load.
Don’t ignore bounce rates
A user will come to your website after performing a search on the likes of Google. When they land on your page and immediately bounce back to the search results to look elsewhere, that tells you a lot about your site. It can tell you that what you’ve provided is not fit for purpose, or that your link is misleading because it doesn’t deliver what it promised in the search results. What’s even more important is that Google uses this information to rank websites: all search engines collect bounce rate data and use this to determine the quality of a website. They can also use this data to validate any suspicions they may already have about the quality of the site, or lack of. Your bounce rate should give you a clear indication about whether your site is up to scratch. This is crucially important since Google now allows users to block or exclude poor quality sites from the search results. If you don’t address those bounce rates, you could drop out of he rankings entirely.
Remember SEO is just part of the marketing mix, not an end in itself
SEO should be used as part of a business marketing strategy. It doesn’t exist in isolation, or in a vacuum, if you’d rather. There are other strategies out there that should also be incorporated into the mix, like social media. It’s far better to take a holistic approach and utilise every channel available to get your company message across. By all means optimise your site for SEO, but optimise for every channel too to guarantee the greatest visibility.
Don’t be afraid to talk to the experts
We all like to think we know a little about SEO. It’s been around for some time, and we’ve all picked up little snippets here and there. The problem is you need to start of on the correct footing. Building and optimising a website requires expertise. However, you can’t be expected to know every trick in the book. Sometimes it’s worth talking to and paying for professional expertise. I know people don’t like spending money if they can help it, but it will be probably be money well spent later on down the line. At least you’ll know you’re heading in the right direction. Speculate to accumulate, as they say.