Successful businesses make smart investments in SEO. If you run an e-commerce or any other website with which you think you’ve done everything right but it still fails to give you the returns, you’ve come to the right place.
There are numerous reasons your website isn’t ranking high (or isn’t ranking at all) in Google’s SERPs. These are factors your competitors are probably doing right, and you aren’t. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons.
1. Keyword stuffing
It seems that the need to do SEO for websites has triggered a race to rank high for the most-searched keywords. There are many things novices do wrong with respect to keyword usage.
First things first, stuffing keywords in your web pages is only going to make your website look spammy to Google. Deliberately spamming your website with keywords isn’t going to help your SEO. Google’s search bots are equipped with enough intelligence to distinguish between really well-worded content and spam content.
The ugly little world of keyword spamming also includes anchor text used in headers or footers of websites that webmasters link to. This can further deteriorate the value of your website in the hawk-like eyes of Google!
2. Low average on-page time
Again, there could be multiple factors contributing to low average on-page time of your users. Since this is an aspect predominantly affected by the users, you need to tweak the performance of your site with respect to user experience.
Enhancing user experience includes improving the look and feel of your website, without compromising on page load time. Besides the need to improve the quality of your content, this also raises a need to increase the number of words on your webpage. There is some difference of opinion in this regard, but it is mostly agreed upon that if you have content with less than 1000 words in a page, your chances of ranking high evaporates. Having 300 or so words of content makes it ‘thin content’ and takes decent on-page time out of the equation.
Bounce rate is also a major contributing factor to low on-page time. By bounce rate, we are referring to those people who aren’t in the least interested in hanging around on your website. If those people come under the bracket of your target customers, boy are you in trouble! But worry not, all you have to do is work hard on refining your website. Don’t forget to work on the mobile version of your website as well. Take out those jpegs that increase your page load time. If it’s an e-commerce website, try to improve your product descriptions so they make a good lasting impression on your users. More on this later.
Meanwhile, you can use Google Analytics to check out how your website fares. It includes valuable metrics such as average on-page time and bounce rates.
3. Absence of SSL
One of the latest contributing factors to SERPs is the presence of HTTPS. Google is encouraging the web as a whole to make a move to HTTPS by including it as a factor in its rankings. SSL creates a secure environment for the transfer of data to the user’s browser by encrypting the connection.
While the magnitude of the significance of HTTPS (or SSL) is not that huge currently, it is seen as a defining factor in tiebreakers between sites. It is also observed that the top 40% of the sites in the first page of Google’s SERPs have SSL certification.
SSL certificates are essential, especially if you’re an e-commerce website. SSL certificates are available at very affordable rates these days. Cheap SSL certificates can be purchased from SSL2BUY.
4. The ‘link’ mania
Backlinks are a constitutive part of SEO. If you have reputed websites linking to you, you can’t ask for better. But this can’t be achieved easily. There are a number of ways people follow to create genuine backlinks that can be recognized by Google.
But some techniques used in this domain are black-hat SEO techniques. For example, link-building by hiring someone and paying them for it is unhealthy. Google’s bots are out on a mission to stop this from happening, make no mistake. Google will make you pay for it. Oh yes! Google hands out penalties to such lucrative actions.
If you’ve registered on Google Search Console, you can head to the ‘Manual Actions’ tab. If it displays something like the one in the below picture, you would’ve received a penalty for violating search engine guidelines.
Great websites make good use of permalinks. However, changing permalinks can also be a cause for concern since it can hurt your rankings. If you use a 301 redirect to redirect the traffic to your permalink, you’ll get about 90-99% of ranking power. This is a much better alternative than a 302 redirect or a Meta Refresh.
5. Target Keywords
We’ve emphasized the need to use keywords without making it look like spammed content. But there’s a common misconception that every website that bursts onto the scene has to target the same keywords as the #1, #2 etc. sites in their niche, on Google’s SERP. This is a fatal misconception because if you’ve begun today and are looking to take the fight to the top 3 websites by targeting the same keywords as them, you’re only wasting your time and energy in the process.
What you can do is target different keywords. Find out some long-tail keywords in your niche. For example, if you’re running an e-store that sells sunglasses, target keywords like ‘sunglasses for my face shape’ instead of ‘sunglasses to beat the heat’. You see the difference, don’t you? The latter is far too competitive while the former is well targeted and not that competitive. I keep reiterating the need to target long-tail keywords as this will earn you a chance to rank higher.
You can use the Mozbar chrome extension to check which keywords to target. You should check out the DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority) of keywords. A high PA and DA means a more competitive keyword.
As an online entrepreneur, you have the responsibility of creating a website that is quick and efficient and content that has value and gets shared among people.
Running a successful business is not about having a crisp website or enormous content. It’s about putting them together along with the other influential factors mentioned here and ensuring that your efforts don’t go wasted.