When it comes to Google search rankings, small business owners all share the same dream: To one day see their website perched at the #1 position—or at the very least on the first page—for a pertinent Google search.
If you happen to own a Knoxville, TN plumbing company, you’d love for the search “Knoxville TN plumbers” to yield your site as the top result. That’s the kind of consumer visibility that’s sure to boost sales.
Of course, many small business owners never see the ranking they’re after. This is not too surprising, when you think about it: There can, after all, only be one #1-ranked Knoxville TN plumber.
The Basics of Google Rankings
However, that doesn’t mean you cannot and should not pursue robust search engine rankings—and in fact, there is plenty you can do to boost your chances of high search engine rankings.
As you think about ways to improve your search engine rankings, remember the basic principle that Google is out to help its customers—to provide a better, more relevant set of answers for its search engine users. Period. Google wants to deliver a quality product—so if you want to get better rankings, you need to make sure your page is the kind of thing search engine users might find helpful.
Why Your Site Isn’t Ranking
To put it a bit differently, if you want to improve your search engine rankings, you might start by removing any obstacles to relevance and quality. Remove anything and everything that’s dragging down your content.
Some of the most common offenders include:
- Duplicate content. Content that’s plagiarized—from another source or from your own site—isn’t helpful to users, and as such Google tends to penalize it. If you have multiple pages of your site that all say the exact same thing, it’s time to either reword some things or delete the extra pages altogether.
- Skimpy content. There’s nothing wrong with having a shorter blog entry or a brief product landing page, but content that’s simply vague or unhelpful won’t get you anywhere with Google. Make sure each page offers something substantial.
- Bad—or no—backlinks. Getting other sites to link to yours is critical—but they have to be good sites: Don’t bother with online directories you have to pay in order to get links. Focus instead on legitimate guest blogging and PR opportunities.
- Overoptimized anchor text keywords. Google doesn’t like tricks—and if you’ve got a thousand backlinks or internal links that all use best Knoxville TN plumbers as their anchor text, Google’s going to see right through you.
- Bad page titles or meta descriptions. Remember that there are plenty of chances for you to write compelling, relevant, and keyword-rich content—not just on the page itself but in titles and tags.
- A bad user experience. If you’ve got a high bounce rate—due to bad design, clumsy navigation, or something else—then Google’s going to take it as a sign that your site is low-quality.