Consumers are turning to the Internet more often than ever before when seeking out information. Google, specifically, is where the majority of those searches take place. In fact, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day.

When a user conducts a search for a specific keyword or phrase, Google utilizes machine learning technology to populate results that are most closely related to the user’s intent. Your ranking in these search engine results pages (SERPs) is determined by a number of factors. Things like keywords, meta descriptions and backlinks play a large role in where your website falls after a user conducts a search.

It’s important to constantly seek out ways to improve your Google rankings by adapting your website to follow any new trends or best practices taking place in the search world. Here are three ways that you can help improve your ranking.

Improve Your Website’s User Experience

There’s no shortage of websites available on the Internet. So, when a user lands on yours after a search is conducted, you need to be sure that your site is one that is easy to navigate and has good structure. Your site’s structure is a roadmap for search engines and helps them understand what your website is about. Based on this structure, Google will determine which pages hold the most value.

A well-structured website has a logical and simple hierarchy (below). Beginning with your homepage, your website should extend out to relevant categories. For example, if you owned a restaurant, your categories might include “Menu,” “Location,” or “Our Story.” The subcategories would then fall below those, like “Dinner Menu,” “Drink Menu,” or “Brunch Menu.”

A study by SEMrush revealed that the top four ranking factors for appearing in SERPs are website visits, time on site, pages per session and bounce rate. You want your site to be organized in a manner that users can easily find what they are looking for. This will subsequently have a positive impact on these factors.

Optimize for Voice Search

Voice search usage has grown substantially over the last few years, and consumers are utilizing it frequently when seeking out information on a local business. Research shows that 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year, and 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.

That’s a lot of searches. And to better ensure that your small business website shows up in such searches, it’s critical to optimize for voice search. Voice searches vary significantly from text ones, as they are more conversational and lengthier in nature. For example, a user seeking out salon information might type “salons in the Detroit area,” but using voice search they might ask, “What salons offer coloring services near me?”

You want to adapt your content to match such questions. Think about your customers and what they might search for when looking for information about your business. Having an FAQ page on your site can help build out some of these commonly asked queries and prove beneficial in improving your SEO. You can also create tutorial-based content that shows a user how to do something, like “how to detangle hair,” or “how to create the perfect beach wave.”

Focus on Your Links

There are two main types of links that have a great impact on your SEO. Inbound links, which are links on outside websites that link back to your site, and outbound links that direct users to a website away from yours.

When inserting outbound links into various pages on your website, you want to make sure that you are linking to credible, relevant sites. Google sees this as a positive, which helps increase the credibility of your site. However, be careful not to include too many links as this will be a red flag for Google. Add relevant links to pages that really fit the content and support the message you’re trying to get across, like a statistic or study that supports your position.

Inbound links, or backlinks, can tremendously improve your SEO, although the links are only valuable if they are from high authority sites. Look for websites that might find a link to a resource on your site valuable.

By doing a simple search, you may even find websites that mention your business’s name, but don’t provide a backlink. Reach out to them and see if they wouldn’t mind inserting a link back to your website. If you’re unsure of where to begin, there are plenty of resources available that explain best practices for obtaining backlinks.

In addition to your inbound and outbound links, you also want to be sure that your site is rid of any broken links. There’s nothing more off putting than clicking on a link and receiving an error message. And because it would be very time consuming to go through each link individually, there are sites available where you can go and enter a URL from your website to be analyzed. This type of tool will then find any broken links on that specific page, so that you can go in and correct them.

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