Many business owners wonder what exactly they could be doing better when it comes to their website and their search engine optimization strategy. A lot of us will wonder, “What am I missing?” or “What are they doing that I’m not?”
However, the answer to these questions is not so straightforward. There are several factors that impact whether or not a website will rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs). In this blog post, I will take a look at some of the most important things that may be giving your competition a leg up when it comes to rankings.
1. Site Usability
One of the best ways to improve your website rankings is to offer a better experience for users. A simple, well-designed website that makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for is much better than a cluttered website with poor navigation. Take a look at some of your competitors’ websites and compare them to your own.
- Is it more user-friendly?
- Do the pages load faster?
- Is there a clear call to action to contact the company, book an appointment or get a quote?
- Are there images that relate directly to the product or service they offer?
Your website must provide an excellent user experience if you want to rank well. Search engines such as Google are more likely to rank websites that offer a rich user experience to visitors.
See how you compare with an online usability checklist.
Website content is becoming increasingly important when it comes to rankings. If your competitor’s website has higher-quality, more relevant content than yours, this is likely a major factor contributing to their higher rankings. Search engines like sites that have fresh, updated content, so consider starting a blog that you update regularly (think weekly — not monthly!) with interesting content that is related to your industry.
Additionally, look at the individual service and product pages on their site. Do each of these pages include have highly relevant text that relates directly to the topic of that page? Is this text grammatically correct, 100% unique, useful to the reader AND incorporates the business’s main keywords naturally? There is a huge difference between text that is written strictly for SEO purposes (which can often appear spammy) and content that is written to be valuable to the site visitor. Though you definitely want to target your main business keywords, you don’t want to overdo it!
See how you compare by checking the keyword density of your competitors’ content.
Your competitors may be ranking better than your site in SERPs if Google sees their website as more authoritative. This is largely based on the number of other websites that link to your site. If a competitor has a greater number of high-quality authoritative sites linking back to them, this will impact their ranking success. On the other hand, a large number of poor-quality sites linking to your website may actually harm your rankings, so approach with caution if you attempt to gain more links. The best way to do so is to create content that is worth linking to so you can increase your number of backlinks naturally and improve rankings.
See how you compare by checking your competitors’ backlinks.
4. Social Media Presence
Social media can drive a considerable amount of traffic to a small business website. Check out what your competitors are doing on social media. What profiles do they have, and what are they posting on these profiles? If a competitor has a very active presence on social networks, this could be contributing to their rankings.
Google takes into account social signals and social network activity into their rankings algorithm. Analyze your own social media strategy and see where you can improve. If your competitors are there, you need to be there too!
See how you compare with an analysis of your social media profiles.
The bottom line is simple — offer a great user experience to improve your website’s rankings.