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A website is an essential tool for any business. And while the aesthetics of a website can vary greatly, there are foundational elements critical to a site ranking well on search engines. If you’ve been trying to decipher the complicated SEO tips found online, read on for a better understanding. 

Let’s face it; 93% of all online experiences begin on a search engine. If 70-80% of internet users ignore paid ads, and 73% of users never scroll to page two of search results, getting to the first page is critical to growth.

Seven SEO Tips to Improve Search Ranking Locally

  1. Mobile-friendly: Websites should be optimized to work well on mobile devices. Not only is it essential for creating a positive user experience, but Google also ranks mobile-friendly (or responsive) websites higher in search results. Partly this is because more than half of internet searches are made on mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors are five times more likely to leave. And you don’t want that.
  2. Secure: Ah, security. When it comes to the internet, you can never have enough of it. And having a website that is deemed safe provides much-needed peace of mind to visitors. That’s why Google considers websites with SSL certificates more trustworthy than sites without it. Take the time to ensure your website has an SSL certificate. Not sure if your site is secure? Look for the lock icon next to your URL at the top of your search bar. If you see it, you are good. If you don’t, it is time to get one. 
  3. Unique copy: Website copy should never be scraped from others, including your vendors – even with their permission. Duplicate content generally refers to website copy that completely matches or is similar to the text on another domain. Let’s get real; websites are going to have duplicate content. Often this content is nonmalicious. Sometimes, however, companies borrow or even steal content from other websites. Google doesn’t know your intention and ranks pages with unique information above others. Identify and fix any duplicate content on your site. 
  4. Quality content: Google prefers websites that have well-written, high-quality, and clear content. SEO copywriting refers to writing content that is designed for the user, not the search engine. It should provide significant value to the user by being both informative and engaging. From a user perspective, the content should also be free of spelling and grammatical errors. And do yourself a favor, don’t stuff keywords into your copy. Google can recognize this a mile away, and it will only hurt your ranking. 
  5. Blog: Search engines like to deliver content that is fresh, meaningful, and answers the query. Each blog is a unique page on your website. This means a blog provides additional opportunities for your content to rank on the top of search results. Blog frequency will vary based on your goals, time, and team size. Your blog should provide answers to questions people are asking. Answer the Public is an excellent tool for identifying questions and inspiring potential blog posts. 
  6. Adequate page speed: You have around three seconds for your website to load. If it takes longer, the chances are that visitors will leave. Evaluate your page speed with Google’s Page Speed Insights and make recommended changes. Some recommendations typically include optimizing images to ensure they are not larger than necessary, reducing redirects, optimizing your code, and enabling file compression.
  7. Tags: Tags, including meta tags, provide information about the content on the page. This helps search engines properly index your site and pair queries with relevant webpages. In the event of duplicate content, tags also tell search engines which URLs to pay attention to and which to ignore. The most critical tags include title tags, meta description tags, image alt tags, heading tags, nofollow link tags, and canonical tags. 

The idea of changing your website may seem daunting and quite scary. Thankfully, there are tools you can incorporate to simplify the process. If you have a WordPress website, you can add Yoast or Moz plugins to help identify areas needing improvement. Alternatively, you can hire an SEO marketing expert to do the work for you. Either way, take the time to implement these seven SEO tips. Your business depends on it.