You have a website that looks great on mobile, tablet and desktop screens. But for some reason, your website is stuck on page 5 of Google and your traffic analytics seem frozen with inactivity. The one question you keep asking yourself is:
How do I make my website rank in 2021?
Grab that cup of coffee, get cozy and let’s dive in.
This is the number one question we get asked. While the nuances of SEO change from year-to-year, there are some tactics that continue to get results.
5 ways to make your website rank on Google
These are our top 5 tactics when performing onsite SEO for our clients:
1) Use keywords in headings
This is the most common mistake we see in under-performing websites. If this article had a title of “Make your site get to the top”, search engines wouldn’t be able to connect it with people looking for SEO strategies. Heading or “H” tags are responsible for telling search engines the topic of your page. Using words directly related to the topic of your page will greatly increase your organic search performance.
2) Add alt/title attributes to all images
With the help of machine learning and AI, search engines become smarter every day. They one thing they still cannot do – at least for now – is look at pixels in an image and understand the composition. They rely on alt and title tags to “see” your images. Be sure to include keywords in alt and title tags, but don’t “stuff” unrelated or repetitive words. We have seen some sites where keyword stuffing has had a negative impact on search placement.
3) Content quality and quantity
Another big issue we see is the lack of content per page. Search engines – Google in particular – like to see a minimum of 600 words per page. To give you some reference, up to the end of this sentence there are 372 words. This minimum exists for a few reasons:
- To demonstrate knowledge of the topic
- Give search engines enough variation to determine context
- Get a higher keyword count without overloading keyword density
That being said, we have been able to get pages with 350 words to rank 1 or 2. This has more to do with the quality of the content and search competition. For instance, if you’re the only chiropractor in your market, you won’t need as much content to rank for “spinal adjustment”.
4) Related keyword usage
This is a strategy we’ve had a lot of success with in 2020 and will continue in 2021. Let’s say you own a bakery. Of course you want to rank for things like cake, cookies, etc. But consider using other keywords like homemade or custom birthday cakes. The cheap and easy way to find related keywords is:
- Go to > Bing Search
- Type your keyword into the search bar and hit enter
- Scroll to the bottom of the page to find “Related Keywords”
These are mostly popular searches related to your keyword and the results may not always fit your business. If you want to get really serious about keyword research, there are some powerful (paid) tools out there to help you with keyword planning and research.
5) Page speed
We know… you’re tired of hearing this one. BUT – there’s a lot of data showing how page speed affects rank on Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
We recommend starting with image compression. There are a lot of great options out there but we’re only going to list our two favorites:
- ShortPixel – We use this on all of our client sites. The interface is easy to use, and the plugin gives us a lot of control over compression type, image quality, etc.
- Ewww Image Optimizer – This is a fantastic free option if you only have a handful of images on your site that need optimizing. Again, a simple interface with great support.
Next on the list is a good caching plugin. Click here to learn about website caching. There are hundreds of plugins in the WordPress repository for this, but most are difficult to use. Most users are looking for a set it and forget it type of plugin. Here are a few that we strongly recommend:
- Autoptimize – this is a great, easy-to-use plugin with a very simple interface. It uses everyday language to help you understand what you’re doing
- WP Super Cache – another great option that is currently #1 in the WordPress plugin repository for cache plugins
- W3 Total Cache – a powerful (and popular) plugin, but we’ve found the language and interface to be confusing for many of the options
If you’re running a WordPress website, you’ve probably heard that your theme or page builder can affect page speed. While this can be true, it’s not likely a large factor. All major theme and page builder devs understand the importance of SEO. Every theme and page builder dev will take steps to make their product as fast and smooth as possible. At Bryckroad, we have used Elementor, Divi, Avada and have managed to get grade A speed scores using all three. For themes, we’ve used Hello, Generate Press, Astra and many others – all achieving grade A performance scores.
Bottom line, if you’re using a reputable theme, especially one that offers premium membership options, page speed won’t be affected much.
Bonus Pro Tip
Before you go installing a bunch of plugins on your website for SEO, we suggest you head over to Web.dev to see how your site holds up. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, create a plan to address the problem areas of your site.