I'll tell you a secret, there's no trick or magic number that will help you out. Learning how to improve website ranking is just a case of learning how to put out content worthy of higher placement.
That's what Google wants to see, because it's what users want to see. Ever since Google made its Panda update in 2011, emphasis has been on quality content.
On top of that, since the Penguin update in 2012, SEO strategies that are aimed at artificially increasing rank (gaming the system) don't work, and ultimately get you punished with LOWER rankings.
How To Improve Website Ranking – What Still Works?
We know that we can't try to use some tricks to get higher rankings anymore, but that's actually a very good thing. A lot of the gamers have left the Internet. There's less competition, and it's easier for good content to get noticed. All you have to do is optimize your content a little bit to help it get found, then trust the search engines to do the work.
With that in mind, here are some of the things you should be concerned with in 2014.
1.) Use Long-Tail And Low Competition Keywords.
It's a big old Internet out there with billions of Internet searches taking place daily. In every niche there are people searching for very specific questions that you can answer. Find the questions, answer them, and get traffic.
Tip: How to research keywords.
2.) Forget About The Keywords Beyond The Title.
People seem to think there's some magic number of times a keyword should be inserted onto a page to get top rankings. They also seem to think that they should insert the keyword into meta descriptions and so on.
Perhaps this was true in the past, but not anymore. Remember, you're writing your content for users not search engines. Once a user has typed their query into Google and landed on your page, you don't need to remind them of their query every five sentences. They know it already.
Of course, you might naturally write the keyword or variants of it over the course of the article, and that’s perfectly fine.
3.) Share Your Content Socially.
Sharing content with social media circles has many benefits. You’ll get more exposure, you’ll get visitors, and if those visitors like what they see (they comment, read the whole article, click around on your site, re-share it etc), you’ll get some love from search engines too.
When an article is first published, it can take time for search engine spiders to find it (especially on a new site), so sharing with social circles is an excellent way of getting the ball rolling. The more people like your stuff, the more Google will. Simple.
4.) Encourage Comments.
Just like with social sharing, encouraging comments will have positive effects on your rankings. Google loves sites that have interaction and create engagement. Nobody wants to find a “dead” site where people just leave, they want to find a site with fresh, entertaining, and engaging content.
Create a discussion on your site and you’ll be surprised at how much of a boost your rankings will get. Don’t just encourage “nice site” type comments though, they have to contribute something to the debate.
5.) Add Media
“Media” (images, videos, infographics and so on) benefits the end user, and no surprise here, Google likes that.
Make your site more engaging by using videos where possible, images (at least one per page), and anything else that is necessary. Of course, find a balance, because if your site loads too slowly then that’s going to harm your rankings a lot more than benefit them.
I like to record videos and upload them to YouTube and Wistia, then embed them in posts. It increases the “time on page” that my visitors spend, and gives them something else to do other than read.
Often, adding a video will increase my rankings.
6.) Set Up Google Authorship
Having your site linked with your G+ profile tells Google exactly who is the author of the site. It might only be a small boost, but authorship contributes towards rankings, and can make the difference when it comes to Google “trusting” a site or not.
Rankings are a result of your site’s aggregate and overall rating, not just individual pages, so you want to do everything you can to demonstrate your worthiness.
7.) Keep Posting Consistent, High Quality Content
Just like I mentioned above, since Google’s Panda update the emphasis has been on quality content. Google no longer looks at individual pages, but at the overall rating of the site. The more high quality content you post on a consistent basis, the better.
You don’t need to post every day or even every other day, twice a week is enough if that’s all you can do. Just be consistent.
8.) Link To Your Content From Your Other Content
Sites that have a good interlinking structure tend to enjoy higher rankings. They are easier to navigate, have a higher “pages per visit” count, and serve more information to their users.
By interlinking, I mean you link between your posts. An example is further up this page where I link to one of my other pages on “how to research keywords”. It’s useful to users, and Google will notice that too.
9.) Forget About Your Rankings
Finally, it’s hard to do, but you need to stop focusing on your rankings (especially if it’s effecting your mood and motivation). Hitting refresh or Googling your site every few hours to see if your rankings have gone up or down isn't going to get you anywhere.
New sites and new posts on sites tend to go through what’s known as “The Google Dance”, where they move up and down for a week or two while Google finds the best spot for them (they can still fluctuate for months though). This can be pretty exciting and disappointing to watch, and ultimately leads a lot of people insane.
The worst thing is, you might think you've done something wrong when your rankings go down, or you might think your strategy isn't working and give up.
The hardest thing about writing online is that you often have to wait months before you know if what you are doing is working, and that’s the sad truth.
The sooner you can get over this point, accept it, and just get on with adding good content to your site, the sooner you will notice that your rankings have gone up since you last looked (which hopefully, was at least a week before).
10.) Encourage Return Visits
If people are returning to your site, that’s only going to be a good thing. Encourage return visits by publishing regularly, and maybe even doing a “series” of posts with multiple parts, or posting the same category every Tuesday (for example). Here's the first part of a series I did before.
Additionally, by using an email program like Aweber and collecting subscribers, you can share new updates and posts with them, further encouraging return visitors and engagement.
To learn more about increasing rankings and creating quality content, I encourage you to join me at Wealthy Affiliate, the online business community. WA is the place I linked you to earlier to learn more about Google Authorship. It's a huge community full of useful training.