Any business would want to improve their search engine results page (SERP) ranking; it’s a proven way of attracting organic traffic and driving a company’s growth. So how can you ensure your site is sending out the right signals to each search algorithm, giving it the best possible chance of rising through the ranks into a coveted page one spot?

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Think about how speed influences your SERP position

Since 2010 Google has been using speed, or page load time, as a factor in how their search algorithm sorts results. Speed is not as important as the relevance of a page, but Google believe faster sites give users a more enjoyable experience and even reduce operating costs. If your bounce rate is high and your SERP ranking is low, speed could certainly be an issue, but there is a raft of tools available to help you fix the problem. Here are three of the best:

Yslow

The Exceptional Performance team at Yahoo has a list of 34 rules which can influence page speed. Yslow is an open source project which enables you to analyse your page based on 23 of these and receive a grade from the Yslow Ruleset Matrix. You’ll be provided with helpful statistics and suggestions for future improvements.

Firebug

As part of Firefox, Firebug is excellent way of monitoring activity on your network and finding out why your pages are taking too much time to load. This clever little add-on will also suggest methods of improving performance and tweaking the layout to maximise your pages.

Webpagetest

This optimisation and performance tool is available to users the world over and tests can be carried out in a few clicks. Once you’ve identified what’s wrong, head over to the forums for advice and tips from more experienced website managers.

Quality content is recognised as relevant by search engines

Users land on a site as a result of what they typed into a search engine, but if they’re unimpressed with what they find they click away just as fast. As a result, search engines reward sites that are relevant to the query and offer the user what they need. That’s why having a site filled with good quality content is a recognised way of boosting your SERP.
Always provide plenty of relevant information about your product or service and avoid the temptation to make it feel like a sales pitch. Assign keywords that relate to your work sparingly, constantly duplicated phases could be interpreted by Google algorithms as a subtle spam technique and your page ranking may suffer as a result.

Instead concentrate on giving solutions to the problems your customers may have and advice on your product or service. Links can also be included, but these should lead to authoritative sources and be regularly checked to ensure they’re still functioning.

Optimize your mobile-friendly site

Sites that are Optimized for use on mobile devices are now being marked more favorably by some search engines, including Google. Google’s motivation, as always, is improved user experience. The frustration of landing on the site you want, but not having the degree of utility you need to carry out certain actions is familiar to anyone who regularly uses a mobile device to browse the web.

If you’re unsure about how your site interacts with mobile users, Google developers have created a Mobile-Friendly Test which can analyse any URL and report on whether the design is indeed mobile-friendly. Then you can click over to their blog to read about creating great mobile-friendly sites and how any shortcomings could affect your SERP ranking.

Author bio: Hi there! I’m Tara Fagan from Tekfirst – a digital marketing agency offering services including SEO, web development & design. I have a keen interest in writing articles to help small business owners improve their websites’ performance and SERP rankings.