'Free' ways to increase your website's search engine rankings

Even if you pay lots of money to an SEO company, there isn’t a 100% guaranteed method to get your website to rank high on search engines, but there are some things you can do to help increase your rankings.

Start off by listing your business with https://www.google.co.nz/business/befound.html  Make sure you include basic information about your business and be as detailed as possible in each section. For example, give your complete phone number, address, business description, keywords, hours of operation, etc. You can further improve rankings by adding photos and asking for reviews of your business. Add yourself to Google Plus – Google is the most popular search engine by far.
Quality content.  The best way to get people to link to your site is to provide useful content. Lots of good articles, for instance, (like the one you're reading now), can be a great way to add quality content to your website.

Your website is a working document and should be treated as such.  It doesn't matter if you are a large corporation or a one-person business, if you never change or add to the content, then your rankings could start to drop. This is because a static (non-changing) website could make your company appear as if it has gone out of business.  Keeping your website content fresh and up-to-date is key. New content can be achieved by adding the occasional Testimonial or by making regular Blog posts. Fresh content will also encourage visitors to keep returning to your website.
Create quality backlinks.  Backlinks are when another website links to your website or a page within your website. It works in your favour if the website is one that gets more hits than yours does.

List your website with free local online directories.  The more links you have from other websites to yours, the higher your search engine rankings will be. Listing your website with various local online directories will help do this. You may receive a phone call or two from the directories asking you to upgrade to their payment plan, but this is not necessary, as you are only interested in the link to your site.
Create links from other websites to yours by making genuine posts on industry relevant Blogs.  For example, if you are a plumber, you could comment on a kitchen, bathroom or building trade Blog.  Make sure you always include your website address at the end of your comment… but be careful not to spam!
Do NOT spam!  Spamming comment sections and other website’s Blogs will actually make Google and other search engines dock you severely or remove you entirely. Do not spam people to build backlinks for yourself. Search engines will also punish you if your name is attached to spamming complaints or if you operate your website anonymously.   Important - Never participate on any kind of link exchange with other sites which may lead to a ban from search engines
Keep your content original.  When making a Blog post, write your own content.  Publishing duplicate content is a sure-fire way to ensure that your rankings plummet. 
Add videos to your website. Search Engine spiders love videos!  YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
Do the Social Media thing. Set up a business page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest.  You don't need to have a presence on all of these if you don't want to.  Just choose one or two and concentrate on these. Making the right social media choice can be hugely beneficial to your business by attracting a quality target audience.  Update your social media pages regularly, avoid being spammy!  Post pictures of customers testimonials (make sure you get their permission first), promote upcoming events you are running, talk about training or seminars you have attended which relate to your business, add cool photos of industry awards you have won, along any other content your followers might enjoy.  Occasionally add links to various pages of your website, especially if you have an e-commerce website.  Try to keep your posts light, friendly and fun. Too much 'business' stuff can become a bit dull.  Ask questions, run competitions - the aim is to get your followers to interract with you and even better, share your posts with others.
Occasionally check your website links to make sure they are working.  There's nothing more frustrating for a visitor to your site not being able to access a particular page or information.
Add Google Analytics coding to your website.  This helps Search Engine spiders 'find' your website.  (Your website designer should be able to do this for you.)
Search Engine ‘spiders’ cannot see images
, so make sure the images on your website have text behind them.  (Your website designer should be able to do this for you.)
Add keywords to your website which are relevant to your business.  (Your website designer should be able to do this for you.)
Add page title tags and page descriptions
to each page of your website (usually a maximum of 30 words per page). (Your website designer should be able to do this for you.)

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. More importantly, be patient as it can take months, sometimes years, before you start ranking for competitive terms and many of the above suggestions will need to be on-going in order to be really effective.


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