You know how important it is to rank as high as possible in search engines if you’re running a website. Your SEO ranking is the main determining factor when it comes to how much traffic you’re going to see on your site.
If your website isn’t fully optimized for SEO, internet users won’t see it in search results. Search engines tend to overlook non-optimized websites, so the more you optimize, the more you’ll make your brand visible.
Your site might appear high in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords and phrases, resulting in more traffic. Ranking higher in search engines is paramount for digital businesses today. Search engines like Google rank your website based on the content it contains.
Since quality content is the core of every fully optimized and functional website, let’s see how search engines rank websites, why ranking matters, and what you can do to make your website more searchable.
Why is it important for websites to rank high?
Internet users tend to trust top-grade websites ranking high in search engines. Top results on Google are the most reputable and authoritative sources for information.
Every search engine uses a ranking algorithm to browse the web and find the most trustworthy websites. That is why having quality content matters so much.
SEO-friendly websites rank higher in search engines, helping a business in many ways, such as:
- Increasing business authenticity and presenting a brand as authoritative and trustworthy;
- Saving resources on getting the necessary exposure and organic traffic rather than relying on paid ads;
- Increasing lead generation and conversion rates through more organic traffic;
- Getting higher ranking and more traffic through backlinks and referrals pointing to your website;
- Better user/customer experience due to presenting visitors with the most relevant content.
How SEO benefits your business is a topic that deserves an article on its own, but it’s enough to say that your business website can’t function without search engine optimization.
How are sites ranked?
No one knows how exactly Google uses its search algorithm, but it’s clear that it relies on your content and website information to provide the necessary online exposure.
That is why websites need regular optimization. It essentially helps with two vital things – crawlability and indexability. Both are critical elements for ranking higher in SERPs.
Crawlability refers to how SEO-friendly your website is. The more crawlable your website is, the easier it is for search engines to access and crawl its content.
If search engine crawlers are constantly running into dead pages and broken links, your website will hardly make it to the first page. Web crawlers are those in charge of assessing how crawlable your website is.
So, what is a web crawler?
It’s a program search engines use to systematically browse the web, looking for the latest web pages and new data to add to the search index.
If a crawler encounters too many broken links and dead ends, it won’t accurately crawl, download, and index your website, resulting in poor ranking in SERPs.
Indexability refers to Google’s ability to crawl and browse the pages on your website, analyze the content they contain, and add your website to its index. The more web pages Google’s index contains, the more visible your website is. If you want to learn more, you can read the article here.
Ways to make your site crawler-friendly
If you want to make your website more crawlable, start by checking your navigation. Sites with clear navigation are easier to crawl and index. Make sure you set your web page hierarchy from broad to narrow.
It’s best to categorize your pages in the following order:
- High-level category pages should go first;
- Sub-category pages should follow;
- Individual pages should be last.
URL structures should be engine-friendly and easy to read. Short and to-the-point URLs are easy to memorize.
Be sure to include the most relevant information about your brand/products/services in the high-level category pages. Sub-category pages should contain general information about individual products/services, and the individual pages should focus on local SEO.
Product category pages and service pages play a crucial role in your SEO. They can increase your ranking, but only if they contain the right keywords and phrases and have clearly-coded navigation with fully functional links.
Sitemaps are vital for frictionless navigation. The sitemap.xml files are critical to indexing as many web pages on your website as possible. To rank for the most relevant keywords in your market, you should index the content and website elements, such as videos, PDFs, images, and pages.
Make sure you reduce static pages, unindexed files, and frames to a minimum and replace the AJAX script with clean-coded HTML.
While these tips can help make your website more crawlable and searchable, keep in mind that the game of SEO is constantly changing and advancing. What works today will probably become ineffective tomorrow.