How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in Google

Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in Google
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Much is written about SEO (search engine optimization) and there are many firms that specialize in optimizing websites. There are also some simple steps that you can incorporate into your own website or WordPress blog with very little effort. Steve Hippel may have summed it up best in a guest post that he wrote for my blog: SEO Should Be A Habit Not A Headache.  Since I’m often asked what can be done to get your website to rank higher in the search engine results, I’ve put together this short list of articles (from my blog) to help you get started. As always, feel free to interact in the comment section and share your best tips and suggestions too.

4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog

This is one of the earlier articles that I wrote on SEO but it has become my go-to resource to direct people to when they ask me “How can I get my website found on Google?

For those of you in a rush, the four tips are:

1) The Title of your Blog Post

2) Meta Description Tags

3) Formatting Text as Headings

4) Optimize your Images

Google Authorship and SEO

A more recent guest post written by Stuart Henry is “What Google Authorship Means for SEO”. You won’t find a how-to on verifying your Google Authorship or getting the Rel=Author tag to work on your site in this article but Stuart does build a case for setting up your Google authorship. Not everyone agrees though and there’s a friendly discussion going on in the comment section. Personally, I believe it’s helped me a lot.

Although it’s not conclusive proof, comparing my Google Analytics based on the period from when I first set up the rel=author (compared to the corresponding prior time period), the number of visits that I received from organic searches has increased by 95%. I’m sure there are other contributing factors but I didn’t consciously make any significant changes to my SEO strategy. It certainly hasn’t hurt me.

(Look for an article from me on how to setup Google Authorship in the near future.)

SEO Tips for E-Commerce Websites

If you have an e-commerce website, and you missed Meghan Wolff’s article “Top 8 White Hat SEO Tips for E-Commerce Websites”, you may want to check it out.

For those of you in a rush, the eight tips are:

1) Use META Tags

2) Incorporate Relevant Keywords

3) Create Clear, Descriptive URLs

4) Write Meaningful Anchor Text

5) Know How to Build Backlinks

6) Always Interlink Between Pages

7) Write Image Descriptions

8) Update your Content

Of course, anyone interested in SEO would benefit from incorporating Meghan’s tips and they’re all things that you can do with a little effort and as Steve suggests, repeat until it becomes a habit.

What are your thoughts? It’s true that Google is always adjusting their algorithms and no one wants to rely on any one source of traffic.  We need referral and direct traffic as well. Organic search traffic is free and with a little effort (and no financial investment), it is possible to optimize your site well enough that you will get more traffic. Now, keeping your website visitors and converting them into customers and clients is the next step but hopefully, a little SEO will at least help get more eyes on your website.

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

53 thoughts on “How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in Google”

  1. I’m still new when it comes to SEO especially when there are a lot of web terms I’m trying to grasp. In every way possible, whatever suggestion and tips provided, I’ll do my best to implement it on my website. I guess the learning process never stops and at least for now, I can see some improvements. At the moment, I’m using a different content platform just to find out how things work. I hope I don’t sound negative in any way, but wordpress is still too technical for my understanding.

    By the way, thanks for the helpful tips especially on the related links that brings it a step further. The concept that is explained clears up a lot of misconception I had earlier.

    1. Hi Jeremy,
      Thanks for letting me know that you found my tips helpful. WordPress does not have to be technical. It actually can be explained very simply and it’s one of the easier CMS (content management systems) that are available today. It is also very powerful.

      A big advantage to building your site in WordPress is that you can easily control and move your website. Whereas, if you use a proprietary software system to build your site, there’s a good chance that you can’t move your site in the future and you’re faced with either staying with them or rebuilding your site from scratch.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Top 6 SEO and Social Media How-To Posts of 2012My Profile

  2. This is a superb compilation of articles and knowledge. In the ever changing world of SEO, I don’t know what I’d do without you and your blog. Looking forward to your post on Google authorship. I tried playing with this once before but had a conflict…
    Happy New Year Sherryl!

    1. Hi Keyuri,
      I’m glad you liked this post and that overall you find my blog valuable. I think there are a lot of simple steps that bloggers can take to improve SEO without obsessing over it. I remember when I first started using heading tags and making sure that the headings included the keywords that I wanted to optimize for. That one simple change made a noticeable difference in my traffic from organic searches. I did post the how-to article about establishing Google authorship and setting up the rel=”author” tag. So far, a few people have let me know that they were able to set it up on their sites. I think it would be valuable for you. After seeing the video of you on TV, I’m beginning to appreciate how much of an authority on parenting you really are.

      Happy New Year to you too!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How To Set up Google Authorship & the Rel=Author TagMy Profile

  3. While I don’t know what Sherryl’s time frame was, I can testify to similar results – I hadn’t performed any SEO work, or even updated my social networks, in 2 months, and yet after adding Authorship verification to my posts each of them jump a full PR level up. Of course it could just be timing or coincidence, but with no backlinks for 2 months I’m fairly confident that the PR boost was due in no small part to adding the rel=”author” attributes.

    1. Hi Nathan,
      Thanks for letting us know that you benefited from adding Authorship too. It makes a difference and I just wrote that article I promised on how to establish it. I have not noticed an increase in my page rank yet but I was just alerted to an issue on my site related to “Replytocom URL’s” that was causing my blog to leak a lot of link juice. Thankfully, a reader alerted me to the issue when he noticed that after leaving a comment, he received 47 backlinks from that page! (I honestly had never heard of replytocom issues before.) I believe I’ve solved the issue now. So, hopefully, with that resolved, I can eek out a higher rank. BTW – expect to see a post about my replytocom issue at some point. If it affected me, it affects others too.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Change a WordPress Theme and Keep your SEO Meta Tag DataMy Profile

  4. So far I am using blogger, and I am trying to use or follow this useful techniques.
    1. I and my team are planning to build back links in its naturally way, such as submitting original contents to trusted article syndication sites/article directories; submitting relevant contents to social bookmarking sites and commenting to blog posts naturally. Everyday, I browsed for information about SEO tips and/or making money topics, so, I should interact in the comment system before leaving!

    2. Keywords – am really doing my best to use keywords effectively as well as a regular update like posting daily…

    Anyway, thank you for this helpful post.

    1. It sounds like you’re well on your way to driving traffic to your site Prime. One of the habits that I always recommend that my clients develop is to track the different strategies that you implement. That way, if you see either an increase or decrease in your website traffic, you should have a good idea of what you did that affected it.

      Next week, I’m publishing a 2-part article that Meghan Wolff wrote for me called the “The Ultimate Guide to Generating Backlinks”. I hope you come back and hopefully, you’ll find it helpful.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tracking Changes to Your Website Blog and Social Media StrategyMy Profile

  5. Hi Sherryl,
    Thank you for the tips and I really want to know how to Improve my website ranking in Google. You help me to organize it more than before and give me more knowledge on
    ”SEO Tips for E-Commerce Websites”
    3) Create Clear, Descriptive URLs
    7) Write Image Descriptions

    I want to know more about soon.


    1. Hi Abdulrahman,
      WordPress now defaults to using your blog title as the URL for your article. (You’ll see that the URL for this page is the title of my post.) So, writing a clear descriptive keyword rich title will help with SEO. For example, in the title of this post, I’ve incorporated the keywords SEO, website, rank and Google.

      One thing to keep in mind when writing your title is that search engines do not handle special characters well. Therefore, if your title includes characters like “&” or apostrophes, you’re very likely to have something like %20% showing up in your URL. My theme has a field for “Custom Title Tag” which I use to enter my title without characters. If you don’t have a similar field in your theme, you can edit the permalink. Ideally, you would want to do that before you published your post.

      As for writing image descriptions. keep in mind that search engines do not “see” images. That’s why it’s very important to fill out the meta-tag information for media such as photos, graphics and video. You may find this article that I wrote helpful:

    1. I’d be happy to share some examples of meaningful anchor text Dipo. In this article for example, the 4 hyperlinks are using the titles of articles as the “anchor text”. Each title contains relative keywords. So, they make appropriate links. Instead of the title “SEO Should Be A Habit Not A Headache”, I could have written a sentence around the anchor text “SEO tips” and still linked to the same article. (I hope that helps.)
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

      1. Thank you for your explanation and the example.
        Sometimes I little bit confuse in how to use anchor text and keywords because I heard that Google will penalize if the use of that two thing too often, is it true? What about other search engine? Do they have same policy, too? I wonder!

        1. Search engines will penalize you for keyword stuffing. As a general rule, I try to make sure that the content makes sense to my readers. I think of it as a conversation. We don’t normally repeat words when we’re talking. So, I apply that logic to my writing.

          I don’t generally do keyword research when I’m writing an article but if I do get the sense that I’m overusing a keyword, I’ll go to Google’s external keyword tool and search on those words. It lets me know what people are searching on and I can usually find other related keywords that I can use (in addition to my main keyword). Bottom line, it has to make sense to the person reading it.

          1. Great advice! Thank you very much. I learn something from our conversation, especially about how to use keyword and anchor text. I must said without doubt that you enriched my knowledge not just about what we have discuss but on how to write for people.
            Thank you.

  6. I do not know how to optimize image is there any related post written by you please refer the same. I am trying to authorize my website for past 3months but nothing happened it is a dream now for me. Kindly help me with that and I am not getting much social media likes and share on my website. What should I do? Please suggest me on the same.

    1. Vandhana

      I think you’ll find this post on optimizing photos and graphics helpful:

      As for Google Authorship, I intend to write a how-to post on that topic but I haven’t yet. The problem is that I haven’t found a one-size-fits-all solution. There are so many variable that come into play. I found the solution that worked for me here: Not only has Robert Dempsey created a plugin, he walks you through it step-by-step. Hopefully, it will work for you too.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Google Authorship Means for SEOMy Profile

  7. Title and meta description must be written well and must include your main keywords. Content of the page should also be optimized and interlinked using relevant anchors. These are good practices to rank your site well. Don’t forget to use alt text for Images.

  8. The title of a post is sometimes a toss up for me. I see people recommend a good SEO keyword title or phrase, and others recommend a good eye catching title. I don’t spend a lot of time with keyword research, but sometimes a little more than other posts. Usually I ask myself what would I or the average person enter in a search to find this. Then, I might mess with a few variations of it.
    Ray recently posted..How To Get Backlinks From ForumsMy Profile

    1. Hi Ray,
      Your approach seems similar to mine. I do try to focus on at least one keyword in the title. Asking yourself what the average person would search on, is a good start. I don’t usually do a lot of keyword research but sometimes I do and I’m usually surprised by what I find.

  9. In the process of building an author-platform, I’ve realized I am actually starting to like learning more about the nitty-gritty aspects of websites. It’s too bad though that on most days my brain feels like it’s on overload from trying to process all this great information that bloggers like you provide.
    Jeri recently posted..Author Interview: Anne AllenMy Profile

  10. Hi Sherryl: I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned thru my SEO training with you and others is that I’ve got to avoid being too cute with my post titles. As a writer, it’s in my nature to come up with creative titles for my posts. But that doesn’t help me with the search engines as they have no idea what I’m thinking about when I wrote that! So, now I try to keep my titles shorter and more to the point. I hope that will help my SEO rankings and help more people find my blogs.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..friendshipMy Profile

    1. Doreen,
      You’ve made a lot of progress on optimizing your sites for the search engines and I’m confident that you will start noticing more traffic from organic searches.

      As for writing titles, you can use up to 70 characters (including spaces) and I’m inclined to take advantage of that. I figure that as long as the title is still appealing to my readers, it doesn’t hurt to make it lengthy. Take this article for example. I played around with several versions until I decided on this one. Even though this article isn’t specifically about Google and SEO, Google is mentioned. Since it’s the #1 search engine, I decided to include it as a tag, keyword and part of my post title.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Why You Should Be Your Own Google Analytics Ninja and 4 Steps To Do It – Part 1My Profile

  11. That is great Sherryl that setting up re rel=author. The one thing I find a little frustrating is quite a number of visitor searchers are secure searches so you don’t know the keywords they used. You can draw an educated guess but you lose the longtail words.

    Due to the ever increasing changes especially the recent ones re links do you see that getting back links will fall out of favour?
    Susan Oakes recently posted..Could You Do The Opposite To Get New Customers?My Profile

    1. I share your frustration Susan. If you were to look at my GA, you would think the majority of my searches were for customer service. I’ve only written a couple of articles with those keywords and it’s basically one article that seems to have scored on it. My educated guesses come from looking at the most popular content. I certainly wish I had better data.

      I have to admit that I haven’t done a lot of research on back links and I tend to rely on them happening organically. Other than commenting on CommentLuv blogs and submitting some pages to Pingler (after commenting), I really don’t have a strategy for backlinking.

      I reached out to Meghan Wolff to see if she would be interested in writing a guest post on the topic. This is definitely something that I should educate myself on.

  12. It seems as soon as you learn something Sherryl they change it 🙂
    I think the hardest thing for me on the retail websites is to get backlinks. Even with blogging, because the niche is narrow it takes longer. I found it easier to get backlinks to my blog on a topic that is wide vs the narrow ones. I’ve just started using more of the H2 and H3 heading, they make it easier on the reader.
    I wonder how SEO compares to PPC programs. Probably much more costly but time is money too.
    Lisa recently posted..Can You Start An Online Business Only Knowing Text And Email?My Profile

    1. Lisa,
      I’m a big advocate of PPC advertising although there is a learning curve and you need to stay on top of your campaigns. It’s very easy to spend a lot of money quickly without achieving the results that you desire.

      I recently wrote a 3-part series on Google AdWords for the Business Knowledge Share group on Linkedin. Anyone interested in reading it can access it here: (This is a member only group.)

      My opinion is that if you carefully hone PPC ads to reach targeted customers who are ready to buy, your chances of making a conversion is good. With the right keywords,, you can target your ads to people who are searching on keywords that reflect buyer-intent. Relying solely on SEO, you’re bound to get visitors in research mode.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

  13. Thanks, Sheryl, you always have information that teaches me and that I can put to good use on my website/blog.

  14. As always , a really helpful post Sherryl. You also answered my question as to what H2 headings are, in the link to your former post. It always comes up when I do my Yoast SEO check & up to now I have just ignored it. I will now give it a go.
    Thanks so much Sherryl 🙂
    A.K.Andrew recently posted..Receiving a Sunshine Award for BloggingMy Profile

  15. Sherryl, these are all great tips. One that is not emphasized in this post is incoming links (it seems to get a mention as backlinks in the ecommerce section). You can have great on-page SEO but no or few incoming links. There are many posts on that topic, but it is one that shouldn’t be ignored in thinking about SEO.
    Leora recently posted..Print a Web Page with CSSMy Profile

    1. Thanks for the reminder Leora. Backlinks are important. That would be a good topic for another article, possibly a guest post by someone who has a successful strategy for backlinking. 🙂

  16. Interesting stats on the increase on the rel=author change Sherryl. I agree I think you have to try something, and draw your own conclusions on if it works for you or not.

    It’s something that I must get sorted out myself, I’ve attempted to set it up in various ways a few times, but without success. I’ve obviously broken something somewhere 😉

    I’ve just put it in the ‘deal with that later’ basket for now. I’ll have to come back and read that post of yours when you write it and see if you can’t whip me into shape 🙂

    1. I tried writing that post once before Jackie and abandoned it. 🙂 The problem is that every situation is unique. I tried setting it up myself and ran into errors. Then I was successful but I wish I had taken screenshots while I was doing it. (At least, I don’t remember taking screenshots. I should check. That would make it easier to write the article.)

      1. That so funny Sherryl 🙂 If you’re anything like me you probably have taken shots, and put them somewhere “safe” 🙂

      2. That so funny Sherryl 🙂 If you’re anything like me you probably have taken shots, and put them somewhere “safe” for future reference, only to have them disappear into the black hole of the hard drive 🙂

  17. Ah, the never ending battle and discussion on how to improve an SEO score. The fact is, it will never really end because it is constantly changing. All of the suggestions mentioned above will help. The most important thing is to keep it up and to stay aware of any trends and corrective actions needed to continue whatever trends we are seeking to achieve. I am constantly learning. Because of all your suggestions, (which are many) I am able to continue to improve. 🙂 I am very grateful for that. 🙂

    1. Hi Susan,
      It is a never ending battle. That’s good that you’re learning and keeping SEO in mind. A lot of the really simple things like meta-tags, optimizing images and using headings can make a real difference. It’s so easy to just get in the habit of incorporating those steps into your blogging. As always, thanks for dropping by. 🙂

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