10 Google Hacks to Improve Your Search Rank for Free
Updated (originally posted on )
Money alone can’t buy Google rank, but with a little time and strategy you can improve your position on the search engine results page (SERP) without spending a dime. Here are 10 free ways to improve your Google search rank.
- Improve your website’s user experience. According to a study on ranking factors by SEMrush, the top four ranking factors are website visits, time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate. All four of those are directly related to the experience your website is providing your users. It’s pretty simple: If your website is easy and enjoyable to use and offers valuable information, you’ll get more visitors, who will stay longer on your site and visit more pages, and that will improve your search rank.
- Write great content optimized for SEO. Having high-quality content on your website is one of the best ways to increase traffic and improve your search rank. In fact, in a recent poll of marketing professionals, 57% said on-page content development was the most effective SEO tactic. Make sure your content is mistake-free, keyword-rich, mobile-optimized, written to address the specific needs of your target audience, and includes valuable links to additional internal and external content.
- Get more backlinks. Backlinks—links from other sites to yours—are one of the most heavily weighted Google ranking factors. Incoming links to your website content from high-authority domains show your site’s authority, bring in traffic, and improve your search ranking.
- Improve your page speed. Google began using mobile page speed as a ranking factor in July, and while it said the “speed update” will only affect a small percentage of sites, it’s still a good idea to make sure your site is as fast as possible—both to improve your search rank and provide a good user experience.
- Fix broken links. Having quality links on your website is one of the best ways to boost traffic and establish the authority of your site, but links that bring up a 404 error hurt both your user experience and your search rank. Use a tool like BrokenLinkCheck or Dead Link Checker to find any broken links.
- Optimize your images. Optimizing your images is crucial to boosting the speed of your site and making it easier for Google to identify the images on your web pages. Make sure all your website images are compressed, have descriptive filenames, and include alt text.
- Use H1 and H2 header tags. Not only do headers make your content more readable and easier to understand for humans and search engines alike, there is a strong correlation between Google search rank and the use of header tags in the body of your content. Header tags are also a great way to show the structure of your content and emphasize your key points.
- Optimize for local search. More and more people are using their smartphones to search for businesses “near me.” To improve your chances of having your business show up in relevant local searches, make sure you claim your Google My Business listing, provide relevant content in Google Posts, get your business listed in local directories, and improve your online reputation with great online reviews.
- Optimize for voice search. According to a study by Perficient, voice search is no longer growing, but more than 60% of people surveyed still said voice search is their preferred method of asking questions on their smartphone. Make sure those voice searches find your business by incorporating likely voice search phrases into your website content—be sure to use full sentences phrased in a natural conversational style rather than single keywords.
- Aim for “position zero.” When a user asks a question in Google Search, Google sometimes pulls content from a relevant website and displays it in a special featured snippet or answer box above the #1 search result. Getting content into a featured snippet is a great way to increase traffic (snippets include a link to the page where the content came from), as well as boost the credibility and visibility of your brand. To increase your chances of having your content selected as a featured snippet by Google, think of likely searches related to your business and pepper your site with clear, authoritative answers.