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7 easy ways to improve your Google ranking for free

Updated: Oct 27, 2023


Content. If you're wondering how to improve your Google ranking for free, it's your content and copy you need to be looking at first of all.

A ladder against a wall, hinting at the climbing necessary to improve your Google ranking
The real Search Engine Results Page ladder in all its glory

Okay, I admit saying it is easier than doing it. You might have a lot of content on your website already.

But your content really is your foundation for everything else you want your website to do for you.

So:

Do you use all the right keywords in all the right places?


Do you write for your reader – not just for search engines?


Are your alt-tags, metadata, and links up to snuff?

Let's find out.

First of all though, a major disclaimer and warning:


Increasing your Google ranking will not happen instantly

You will not immediately see massive changes in the amount of organic traffic your website is generating. You will not suddenly be flying high in the top three spots on most Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Any content writing agency that promises an “instant” fix is probably not being truthful with you.

That's just the way the Internet and search engines (currently) work.

That said, there are plenty of fairly simple things you can do to increase your SEO ranking for free.


What is the difference between content and copy?

Let's start by defining what we're talking about. Copy and content are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but they kind of mean different things:


Content

Web content tends to be longer-form. The classic example is a blog post. Content is usually designed to:

  • Educate

  • Explain

  • Establish trust (and your expertise)

Copy

Web copy tends to be shorter-form. Good examples would be a landing page, service page, or Google Ad. Copy is normally written to:

  • Persuade

  • Sell

  • Raise awareness

That said, "copy" is also newspaper-speak for words on the page. It's not uncommon to hear people talk about "the copy" and simply mean the writing.


How to improve your web content

There are a few simple ways you can start to improve your Google ranking by working on your content (most of them are relevant to all web copy):


1) Make sure your content is relevant (to your human audience)

Woman pulling sunglasses down because she's seen something relevant - key to getting a higher search engine ranking
"I pulled my sunglasses all the way down for this. It had better be good."

Who are you writing this blog post for? Who is the copy on the pages of your website for?

Google and other search engines, sure. But who is actually going to read them?


Always, always write for the human eye.

You are aiming at an audience of some subset of humans somewhere. Preferably, ones who may eventually want to buy goods and/or services from you.

For instance, this article is aimed at “people who want their website to get them more customers and need to know how to get a better Google ranking to do it”.


It aims to give them (by which I mean you) some basic knowledge as to how to go about doing this.

If you already focus on your audience when you're writing copy and content, well done.

But you might be surprised how easy it is to lose sight of this when you're trying to remember all the other things you need to do with your content to get a better SEO ranking.


2) Show Google how relevant your content is (with SEO)

Okay, you've made sure your content is pleasant to read and that it gives your visitors the information they want.


If it's more in the line of copy, maybe it also guides them into the decision to buy from you or to take the action you want.

However, it's no good having the most perfect, customer-focused yet persuasive content in the world if no-one ever gets to see it.

I saw some truly horrifying statistics a few years ago. They claimed that:

  1. There are over 1.5 billion websites online (there are more now)

  2. Somewhere in the region of 90% of them will never be visited

The Internet is large - like this desert - so you need to use the right strategies to improve your SEO ranking
"I swear it didn't seem that big when I started."

That's quite some field we're playing in here! Don't get disheartened though.


There are plenty of things you can do to wave your flag in the direction of any search engines that might be listening:


i) Choose your keywords well and use them wisely

Do some simple keyword research and see what people are searching for when it comes to businesses like yours.


Don't forget to learn what long-tail keywords are and what semantic keywords are and add them in all the right places in your copy and content.


ii) Write copy that's the “correct” length

There isn't one perfect word count for a page or article, though you can take simple steps to work out what your ideal blog post length might roughly be.


In general, there's plenty of research that shows that at the moment, broadly speaking, longer is better for most SEO purposes.


Aim for a minimum of 500 words. Ideally, probably at least 750. If you can, 1200-1500. Especially for shorter articles that perform well already.


iii) Don't neglect your SEO basics

We'll get into this more below, but a little understanding of SEO can go a long way (if not, SEO copywriting services can be pretty affordable).


You can also link to your content with social media and paid advertising methods like Google Ads and Bing Ads.

Yet it's smart SEO practices that will stand you in the best stead over time. Plus, they cost you a whole lot less.


With paid ads, you're giving a search engine actual cash every time someone clicks the link to your page. Regardless of whether they buy from you or not.


Sometimes, that's worth it. Sometimes not.


3) Write more content (and release it regularly)

Given that longer content is often better, you won't be shocked to discover that more content is better as far as your SEO ranking is concerned too.

Regularly releasing content is vital if you want to get a better Google ranking. It's the reason why blog and content writing services are so popular. Not every business owner can spend a solid portion of a day every week writing a blog.

How often you should blog is a topic that could take up an entire post in itself (and, look, it did!). But you probably won't be going too far wrong if you aim for once per week.

Your relevancy (i.e. how likely it is that your Google ranking will be high for any given search) is in large part based on how regularly updated your content is.

Or whether, in Google's eyes, your website is a dead fish.


4) Check the content of your metadata, links, and alt-tags

Complex computer code on a screen, ironically indicating basic SEO isn't that hard
Let's hack! (Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash)

From “what is web content” to metadata and alt-tags in the space of a thousand words.


That's not the simplicity we were promised! Honestly, you can't get the staff.

These three content-related jobs sound like they could be hugely complicated. Spoilers:

They're not, really. Here are the basics of what you need to do:


i) Metadata

Lots of the same lessons of writing for your reader and using smart keywords we talked about above also apply to your metadata.


You should check the following bits of metadata on each of your pages for relevancy:

  • Meta titles: these appear as your tab titles and also the title in blue in your Google search result.

  • Meta descriptions: they're the words written in grey in your search result. When Google deigns to use them, that is. Sometimes it will make up its own. Just in case, having persuasive ones that encourage people to click on your link is really important.

ii) Links and crosslinks

When was the last time you checked whether all of the links on your website worked the way they're supposed to?


Ideally, you will every so often. It's fairly relevant from a Google search result perspective. It's very important from a customer usability perspective.


Personally, I know I find broken links super annoying. Just like typos. Grrrr typos.

But as well as checking that your links work, you should also make sure that the words you use are descriptive of what happens when clicked.


How else will your reader and any search engine know what that link leads to?

Check back through this article, spot the links and – hopefully – you should have some clue as to what you'll get by clicking on them even before you do.


Highlighting “click here”, for instance, has no value if you're trying to rank higher on Google.


iii) Alt-tags

Alt is short for “alternative”, as in the alternative textual descriptions of your visual media.


Got a video or an image on your website? Make sure you've added a textual alt-tag that explains what it is.


Adding them is basic good manners for non or partially-sighted readers relying on audio descriptions. Plus, Google uses them to understand what the image is.


5) Remember - it's mobile first now

Google now prioritises mobile-friendly websites before others. Why?


Well, if you check your Google Analytics, you'll probably see that a huge percentage of the people who visited your site recently used a mobile device to do so.


Firstly, go and check that your site is set up for mobile.


Second, make sure that users can quickly succeed in doing what they set out to do when they first entered your website.


Because on a mobile, studies show people don't have even the low patience levels they exhibit when using a laptop or desktop.


6) Loading speed counts

Google has long used your loading speed as a ranking factor. This means you should also check your page loading times.


Images and video content can slow this down. Plus, those awesome animations. Do you really need them?


They might look cool but they may also be hitting your loading speed and, thus, your rankings.


7) Check your content (and check it again)

Image of a dog (named Content) at a vet, hinting at the importance of content hygiene
"Yes, he's looking healthy. Good boy, Content. Good boy."

Google's content requirements aren't stagnant. One of its founders once said that they “change something every day.


Thanks, Google!


Making life fun for business owners around the world.


On top of this (but more pleasantly), you're going to get better at writing – or at least your preferences may change – over time.


This is true whether you're a professional freelance copywriter and you enjoy it, or you hate blogging and only write your one post per week because you know you have to.


This means it is well worth taking the time to review what you've written every so often (I'm currently engaged in the process now).


I sometimes have a writing style revelation and then instantly hate any examples of my work from as little as an hour ago.


Picture that plus winding back the clock to when you first launched your website live...


Ooof. The humanity! It's a real ego hit sometimes. You'll probably want to be sitting down.


That said, regularly checking and re-reading your copy has a key role to play in your overall content quality and hygiene. Don't skip it for too long.


How to improve your Google ranking for free (but maybe not easy)

There's one really important thing to grasp when it comes to how to rank higher on Google in 2023 and, most likely, on into the future:

You're playing the long game.

But that's not to say now isn't a good time to get started.


Your content can help your site stand out from the crowd. It can attract new customers and new site visitors. It can persuade them to buy from you too.


All you need to do is keep giving it a little TLC.


Want some content that will help improve your Google ranking?


Let's chat. The Maiden Standard has been providing SEO copywriting services to businesses in Bristol and beyond for over a decade.


Reach out today to benjamindmaiden@gmail.com or fill in the form below to talk over your requirements or get a free, no-obligation quote.

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