Everyone wants their website to appear on the first page of the search results. But, many do not realize the many factors and the amount of work that goes into search engine optimization (SEO).
Although algorithms continually change, these are a few of the top ranking factors:
- Accessible user-friendly website
- Site security
- Technical SEO
- Page speed
- Domain authority
- Social signals
- Optimized page content
- Mobile abilities
- Local information
Accessible User-Friendly Website
In order to rank high, your site not only needs to be accessible to visitors but also to search bots. If search bots are unable to access the content of your website, then it is likely that users are having the same challenges. This means having:
- Robots.txt file
A secure site is also important when it comes to SEO. Google wants to know that they are sending its users to a secure site. This requires:
- Enabling SSL security on your site
Your website might look cool, but if your large images and videos are not correctly coded and they are slowing down your site, you could get penalized. The speed of your page is one of the top ranking factors. Additionally, as of July 2018, mobile speed is also included in the ranking. Speeding up your site will not only help with improving ranking but it can also reduce your bounce rate. Studies show that for each second that it takes for your page to load, your conversion rate can drop as much as 20.4 percent. You can increase your page speed by:
- Enabling compression
- Optimizing images
- Reducing the number of redirects
Google not only factors in the content on your site but also the backend of things. Technical SEO factors include:
- Crawl errors/ broken link
- Keyword cannibalization
- Headers and title tags
- Duplicate content
- Meta description length
- Image alt tags
Domain authority is one of the most misunderstood factors of SEO. Your domain authority refers to the relevance within a specific industry. Google aims to produce results that are relevant to a user’s search. A domain authority is a number between 1 and 100. Keep in mind; domain authority is different than page authority. Page authority refers to the authority of a certain page.
Techniques used to improve domain authority include:
- Build backlinks
- Improve quality of content
- Use relevant internal links
- Monitor and remove bad links
- Keep up with technical SEO
- Cross-share content
Links of all types are important when it comes to SEO. There are three types of links to consider:
- Internal links: These are links that lead from one internal page to another.
- External links: These are links that lead from one of your pages to an external one.
- Backlinks: These are links that lead from another user’s site to your website.
While backlinks carry the most authority, internal and external links are also important.
While Google continues to deny that social media is not a direct component of SEO, it does seem to affect rank. This could be due to an indirect result. Websites with an engaging social media presence tend to be more likely to share their content on other sites. Additionally, the more followers and users that a page has, the more likely those users are to visit the website.
There are ways that you can maximize your social media for SEO purpose:
- Make it easy for users to share your content
- Keep all information consistent across all platforms
- Cross-share your own content
- Include a link to your website in your profile
Optimized Page Content
Content is king. Google has not hinted at this, they have directly stated it over and over again. Yet, many SEO companies skip over the importance of content. Every piece of content on your website today needs to be relevant, engaging, and informative. It also needs to be optimized. This no longer means stuffing keywords into the content, but instead, creating content in a way that is relevant and easy to read.
Content tips for SEO purpose include:
- Create content that is relevant to your industry
- Link to authoritative sites
- Choose topics that users want to read
- Draft content in a way that is easy to read, both for users and Google bots
The exact percentage of users who primarily use their mobile phone for search constantly changes. However, this number continues to increase. As more and more users complete searches on their mobile phones, it is crucial for a website to be mobile-friendly. Users who cannot access a website via mobile phone will abandon the click and choose one that is optimized for mobile.
Tips for improving mobile ability include:
- Avoid using flash plug-ins
- Compress images
- Make buttons larger and easier to click
- Make it easy to access the most visited sites
More and more small businesses are moving to the internet to increase their customer base. One of the biggest mistakes that local businesses make is having inconsistent information across local websites. Local businesses need to focus on:
- NAP- Consistent name, address, and phone number
- Google My Business listing optimization
- Monitoring of reviews
- Reputation management
As you can see, SEO is much more than just inputting certain keywords into your website. The right SEO strategy requires an in-depth analyzation of your current website and ranking. From here, one of our SEO professionals will identify areas of improvement while also creating a keyword strategy.
Effective SEO is an ongoing project. It requires routine monitoring of ranks while also keeping up with Google’s ever-changing ranking factors. By the time you make improvement to your website and begin to see results, it is likely that Google has already released many new algorithm changes.