A whopping 97% of people don’t click past the first page of search results.
So if you’re not getting to the first page, you’re losing sales to your competitors. It has never been more important to keep up with changes in Google search’s ranking algorithm and business owners are determined to rank higher on google, ideally in the first three organic listings. Google uses algorithms to determine which results will be most helpful for the user – and it’s constantly changing and adapting.
Here are 9 important Google Search ranking factors:
High ranking content is in-depth content that provides real value to the user and should incorporate engaging and valuable visual content to complement the text. Quality beats quantity every time.
Is there a specific length requirement of getting your content indexed? No – studies have shown that the highest ranking pages on Google do tend to have longer content, but remember to keep it comprehensive – forget about keywork stuffing of writing thin value content that has no value.
Make sure your images load quickly (reduce the file size if they don’t), choose descriptive file names that include your keywords, add an alt tag so help the search engines and give a title to your image. It all helps.
Backlinks remain one of the strongest ranking signals in Google’s search algorithm. When your website is associated to trustworthy sites via a backlink, it also makes your site look trustworthy to search engines. Google keeps a score of what sites have quality backlinks via PageRank which provides you with a ‘link score’. Social shares, ‘likes’, tweets and Pinterest pins all count. The more links you have from multiple high-authority domains, the better your chances are to rank well for top keywords.
In 2016 Google announced mobile-first indexing. The mobile first index means Google will rank based on how it crawls a site’s mobile version instead of desk top. Previously, web designers built desktop versions first, then mobile. Today, with mobile usage surpassing desktop, websites should prioritise mobile versions to provide a better user experience.
Google’s mobile-first approach is changing search results, especially when it comes to local results – users now receive results that better target their current location. Google use micro-moments – instantaneous moments when a user turns to a mobile device for an immediate need – normally focussing on:
Googles smart search also uses historical data to match the most common intent and provide the most ‘helpful’ answer. For example if someone types ‘plumbing’ into their search engine, google has learned the most common intent is ‘I need a plumber to fix something’. Using this search intent process can help tailor your SEO strategy.
With a mobile-first indexing approach from Google, page speed has become more important than ever. Page speed has a massive impact on user experience – users want answers and fast. Hence, websites with slow page speed will have a harder time ranking at top results. Aim to have all of your pages load in two seconds or less – as the time load goes on the probability of bounce increases to 90% if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load.
Schema markup is a type of structured data added to websites to make it easier for search engines to interpret content – structured data can improve click-through rates by 30%. It helps search engines get a better understanding of specific texts such as addresses, phone numbers and reviews. Particularly for local businesses, implementing a site-wide schema code can be highly beneficial.
Encryption has been confirmed by Google to be a strong ranking factor. It means your website is secure, which can be identified by the addition of an ‘s’ at the end of the ‘http’ part of the URL. Google is making an effort to protect its users from malicious intruders such as hackers and identity thieves, and secure sites protect a user’s connection. So adding an ‘s’ is key in 2018 to maintaining your ranking.
Domain seniority is another major ranking factor, a sneaky one as Google still maintain that ages doesn’t play a big role in how well your site ranks, however evidence suggest otherwise! New domains have a harder time ranking for top keywords, while domains with an extended track record seem to hold top positions for longer.
As the Google algorithm gets more advanced and more and more technical factors come into play, you still need to remember to focus on providing a great user experience. Remember to keep your site functional and remove the clutter. Sites with quality content provide real value for users and Google are getting better at measuring how users interact with your content.
USING GOOGLE STUFF
By setting up your website on Google Business you will ensure your place of work, website location or registered office is visible to potential customers. Those closer to your location, or within radius you set, will also see your business on Google Maps results when searching for “what you do” not just searching for you by name. The importance of Google Maps is seen when they appear often above organic search results on search queries.