A functional website is one of the most important digital assets a business owner can have. With the help of an experienced web developer, you can get a website constructed and online in no time. Once you have your new website online, the main goal you should have is driving traffic to it.
Familiarizing yourself with how search engines work is the first step in accomplishing this goal. Popular search engines like Google consider many different factors when crawling content and ranking a website. Knowing more about these ranking factors will allow you to optimize the content and infrastructure of your website for maximum impact.
Read below for more information on Google ranking factors you can’t afford to ignore.
The Importance of Page Speed
In 2010, the team at Google added page speed to their growing list of ranking factors. Consumers have notoriously short attention spans. This means that the longer it takes a website to load, the higher the risk becomes of a visitor getting frustrated and moving on. Google measures the speed of a website based on the time it takes for a page to load once a link to the domain is clicked.
Regular websites should load completely in three to five seconds. The average eCommerce website should load in around two seconds. Routinely checking your website load speeds is the best way to address problems before they cause your Google rank to plummet.
If you notice that your website is loading slower than normal, there are a few basic things you should check like:
- Coding errors
- Unoptimized images
- The presence of flash content
- The number of ads attempting to load
- A high number of HTTP requests
If you are unable to identify the cause of your website loading issues, then reaching out to a knowledgeable web developer is crucial. With the assistance of these professionals, you can speed up your website and improve your search engine rank.
Don’t Forget About Backlinks
The PageRank algorithm developed by Google is designed to help assess the overall authority of a website. This algorithm assesses a number of different metrics when developing a PageRank score for a domain. Backlinks are one of the foundational metrics considered by the PageRank algorithm. A backlink is when one website links to another website.
The more backlinks a website has, the higher it will rank. The Google algorithm views a high number of backlinks as an indication that a particular website is reputable and trustworthy. Backlinks come in three basic forms: paid links, user-generated content links and follow/no-follow links.
If you want to grow the number of backlinks your website has, then you need to:
- Pursue guest posting opportunities
- Produce informative blogs/infographics
- Find broken links on other websites
- Promote your content on social media
You need to realize that building backlinks is a time-consuming process. Rather than getting deterred when you don’t get instant results, you need to stay the course to reap the full benefits of your backlink-building strategy.
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Did you realize that nearly 90% of global consumers use mobile devices to surf the Internet? The growing number of mobile users is what led Google to develop and implement mobile-first indexing in 2018. Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of a website when indexing and ranking it.
If a website is not optimized for mobile users, it will rank far lower than domains that are. A lack of responsiveness affects your rank on Google. It will also alienate a large portion of your target audience. Rather than allowing a lack of responsiveness to affect your ability to expand your reach, it is time to take action.
Making your website mobile-friendly will require you to do things like:
- Implement a simple web design
- Make sure your website is responsive
- Use larger font sizes
- Remove pop-up ads
- Make button sizes larger
- Avoid using Flash
Implementing these changes will make your website much easier to use for mobile users.
Your Website Content Needs To Be Optimized
If you want your website to attract attention from Google, you need to realize the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). As previously discussed, the Google algorithm considers many factors when indexing and ranking a website.
Factors like target keywords, keyword density, content length and the presence of internal/external links are all considered by Google. The target keywords you use in your website content will determine what searches it appears in. Optimizing your content for search engine success will require:
- The use of popular and industry-specific keywords
- Understanding of search intent
- Keyword-optimized images
- Well-written meta descriptions
- Header tags to structure your content
- Create scannable content
Some business owners don’t have the time or skill needed to develop optimized content on their own. If you fall into this category, you need to realize the importance of hiring a reputable content marketing agency.
Provide a Great User Experience
Google uses an artificial intelligence algorithm known as RankBrain when crawling a website. This algorithm considers metrics related to the user experience offered by a website when ranking it. The metrics considered by RankBrain include:
- Dwell Time: This is a metric that measures how long visitors stay on a website.
- Click-Through Rate: The percentage of visitors that find your website via search results.
- Bounce Rate: The number of people who click on a website and immediately leave.
If any of these metrics aren’t where they should be, you will have a hard time landing on the first page of Google search results. Improving the user experience (UX) offered by your website is crucial when trying to drive more traffic to your domain. A better user experience can be achieved by doing things like:
- Create well-written headlines
- Make use of white space
- Speed up your website
- Use images wisely
- Engaging calls to action are important
Monitoring the metrics mentioned above can help you assess how well the changes you implement are doing. Gathering user data is crucial when trying to optimize your website for success.
Achieving Search Engine Dominance
Dominating your competition in the search engine results is an ongoing process. Once you reach the first page of Google, you will have to fight your competitors to stay there. Winning that fight will require ongoing optimization efforts such as consistent content creation, link building strategies, and staying on top of website issues as they come up.
By considering the factors covered in this article, you can optimize your website for the best SEO results and get on the first page of Google and stay there.