Ranking high on organic search results is something that every brand, web developer and marketer strives to do. Having your site appear above-the-fold gives your site a higher chance of being visited and, at the end of the day, generate leads. Below are 10 of the most important Google ranking factors you should be aware of and implement straight away to improve your website’s ranking.
1) GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE INTEGRATION
Several people optimize their website and expect results but miss out this crucial step. Submitting your website and sitemap to Google for indexing enables Google to crawl, collect and store information about your site. Your website has a higher chance of being shown in search results after being indexed by Google.
Submitting your site to Google is a simple process. All you have to do is login to your Google account and navigate to this site. Enter the link to your website for Google to index. In addition to submitting your website, Google Webmaster Tools also allows you to analyze data about your site and diagnose certain errors your site may have.
2) PAGE LOADING SPEED
Google has a tool called PageSpeed Insights which will analyze and tell you the speed of your site while also providing suggestions in how to further optimize your site for it to perform faster.
3) MOBILE RESPONSIVENESS
We live in a mobile-first world. Everyone is on their smartphones and are consuming content on the go. Google prioritizes websites that are responsive on mobile devices and tablets. To achieve this, you must ensure the template of your website is responsive regardless of what platform you are using to create it (WordPress, Square-space, Bootstrap etc.)
In addition to this, ensuring that your website is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) enabled compliments your mobile-friendly site as articles and blogs will be lightweight and load faster.
Content is king and will always be. Your website will have to be made up of unique and tailored content for your target audience. It’s as simple as that.
Google has even mentioned this on their Webmaster Guidelines
“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.”
Websites that link to relevant, diverse and authoritative domains will be ranked higher up the search results. Google’s algorithm has however grown smarter over the years and will flag your website if there are too many irrelevant links.
To succeed with backlinks, you must create content that people will love and promote the source of that content. Share links that are relevant and Google will reward you for it.
6) KEYWORD AND META TAGS
It is important that Google indexes your webpages accurately and this is where keywords and meta tags plays a huge role. The title meta tag of your website is used by search engines to display that main title in search results therefore this keyword must correspond with the content of your site. In addition to this, your meta description tag, which is a small description of your website shown under the title and link of your website must be intriguing and helpful. Although this doesn’t directly impact rankings per se, this heavily influences the user’s choice in clicking through to your website.
The idea with the meta description tag is to sell your website in one or two sentences. It is also very important to add in ‘alt’ tags for your images. When search engines crawl your site, they don’t recognize images therefore writing a short description of the image really gives search engines an idea of how the image is related to the content/webpage.
Google takes consumer experience very seriously and safety plays a huge role in this. There is a strong correlation between sites that are encrypted (HTTPS and SSL Certificates) and higher Google rankings. Additionally, consumers are more likely to click and navigate onto sites that are marked as ‘safe’ by Google. To activate this layer of security, you should get in touch with your hosting/domain provider for more details.
Registering your website with Google My Business allows your website to appear in the top search results with a pinpoint location and map. This really helps when users search for your business or type of business on their mobile as they can easily reach your business by calling or getting directions to your office/store.
What’s great about this feature is that it helps you reach a specific group of people within your local area. This means that you are making it easier for your target audience to find you which could eventually lead to conversions, walk ins or sales.
9) FEATURED SNIPPETS
Featured snippets basically captures a section of your webpage that answers a question that is typed into the Google search bar. Webpages that appear here demonstrates that the website is useful and reliable. For your webpage to appear as a ‘Featured Snippet’ you must ensure that your page has a specific question and an in-depth answer relating to the question or a particular topic. From then on, it’s really up to Google’s algorithm to decide if the webpage is deem fit for a particular question typed in the search bar.
10) DOMAIN AND URLS
Lastly, your domain can have an impact on how you rank. This may be out of your control and this may be a waiting game, however Google trusts and prefer continuity meaning domains which are registered for longer than a year. In addition to this, if you are a business operating in just a particular country or market, having a country specific domain such as .co.th could lead to higher rankings for searches in that particular country.
And there you have it! The top 10 most important Google ranking factors you should be aware of to skyrocket your website’s rank in search results.
Manit Sethi is a Social & Digital Executive at Vero, orchestrating creative digital strategies for brands and developing killer content that excels on social.