Throughout the years, a lot has been said about the all-important factors of SEO (Google) website ranking. Do you know why? It’s because they are indeed all- important. In a world where there’s no real “marketing” without the word “digital” preceding it, those things that can get your company a top spot on Google’s SERP are a pretty huge deal. SEO requirements keep changing, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest developments. But you must know, if you want your site to get traffic. Well-optimized sites get more and more traffic over time, which results in more leads and sales. Without SEO, searchers won’t be able to find your site. And if search engines can’t find you, none of the rest of your work matters.
In this guide, we’re going to share the essential SEO ranking factors you need to dominate search. By the end of this post, you’ll have a well-optimized site that brings you more business and a better SERP.
Useful, high quality, relevant content:
Your site’s content must be useful, unique, specific and high quality. The primary goal must be to provide visitors a good user experience not to rank well in search engines.
Page load speed:
A site whose page load speed including Mobile page speed is high, is a good user experience (UX) and a satisfying UX leads to higher conversions. Google announced a search engine algorithm update focused on mobile page speed which is affecting sites from July 2018. If your site doesn’t load fast on mobile devices, then it could be penalized.
Meta tags are the invisible tags that provide data about your page to search engines and website visitors. They can be optimized to highlight the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in search results. There are mostly 6 meta tags:
- Title tags: It is the one of the first things that users notice in the SERPs. It’s the title of your page which offers a preview of what your content is about. This means that the title tag should be clear and descriptive.
- Meta description: If the title tag is the title that appears at the top of a search result, the meta description is the snippet that displays underneath. It provides an accurate description of the content of the page. It is usually the element that determines whether users will click on your page, which makes it important to spend time on its optimization. It must be made appealing, concise and relevant.
- Robots meta tags: The robots meta tag informs search engines which pages on your site should be indexed. This meta tag serves a similar purpose to robots.txt; it is generally used to prevent a search engine from indexing individual pages, while robots.txt will prevent it from indexing a whole site or section of a site. It guides search engines on how they should access your content.
- Alt Text: Image optimization has become a major factor of SEO ranking, as it offers an additional opportunity to rank in the search results, this time with your visual content. Your images should be accessible to both search engines and people. Alt text can ensure both of these things: it provides a text alternative to images which will be displayed if the image doesn’t load, or will be read out by a screen reader; it also tells search engines what that image is meant to represent.
- Canonical tag: Canonical tags are used to avoid having problems with duplicate content that may affect your rankings. Using this, you are guiding the crawlers as which URL counts as the ‘main one’. This places the emphasis on the right URL and prevent the others from cannibalizing your SEO.
- Header tag (h1, h2, h3, etc.): Header tags are used to help search engines understand the main topic on each page and to structure your page. The order of header tags (h1 to h6) highlights the importance of each session. These are used wisely to find a balance between the reading experience and the SEO value.
Outbound links are the links that take the visitors away from your site to another specific webpage and website. Linking out to well respected authority sites can add value for the readers and encourages backlinks which will finally result in better SERPs.
Google keyword ranking is the position that your website is listed in Google when a user searches that phrase or keyword. A ranking of 1 means that you are at the top. If you are number 11, that means that you are on page 2 of Google as most search results have 10 listings per page.
“Websites using videos can achieve a 4.8% higher conversion rate, compared to a 2.9% average on websites that don’t use videos”, according to a survey. Moreover, videos get visitors to spend more time on a website and retain more information, and involves better user engagement.
Broken links refers to bad usability. Also search engines consider a large number of broken links as a signal of an old, neglected site and this can impact SEO ranking.
Content readability is one of the many indirect ranking factors that matters and has a big impact on your SEO. An article that has good content readability will make the readers stay longer on the page because they will enjoy reading through the whole text. Consequently, it will improve the bounce rate and exit rate which will be good for your SEO.
Layout and Formatting:
Proper formatting and a user-friendly layout can help improve user experience and make your content easy to scan and digest, so your readers will stay on your site longer and consume your website’s information.
Contact us page:
According to this Google document(p.98), websites that have sufficient contact information are considered to be more trust-worthy and therefore may rank higher by search engines.
The number of Facebook shares, Tweets, Pinterest pins and other social media mentions can also influence SEO rank. Installing social sharing buttons on your website not only makes it easy for users to share your content, and thereby improve user experience, it can also help you rank higher on searches. Social sharing also helps drive purchasing behavior. Nearly 4 in 10 Facebook users report they have gone from liking, sharing or commenting on an item to actually buying it, while 43% of social media users have purchased a product after sharing or liking it on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter. In this case study, a pest control company boosted organic traffic by 15% in just 2 weeks after running a campaign aimed to increase social sharing.