Table of Contents
Make your Website Accessible
Google needs to be able to understand what your web page is about. Google is not an all knowing entity, it wants and needs help from you.
You need a URL that the Google bots can easily reach and crawl. You can help the Google bot’s by fulfilling the following list:
- A website that has been coded by a quality and experienced web developer, or created with a high quality website builder such as Divi
- A robots.txt file to tell the Google bots what to look at
- A sitemap listing all your pages. If you use Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress then you can set this up within the plugin.
You will also need an SSL certificate. This will add an “s” to the “http” URL prefix adding a layer of encrypted security. Google likes this.
If you have good hosting then you should be able to get an ssl certificate for free. Google highly recommended having an SSL certificate.
Apply Page Speed Optimisation
For the last few years Google has been indicating that site speed is one of the most important SEO ranking factors.
This trend it set to continue through 2020 and beyond.
Google wants fast websites that load quickly especially on mobile devices.
A fast website improves user experience and makes the web a more enjoyable place for everybody.
Google prioritises mobile page speed over desktop devices.
If you want to please Google and rank higher it’s time to improve your page speed for mobile devices.
If you want to make your website faster, Surf Creative offers page speed optimisation for WordPress powered websites.
Make your Website Mobile Friendly
While we’re on the subject of mobile, mobile-friendliness is another major SEO ranking factor.
More people use mobile devices than desktops to access the web, and that’s one reason there’ve been changes in how Google ranks search results.
Making your website mobile friendly is an important SEO ranking factor.
Google enforces a mobile first indexing system meaning it will audit your website on mobile devices first.
The graph below shows the exact moment when mobile devices over took desktop computers for internet usage, this explains why Google is so intent on indexing mobile optimised sites first.
Mobile friendliness is one of the most important SEO ranking factors but it isn’t only the speed that counts, so too does user experience.
Yep, Google factors in user experience into their search results.
When looking at your site on a mobile device you should be aware of the following:
- Mobile responsiveness. Ensuring the content fits on the screens device in a way that is easily understood by the user
- Headings and body text will need to be an appropriate size so they can be easily read
- Ensuring that buttons are easy to click and that the site is easy to navigate
- Ensuring that fundamental content isn’t hidden
If you need a quality website that’s optimised for mobile check out Surf Creative’s website packages.
Improve Domain Authority
The authority of your domain is a very important SEO ranking factor, but what does this actually mean?
To determine the authority of your domain, Google will analyse your page content including off-page SEO factors such as links from other sites and shares on social platforms.
The more links from other sites and shares on social platforms the higher your domain authority score and the higher you will rank.
The quality of the inbound links to your site are also important.
Links from sites with a high domain authority will be worth more than from sites with a low domain authority.
It comes down to quantity AND quality.
Google’s domain authority score is based on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Also known as E-A-T.
If you are interested to find out the domain authority score of your website then there is a Moz Google chrome extension that analyses sites in the Google results listing and displays a score out of 100. A higher score is better.
Optimise your Content
You may have heard the phrase “content is king”? well in terms of Google SEO ranking factors it most certainly is.
In website terms, what does “content” mean?
Content is all the media on your web page, including text, images, videos and any other medium users can consume with their senses.
Google’s algorithm relies heavily on the use of keywords and phrases.
These are the words and phrases people type into the Google search box when they are looking for content.
But gone are the days when you can just stuff loads of keywords in a page and rank high on Google.
Now it’s quite the opposite. If your page has too many keyword repetitions it will be penalised.
More than just keywords – Learning about LSI
Getting your primary keywords right is incredibly important for an SEO strategy.
But primary keywords alone is not enough. Google also checks for associated keywords and key-phrases called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
Understand LSI is actually quite easy.
Let’s say for example, your website is is about guitars.
You should have key-phrases that fit into related categories. Such as musical instruments, bands, music artists, music accessories etc.
Then if a user searches for “Fender” the LSI keywords will let Google know that it refers to “Fender Guitars” and not “Fenders” from automobile parts.
Is the word count an SEO ranking factor?
It appears that Google favours rich, quality content over shorter more concise content.
Longer more in depth articles trump shorter more brief articles. Articles over 2000 words tend to get more first page rankings on Google than shorter ones.
Having longer more in depth content has extra benefits too.
People are more likely to share and link to your posts if they are longer, which is great as Google also takes this into account as a ranking factor.
Googles Answer Boxes – yes, it’s an SEO ranking factor
Google loves speed and efficiency. This ethos extends beyond page load times, the speed in which users can get answers to their questions is important to Google.
You may have noticed answer boxes appearing at the top of Google search results when you type in a question.
This is because Google will prioritise content that it thinks can answer your questions quickly and efficiently.
If you want your content to show up in an answer box, you can try including questions in your headings.
Imagine what a real person might ask and then aim to answer it in an accurate and relevant way.
Lists and tables are great for answers as it makes content easy to digest. Research how your competitors answer questions and try to improve what they have done.
Video Content Improves SEO Ranking
Google loves video. The popularity of video continues to grow and this trend will continue. People love sharing and linking to videos.
Video appeals to people of all ages and is the best form of digital communication bar maybe virtual reality but that’s not quite in the mainstream yet.
So for now get into making video content. Google will love you for it.
Include Technical SEO
Technical SEO is using certain techniques in the markup of a page. This includes header tags, meta descriptions, alt tags in images and more.
It’s a good idea to use keywords in page titles and headings. This way Google knows what the information is about.
Furthering this idea, it’s good to keep your content formatted using header tag hierarchy, so an h1 tag for the main header then sub headers can be wrapped in an h2 tag and sub sub headers in an h3 and so forth.
Adding meta descriptions to your content is great on two fronts. It gives Google a chance to find some relevant keywords.
While an amazing description can woo potential users. Meta descriptions are generally quite short so keep your message concise.
Images have something called an alt tag. Remember to add relevant content to your images alt tags so Google can read what the image is.
Schema markup can be added to certain parts of your page. It gives Google precise information about that section. For example, a frequently asked questions section could have schema markup applied to it to allow Google to show it in a FAQ section in the Google search results page.
Analyse and Improve User Experience
Google uses artificial intelligence to help rank web pages effectively.
Google tracks the percentage of people who click on your page link from a Google search results page.
This is called a clickthrough rate. A high click through rate is great and further reinforces your page as a high quality resource.
Google also looks at whether user will stay or leave your page after clicking through, if they leave straight away it will add to what’s called the bounce rate.
The bounce rate is the percentage of people who click through to a site and then leave shortly after.
A high bounce rate is bad and will negatively affect your SEO, this is because it communicates to Google that your content isn’t captivating, interesting or relevant enough.
On the flip side to bounce rates is what Google calls dwell time.
Dwell time is the amount of time a user stays or “dwells” on your web page.
A longer dwell time indicates that the user is finding your content useful and results in a positive score from Google.
The trick is to entice people with relevant and snappy headings, then get them to stay a while as they digest your high quality content.
Get More Quality Links
Links. The internet is full of links! They are the connectors. They are also crucial for SEO ranking.
If another website links to your website then it’s called an inbound link.
Google uses inbound links as a way to determine how authoritative and relevant your content is.
The trick is to get as many inbound links from high quality and relevant sources as possible.
If your website links to another website this is called an outbound link.
Appropriately placed outbound links can be useful for your users as you are helping them to find relevant information.
Make sure to link relevant, authoritative sites in your niche.
If you link to other pages on your own website in your content then this is called an internal link.
Internal links help visitors navigate relevant content on your website.
They also transfer authority from one page to another, making your pages more valuable.
Social Media Shares Help
False: Getting shared on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter directly improve your page rankings on Google.
True: Getting shared on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will indirectly help to improve your rankings on Google due to increased chance of links from authoritative websites.
Getting shared on social media can be a great boost to your Google rankings.
It’s not about satisfying Googles algorithm, it’s simply about getting your content in front of lots of people and hopefully people who share it.
Social media is huge. Having a strong social media presence and making it easy for people to share your content will only help your Google rankings.
Optimise Google My Business
Optimising your Google My Business account profile is an often overlooked but powerful factor in local SEO.
Google my business is a service that you can sign up for to edit and display a profile of your business using Googles pre-designed criteria.
It is crucial for businesses looking to improve their local SEO rankings.
Once completed Google My Business will display a sidebar column of your business with key information when people find it on Google.
With the Google My Business box displaying on relevant search results pages you will likely increase traffic and brand awareness.