When you look at successful companies within any industry, you’ll realize they have some things in common. Great leadership skills, capable individuals, the ability to make influential decisions, strategic and tactical planning, and a good online presence are some common factors, among several others. A couple of decades back, a strong online presence would not have been on the list, and even if it were, simply putting in some keywords on your site would have ranked you high. But changes have been drastic in business methods on the Internet, which means additional benchmarks have been added to run a successful company. One of the most obvious changes is the necessity to rank high on a search engine, namely Google.
You’ve likely heard about many of the aspects of creating a high-ranking page via search engine optimization (SEO), backlinks, content and headings, and more. All these factors that we’ll talk about work together to get your page to be successful. To do it right, you need to understand what is important to Google and what criteria it looks at while ranking a page. So let’s start breaking it down.
Decide what you need
Do you need to build links, remove links, tend to reputation management, have a one-shot SEO audit, ongoing SEO, PPC management, retargeting, content marketing, or one of the several other different services SEO typically frequently offer? If you’re not sure what you need, start by figuring out the job to be done. Is it about growing sales within a year or generating more leads within six months? The reality of it all is that successful companies do hire SEO firms, sometimes only because SEO is very time consuming, and needs professional understanding to analyze the data to know what should be the next step to take. Chances are you don’t have enough time to run a business and work on page ranking at the same time. Check the SEO companies near you, and if you’re in the British Columbia area, Vancouver SEO Company will probably be one of the top options to help you start the ongoing process of ranking higher on search engines. They are well aware that ‘If your website is optimized, then you have a good chance of ranking for the terms (i.e. “keywords”) that users are using when they search.’
The right URL would be one that Google’s bots can easily reach and crawl, meaning that Google has to be able to visit the URL and look at the page content to understand what that page is about. So it’s up to you to help Google’s bots, usually by having your keyword in the URL. Successful companies use a robots.txt file that instructs Google where it can and can’t look for their site information, and a sitemap that lists all their pages. There are other criteria that can often go unnoticed by business owners; some factors affect the rank more than others. For example, http is more than just an indexing, but it has a relatively smaller influence on the ranking system.
Optimize your title and description tag for click-through rate (CTR)
If people click on a keyword in your results more than other results, it automatically tells Google that you’re the best result. CTR is a big factor to improve your ranking, so you want to optimize it by including your keyword in both the title and the description tag of a page. This will involve using new words, or tweaking your existing words based on the results of an analysis.
Links are hard and take time to build, but they’re a top factor for a high ranking on search engines. Links point from one website to another while backlinks are tied to your authority on a topic. The more popular and important a site is, the more weight the links from that site will carry. The key to acquiring earned links is almost always creating high-quality content that people use to reference.
Quality over quantity content
Google doesn’t reward you because you have a lot of content, but it will rank you higher with quality content. You might have good quality, but you also might have a lot of pages that don’t provide any value. These pages actually need to be deleted. They could be old and outdated blog posts, search result pages, e-commerce blog pages that don’t get sales, and pages with duplicate content. Keep in mind that fewer pages means fewer problems.
The average person online expects a page to load in two seconds or less. If you yourself are not willing to spend time on a page that takes too long to load, you can be sure that everyone else is like you. Speed has been a main deciding factor for many years now, and its position is only getting stronger as more and more devices are being used online. Google is never at a standstill and will often announce an algorithm update. Last year, it was announced that sites that do not load fast on mobile devices will be penalized, which leads us straight to another point.
More and more people use their mobile devices to get online. You should know that Google draws its results from mobile-optimized sites first, rather than sites geared to desktop computers. The user experience when landing on your site plays a huge role here. The people behind high ranked pages know what to do as well as what to avoid, so for your own website to be successful, you must also take these points into consideration:
- Does your site automatically resize to fit the size of the consumer’s device?
- Are your fonts too large or too small?
- Is it easy to navigate through the site?
- Is your content being hidden by ads?
The concept is simple to understand; the longer people stay on your site, the higher Google might rank you. Some things that help increase dwell time is to move content further up, divide bulk text into more paragraphs, plus compress images to take up less room. The dwell time of your website will also depend greatly on your introduction. A strong, intriguing introduction can be a deciding factor in whether someone leaves your site, or stays on it.
Fixing technical issues
There are hundreds of technical issues that can affect a website, and consequently a ranking. Broken links, blocked pages by robot.txt, duplicate description tags, and 302 redirects rather than 301 redirects are some of the many examples of technical problems that need to be attended to and fixed without delay.
The smaller your business, the harder you have to work
Truth be told, a mega company can get away with some issues since their name has been branded for several years, or even decades. A few poorly optimized pages might not land them in big trouble. But it’s also important to keep in mind the old adage: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. If you own a small or even middle-sized business, you’re going to have to work harder for Google to notice you – and when it does, so will others who search for your service or product. So by taking some right steps, you can rank on top with the big shots, even if you’ve been in business for fewer years.