SEO is an exciting business to be in. It is an ever-changing world, and one the we must keep learning about to stay on top of our game. The search engines or constantly improving their ranking algorithms to give us better search results and more targeted answers to our questions. In fact, Google say they update their systems over 600 times a year. Most of these changes are quite minor and do not affect ranking very much. But none the less, all these changes mean that we must change our search engine optimization methods so we can keep our business and websites in front of our clients.
As of march 2017, the top ranking factors you should be implementing for your SEO campaign consist of the following.
Writing great content is essential. You should cover your subject matter in great depth, in a way that is engaging for the user to read. User engagement alone has been a ranking factor for some time now. Stats show that longer content ranks better than shorter content. But as mobile search has now become the majority, you should make sure that your content is easy and enjoyable for the user to read, without compromising too much on the length. So, layout for mobile is very important here.
When researching your next blog post, it is a good idea to run a search for the keyphrase you are targeting and look at the top results. See how well the content is written and how many words each of the top pages consists of. Then write better more interesting content, trying to cover more without compromising on quality.
When you publish your new content, don’t forget to promote it in as many places as possible. Spread the word through your social media accounts and let people know about it by email. Doing this can be the start of helping with the next top ranking factor, links.
Although remaining one of the top ranking factors at the moment, backlinks and your websites whole backlink profile, needs to be planned and looked at to make sure it meets the right criteria to be beneficial to your website.
The links back to your site should come from relevant sites in the same niche as your own. They should be from as many different places as possible and your anchor text must be diverse so it looks completely natural.
The majority as anchor text in the links back to your site should be naked URL’s or your brand or business name only. Leaving your keyword rich anchor text links to be a low percentage, somewhere around 5% or less is ideal. This means that you should only place your keyword rich links on the best places, that will earn you the most link juice.
How well is your website coded?
There are many things that can hinder the search engines from indexing your site properly. But there are also some technical SEO coding options that can give your webpage a boost in the search results.
Page loading Speed:
Optimizing the speed which your web page loads has a direct effect on SEO users on a slow connection do not normally want to wait too long to see your content, so if your page does not load quick enough they will just hit the back button, going back to the search results and choosing another website. Google sees this as a bounce and it had a negative effect on your SEO because Google sees this as not providing the user with what they wanted.
It is essential these days that your website works consistently across multiple devices and screen sizes. Giving the user a good reading experience. Just like page load speed, we need to keep the user on the page so they do not bounce and choose someone else for their search term.
Meta descriptions can greatly improve click through rate from the results pages. Higher click through rates can give you a boost in the results pages.
The page Title tag remains very important for the SEO of your page. It is the main headline for your page in the search results. If your title tag is engaging to the user, they are more likely to click through to your website. So, helping with click through rates helps boost your rankings. The search engines also use the Title tag itself as a ranking factor. So, placing your main keywords here is beneficial too. This has been the case in SEO for many years now, but is still true today. The only difference is that your Title must also be related to the rest of the content on your page, starting with the main H1 heading. Think about it from the users point of view. They see a headline, click to read more. They are then going to expect to see relevant info on the topic at hand. If not they are going to go elsewhere, and quickly.
Internal linking of pages:
Internal links in site, just like external links, help the search engines understand what the linked to page is about. So just like backlinks, internal links should contain keywords to help boost the ranking of the page.
The user experience on your website, reflects directly in the overall bounce rate for your website, and so in turn is considered a ranking factor. If the search engines can deliver good results to their users, then they will want to promote you in their rankings.
When a user lands on your website, you will want to make it easy for them to get the right information as quickly as possible. So, a clear navigation menu and layout is essential.
SSL Certificate – https
More and more of the top search results can be found to be from websites with an SSL certificate installed. But if your website does not have any user input, there is no form for them to fill out, or username and password to enter, then is SSL really necessary? At the moment, Google is marking websites that take passwords, and are not running on HTTPS, as “Not Secure” in the Chrome browser. And these websites are not ranking as well as their competition who do have SSL certificates installed.
It makes sense that this trend will get bigger and more websites will eventually be required to install SSL if they want to rank above the competition.
Local Search proximity
Especially from mobile, searches are more than often location related. And to help get found for these searches you need to follow certain guidelines.
GMB, aka Google My Business, and Bing Places for Business, are both good, quick and free solutions to help get you found for location related searches. Create full profiles, adding photos and as much information about your business and location as possible. You may then be listed right at the top of the search results with the map of locations.
Citations are another way to help boost your local ranking. A citation is a mention of your business on the internet. You can list your business on many local directories and websites. Always keep the information about your business the same. NAP (Name, Address, Phone number), should be the identical across the board.
Another thing that will help with rankings as well as local search ranking are reviews. Positive, honest reviews of your business can help determine the ranking factor of your website.
Schema micro data:
You can make it easy for the search engines to know more about the location of your business by using schema.org micro data. This can be added to your website as JSON data in the code of the page, inside the
The Rest of 2017
In the coming months and until the end of the year we are going to see an increase in the following.
AMP, short for Accelerated Mobile Page, is getting more common and can already give you the edge on your competition. This trend is going to get bigger as the year progresses. AMP pages can also bring in visitors from other sources apart from search. AMP pages are designed to load in the browser almost immediately, and as so, are very good for mobile users who may not be on a WIFI connection. Lots of news feeds already prefer to list AMP pages over normal web pages. Throughout this year, I can see this becoming a ranking signal as Google moves more and more towards mobile orientated search results.
Schema snippets are now proving to be a big part of SEO, and again this is going to get bigger over the year. Using schema.org data for your blog post is a great way to give answers to popular web search questions. If your content and answer is good enough, then Google will use it right at the top of the search results, even if your page is not listed in the top 10.
User Experience and mobile layout are going to continue to be a major ranking factor for the rest of the year. Having your pages load quickly for users, and display your content in an easy to read format is crucial. If you have not already implemented this, then you need to start now, or lose out to your competition.