Do you want improved search rankings? There are several key factors you should know when looking to optimize your website.
Google prioritizes websites that cater to the user. Their complex search algorithms can detect when websites present an artificial product for ranking purposes, and lower your search rankings. Similarly, they can detect when websites have high-quality, engageable content. As they continue to learn about website and consumer trends, Google updates these algorithms. In doing so, Google succeeds in helping users access the best possible content. To continue satisfying website users, and consequently Google, you should constantly monitor these SEO factors.
In no particular order, these are some of the main factors that Google takes into account when calculating search engine rankings.
1. Content Useful, High-Quality, & High Quantity
It’s a cliche, but it’s still true. Content is king. Having original content on your website allows you to impart useful information to potential and existing customers alike. When you naturally intersperse commonly searched keywords, search engines are more likely to place your web page higher on search engine result pages (SERPs).
Even when optimized for search engines, quality website content will also help users to understand the services that you offer. Google favors long-form content (over about 800 words). Providing content at this length (or at shorter lengths) is best accomplished in the form of a blog post.
Blog posts can address any number of topics:
- The details of services that you offer
- Specific product suggestions for certain customers
- A satisfied customer’s experience
- Industry-related news or trends
There are, of course, many other options for blog posts. You can take an alternate stance on a competitor’s blog post, give your opinion about related issues, and much more. Either way, blogging for your business helps you to present yourself as an industry authority, and show up on Google.
Google judges content primarily on quality, length and originality. Websites with duplicate pages are penalized.
2. Link Building Useful & Credible
The more websites there are linking to your website, the more that Google will trust your website.
This contributes to your page and domain authority, both of which impact your overall website ranking. As you begin to build your content portfolio, other websites may like that content enough to have it on their website.
It’s also important to link pages on your website to other pages on your website. This practice is also known as backlinking. The older a website or web page is, the higher its authority– meaning that linking to older pages will increase the authority of new pages. It will also make site navigation much easier for the user.
With concerted effort and organization, you can build an intricately connected network of links.
3. Site Speed Quick Load Time & Low Bounce Rate
Internet users will not have the attention span (or desire) to wait for your site to load, even if it is higher up on the SERP. If this process takes too long, viewers are more likely to revert to the SERP, and click on the next result. This is bad for business, and increases bounce rate (a detriment to Google rankings).
While desktop speed is important, having an accessible, optimized mobile page is imperative. Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in February 2016 to enable websites to appeal to mobile viewers.
Websites that utilize this coding technology are favored on Google SERP rankings. Articles and blog posts that fit these AMP specifications are sometimes showcased at the top of SERPs, separate from other organic rankings. AMP have less text, fewer pictures, and are altogether simpler than pages without this attribute.
Any website can qualify as an AMP. In fact, all of the blog pages that we design are qualified for AMP. There is even a free online validator to help websites determine if your blog post, article or other web page meets the criteria.
4. Domain Name Thoughtful & Balanced
When prospective customers navigate to your website, your domain name is the first opportunity to make an impression. You can express your business’s culture and values by having a domain name that fits your organization before they even see your homepage.
Exact match domains are named after search queries that companies are looking to rank for, rather than a creative company name or another domain.
For example, if we wanted to use an exact match domain, we would have selected “LongIslandwebdesign.com”. This, or another similar domain name, would have allowed us to initially rank high for this search term. However, Google frequently releases algorithm updates to reduce rankings for EMD websites with poor content. Consequently, this will increase rankings for other websites without keyword-centric domains, but more user-friendly content.
Including your brand name in your domain is the obvious choice. It’s easily recognizable, and memorable as well. If you are just starting a new business, consider basing your company name around the availability of domains — your future self will thank you.
5. UX/UI Accessible, User-Friendly, & Logical
Without a user-friendly website interface, high speed navigation and quality content mean nothing. Having an easily navigable website interface will enable customers to find the exact product or service that they need, and learn about it as quickly as possible.
User interface doesn’t just mean aesthetically clear options with strategically chosen colors, either. Without proper organization, visitors will quickly grow disillusioned with your website. Again, this will increase your bounce rate, and possibly even lower your authority.
So how do you make sure that the user interface is accessible enough for all consumers?
Creating a horizontal banner on the header of the page with navigation options to all of the different parts of your website is crucial. Consumers want to be able to quickly locate the product or service relevant to their needs, and likely won’t care that you have everything else available.
Including a reasonable call to action is the most important part of the user experience, as this enables visitors to take the next step in pursuing your product or service. If you have an ecommerce store, then this means that you should include “add to cart” options frequently. If your website skews further to the informational side of the spectrum, then remind visitors that they can contact you by including your phone number, email address, and a contact form across the website.
Beyond this, make sure that all of your web pages are crawlable — or that they can be accessed from the website, rather than requiring users to search for them. Organizing pages in this fashion will also help search engines to view the rest of your website.
These factors will aid in dictating the user’s experience, and impact their decision making process.
The digital marketing landscape evolves quickly, and Google has never been far behind. As a web design company, it’s our responsibility to notice and adapt to these changes. We can help you redesign your website to optimize it for search engines, and help you gain new leads.