Let's face it unless you work for Google, chances are you are not going to know the "magic combination" of things you have to do to get your website ranking higher. However, there are a handful of relatively simple DIY steps you can take that will get Google to at least notice your space on the internet. But before we get to that, let's go over a few facts related to website ranking.
The Massive Number of Ranking Factors
No one knows for sure, or at least aren’t confirming it yet, that Google uses somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 or more different factors when ranking websites. You read that correctly: over 200 of them. In this article, we are going to look at just four. However, if you use the four suggestions listed below your website ranking will see a change.
1 – Sitemap
A sitemap is like gold to a search engine. It essentially contains a map of your website laid out in a format and language that only search engines understand. The main purpose of a sitemap is that it gives search engines the URLs and other data that help them to prioritize your website web pages for crawling. It is the data on the sitemap combined with crawling that aids the search engine in serving up your web pages in response to a user inquiry or search entry.
The cool thing about sitemaps is that Google is big on ‘em. When you consider that a few billion websites are populating the internet these days, a sitemap pushes your website ahead of the crowd and acts as an invite for a visit and a crawl. Search engines are still going to crawl and index your web pages without a sitemap but will only get to that at some other time. A sitemap speeds up the process by attracting search engines faster.
Can you build your own sitemap? If you have a fairly good grasp on coding you may be able to do this one without a lot of help. But to be sure, because if you don’t know if your website requires an XML or HTML sitemap, contact your local SEO company for assistance.
2 – Photos/Videos
What would you say if we told you that photos and videos are the new SEO hack? Well, video content gets eaten up by viewers so fast that they require a steady diet of it. Where this works most for you is that Google now understands those otherwise non-text spaces on your web pages that contain photos and videos. There was a time that Google needed you to fill out “alt text” saying things like “photo of blue shoes” or “video of blue shoes” to match those things with your web pages about blue shoes. Google now knows that your photos or videos are about blue shoes because it can now “see” and read them. Pretty cool, when you think about it and also it’s about time.
SPOILER ALERT: Google will put into consideration the number of images found on your website as well as the quality of those images so don’t cheat on these. The better quality and the more original the photos and videos are that you use will score you a bit higher as well.
3 – Quality Content
We’ve heard this one before but the quality content Google is hoping to find on your website is something more than a brilliantly written new blog post or a newly created web page. Sure, those don’t hurt but Google wants to see stuff that can be used to inform searchers looking for what you happen to offer. In other words, to show up in SERPs, the info used has to be of good quality. Make your meta tags say something other than “a page dedicated to the history of blue shoes.” Make it sparkle.
Here is what Google considers as quality content :
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
In some cases, this means hiring content writers and graphic artists to spruce up your web page content. It may be an expense but in reality, it is an investment into improving your website’s Google ranking.
4 – Fresh Content
Google sees fresh content a little differently than you may think. While it is always a good idea to keep adding new, fresh content to your website or blog regularly, Google ranks “fresh” as more of an updated style rather than full blog posts. That means if you can think like a news ticker, you may just get ahead with this ranking factor.
Here’s what Google considers as fresh content:
- Recent Events/Hot Topics
- Think along the line of natural disasters or celebrity news to understand what Google wants under this category.
- Regular Events
- Have a weekly or monthly gig you host or attend? This kind of content gets Google’s attention as it signals something in the freshness department.
- Frequent Updates
- This is your reminder to update your blog by either posting something new or updating existing content to make it current and up-to-date .
5 - The Blog
As we stated, there are over 200 factors that Google considers regarding ranking. One that still works and can be completely DIY is blogging. The benefits of having a blog on your website are many and include:
- It gives you the ability to keep adding fresh, new content
- A blog will help you to “connect” with readers/visitors to the blog
- A blog permits you to engage with your existing and potential new customers
- A blog gives you a place to use photos and videos promoting your products
- A blog gives you space where you can answer questions, provide quizzes and more!
Increasing the ranking of your website according to Google does involve a fair deal of science. However, there are some simple steps you can take to draw Google’s attention towards your part of the internet. If you still find the four suggestions noted above as a bit out of your skillset, that’s okay. All you need to do is contact your local SEO company for assistance.