The 8 Most Important SEO Factors That You Can’t Afford To Ignore
Hey! It’s a New Year and that means it is a good time to give your website the once over and do some SEO work on it. Even if you’ve already done some tweaking in the past year or two, you have to stay on top of it as Google’s algorithm keeps changing. It’s a bit of a mystery as to what the magic combination of SEO factors is that’ll please Google the most, but ultimately the way your website and the web pages rank will be the key to drawing traffic. Your goal is high Google rankings where your website appears on the first page of Google search results. Here’s a DIY way to do that. Or, you could contact an SEO company for assistance.
1 – Security and Accessibility
Your top goal is to have a secure website that is easy to access for all users. Google will steer traffic away from your website if it has an inkling that there may be something fishy about it. First, you will need to have an SSL Certificate. Your URL will display as https instead of http. The ‘s’ tells Google that it is a secured site.
Second, there should be a sitemap that will break down all the pages on your website. Google loves that kind of data because it makes finding and crawling those pages easier for the search engine. Lastly, you have to watch for viruses on your website. They can come from links, so be sure that your linking strategy is sound. If Google thinks there are viruses somehow attached to your website, you’re done.
We’ll explain more about linking further down this page.
2 – A Responsive Design
This is another part of the accessibility equation. Thanks to Smartphones and tablets, people search the inter-web with handheld devices a lot. Those users between the ages of 18 and 24 tend to look at their smartphones 60% of the average day. Mobile devices are generating just over half of the global website traffic.
What does that mean to you? If your website is not mobilized – have a responsive design that reacts to whatever device visits it – you stand to lose half of your potential customer reach. That is a lot of business that you are missing out on without a mobile-friendly website design.
Mobile-friendly is a design where your website will display properly on a desktop computer, a tablet and a phone. This provides a good experience to all users and gives your website a means to access all of the different types of internet users out there.
3 – Fast Page Loading
Remember the days of dial-up when you’d visit a web page, go make a cup of coffee, drink half of that cup of coffee and get back to your computer to find half of that page had loaded by that time? Nobody has that kind of patience anymore. Faster loading pages keep people on your website longer.
However, Google also puts some weight on page speeds as well when it comes to ranking websites. There are page speed tools online where you can get an idea of how fast your pages load. A couple of seconds is too long in many cases as Google’s data shows that pages with load times between one and three-seconds have a potential increase in bounce rate of 32%.
If that page loads between one and five seconds, the bounce rate jumps to 90% and if your pages take up to ten seconds to load well, you may want to take a serious look at it. Load times also count on your mobile web pages as well.
4 – The Age of Your Domain, URL, Plus Authority
According to Google insiders, these are not SEO ranking factors. However, if you ever took a look at the websites that show up at the top few spots on any Google search you will discover an interesting trend. About 60% of them will have a domain that is three years old and older. That’s got to mean something, right?
In simple terms, if your website has been online for a fair length of time, it’s going to get noticed by Google. Hopefully, it is because you’ve published some killer content or you’ve used a bunch of SEO tricks to get Google to visit it frequently. Domain age gives your site authority and that is a good thing.
There are online tools you can use to check what the page authority and domain authority are on your website. Essentially, if you have an old domain Google views your website as a trusted entity online. This looks even better if your website is secure and contains relevant and quality content. Got all that?
5 – Your Linking Strategy
The links you have on your website – internal and outbound – are crucial when measuring search engine rankings. But you can’t just link to Bob’s Weekly Blog Site just because you think he writes cool stuff. If Bob’s website has any kind of authority (ranks well according to Google), then link away.
However, the linking you do to other websites will impact your website’s ranking as well. Link to a dud and your rankings will plummet. Link to a star and your ranking will soar. You also want authoritative websites linking back to you as that helps your rankings.
Internal links are also a good idea. This is where you link to other pages already on your website. Search engines “learn” the relevance of your website content from internal links and users will go deeper into your website. So this is a win/win.
6 – Get Social
One way to create a positive buzz about your online products or service is through social media activity. The social signals – engagement activities such as likes, shares, and comments – all spread the word about what others find on your website.
Although Google may indicate that social signals do not have a direct impact on page ranking, there is an indirect bonus in it for you. The logic is that the more a web page of yours gets shared, as an example, the more likely those shares will increase traffic to that web page. More traffic spells more views and more potential links. These things Google notices.
You can encourage this type of social activity by including various ‘share’ buttons on your content. Hopefully, you have a blog on your website and that can be a useful tool in reaching social heights that the rest of your website may not hit. By posting regular, relatable content in a blog that is relevant to your website niche and encourages engagement, the social signals will come.
7 – The User Experience
Think about what happens to you when you surf the web. You search for something specific, scroll down the search engine results and click on a page. You look around, find what you want and go from there. The user experience at your website is a ranking factor and Google conducts it through artificial intelligence using something they like to call RankBrain.
What RankBrain tracks are:
The Clickthrough Rate (the percentage of people who will use a search engine results page and click on your web page because it was listed there).
The Bounce Rate (how many people decided your website didn’t meet their needs and decided to go elsewhere).
The Dwell Time (the amount of time someone spends on your website after they show up on it).
8 – Information About Your Business/Service
Google puts a critical eye on the amount of or lack of business information that is listed on your website. This is a crucial point to keep in mind if you are targeting specific local areas. By just listing a cell number and something like “Give Bob a call today at…” and nothing else about your business, Google gets a bit twitchy.
It makes sense because what would you think if that was all the business information listed on a website that you have visited looking for assistance of some kind? You need to think about what people landing on your website are looking for. Seeing a business name, full address (street, not just post office box), contact names, etc. give off a good impression regarding the legitimacy of your business. Google thinks so, too.
Yup, there are a few things you can do to spruce up your website in 2020. However, to gain some ground in this New Year and reach more potential customers, your website has to be seen. Search engines control how traffic locates your website so you have to play by their rules. That doesn’t mean you can’t get around them with a few tricks.
The tips/tricks offered above will not earn you penalties. The tips listed above are intended to assist you in attracting Google to take a better look at your website so that it will be more visible in 2020. Follow them as outlined and you will soon see benefits coming from them. After all, 20/20 means “perfect vision” and this is the year to improve the visibility of your online business.