Ranking a website at the top of the user search in Google is an art in its own. Over the years Google has introduced a number of factors in its algorithm which according to sources are easily more than 200 to ascertain which of the results lie close to user’s requirement. To develop an understanding how Google has improved their ranking factors let us see the most important tweaks over the years:
- Security of Websites or HTTPS was introduced as a Ranking Signal.
- Mobile Friendliness became a Ranking Signal.
- Google updated its algorithm with Penguin 4.0. as well as Possum Update which was circled around Rank Brain-a machine-learning (Al) algorithm that Google uses to improve search results with perceptive, cleaner not to mention, a more semantic search experience.
- Google pressed more importance on HTTPS websites.
Let us see which 10 factors will be paying the most attention to:
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With rising issues of security in user information tracking Google also has put a lot of effort to make sure that the websites ranking at the top of their searches are in the no-threat zone for its users. Sites having SSL certificates or sites starting with HTTPS are ranked higher than their counterparts. To understand the impact on SEO one needs to have a quick look into the following data:-
- More than 80% of the users would abandon a purchase if the data was being transferred in a potentially insecure connection meaning it would have a direct impact on sales. Thus securing your website is a must now.
- Google Chrome has become smarter by indicating its users regarding the security of a website by warning it Not Secure which has an advert effect on the minds of the users.
- A potential rise in the bounce rate has been seen since the inception of Chrome warning and most of the top websites have thus transcended into the secure category in the fear of loss of traffic retention.
Mobile First Index
With an increase in the number of mobile searches are indicative of the fact that mobile first indexing is an essential ranking factor now Sites wanting to reciprocate to this change need to make sure that their mobile sites are responsive in design and the difference in content from the desktop version is minimum.
It is important that one is not confused between mobile friendly and mobile first. In the age of mobile first index the mobile site plays important role now in the existence of SERP.
With 91% of users agreeing that access to content is a far more important factor while searching a site content retention in the mobile version has become the true guideline of a mobile first index age.
Website Page Speed
This factor is a direct ricochet of over the year’s history of many important sites and the level of impact on the user experience. With the introduction of mobile first index loading time of a site is now also an important factor to consider if you don’t want to lose an important chunk of your traffic.
Sites like Amazon and the Telegraph has reported significant loss of sales and viewership with slower loading pages.
Based on recent research a generalization of the waiting time has been made on the loading pages which is around 2-3 seconds. Most users are reportedly bounced back if they are asked to wait a bit longer. According to sources a 1 second delay in page speed has 7% reduction in conversions.
So, if your website page speed is great you are going to get more conversions.
SEO experts curve their technical magic while maintaining the On-Page Optimization. These include metadata handling which deals with the title tagging and page descriptions. Another is prioritizing the internal linking structure keeping in mind the five different areas namely
- Helping users
- Managing flow of link or UI designing
- Ensuring flow of content topics built around a structure
- Emphasizing indexing of particular page
The newest and most important of them all however is the Schema markup Schema is also another under the hood effect which helps search engine optimizer scroll through the codes and point out important contents of your website almost like a translator.
SEO experts approve of incorporating are through video pages, NAP information, Testimonials and Events to use schema markup in the website.
Content Quality and Length
Content is still the KING.
Earlier Quality of content was everything and length of content had very little to do with ranking but over the years the SEO trend has seen a significant change of course. This has mainly occurred because in order to rank higher keyword density saw a significant increment in the content which at times didn’t prove beneficial for the reader.
So, even if Google may have ranked the content higher but users didn’t have the best time reading it. But now it is a totally different scenario.
Usage of different keywords maintaining the quality of the content has seen an upliftment not only in the rankings but also seen a significant improvement in user feedback and has significantly gained votes as keyword chunking and clustering is no more a requirement. Ensuring high quality content has been in practice for quite some time and can be done following some easy guidelines:-
- Maintaining the website
- Updating content on a regular basis
- Check and remedy error messages on a page
- Keep your content user and search intent specific and remove unwanted content
- Make sure that the design of the website is in Me with the content design
- Sub content is helpful
- Keyword research to be done thoroughly and implemented
- Input of rich snippets to improve CTR
Increasing brand awareness has a more direct impact on your marketing rather than SEO rankings but it is not avoidable. They affect your search engine optimization efforts in primarily four ways:
- Increasing traffic and online visibility
- Improving brand awareness and authority
- Increase content distribution and lifespan
- Improve local SEO
Social signals like reviews, tweets, comments, likes, shares, votes, pins on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as other social-sites.
Time on Site
Google still actively emphasizes on the fact on how much time a user spends on your website which directly impacts the algorithms that are based on time on site factors. It is a pretty straightforward theory that if users are not spending adequate time on your site than your site is not relevant to most of them while other websites that see less bounce rates are better equipped for the users that they seek.
There are many ways to improve on site time. The following are some of the tips:-
- Super admirable visual interactions in the introduction
- Breaking down large paragraphs to small readable and attractive chunks
- Lots of section headings and bullet points
- Highly visual assets like images, gifs, and videos
- Delivering answers to questions in an actionable way
- Avoiding irritable pop-ups
The Power of Domain
In the-past, domains comprising of exact match keywords were a sure shot way to improve organic traffic. Domains still have the influence with lesser regards as before but with improved algorithm from Google we see two major pillars of domain power.
- Exact Match Domains — Domains which have the exact keyword as the search has a higher accord of standing up at the list for example when we search the keyword “care there is a higher chance of the website cars.com appearing before popular car-related top brands such as Ford, BMW etc.
- Domain Age — Age of a domain is another major factor to be considered now. Newly registered domains have to face harder competition to rank among the top while domains already prevalent with a longer record seem to have better opportunities of holding top positions for longer periods of time.
Optimize Images for Improved UX
There are many reasons to optimize an image. Other than losing out on rankings optimizing images have proven to be crucial in improving user experience as a whole. Think of a slow loading page just because of an image taking more than expected time to load. It disrupts the whole user experience. Website Speed Optimization can be done in the following ways:
- Reduced File Size – No one is asking for a 100Kb pic but at least every page should have smallest size possible at the best quality possible.
- Choosing a Descriptive File Name – An image is equivalent to 1000 words. Well, it is applicable to those having a file name that says it all rather than a random image with no signature.
- Including a Caption or a Title – This significantly improves user experience by helping consumers find what they are looking for more easily.
- Alt Tag – This is an alternative explanation of the image and this in particular is searched by optimizers to rank SEO experts love to tag an image in their own ways in order to rank a website higher just with the power of the image rankings.
Hope these all tips will help you to improve your website ranking and traffic as well. For any assistant, please feel free to contact us here.