High search engine ranking: Everyone wants it, but not everyone knows how to get it. There’s something to be said for “letting the SEO guys take care of it” but it’s also important for decision-makers and other specialists to have some idea of how to get better search engine page rankings. A higher ranking means a better chance of being seen – and that means more sales. But what actually bumps you on Google’s lists?
The answer to this has evolved over time thanks to frequent updates Google makes to its search engine algorithms – but here are several perennially important factors to keep in mind.
Link management is key to high page ranking and good SEO scores…but it’s also work-intensive. Thank Google: The search engine has been cracking down on high amounts of “low quality” links and poor backlinking in the past couple years, so having too many links or flimsy links to poor content will decrease your rankings. This caused a massive shift in how people approached website linking – and some companies still haven’t caught up.
Today, having relevant links with strong, sensible anchor text is key to good SEO. Backlinking should involve high-quality sites instead of cheap directories, and links should have a certain amount of diversity to keep them from looking like a cheap ploy.
Of course keywords are important! But here’s the thing: They are important everywhere. Keywords for your brands are good in content, but they should also be in your headers, your image descriptions, your domain descriptions, and generally in all your metadata. However, it’s important to not put in too many of the same keyword, or you will be marked down for cheap, shallow practices.
High-quality content is becoming increasingly important in page rankings – but what does that mean? For Google, that usually means content that is interesting, informative, written by an expert, unique (no cheap rewrites), filled with the right amount of keywords, and relevant to your brand. The algorithms have various (somewhat mysterious) ways of judging this, but in general aim content that’s truly fit to publish.
A good meta description can produce a click to your website. A bad one may cause a browser and a prospect to skip right on by your site. A good rule of thumb is to keep your meta description short and sweet – best practices recommend 160 words or less. Remember though to pack a punch in that short word count! Include a relevant keyword or keyword phrase and be sure the description is a summary of what someone might find when visiting your page. You don’t want to be that website that turns off a prospect because what he thought might be the answer is really just irrelevant information that doesn’t match his search!
This is largely a technical factor: Does your website include the latest descriptive bells and whistles (hreflang, etc.)? Do you use Google Analytics? How many links are there in total, internal and external? How long does it take a particular page to load? Does your page have a title? You get the idea.
Domain data is similar to page quality but concerns your site as a whole. How much traffic do you get? More traffic tends to equal higher page rankings no matter what. Is your site receiving buzz on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook? That matters too. How much time do people spend on your site? What is your bounce rate like? What are your search visits (via SERP) and direct visits (via links from other content or ads) like?
These factors together form the most important influences on your page ranking. As you can see, there is a growing emphasis on efficient, fast and high-quality websites that excel at engagement. If you aren’t sure where to start your quest for perfection, we suggest taking each factor in turn and seeing where your weakest areas are.
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