Whenever a client knocks our door, the first thing that pops up in the meeting is that his business is looking for a free launch. By that, he means generating high Quality leads through an effective SEO strategy over the period of the time. Although there are no free lunches in the world but compared to paid advertising, SEO is cash cow which yields the results over a continued period of time.
So, to meet the client expectations you have to continuously remain updated as Static search is a myth, what worked in 2016 is not going to help you in 2019. Google considers nearly 200 factors while ranking a website. Knowing & optimizing your website for all these factors seems to be a herculean task. Isn’t it?
Hold your Horses! Fortunately, you don’t need to know all these factors to dominate the Google Search results page but most important of them.
Without further lingering, here is a list of top ranking factors that matter to Google in 2019
Keywords form the bedrock of the optimized content & there was a time when web pages were stuffed with keywords, thin content & scrapping was a norm in the industry to garner a better position in the search listing. With the rollout of Google Panda & Maccabee algorithm update, sites were penalized for creating a bad user experience.
There is a thin line between optimizing your content & stuffing it, you have to maintain that balance. .Make sure the content is written for human delivering value & not for search engines only, as Google rewards content which is beneficial to the end users.
What Panda did
With the launch of Google Panda Update in 2011, a significant slump & revenue loss was noticed on the websites which were involved in producing duplicate & thin content & websites publishing high-quality authoritative content were rewarded.
What Maccabee did
After the crackdown on duplicate content by Google via panda update, spammers found a new way to dodge Google algorithms using keyword permutations.
What does it mean?
Keyword Permutations are using multiple phrases or words which have the same meaning or search intent. For instance, creating a page for a query like getting rid of pests & stuffing it with keyword permutations like this
- How to get rid of pest
- How to get rid of the pest in the house
- How to get rid of the pest in your house fast
- How to get rid of the pest in your home
Although the Queries might be having higher searches, such content creates terrible user experience & offers big hindrance to the natural flow.
Content with Intent
You might have often heard about the slogan that creating compelling content works & helps you to drive more traffic to your website which in turn helps the ranking of the website but what if that content is not relevant & answering the specific search query.
Writing content in the form of stories is great but there should be a clear distinction between the content which drives sales & the content which generates dry traffic. The content written for a Product should definitely vary from content that is written for a blog for the same product as far as intent is considered.
Link relevancy & Power
We often were taught in our childhood to be aware of the bad company & whosoever ignored the warning was looked with suspicion.
Google works on a similar process; it rewards websites linking with good websites & penalizes the bad ones.
Like, if a website which is relatively new having low domain authority is getting links from a website like Wikipedia, the former will definitely get a big push as Google to consider the source as trustworthy.
If you are a newbie in search of links better be aware of following parameters a domain should have before you link to it.
A new website linking to a car rental website! How does that make sense? Always try to get links from relevant industries as it plays an important role in increasing the traffic if put on the right domain.
Link Building is no longer a tough task nowadays but when it comes to websites with high domain authority, you have to toil hard to get a link from them. Domain Authority (A scale developed by MOZ) shows the reputation of websites in the eyes of Google & is measured from 1 to 100. Always link to a website which is more authoritative in the eyes of Google than an unknown domain.
Sometimes the individual power of a page is very less as compared to the whole domain. This is due to the fact the Page has a lot of outbound links which dilutes the page authority (a scale developed by MOZ).
Page Authority shows the individual power of the page as compared to whole domain & is measured from 1 to 100. One must keep in mind the page authority before linking to a website.
A tool developed by Moz initially measured on a scale from 0 – 17 now calculated on a percentage basis where a domain having high spam score attracted Google penalties.it tells the spam score of a website based on the number of flags.
Old Scale looked like this
Here you can see the spam score of websites ranging from 3 -6 on a scale of 17
New Scale looked like this
Here you see the spam score of websites in percentage
If you are a novice in the industry, you have a higher risk of building spammy links which can hamper the growth in the longer run.
But don’t worry, you can keep a check on them via MOZ open site explorer & disavow them through Google search console Disavow Tool.
Have you ever stayed on a website that never opens up? If the answer is a clear no than don’t expect the customer to follow a different path. Google loves the websites that make the experience for the end user smooth. In fact, a speed algorithm launched by Google in July 2018 clearly specifies that speed is now a ranking factor & websites loading slowly will be penalized.
Google page speed insights is the best SEO tool to get the correct analysis about the speed of the website. It shows you the website speed from a range of 0 -100 on both Desktop & laptop & offering you detailed feedback to improve the speed.
Here is a snapshot of the tool for a website
So, if your website is taking too much time to load, it’s the right time to discuss this with your development team.
OCT 2016 for the first time in the history of search, queries received from mobile devices were more as received from desktop during the same period as per web analytics company statics counter.
Noticing the trend Google on 4 Nov 2016 came with the mobile first indexing which means websites which are optimized for mobile will be given first preference in the ranking.
Still wondering, why your website is not able to rank on top? The reason is quite evident as you’re still stuck with the desktop version of your website which Google no longer consider for ranking.
Here is a snapshot of the tool for a website which shows how friendly a website is on mobile.
Most often taken for granted, technical SEO is one primary component of an SEO strategy which involves setting the following things right.
Title: As the title is the most important on-page factor, so before finalizing one; Do a bit of research on your competitors & set a unique one. The length of the title should vary from 35 to 65 characters but must include your primary keyword.
Meta Description: The description should be written in such a way that it should entice the searcher to enter your asset. Keep your description relevant as per your title.
H Tags: You have the liberty to use all the tags from H1 to H 6 provided the user experience remains the same. The tags should present the gist of the content of the page, so Google bot understands the page content quickly.
Alt Tags: Google also has an image search which brings significant searches for the websites provided webmasters have optimized their images by using right & relevant keywords. Effective utilization of Alt tags will help you gather the relevant traffic from Google images.
Sitemaps: if you have a large website, it is not possible for Google to find all your URL’s.With XML Sitemap, you can list your entire website URL’s & set a right priority for individual URL thereby making it easy for each URL to be discovered thus saving the crawl budget as well.
These tags play an important role in deciding which website should be on the page first of the Google only those webmasters succeed which keep experimenting with these on page parameters.
Ever noticed, why despite getting the huge website traffic you are not able to pick up on your conversions? The answer is Bad user experience which can be predicted from the following website Parameters
Bounce Rate: If the website bounce rate is high than the average industry rate this means you are not offering the relevant content to the end users which means people are swiftly bouncing back from your website to that of the competitor.
Dwell Time: The time spent by the end user after they have arrived on your website, the greater the time spent higher is the dwell time. The High Dwell time signifies the user is getting relevant information from your website which is an important factor in user experience and affects the overall ranking of the website as well.
How many times have we switched a website on seeing a notice from Google (that this website is not secure) popping on our screen? Obviously many times; Not every website without an SSL Security certificate is insured but all most all websites penalized under phishing were found without SSL Certificates.
In order to retain all the traffic coming on your website & to be trustworthy in the eyes of clients & Google, get your website an SSL certificate.
Now you know what it takes to rank a website on the first page of search engine. This list doesn’t include all the factors but most important ones.