When it comes to SEO, there is no direct way to influence Google’s ranking factors… that would simply make life too easy. With over 200 different things that influence how your website ranks in search engines, it is impossible to improve them all in order to move up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Here is a guide to the most important SEO factors to focus your efforts on.
You may have seen us mention this on social media recently, but backlinks are often underrated when it comes to SEO. It isn’t just about spamming high profile websites with black-hat techniques; that will only harm your rankings. When you are putting together your backlink strategy you need to ensure your links come from a variety of high authority websites that are similar to yours. The most effective way to grow your backlink profile is to use a backlink tool to find out where other people within your industry are linking to.
In non-jargon terms, what we mean by this is keyword-rich content. Your search engine optimised content has to contain the right amount of text, keywords and images relative to the length of copy you have created. It is important to not over-stuff your content, your copy should both read and sound natural. Researching which keywords to use is often a tricky task. Rather than analysing your competitors’ top-ranking pages and benchmarking their keywords, tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner are a great place to start. You can either add your own website URL or keywords related to the services or products that you deliver.
HTML tags are chunks of text that exist in HTML and are invisible to users (unless they look at the source code of your website). They provide data about your page to search engines and therefore help them to understand what your content is about. The title and meta description are visible on SERPs and these should be keyword rich to help your pages rank highly. Heading tags (H1-H6) split your copy into sections. Whilst these should also contain your keywords, the H1 is the one you need to focus on. Finally, alt text should be used to describe images that are on your page to search engines. If you want your images to appear in search engines you should always make sure you fill out the image alt tags.
Core Website Vitals
When optimising your website for search engines, you also need to consider user experience. Factors such as site speed, time to interaction, and how stable the layout is, all affect the overall performance of your website. You don’t want to rank in position 1 on Google, only for your website visitors to leave immediately upon arrival due to a slow loading website. Core website vitals aren’t official Google ranking factors yet, but it is only a matter of time before they are. With that in mind, Google does have some recommendations regarding optimisation – this includes better server response times, less render-blocking JS and CSS, and faster resource loading.
Google My Business
Google My Business is such a simple tool that can work wonders for your SEO if you are just starting out, particularly on a local level. Not only does it help establish your company online, but it can skyrocket your local search performance. It is important that you take the time to optimise this listing as well as you can, paying extra attention to categories and titles.
If your website is not displaying properly on mobile you could be losing out potential customers. The best way to test whether your website is mobile-friendly is to use Google’s mobile-friendly test. Rather than checking each page of your website individually, try your homepage with this tool. Then you can use Google Search Console to check all of your pages at one time (go to Enhancements > Mobile Usability) where you will find a list of suggested actions.
Structure data can be quite confusing to get your head around if you are just starting out in SEO, as there are so many different types. They are used to tell Google about every little detail of your content. From tagging authors, to product ratings, locations and much more. They can really help with your SEO as they give Google so much more information to enhance your search engine listings. The best tool to use is Google’s structured data markup helper as this will help guide you through the process.
One important thing to remember is that the Google algorithms are continuously changing, so whilst many of these factors will give your website a good start, you need to be regularly working on your website if you want to rank highly. Some of the factors above are gradually losing importance as other things like user experience have a higher weighting. If you are wanting to stay ahead of your competition, you need to carry out regular SEO and monitor the algorithm changes regularly. If you would like any help with this, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.