Google, the most powerful search engine today that has become an irreplaceable tool to feed our information-hungry minds. Any business that has a website wants to be at the top of the search results on Google, and the way to get there is through a well-executed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy.
But, let’s take a step back and talk about how Google actually knows how to rank websites. To help users find the most relevant information to their query, i.e. to determine which pages to show for which queries, Google takes two factors into account:
Authority – your website’s popularity on the internet. The more popular the page, the more value it provides to the users.
Relevancy – between page content and the search query, that is. This is determined by taking various factors into account such as topics and keywords that are used throughout your website.
In order to process all this information, Google uses search algorithms, which are complex equations that analyze the key factors mentioned above. Even though Google keeps its algorithms a secret, there are proven ways to identify key factors through research and planning. The purpose of SEO is to do exactly this, to research and then execute a tactical approach which includes everything from image optimization, internal links, improving content and so on.
How to get a good ranking on Google? Money cannot buy you a better ranking on Google, but with careful planning and a lot of effort and time invested, you can improve your Google rankings without spending anything. Here’s how to do this:
1.Website User Experience
According to recent studies, the major ranking factors on Google are: number of website visits, time spent on a page, pages per session and bounce rate. And what do these 4 have in common? User experience. If your website doesn’t offer easy browsing and if it doesn’t offer valuable information, then it won’t provide a good user experience, which is detrimental for your ranking.
Not just great content, but great SEO optimized content. Quality content that offers value to your users is one of the best ways to improve your ranking on Google and increase traffic. As one of the most effective SEO tactics, on-page content development will help you get the exposure you need and optimize your website for the right search terms.
So what does on-page content optimization include? Apart from using easily understandable language, your content should also be rich in the keywords that you want to rank for and written to appeal to your specific target audience. Tailor your content to the interests of your audience, and you can’t go wrong.
A major no no – Duplicate content
Pages that have quite similar or identical content will confuse Google in a way that it cannot determine what content it should display in search results. That’s why duplicate content is considered a negative ranking factor and Google can even penalize a website by not displaying those pages in search.
3. Get backlinks
Backlinks are basically links from other websites to yours. They are considered one of the most important ranking factors on Google because links to your website from high-authority domains will bring in more traffic. This will improve your website’s authority and thus improve your ranking on Google.
4. Fix broken links
Having quality links on your website is the best way to establish your website’s authority and boost traffic. Links that lead to a broken page (404 error, for example) will hurt your search ranking and user experience. Use online broken link checkers to find broken links on your website and fix them right away.
5. Page speed – Desktop and mobile
If you have a slow website that takes forever to load, now’s the time to fix it. Not only will a slow website negatively affect your rankings, it is also very bad for user experience. Remember, we live in a society that doesn’t have a lot of patience, especially if we have to wait for more than 5 seconds for a website to load.
6. Optimize images
Also one of the crucial factors to boosting your search rankings, image optimization will help with increasing your website’s speed. Make sure all the images are properly sized (large images hurt your website’s speed), include alt. text and have descriptive names that search algorithms can easily pick up.
7. Use header tags
H1, H2 header tags make your content easier to read and understand, which is why search engines pick up on their use within your content.
8. Optimize for voice search
Today, more and more online queries are done via voice search, so incorporating likely voice search phrases into your content (full sentences that have a natural, conversational flow) rather than single keywords is a very smart idea.
9. Don’t forget about local search
Here’s the thing, if a user is looking for a construction company in London, there is no point in Google showing them all results for construction companies that exist across the globe. Instead, Google will show them construction companies in London, and even better than that, it will show search results for the specific area in London that the user is located in. To make sure your business shows up in such relevant searches, make sure you claim a Google My Business listing and as well other local directories. Make sure you get plenty of positive reviews too.
10. Optimize for position zero
Google will sometimes pull relevant content from a website and display the information in a featured snippet and place it above position #1. To optimize your content for such a query, think of relevant questions that a user might ask and then spread well-formulated answers throughout your website.
Some final thoughts
All of the above-mentioned tactics are great ways to get a good ranking on Google, but they also require a lot of time and effort. Search engine optimization is not something that happens overnight, and it takes a lot of effort, consistency and patience to get the desired positions. So no matter what you do, be persistent and don’t give up. If you keep improving your website, the results will come.