Google's Ranking Algorithm
It's been reported that Google has over 200 factors which it uses to rank your website. This post is going to cover five of Google's ranking factors that are used in the "top secret algorithm". Using these ranking factors could help you rank your website in Google and other search engines.
1. Keywords and Content Help Rank Your Website in Google
Keywords play an important role in your efforts to rank your website in Google. Keywords are the words which you use throughout your website and blog posts to let Google know what each page is talking about and how to index that page in the search engines.
Your keywords should be used in multiple ways. Of course you know you should be sprinkling your chosen keyword throughout the content of each page, but where else should you place your keywords?
Here are the six most valuable places for keywords on your website:
- Title tag
- Beginning of page content and sprinkled through the page
- Meta tags
- H1 tag
- Image name and alt attribute
In addition to placing your keywords in all the best locations, it's also important to make your content useful and informative for the users who'll be reading it. Make sure what you write is written for humans, not the search engines. I know that sounds like contrary advice since you're trying to rank your website in Google and the other search engines but when you write for search engines you often fall into the trap of keyword stuffing and end up creating spammy content. Write like you're talking to someone - use natural language.
One of the important things to remember, is to create content that is substantial and informative. Consider the length of what you write; content that has been shown to rank well in Google and other search engines contains 1000+ words. Don't forget to use proper grammar and spelling but on the other hand don't sound stuffy. You're not writing a paper for your college professor. Consider who will be reading the content and write to make it easy for that audience to understand. Lastly, add images that are relevant to what you've written and add the proper title and attributes to these images.
As you are adding content to your website, remember to consider your long-term goals. Determine the topics which you'd like to center your website around and plan to create written content that ties-in to other pieces. While I'm writing this article I've already written notes, for several other posts which I'll be writing that'll tie-in to this one. When you create a tie-in post, go back to your original post and link to it. This helps to build internal links within your website.
2. Image Optimization Explains Your Images to Google
When you add an image to your page, you give the user some visual interest to look at on the page. Images are very useful to help a user understand your information. The problem is that Google isn't able to crawl your images and has no idea what the image means.
When you upload an image to your website it's important to include some key information along with that image. Here's how to help explain your image to Google:
appropriate filenames - when you take a picture with your phone or camera it's given a very unusuable name such as samsung09132017.jpg. This tells Google nothing! But if you rename your image to something like this: commercial-floor-polisher.jpg, then Google understands that the image is a commercial floor polisher.
alt text & title tags - using these two tools gives your image more information about your image. It not only helps the search engines but it also assists blind and visually impaired users in understanding your images. Screen readers will read the alt text to the user thus making it more accessible.
Google has some excellent information about image optimization in their Image Publishing Guidelines help content
3. Fresh Content and Website Updates
Google loves fresh content! Have you ever heard that before? This seems to be the most widely given piece of advice for anyone interested in getting their website to rank in Google and the other search engines. I know writing new content can be time consuming and you don't think you have anything new that you can add. Here's a few ideas to jumpstart your creativity:
Videos - sit down with a recent client and get their permission to create a video of the two of you talking about the project you just created for them.
If you sell products or services, create a video of a new product you just started selling or perhaps create a video of something you'd like to create a special offer for.
Videos can be a very easy way to create new content on your website especially since anyone can create a video using their smartphone.
When adding a video to your website, include a transcript of the audio parts of your video. This will help your video get found and adds relevance to the user's search requests. The best place to host your video is on YouTube
Infographics - One of the best ways to explain a complicated topic to your users is through the use of infographics. They make information come alive and relay important information in a visual way that is easy to understand.
Think about this for a second, all the back to 30,000 BC, infographics were used by cave men! Cave paintings and hieroglyphics are fairly close to our modern day inforgraphics. Our brains our hard-wired to visual information so anything we can relay to our users in a visual way is certain to be useful. Adding fresh content in creative ways is an excellent strategy which you should be using to help rank your website in Google.
4. Link Building
Building quality backlinks to your site from other websites should be part of your strategy to help rank your website in Google. When building backlinks to your site there's a few things to consider:
- Page authority
- Site authority
- Content relevancy
- Link location
- Links added by the website owner
- Anchor text
Backlinko's Definitive Guide to Link Building for Seo covers many details about how to build backlinks to your website. This article will walk you through almost everything you need to know about backlinks - it truly lives up to the title!
There are several tools available to help you with the research you'll need to perform in order to build a quality link building strategy that works. The tool I've found that I like the best is Mondovo. A few other tools you could check out include:
- Moz browser extension
- Screaming Frog
- KW Finder
- SEM Rush
What tool you use isn't important; it's only important to find the one which works for you and to use it consistently.
5. Responsive Web Design
Mobile-optimization has become an important focal point to Google. You should ensure mobile viewers see a website that is well-designed for mobile devices. Your content should be responsive on all mobile devices. In the past many website owners worked towards making their websites "mobile-friendly" this is no longer a good practice. Instead, websites should be built with a mobile-first strategy to deliver the best user experience for any device. If your website isn't responsive, you will find it is quite difficult to rank your website in Google.
Convert Website Visitors into New Clients
Using these five Google ranking factors will give you a good starting point to better rank your website in Google and other search engines. Optimizing your website so it will rank in Google's search results is an ongoing process that will take time. While this isn't a conclusive list of all the factors which are used by Google for it's algorithms, it is a good starting point that will get you moving in the right direction.
If you're not seeing results from your website right now in the search engines, it's important to remember that nothing is a quick overnight fix. Getting your website to rank in Google will take some time and effort. If you follow good SEO practices and use the five ranking factors which I listed here, it's possible to see results from your efforts.
If you're looking for more SEO information and tips, you can read my blog post Get Your Website to Rank in the Search Engines. I'll give you some steps you can take to help encourage the search engines to rank your website in Google. These steps could help get your website to rank in the search engines but they don't guarantee the search engines will take the hint.
Bonus Factor - Website Speed
It's also important to consider the page loading speed of your website. On a mobile device, users don't want to wait long for a page to load. The rule has been 3 seconds to load for desktop devices. With the rise of users on their mobile devices, it's now important to ensure your website loads in 2 seconds or less for mobile devices.
We Can Help!
A nice looking website is important to your business as it helps to build your credibility to your website visitors. But if your website isn't ranking in the search engines, no one is going to be able to find it. We can help you get your website ranking in the search engines.