Why does SEO matter? Why does what Google thinks about your website matter? Think about the last time you used a search engine, which results did you look at? We bet you only looked at the first three and didn’t even click on the second page. Are we right? If we are, you’re just like the majority of searchers on Google! That’s why SEO is important for your site. If your competitors are ranking on page one and you’ve been left on page two, the chances are that your leads and sales are going to be much lower.
Google’s algorithms are complex and take into account over 200 factors when ranking your website. Whilst we can’t possibly know how the algorithm works in detail, we can use the factors that we know are definitely able to improve your site rankings. Here’s a list of just a few of the things that Google loves and hates about your website. A quick look at these factors could help to give your website a boost.
Your sitemap tells Google about the structure of your site and exactly how it’s organised in order to allow it to crawl your site much more effectively. Sitemaps are an important method of communication between your website and search engines. Not only do they tell your users where to go, they also tell search engines where to go and how pages are organised.
Sitemaps are easy to generate using third party tools and some CMS systems even have plug-ins which will create and update sitemaps for you.
As we increasingly use social media to communicate with our friends and the brands we love, Google have recognised the importance of social channels in the way it ranks your website. Google sees information and content that has been shared or talked about on Twitter or Facebook as relevant and useful.
Make it easy for your website visitors to share your blogs or news by including sharing buttons on your website. You must remember that simply adding these buttons is not going to improve your rankings automatically. Your content must also be relevant and interesting enough to be shared on those channels. Once Google can see that visitors are engaged enough with your content to send it to their friends, it will start to boost your rankings.
We now live in a world where information is at our fingertips and only a click away. As a result, humans now have an average attention span of 8 seconds! So, if your site’s not loading quickly, you could be losing precious leads and sales.
Since we’re well past the age of dial-up internet, people are no longer willing to wait for websites to load, Google have recognised this and site speed is now included in their algorithms. If a certain page or, in fact, your whole website, takes a while to load, your site will be penalised.
Loading times are especially important when it comes to mobile optimisation. If you’re targeting mobile users in particular, you need to seriously think about putting site speed at the top of your priority list.
Unique and Good Quality content
Although the back structure of your website is important, the content front of house is also important. Google looks for relevant content that’s easy to understand and clear to read.
Google hates to see duplicate content so, if you’re producing blogs or guest blogging, be sure to make sure all of the content is unique. Don’t copy others – Google doesn’t want to see content that it’s seen hundreds of times before. It can make it difficult for it to work out which content is the authoritative copy.
Google HATES poorly written content so be wary of churning out articles for the sake of updating your website because it could actually have a detrimental effect. Google has moved away from simply counting the number of times keywords have been mentioned but also the way in which they’re mentioned. If you’re padding the page out with copy in the vain hope that it will be recognised and ranked highly by Google, you’re going to damage your site’s chances of appearing on page one.
Even though your sitemap can tell Google where your pages are and how they’re organised, this doesn’t mean that your site is user friendly. Internal linking and easy navigation will make your site more user friendly. Make it clear where you want users to go and how you want them to use your website. Sites that are well organised and clear to use will tend to have much better rankings.
Broken links and 404 errors effect user experience and can really drag your site down. Make sure you check your site regularly and make sure everything’s in working order.
No one wants to land on a website that hasn’t been updated for months or even years and, it’s more likely to make them leave more quickly. Google recognises this too. A blog is a creative way to regularly update your site with content. Plus, it gives your visitors something to share.
Google ranks new information higher than old information so if your competitors are updating their website with content every week and you’re only posting every few months, your site is likely to slip down the rankings.
If you’re still struggling to improve your website rankings, our expert team at RDM could help. Contact us to book a call with one of our SEO experts.