A website or webpage is optimised for SEO (search engine optimisation) in order to boost the volume and quality of traffic coming from a search engine’s organic results. The advantages of SEO are clear: constant, free passive traffic to your website.
But how exactly can you optimise content for search engines, and which ‘ranking factors’ are critical? We must first comprehend how search engines function in order to provide an answer.
HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK
In the digital age, search engines resemble libraries. They keep copies of web pages rather than copies of books. A search engine searches all of the sites in its index when you enter a query, making an effort to offer the most pertinent results. It employs a computer programme known as an algorithm to accomplish this.
However, we have some hints, at least from Google, about how these algorithms operate. Here’s what Google has got to say about how search works:
To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query – for example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.
Speaking of Google, this is the one search engine that most of us rely on while conducting online searches. This is because Google’s algorithm is by far the most trustworthy. Nevertheless, there are many other search engines for which you can optimise.
HOW SEO WORKS
In layman’s terms, SEO functions by persuading search engines that your material is the best resource for the issue at hand. This is so because all search engines strive to provide their users with the best, most relevant results. The search engine you are optimising for will determine exactly how you should go about doing this.
You must comprehend Google’s algorithm and optimise your website in order to get more organic traffic. Whereas if it’s more video views you want, it all comes down to YouTube’s algorithm.
It would be impossible to discuss every ranking algorithm used by other search engines in this article because they all use a different methodology. Therefore, moving forward, our attention will be on how to rank in Google, the largest search engine available.
Fun fact: 92 per cent of the search engine market is accounted for by Google. Because of this, it makes sense to focus your website optimisation efforts on Google rather than Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engines out there.
HOW TO OPTIMISE YOUR WEB PAGES FOR GOOGLE
Google is known for using more than 200 ranking variables. Even in 2010, there was speculation that there might be as many as 10,000. Nobody knows all of these ranking elements, but some of them are still known. How did we find out? Google informed us, and many individuals, including us, have investigated the relationships between different variables and Google ranks.
Soon, we’ll talk about a few of those. But first, a crucial consideration: Google ranks pages, not websites.
Not every page on your website needs to rank for the term “digital marketing agency Singapore” just because your company is a digital marketing agency in Singapore. You can rank for various topics and keywords using various pages.
Let’s now discuss a few factors that have an impact on search engine visibility and ranks.
Google must first be aware of the existence of your content before it will even consider ranking it. The main technique used by Google to find fresh content on the web is crawling. Simply explained, crawling is the process by which Google follows links from pages it already knows about to new ones. They employ a computer software known as a ‘spider’ to accomplish this.
Consider that a website that is already indexed by Google has a backlink to your homepage.
They’ll click on that link to find your website’s main page and probably include it in their index the following time they crawl that site. The links on your homepage will then be crawled from there to locate other pages on your website.
Nonetheless, some things can prevent Google’s crawlers from working:
- Poor internal linking: Google needs to crawl all of your website’s pages in order to index it. Frequently, crawlers won’t access pages without internal links.
- Nofollowed internal links: Google won’t crawl internal links that have nofollow tags.
- Noindexed pages: You can use an HTTP header or a noindex meta tag to remove a page from Google’s index. There’s a danger that Google won’t find additional pages on your website if all of the links leading to them are from noindexed pages.
- Blocks in the robots.txt file: The robots.txt file instructs Google where it is permitted and prohibited to go on your website. Pages that are prohibited here won’t be crawled.
Consider conducting an SEO audit if you have any concerns about any of these issues on your website.
Mobile devices now account for 63 per cent of Google searches, and this percentage is rising yearly. Given that information, it is probably not surprising that Google stated in 2016 that mobile-friendly websites would receive a ranking boost in its mobile search results.
In 2018, Google made the switch to mobile-first indexing, which means that they are now indexing and ranking pages based on their mobile versions. According to an Adobe poll, early 8 in 10 users would quit engaging with information that didn’t look good on their device.
In other words, when a website’s desktop version loads on a mobile device, the majority of users will probably click the back button. This is crucial because Google wants its users to remain happy. Dissatisfaction results from mobile-unfriendly pages. And even if you do rank and get the click, the majority of users won’t stay to read your content.
With the help of Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool, you can determine whether your web pages are responsive.
3. PAGE SPEED
Pagespeed measures how quickly a page loads and it affects both desktop and mobile rankings. Why? Google wants to continue satisfying its users. Users may become dissatisfied if they click on search results that take too long to load. Use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool to evaluate the page-loading speed of your websites.
4. SEARCH INTENT
It’s simple to find a keyword or keywords that you wish to rank for. You can find relevant keyword ideas with search volume by simply pasting a topic into a keyword research tool. Having said that, many people neglect to ask themselves whether their page matches the search intent for the phrase they have selected.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate search intent. The most recent Google search results for ‘slow cooker recipes’ are listed below:
Compare them to those for the search ‘slow cooker’:
Even though the two terms are identical, Google returns two very different sets of results. They display pages with numerous recipes when you search for ‘slow cooker recipes’. They provide product listings and e-commerce category sites for ‘slow cooker’.
Google deciphers the purpose of the query and displays the results the user desires. This is the result of search intent.
So, how do you make this more optimised? Ask yourself questions when you examine the top-ranking pages to determine the ‘3 C’s of search intent’:
- Content type: blog posts, product pages, category pages, landing pages, or anything else – make up the majority of the results?
- Content format: Does Google prioritise ranking tutorials, comparisons, opinion pieces, list-style articles, how-to manuals, or something else entirely? (Take note that this one primarily relates to informational topics.)
- Content perspective: Do the top-ranking sites share a common thread or standout selling point? If so, this can help you understand what searchers might find significant.
In addition, you can determine whether or not SERP features are present in order to deduce intent.
5. SEARCH INTENT
PageRank is the foundation of Google’s ranking system. This reads backlinks as votes, to put it simply. In general, pages that have received more votes typically rank higher. Referring domains (links from distinct websites), according to studies, clearly correlate with organic search traffic. In conclusion, if you want to rank for anything useful, backlinks are important.
The issue is that building links can be difficult, especially for certain kinds of content like product sites. There are several link-building strategies, but if you’re just starting out, focus on constructing links to your greatest educational content (e.g., a blog post or a free tool).
Here is one approach to doing that:
Google your desired keyword and see what comes up. Look for pages that lack your page’s quality. To examine the top 100 links on that page, paste their URL into a backlink checker.
Think about getting in touch with these individuals, letting them know why your content is superior, and asking them to replace their link with yours. This strategy is often referred to as the ‘Skyscraper Technique’.
Backlinks are not created equally. Some things are more important than others. This truth is inherent in how PageRank functions. Backlinks from high-authority pages are typically more powerful than those from low-authority pages. Sadly, Google stopped making PageRank scores available to the public in 2016. As a result, it is no longer possible to determine the level of ‘authority’ a web page has in Google’s eyes.
However, backlinks aren’t the only technique to increase a web page’s ‘authority’. Internal links from other pages on your website are taken into account by URL Rating (UR), which increases a page’s authority.
7. CONTENT QUALITY
Google always tries to rank the most trustworthy and relevant results. They do this by examining content-related signals like authority, trustworthiness, and competence. All of these are referred to as EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
You can also try the following to improve how well your content is perceived:
- Be sure to read at a 7th or 8th-grade level. Most Americans and the general population read at this level.
- Use concise paragraphs and sentences. This is not an essay; it is web content.
- Where relevant, provide links to useful resources. You shouldn’t worry about ‘hoarding PageRank’. Make sure your material is as beneficial to readers as you can.
- Avoid lengthy text barriers. Use images, quotes, etc. to break up the text. Make sure your writing is easy to read through.
In general, it’s ideal if the bulk of searchers can easily reach your material.
Search engine optimisation is a long-term and slow process. Having said that, it will be plenty of time and plenty of optimised pages needed before you can see your page on the first page of a Google search. Nonetheless, if you are a business that heavily relies on digital marketing to get your products and services noticed, SEO is definitely a huge investment.
Luckily, you don’t have to figure these out alone. Get in touch with us and our team of digital marketing experts will help get your website ranked higher on Google. Trust us, soon, the conversion will follow suit!