seo-keywords

The Most Important Google Ranking Signals And What They Mean

Google only becomes more discerning with each passing day. They consider upwards of 200 factors when ranking a website, and attempting to satisfy Google’s laundry list of criteria in its entirety would be an exercise in futility. It’s great news that most of your competitors won’t be able to do that either.

If you’re able to satisfy every item on Google’s list and become the epitome of website nirvana, that’s wonderful. If you aren’t, try focusing on the factors that are most important. It’s what your competitors are already doing – all you need to do is be a little bit better at it.

On-Page Ranking Factors

Those little things you’re supposed to do to your page (even if nobody will really see them) play a significant role in ranking your page. They’re not there for your visitors to read so much as they’re there for Google to read, and you need to tell the algorithm what it wants to know. It will turn to your metadata for information and answers.

Your image tags, HTML tags, header tags, and content and description tags are full of information that Google uses to categorize you. More or less, they’re telling the algorithm what you’re all about. Many people bypass these things entirely, failing to realize their crucial importance. It’s worth strategically placing tags as you go, rather than attempting to backtrack.

Google’s Relationship With Content

When Google started taking steps to wipe what it perceived to be junk pages out of its first page of results, the algorithm began to place a stronger emphasis on content. Both content and keywords work together to provide value and satisfy the needs of the person making the search.

Keyword research can help you pull the exact words and phrases people are searching for. Shape your content around these exact words and phrases, taking care to impart value with your answers. Google is looking for value when it pulls a snippet and sticks that snippet in the answer box that sits above the search results. Sometimes, the answer perceived most valuable is in that box even if it didn’t come from the top ranking website. This is why optimizing content and keywords to satisfy queries thoroughly and immediately will put you at the most significant advantage.

The Importance Of Backlinks

If this isn’t your first experience dealing with website SEO, you’re probably familiar with the garbage keyword salad pages that popped up all over the place. The purpose of these pages was simply to attain backlinks without having to rightfully earn them, and Google made moves to put a stop to this practice. Now, they’d rather boost pages with a few quality backlinks than a lot of useless backlinks.

An important part of your backlink strategy is identifying and networking with people who would be great candidates to exchange links with. You want to stick to reputable websites that are already successful and abiding by Google’s terms. While it doesn’t hurt to get in a few backlinks where you can on blog focused websites or smaller websites, your main priority should be establishing relationships with websites that are already doing well for themselves. Try to keep backlinks of lesser quality to a minimum, or Google might not take kindly to you.

Optimized User Experience

Even if your website has everything anyone could possibly be looking for, a terrible user experience can drive people in the opposite direction. Websites that are hard to navigate, are cluttered, or are disorganized tend to inspire visitors to run. High bounce rates, short visit times, and a lackluster click-through rate are indicative of poor user experience.

Pay close attention to the way your website is organized. Be sure that your URLs make sense and that your snippets are truly on par with your great content. This is great for Google and great for your website in general – if your website is disorganized, people might not be able to easily follow a path to your call to action. If you’re looking to make money, your user interface and flow need to be clear from the get-go.

Behind The Scenes

Your website absolutely needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. Slightly more than half of people search and visit websites from their phone, and Google doesn’t want to send them to a site that will take an eternity to load or not work properly. Mobile optimization is one of the most important considerations to make when it comes to SEO – if your website doesn’t perform well on a smartphone or tablet, Google will bury you with competitors who do.

Covering All The Bases

If you need help tending to Google’s most important ranking factors, we’re the people you’re looking for. We’re SEO experts in Tucson who can work to create the ideal SEO strategy for your website. Keep putting out great content, focus on your products and services and leave the rest to us.