By Paweł Grabowski, Cindy Sanders and Douglas Burson
Sphere Marketer & Analytics
Part 1 of 3: Are your SEO Strategies Effective?
Part 2 of 3: Chasing Google.
Part 3 of 3: Hydraulics, Energy, Surfboards
Your company may be built upon hydraulics, energy, surfboards or any product/service. The most important question for small and mid-sized businesses:
“Are we building a 21st Century Enterprise?”
If you’re fully budgeted to develop your business website, SEO, Social Media, email marketing, automated prospect messaging – it’s all right here! It’s expensive and resource-intensive…probably not developing or supporting your sales organization.
On the other hand, Sphere Marketer & Analytics is more interested in helping you strategically develop new customers through Relationships – the approach that truly builds your business.
Important Guide To “Chasing The Google Rabbit”
The sheer magnitude of it is intimidating. Especially for someone only beginning to rank their website.
But here is the catch.
Not all factors are equally important. Some are “must haves” but others might not make much of a difference in your market. Many of the “Google Ranking Factors” you truly will have very little direct influence upon.
If you’ve just launched your site and try to find out what aspects of SEO you should focus on first, here’s a treat for you. A list of the most important Google ranking factors a beginner should know.
The way your page is optimized has the most profound effect on its rankings. Here are the page optimization factors that can affect its search visibility:
Keyword in the title tag.
The title meta tag is one of the strongest relevancy signals for a search engine. The tag itself is meant to give the accurate description of the pages content. Search engines use it to display the main title of a search result. Including a keyword in it will indicate to search engines how to “rank” your Page.
Ideally, the keyword should be placed at the start of the title tag. Pages optimized this way will rank better than those with keyword closer to the title’s tag end.
Keyword in meta description tag.
The importance of the meta description tag today is often discussed in SEO circles. It is nonetheless still a relevancy signal. It is also crucial for gaining user clicks from key search results pages. Including the keyword in it makes it more relevant to a search engine and a searcher.
H1 tag is yet another relevance factor, serving as a description of the pages content. In spite of an ongoing discussion about its importance, it is still a good practice to include your keyword in a unique H1 tag on a page.
Using keywords in the pages copy.
Until recently, stuffing your page with keywords was a surefire way to increase its rankings for a particular keyword. It’s not the case anymore. Using the keyword in the copy still sends a relevancy signal of what the content is about.
How you place it, however, has changed drastically.
Length of the content.
These days searchers want to be educated and won’t satisfy with basic information. Google, therefore, looks for authoritative and informative content to rank first. And it’s common sense that the longer your content is,..the greater the chance you can cover more aspects of your topic. Don’t be shy of writing long but highly useful copy then.
Not all factors can influence your rankings in a positive way. Having similar content across various pages of your site can actually hurt your rankings. Avoid duplicating content and write original copy for each page.
Sometimes, however, having two URLs with similar content is unavoidable. One of the ways from preventing this from becoming a duplicate content issue is by using a canonical tag on your site.
This tag does one simple thing – it tells Google that one URL is the equivalent of another, clearly stating that in spite of two pages having the same content…they are in fact “one.”
It’s not only text that can be optimized on a page but other media too. Images, for instance, can send the search engine relevancy signals through their alt text, caption, and description for example.
Google algorithm prefers freshly updated content. It does not mean that you have to edit your pages all the time. For commercial pages, such as product descriptions, Google recognizes the fact they are not as time sensitive as blog posts covering recent events.
It is wise however to include some strategy to update certain types of content once every 12 months or so
Linking to authoritative pages sends trust signals to the search engine. Think of it this way…the only reason you would send a user to another site is if you wanted them to learn more about the subject. This can be a huge trust factor for Google.
Too many outbound links, however, can significantly diminish the page’s PageRank, hurting its search visibility. Outbound links can affect your rankings but use them in moderation.
Interlinking pages on your site can pass their strength between them.
Keyword in URL. Including the keyword in the URL slug (that’s the bit that appears after the “.com/“part of the URL) is said to send another relevancy signal to Google.
There are certain site-wide factors that can affect your site’s search visibility as well:
Sitemap. A sitemap helps search engine to index all pages on your site.
It is the simplest and most efficient way to tell Google what pages your website includes.
Domain trust. Trust matters.
It’s hard not to think “Google-Trusted Sites” should rank higher. But how do you build that trust?
Some SEO experts believe a server’s location helps to boost rankings for that particular country or region.
Only a year ago, 46% of searchers used mobile exclusively to research. This number increased exponentially in the last 12 months. It would be no surprise then that having a mobile optimized site would affect rankings in some way.
Google Search Console integration.
Lastly, having your site verified at Google Webmasters Tools is said to help with your sites indexing. Even if that’s not the case, the tool provides valuable data you can use to optimize your site better.
Off Page factors.
When ranking your pages, Google looks at factors outside of your site as well. Here are some of the key factors:
The number of linking domains. The number of domains linking to you is one of the most important ranking factors.
The number of linking pages. There might be some links from a particular domain to your site; their number is a ranking factor too. However, it is still better to have more links from individual domains rather than from a single domain.
Domain Authority of linking page.
Not all pages are equal. Links to pages with higher domain authority will be a bigger factor than those on low authority domains.
Therefore, you should strive to build links from high domain authority websites.
Some SEO experts believe links from pages related to your pages topic carry more relevancy for search engines.
Authority of linking domain.
The authority of a domain may be a ranking factor too. For that reason, a link from low authority page on a high authority site will be worth more that from a lower domain authority one.
Links from a homepage.
Similarly, some SEO experts believe links from a home page of a linking domain carry more strength than those on one of its pages.
Your company has just spent $135,000 and not a single prospect or customer has been contacted, no Relationships built…and certainly no business referrals to be expected.
Contact: Douglas Burson, Sphere Marketer & Analytics