SEO standards are not set in stone. Through recent years, SEO strategists have had to adapt to the ever-evolving requirements of search engines – quickly and often. These requirements are crucial if you want your site to get traffic and even to get high SERP rankings.
If your website gets more traffic, it follows that you will also get more conversions from mere visitors to consumers – provided your site is optimize for conversions. If your site is not SEO-optimized, it affects conversion numbers because search engines will not prioritize your site, and therefore, people will have a hard time finding you. It’s like having a good shop but being positioned at the back end of a mall where people hardly go.
Hence, the value of staying up-to-date with current SEO requirements, which starts with knowing the current and most important ranking factors you need to dominate search.
Search engines prioritize the ease with which your website can be found. SERP results revolve around answering the search intent or queries of people, so this should not come as a surprise at all. You need to have the right kind of URL the search engine bots can easily crawl or scan. If Google can’t visit your site, how can people do?
Make sure you have a well-coded site that has a robots.txt file that provides the parameters where Google’s bots are allowed to crawl or not crawl. Have a sitemap that lists the pages in your website. Most WordPress plugins have this feature to make it easier for you to ensure you have one. Make sure that you have a secured site as well. An HTTPS site, which is secure, will be prioritized over HTTP sites, which are unsecured and can pose potential threats for users. Learn how to enable SSL for your website if you have not covered that yet.
Mobile-friendliness is so crucial because of the 5.19 billion mobile phone users worldwide, representing 67% of the world’s population. More than half of people on mobile are internet users. More people use mobile devices than desktops to access the internet. Hence, Google considers mobile-friendliness as a significant factor in determining their rankings.
Google has a mobile-first index and draws results from mobile-optimized sites first more than desktop-geared results. Google checks if your website and its pages are mobile-responsive or if the content adjusts without being compromised on multi-devices. It also checks if the fonts you used are readable even on a small screen and if your pages are navigable regardless of the device.
If you have ads on your pages, Google also checks if your content is covered by interstitial ads or not. Optin suggests that you get to work right away to make your website is mobile-friendly because it affects your mobile conversion rate. Softvire suggests that you strengthen your web design because it increases your ROI eventually, especially if you get your conversion rates up because people liked your site and had a good experience on it.
Domain Age, URL, and Domain Authority
An Ahrefs study showed that most sites that get high SEO rankings are more than a year old. Exact-match domains also fall at risk of being penalized by Google, so it’s better to focus on making your website robust on its own rather than creating exact-match versions of it. Your page authority and domain authority scores also matter to Google, and both improve as you keep producing high-quality content and practice right SEO strategies.
Content is so critical in getting good ratings with search engines. Algorithms are meant to find the best possible content for people’s queries. Create content that fits the search intent of your target market, seeking to provide solutions to their current problems. You need to have the right keywords, and these keywords should be used strategically yet seamlessly on your page.
Prioritize long-tail keywords that actually generate more than 70% of conversions. Make sure that your main keywords are not just found in your article, but also in your title, <H1> and <H2>, subtitles, body, meta descriptions, and even in alt tags. Use keywords with tact, and don’t just ram them into your article repeatedly with no sense at all. Google will also know if you just crammed as many keywords as you can because if the users find your page not valuable, they’ll quickly opt out of reading your content.
Include LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords. They provide a kind of online word association to help Google know which results to show. For example, if you use the right LSI keywords, Google will know that when searchers type in “mini”, your page refers to mini cars and not mini-skirts. If the visitor is looking for mini-skirts, Google won’t lead him or her to your site.
High-quality content also falls around 1,500 words and above, uses inbound linking and backlinks that further tell Google your content is well-researched. Make your content more engaging by using easy-to-read words, dynamic tone, and add pictures and videos (provide alt tags for both). Provide social sharing so that users can easily share it to their social media sites, their email, or embed in their website.
User Experience (Rank Brain)
Google has started using AI to come up with more accurate rankings, which it calls RankBrain. It measures the following:
- Clickthrough rate: the number of people who click to your site on SERP
- Bounce rate: the number of people who bounce away or pogo stick from your website, which tells Google your site lacks the value people are looking for regarding that keyword
- Dwell time: the duration of people’s stay on your site after they’ve arrived. The longer visitors dwell on your website, the better it is for you because this sends signals to Google that there is value to your site, and you are delivering what people need on that search intent.
Conclusion: Focus on Providing People’s Needs
You need not be overwhelmed by these SEO ranking factors. Google has more than 200 of these factors to determine who gets that coveted first-page slot on SERP, but remember that you did not build your website for the rankings, but for the people in your target market. Write for people, not search engines. Build a website that will genuinely help them. Let that be the core factor that guides you as you adapt to the many ranking factors of search engines. Let that set the parameters of why you want your website SEO-optimised. Focus on providing people’s needs, and you will have an easier time adjusting to whatever search engines will require in the future as they continue to adapt their algorithms as well.
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