If you click on that “Secure” wording you will also get some more details about how the website is encrypted. I won’t get into too much detail here about HTTPS but just know that this is another important ranking factor for Google and your website should be using it.
This includes things like the title of your web pages, use of H1, H2, H3 tags etc. Google will look for keywords throughout your content based on what the user is searching for. To use our ACME Inc. example again; if someone is searching for “Rocket Skates” having that exact wording within your page title will help improve ranking.
Google have also stated they do use H tags to understand the structure of your website. Ideally each page of your site should only have one H1 tag followed by H2 or H3 etc. to define sub content below that.
Another thing Google will look at are “Alt Tags” for images on your website. Alt Tags are text that you define on each of your images. You can define a title and a description for each image. This information can be accessed by screen readers and is typically used by the blind to give a text representation of images which they cannot see visually.
Google makes their living on storing, analyzing, and understanding data. They handle an absolutely mind boggling amount of it. Current estimates put that amount somewhere around 10-15 Exabytes of data. I’ll be honest, I had no idea how large a single Exabyte was when I sat down to write this article. To put this in perspective 1 Exabyte is roughly equivalent to 1 Million Terabytes. That means Google is managing the data equivalent of around 30 million average home computers.
Google accesses data through your search history, the use of their web browser Google Chrome, Google Analytics, or through your Android enabled devices like Smart Phones or Tablets. Because Google has access to so much information they have an incredibly accurate understanding of how users think and act when browsing the internet.
So how does this data impact your ranking? Google will measure user actions to determine how happy they are with a search result. This introduces something referred to as “Bounce Rate”. A “Bounce” is when a user visits your website and then immediately leaves it after looking only at the first page. This indicates that the user probably wasn’t interested in what they saw or perhaps there was a technical issue with the site that caused them to leave and look for something else. A “Bounce” is bad and you want your “Bounce Rate” to be as low as possible. A low Bounce Rate indicates that users are satisfied with their search result and they’ve clicked through to other sections of your website to view more content. Google tracks this and websites with higher click through rates will correspondingly rank higher in search results.
This used to be one of the most important search engine ranking factors but recent studies have shown this is becoming less important. Google themselves have stated that backlinks are becoming less important over time. Still, referrals from other websites are an important factor in determining ranking and just increasing your web traffic overall.
Getting more backlinks can take some time to achieve but there are a huge amount of places to get your website listed. Find every online business directory you can and post your website to them. Places like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or Local Business Directories are all ideal places to start. Go to Google and try typing in your city name followed by “business directory” and see what comes up. Check out the results and get your own site listed if possible.
There is a lot of information here but hopefully we’ve helped to clear up some of the mystery that enshrouds SEO. The basics that you can do yourself to help increase your ranking position are as follows:
- Update your site content and ensure it is relevant to your target customer
- Post regular updates to your site to help add fresh content for Google and other search engines to consume. Consider starting a Blog for this purpose.
- Ensure images and other content that you upload are optimized. Use an online image compression tool to help you with this. There are lots available but we like TinyJPG. (The panda is cute, what can we say?)
- Ensure your site is mobile-friendly. If it isn’t and you need help to achieve this, BP MediaWorks can help. Contact us to discuss your project.
- Ensure your site is using HTTPS if you run an online store or users are able to submit any information to you like through the use of a contact form.
- Check your page load times. If your site is slow talk to your web host. Maybe they can assist in speeding up your site. If you aren’t happy with your current hosting provider we can also help with that. Our world class web hosting partner SiteGround have plans for businesses of all sizes.
- Cultivate backlinks from outside sources. Visit online business directories and add your own website. Utilize services like Yelp to promote your business.
The biggest thing to keep in mind throughout your SEO journey is that this is not an overnight process. It can take weeks, months, or longer to get to the first page of Google. But if you follow the steps above your chances will increase dramatically.
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