When it comes to driving high-quality organic traffic to a website, nothing beats an SEO strategy that takes your website to the top of the search engine results page.
Many business owners know about the importance of having comprehensive SEO tactics in place, but it’s much easier to know what to do when you also understand why you need to do it.
And regarding SEO, the question a lot of people have is: how exactly do search engines rank websites? This article from Australian Internet Advertising has the answers.
Website Ranking 101: The Technical Aspects
Google and other search engines use web crawlers that scan and index all the web pages online on the internet. Crawlers are essentially pieces of code that look for sites and bring back the link, which is then added to a list in a specific order.
So, if a Google user types “how to fix a sink” in the search bar, the web crawler looks for pages that can help a user answer this immediate need. They will get a list of articles from different websites that match their search.
That’s the basis of the process. For marketers and business owners, the focus here is how Google decides on the order of these indexed pages, or how high or low a site ranks for every search query.
And this is where the infamous “algorithm” comes in.
What Is the Google Search “Algorithm”?
Google’s algorithm is essentially a list of criteria the search engines use to assess where a specific page should rank in the search results.
The algorithm itself is not public, so marketers don’t know for sure all the criteria included, or how much each criterion factors into a decision. There is competition even among search engines, so each of them will keep the exact algorithm confidential.
But, Google and other search engines have made a set of priorities public as a way to encourage websites to improve user experience and even help them rank higher in the SERPs.
Why Does Google Care About What’s on Your Site?
In the first year of the search engine, the keyword was essentially the only ranking factor considered. As long as websites had keywords that marched a search query, that was enough to include them in the SERPs.
Unfortunately, this led to tactics like keyword stuffing to try and get a website to the top of the page even if its content was not relevant to the user.
So Google itself changed tactics and looked for a lot more factors than just the keyword. These are known as “ranking factors” and for the most part, they will create the foundation of any SEO strategy.
What Are the Google Ranking Factors?
Google wants to make sure all the websites they include in the SERPs can provide people with great user experience.
To that end, Google looks for certain key aspects when delivering links to the results:
● Relevance to the user query
● User intent (why the user is searching for something)
● Quality of content
● Page usability (how easy can the page be navigated or used)
● Context and settings (such as user history of searching or preferences)
These factors all help Google deliver the very best results to its users. But, these factors involve analysing the user and their query.
Websites have other factors to consider:
1. Website Quality
A quality site can offer people a good user experience, which is something search engines care very much about.
And paying attention to factors such as:
● Not having broken links
● Having simply structure and easy navigation
● Having a good page speed
● Having clean code
● Optimising meta descriptions and tags
● Having intuitive and eye-pleasing design
Can yield a lot of benefits for your website, both when it comes to potential visitors and Google.
2. Website Responsiveness and Mobile-Friendliness
Google also wants to make sure the sites it includes in the SERPs can be accessible to everyone. This means making sure your site is truly responsive and can be accessed from different browsers and devices.
Not only that, but all sites need to be mobile-friendly. Google now takes into account the mobile version of new sites when deciding its ranking, so if your site can’t be used through a mobile device like it is on desktops, consider this your priority SEO tactic.
3. Link Building
There are three types of links your website should have:
● Inbound links (or internal links), which connect the pages on your site
● Outbound links (or external links), which direct users to other sites
● And backlinks, which are links to your site hosted on other quality websites
Backlinks are the most difficult to get because they essentially have to be earned. But they can help improve your brand authority and make your website more reliable. They’re also the backbone of any off-page SEO strategy.
4. Quality and Relevant Content
Content is king, but not all content is created equal. Through keyword research, you can identify the most used keyword phrases in your industry and create content around them, to help improve website relevance and appear in the search results.
Content should not be made just to include the target keyword, however. It’s important to offer users value to avoid increasing your bounce rates.
How Can You Improve Your Search Engine Ranking?
If you need help improving your SEO strategy and driving better results, we at Australian Internet Advertising are here to help.
We’re very familiar with Google’s algorithm and can establish the best plan for your business to start getting more organic traffic with every search your target audience makes.
If you want to learn more about our services and how we can help, reach out to our team today!