One of the most common questions that we receive as an agency is, “What Specific Things Can I Do To Rank Better on Google”?Much like the Coke formula, Google’s algorithm isn’t public knowledge and gets updated all of the time (sometimes dramatically), which can keep SEO professionals on their toes. As a result, it’s always important to have your finger on the pulse of the industry & pay close attention to changes and trends in the industry, especially when given by leading pundits.
Moz, a leading SEO software company, has just released their Bi-Annual Search Engine Ranking Factors for 2015, a comprehensive view of what factors are believed to help a website achieve higher positions in the search engine ranks. They formulated their findings by conducting an extensive keyword analysis and correlation study, plus polled 150 of the leading experts in the field. As a result, their results offer some interesting insight into the specific items that need to be addressed when seeking to get your company’s website higher in the search rankings.
We have included the infographic from the Moz study in this blog entry, but the most common question stemming from the study will be focused around the common things that can be done for your company’s web presence to make an impact moving forward. Some may argue, but in a nutshell we believe that SEO activities fall into two basic categories:
When it comes to things that you can have a direct influence on, let’s go over a few high-level things that you need to address that you can also completely control.
You can control whether you have a particular focus for your website as a whole, and for the pages on your website. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you chose 3-5 keywords to focus on for your homepage, 2-3 terms for your major category pages, and a single term per blog post or article.
This should be pretty evident in today’s day and age. If your website isn’t built to render well on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, you are going to get hurt from a rankings perspective. While Google explicitly states that mobile search results will be affected by those who don’t have a mobile friendly site, most believe that this will also have a detrimental effect on your overall searches as well. After all, Google explicitly states that they “Prefer Responsive Websites” so why fight city hall?
If you aren’t consistently writing compelling content for your website, then you are missing out on a great opportunity. Nothing attracts more social signals/shares and links to your content than a well crafted post, and over time you can build up a warchest of content targeting long-tail keywords that is sending substantial traffic to your site. Whatever you do though, make sure your content is original, because if you are going to duplicate content route it certainly won’t help & could even result in negative effects for your site.
Yes, this is one of the most basic things that you can do for your website, however when combined with an extensive keyword analysis and strategy it can still be one of the most important activities. Remember, not only do the search engines pay close attention to your title, but this data is also what is served up to the searcher when they come across your listing. Even though meta descriptions have no direct value, the dirty little secret is that they play a vital role in enticing people to click on your result. This will indirectly help your SEO as you will have a higher click-thru-rate signalling that your content is relevant for the term in question.
You have 10’s of thousands of words within your website, and probably hundreds of pages. Linking key terms to the appropriate pages can not only help your bounce rate and time on site, but also give search engines a good indication of which keywords are especially relevant on any particular page. If you are pointing anchor text links, then that is a pretty strong signal. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it!
It’s always a good idea to routinely crawl your website for errors. From time to time, certain errors may pop up, so by having a systematic crawl process you can quickly identify anything that may need to be addressed. There are a number of great tools out there that can take care of this task for you, such as Screaming Frog and Moz. Think of this as an insurance policy in case anything is going wrong.
Finally, it’s vital that you pay attention to your analytics. This report card will show you how your overall search efforts are going and where you are doing well. Once piece of advice though, make sure that you pay close attention to the pages that aren’t receiving entrances from search. If this persists over time, you may want to adjust your keyword strategy and meta data to try a different route. By consistently doing this over time, you will go a long way towards putting together a SEO strategy that works.