The Google search engine has been operational for more than 20 years. During this period, there have been numerous algorithm changes aimed at providing a more accurate service to users.
Whereas in the past it was possible to engage in many spammy activities, it is now much harder to trick the search engine into ranking you. A web page needs to be of a high quality and relevant to the search, with tangible proof of satisfied searchers.
Unfortunately, creating great content often isn’t enough to rank on the first page.
However, there are a number of additional SEO factors that give you the best chance of achieving a top ranking.
Work on Your Title
The page title is one of the most important factors for SEO (how to create SEO Friendly title tags).
It helps describe the page to searchers, offering a reason to click your link. Additionally, using a keyword helps Google understand the content of the page.
Ensure the title is unique, descriptive, and stays below 70 characters.
Craft an Interesting Description
A good description should accurately detail the content of the page, but also intrigue searchers to want to read more.
Avoid using generic text as Google will probably choose another portion of content from the page.
Also, don’t stuff keywords into the text, with Google able to accurately understand the content based on related terms.
Use Simple URLs
A good URL will describe the content in a concise manner. Avoid using a long title that takes an entire lengthy blog post title.
Similarly, avoid using unhelpful codes, and using strings of numbers, letters, or dates. A short and simple URL is helpful to both searchers and search engines.
Include Keyword Phrases Carefully
It is no longer possible to use keyword stuffing for better rankings. It is still necessary, though, to include related keyword phrases that would occur naturally.
Aim to create the best piece of content possible, but also use the Google Keyword Planner to research a number of related phrases that can be included within the content.
Analyze Page Speed
Slow loading pages will struggle to sustain any long-term rankings. Loading times have become more important for SEO, with speed issues providing a poor user experience for site visitors.
Google have a speed test tool that quickly reveals if a site is considered to load fast enough. If you do find any issues, often related to servers, coding, or large images, the accompanying advice can help to quickly solve the problem.
Analyze your page speed with Google Webmaster Tool: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Set Up Internal Linking
Internal linking helps visitors navigate your site and passes authority between relevant pages. While many sites use internal linking, the approach is often haphazard.
Ideally, the most important pages on your site should have the most links directed towards them.
You can use the Google Search Console to get a good picture of your internal linking structure, before adjusting links to offer a better user experience.
Optimize for Mobile
Mobile usage has surpassed desktops, so it is clear a site needs to be friendly to these devices.
However, it is also important to consider desktops as they are still a good proportion of searchers.
Using a responsive design, your website should load seamlessly for visitors, creating a positive experience regardless of the device. You can use the Google Mobile-Friendly tool to ensure your site has been optimized.
Ensure Your Site is Secure
Visitors have become more conscious of site security, particularly when transactions are taking place. There has been a gradual move towards HTTPS recently, with Google making it one of the ranking factors.
Alongside the ranking benefits of HTTPS, you can also keep visitors on your site for longer when they can see you take security seriously.
There is no way to guarantee top rankings for you target keywords, You can, however, give yourself the best possible chance of ranking by following these tips.
You may find yourself competing with some established sites, making it harder to take one of the top listings. By doing some initial research, though, you can save yourself the time of trying to beat some difficult and mature sites.
When you have found a number of achievable search terms, creating quality content and using the right optimization techniques will ensure you make your mark in Google.