Long gone are the days when you had to ask your friends and family to like, share, and subscribe to your blog. No doubt this was a truly white hat SEO technique to improve the ranking of your website and it is still in practice. But the time taken for this technique to revert back the results is quite long. In fact, the search engines, with the introduction of artificial intelligence, are getting smarter with every search that is made through them. This has given an excavating insight of the user behavior and helped Google deliver better and more relevant results to its users.
As already said, the search engines grow smarter with every search that is made through them, this, in turn, has evolved the factors that these search engines use to rank a website during a search. Google alone, the world’s most popular search engine, uses more than 16 dozen factors to rank a website in a search result. And the number is still growing.
Nevertheless, the experts have been following these trends. It is crucial to keep up with the upgrades in the ever-changing environment of Search Engine Optimization. It won’t be possible to discuss all the factors in this article considering the context of the topic. Without wasting your time any further, let’s begin.
- Originality Of Your Content
No matter, how many factors Google bring in to rank a website, content is the unchallenged ruler of the realm. From the earliest days of the World Wide Web, it has been the number one factor to affect SEO. Having said that, it would be foolhardy to believe that just any content would do it. Google recommends that you should create and publish your original content. This helps identify your content on the internet.
Your content may contain text, video, audio, gif, images, or all of these. The idea is to keep your audience engaged with your content. You can write anything that you wish to share with your audience. Undoubtedly, creative content that includes media is more interesting and tends to engage the audience better.
Coming back to the originality of your content. Google’s bots, or crawlers, as they are called sometimes, go through every piece of content that is available on the internet. A duplicate content would not only decrease your website’s ranking but may also lead to penalizing your domain. In other words, original content brings your website to the top, whereas, copied or plagued content leads to penalties and dip in ranks.
- Responsiveness Of Your Website
Consider a website that works great when accessed through a computer, but lags when accessed through a mobile device. This lag in responsiveness to mobile devices decreases customer engagement. And also increases the bounce rate. Which is not healthy for any website’s SEO.
Google, or any other popular search engine, for that matter, try to deliver the user, what they are looking for. As for any business, customer satisfaction is very important. These users are Google’s customers. And Google makes sure that its customers are satisfied with the results they get. The more a website is visited, the more popular it becomes. And there is no scope for debate that popular and trending makes it to the top always.
In order to receive high traffic and retain that traffic on your website, you should work on your website’s responsiveness. Neglecting website response can lead to a high bounce rate, which is considered as a negative impact on your website’s SEO by Google. User experience is a critical factor that needs to be taken care of when talking of responsiveness. For a smooth UX, one needs to take note of basic things such as a navigable mobile menu along with mobile data collection forms that fit well on screen and are easy to use.
- Speed Of Your Website
A website that takes longer to load, would not be preferred by the users. In the age, where everyone desires for everything at lightning fast speeds, how can a website that takes time to load can be preferred by the users? The users wish to access any and all piece of information with a click. And when the page doesn’t load for a few seconds, the user is sure to bounce back. They would look for alternate sources of information but surely wouldn’t check out the slow link again.
Optimizing the speed of your website diminish the chances that your target audience flips over to another website. Consider this. There can be many reasons for the slow response of your website. These may include a bug in the HTML file, backend faults, server delays, and in some cases, the internet connection of the user. Optimizing each and every aspect of the website’s speed is pretty much impossible. For instance, you cannot do anything for the user’s internet speed. But you can take care of the things that are in your control, such as the backend of your website.
If you are geeky at coding and debugging, you can repair and optimize your website on your own. In case, you don’t know any of the coding and optimization parts, you should seek professional help. A company or an individual who has relevant professional experience is truly worth the investment.
- Social Signals That Your Website Has
From young to old, social media has engaged each and every age group. And not just the groups of age, also people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, and interests. Social media is like a popular restaurant where anyone can walk in and savor whatever they want to. There’s something for everyone.
It has nothing to do with Google. Google does not endorse social media, specifically. It is important to understand that it is the referral traffic that matters more here. Linking your website to social media can divert traffic from the website to your desired page. And the best thing about this traffic is, it is completely ethical.
Social media signals can boost your traffic consequently improving your website’s ranking in the SERPs. Create a social media profile on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and wherever you feel like. Diverting traffic from this humongous source of users can help reach your words out to the world.
- Number Of Backlinks & Their Quality
As already mentioned, traffic is one of the major influencers that improves or degrades your website’s ranking. The source of traffic is equally important. At this point, it’d be wiser to briefly understand what these sources are. There are primarily two sources of traffic that any website can receive; 1) Organic traffic that comes from search engines when a user enters the relevant keyword in the search box; 2) and, Referral traffic, that comes from secondary sources such as blogs and social media.
To help with the amount of traffic that your website receives, link building is an effective technique. It is not at all new. Bloggers have been using this method since the dawn of the internet and blogging. The higher the number of links your website has, both outbound and inbound, the better its SEO gets. Having said that, the links that are inbound bring in referral traffic. These linked pages help Google understand the authority of your website and prioritize its placement in search results.
The quantity of the backlinks is less effective if the quality of backlinks is not satisfactory. Therefore, it is vital to make sure that the backlinks that your website has comes from high authority websites and not from any penalized or spammed websites.
- User Experience Makes A Lot Of Difference
We have been discussing it over and over again, that the amount of traffic your website receives helps with the SEO. This sentence has a limitation to it. Mere traffic volume does not make much difference. The relationship between the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and Bounce-Rate is what makes this traffic more valuable.
These two measurements are influenced by the experience a user has when they visit your website. If the experience is very delightful, it is likely that the user would return to your website and also spread the page for more users to visit. This improves the Click-Through-Rate and reduces the Bounce-Rate.
A lower Bounce-Rate enhances the reputation of your website. Whereas, an increased CTR builds the authority of your domain and gains your website better placement in the search results. It also, helps with the strengthening of the keywords for your website that it is currently ranking for.
- Age Of Your Domain
The next thing that affects your ranking is the age of your domain. Yes, the older your domain is, the better it has the probability to rank higher. It is crucial to make note of what does this age actually refer to. The bot crawls through potentially every piece of information that exists on the internet. As soon as the bot crawls through a page, it stores the content into Google’s index with a time-stamp.
This time-stamp helps keep the content identifiable and distinguishable at all times. Even if someone creates a similar content (not copied). This helps Google determine the authority of the page depending upon the traffic it keeps on drawing days, months or even years after the content is published.
In fact, when you consider building links for your website, you should indeed check out the age of the domain that you are linking to. An older domain that has been consistently operational in a specific niche is more likely to be of higher authority.
- Referring Domains For Your Website
Not just the links that direct towards your website, but also, the domain from which these backlinks are coming from, are important for your website’s ranking in SERPs. Referring domain is where the backlinks come from. As already said, referring domains are critical for SEO, a higher number of referring domains is always better. Just make sure that these referring domains are not PBNs or any other phishing website.
To understand how the referring domains affect SEO, let’s consider an example. Say you have a total of 100 backlinks to your website. And, these backlinks come from not more than 5 domains. It is very likely that Google may punish your website for such a low ratio of referring domains to the number of backlinks.
The best practice to maintain a healthy link profile is to build links with more number of domains. A higher number of referring domains from where the backlinks are fetched is considered to be Google friendly. This is also known as a unique link building campaign strategy. No more than one backlink from one domain is the best profile for backlinks.
- Security Of Your Domain
How secure your domain stands, affects the user experience. And we already know, how user experience affects the SEO. Considering this fact, improving the security of your domain, helps keep your information and that of your users’ as well, safe.
Users do not wish to share any of their personal data with a third party, to whom the information does not concern. Moreover, higher security also enables you from getting your website hacked and this leads to high trust build up amongst the users.
The more users trust your website, the more likely they are to click on your link and visit your website.
- How Often Do You Update Your Website?
A website that is idle for a long time and does not receive any updates in terms of content is considered as a dead site by Google. Consequently, Google draws back the website in the search results, to the bottom or last results.
It is, thus, critically important to refresh the content on your website from time to time. Keeping your audience updated and engaged with the latest content helps keep up the traffic flow, makes your website look genuine, and build authority on the internet.
A steady flow of traffic, along with optimum quantity and quality of backlinks promotes your websites ranking to the first rank. All of these techniques are white-hat and genuine. Though the results may take some time to show up, they will eventually. And your website would come closer to the first rank as long as you’d keep on following these strategies.