Did you know that 68% of online experiences begin with a search? It is no surprise that improving Google ranking is a key goal for businesses.
Google has become a powerful tool and the most important way that customers find information online. When searching, most people are going to start at the top of the list and scroll down further till they find the information they’re after. Some of them rely on Google’s suggestion entirely and go to a handful of sites to get information.
What are Google ranking factors?
These are factors Google takes into account when evaluating websites to rank search results. They can fall under different categories such as page-level factors, site-level factors, domain factors, etc.
While there are more than 200 ranking factors, here are some of the most popular ones:
Steps on how to improve Google ranking
Here are some simple steps on how to improve Google rankings.
Strategy 1 – Improve onsite SEO
Onsite SEO refers to improving elements on your website, including content and HTML code.
Some of the factors to evaluate include:
- Do your pages load fast enough?
- Can visitors find content easily on your website?
- Is your content plagiarism-free, relevant, and aligned with search?
- Do you have duplicate content on your website that needs to go?
- How many links are on your page? Do they all function?
- Analyze your page URL structure
- Is your metadata in place?
- Are your schema and other markups in place?
Wondering how to optimize your WordPress site for SEO? Check out our WordPress Marketing Guide.
Strategy 2 – Invest in search based content
Structure your content around your user’s search. Understanding how and what your users search for will help understanding search intent.
Based on keywords, there are four types of search intent:
- Informational – When a user is looking for an answer to a specific question or information on a topic
- Navigational – When a user is looking for a specific website
- Transactional – When a user is looking to purchase a product or service right away. Usually, these users know exactly what they need.
- Commercial – Similar to transactional, the user is researching and has not finalized a product or brand.
By researching and choosing keywords with intent-specific words, you increase your chances of popping up on a search. Once you have your keywords in place, create content that matches this search intent. It is important to remember that a visitor to your website could have any of four search intents. It is essential to have content to cater to each of these types of visitors.
Strategy 3 – Reduce bounce rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave without visiting any other page. A high bounce rate is not a good sign as it is an indication that the website is not serving its purpose.
A visitor may choose to leave right away due to a variety of reasons. Here are some ways to reduce your bounce rate
- Understand good and bad bounce rates – The acceptable bounce rate will differ depending on your industry. Take time to understand this and know where your website stands.
- Analyze the bounces – Do a deep dive of visitors who leave early. Where did they come from, search queries, etc. Google Analytics helps do this.
- Improve your user experience – check if your website has all the elements for a good user experience, such as an attractive layout, easy navigation, etc
- Do A/B testing– Try different layouts, content, etc., to see if it impacts your bounce rate.
- Encourage visitors to stay – some websites offer bounces an incentive to stay. For example, you might see some websites put out a pop-up if you hit close too soon. The pop-up usually offers something or asks if you were unhappy with the experience.
Strategy 4 – Fix and improve keywords
Understanding if your keywords are working for you is probably the most critical step.
Identify most used keywords: Several tools will help you identify the most used keywords for your industry. Compare them with your existing list of keywords and remove ones with low search volumes.
Audience demographics: Understanding buyer personas will help analyze buyer journeys. Your ranking will improve when you offer content for each of these personas and each step of the buyer journey.
Check out your competition: Don’t stop by analyzing just your keywords. Do check out your competitor’s keywords. This can often offer insights that might be missing out on.
Strategy 5 – Make Google Analytics your best friend
Google Analytics offers a gold mine of information to improve your Google ranking. What you can get out of Google Analytics is a vast topic. However, one of the most valuable features is the “Queries” option.
Some of the useful insights this feature offers include:
- Phrases that your website ranks for
- Number of visits from the above-mentioned phrase
- Number of impressions on Google
- Your website’s average ranking for these phrases
Strategy 6 – Consider going niche
This strategy will not work for everyone and depends entirely on your business offering. However, if you have the option, consider going niche. The most obvious benefit is that this makes you unique and helps you stand out from the competition. When this is reflected in your content, your website’s ranking automatically improves.
Strategy 7 – Acquire backlinks
According to Google, backlinks are one of the top 3 factors considered for the ranking.
Here are some ways to acquire backlinks for your website.
- Promote on social media – Have an active social media marketing strategy to promote your content on relevant social platforms.
- Create shareable content – Create content that will be relevant and interesting enough for other websites to link.
- Check your backlinks and request updates – Periodically check your backlinks to ensure there are no dead links. If you have fresher and more relevant content, you can reach out to websites and request to update the link.
- Check industry round-ups – Keep an eye out on websites that regularly feature industry round-ups. Do not hesitate to reach and request your website to be linked.
- Return the favor – Link relevant websites wherever applicable on your website.
Check out the off-page SEO strategies here.
Strategy 8 – Fix penalties
It is essential to do a deep analysis of your website and identify penalties that need fixing. Having penalties means your website could no longer be listed, and or your ranking has dropped. A penalty can affect one part of your website or the whole thing.
The following aspects can bring penalties:
- Keyword stuffing
- A significant amount of duplicate or plagiarized content
- Trying to “cloak” your website differently to search engines crawlers
- Including spyware on your website
- Misleading or forced redirects
- Invisible markup content
- Low-quality content
Strategy 9 – Optimize your website for mobile
51% of smartphone users have discovered a new brand through mobile phone searches. Mobile optimization not only improves user experience but also helps with ranking. After Google introduced the mobile-first index, it has become essential to pass the mobile-friendly test.
Not sure if your website will pass the mobile-friendly test? This link can help.
Strategy 10 – Consistency is key
One of the most commonly asked questions is how long does it take to rank on Google? There is no accurate answer to this. However, it is interesting to note that – The average page in the top 10 rankings is 2+ years old. What this means is that improving ranking is an ongoing process and requires patience and consistency. Google algorithms are constantly evolving, and as a result, websites need to improve ranking continually.
Organic search results vs paid search results
While all these strategies help with organic search, paid search is also worth mentioning. Paid search essentially is when you paid for your company to be listed in top search results. Unlike organic search, you can instantly feature in the top results with Google’s paid options. If your business is looking for instant results, this is something to consider. However, it is essential to remember that the audience views organic and paid search results differently. Paid search is a form of advertising, and users are well aware of this.
So which one should you pick? The answer is a combination of the two with a focus on organic search. Paid search can give you a boost, especially if you are a small or upcoming business. At the same time, organic search is more budget-friendly and sustainable.
Do you have a question about ranking on Google? Let us know in the comments section below.