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Everything related to Google, especially, pertinent optimisation metrics evolves continuously. Unless you keep a close eye on developments and advancements related to Search Engine rankings, you may find yourself going in circles. I have spent a lot of time researching how Google is gearing up to rank websites in the future. Some of my observations are compiled below.
Mobile friendliness and site loading speed
If mobile visitors have to tap on the screen to zoom into any buttons or links on your website, then your website is not mobile responsive and you are bound to pay heavily for it in search rankings. Mobile responsiveness is the one consistent factor that Google considers while ranking websites. Ensure that your website blends in perfect with all the mobile screen variants by developing a responsive layout. Page loading speed is equally important; Google and other search engines will not promote websites that take forever to load. Perform a search on the web with any keyword and the top three websites that pop up will be the ones that load quickly. The ideal sweet spot is sub 6 seconds for the market you operate in.
Outbound Links: Links to reputed websites can be ideal for instilling a high trust factor in your website. However, too many outbound links that are “do follow” can significantly leak page rank.
Older page update: Google always prefer fresh content over the older versions. However, an older page which is updated with fresh content is given priority over a newly created page.
Tip: Update your blogs and pages with fresh content and re-share them to kick start your ranking.
HTTPS Certificate: Google confirmed the use of HTTPS certificate as a ranking factor way back in 2014. Read more about it here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html
For a small investment and little hassle you can order and install a security certificate to improve your ranking and trust factor.
Note: An eCommerce store will be penalised for not having a SSL Certificate so ensure you have one.
Page level keyword density: page level keyword density seems to be a really important factor that Google seems to factor on for ranking websites. Distribute the keywords uniformly and naturally throughout the following section of a page:
- Page title
- Page URL
- Image Alt Tags
- Anchor text links
Ensure that keywords (search terms) are not stuffed and are used descriptively and naturally wherever applicable. It is also wise to include variants of the keywords in focus in the page content.
Our advice is to write explicitly using full names and terms where ever possible. Avoid referring to your products and services using terms, such as; it, that, them, etc Use the correct words or better yet what people are actually searching for to find your product or service.
Content length is an important factor that can highly influence your website rankings in SERPs. Google has been showing an affinity towards website with informative and lengthy content. If you perform a search on Google with any keyword, 9 out of 10 times, the top three websites that you will come across will be content rich.
Give priority to ON Page optimisation and ensure that your checklist enlists factors like interlinks, meta descriptions, titles, image optimisation etc. A keyword rich domain and its age is also a decisive factor when it comes to ranking better in Google with years to come.
Mozcom. (2016, no-date). Search Ranking Factors Survey. [Weblog]. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors/survey
Red-website-designcouk. (2015, 14 August 2015). The Future of SEO: How Google Will Rank Your Site Next Year. [Weblog]. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from https://blog.red-website-design.co.uk/2015/08/14/the-future-of-seo-how-google-will-rank-your-site-next-year/
Backlinkocom. (2016, no-date). Google Ranking Factors: The Complete List. [Weblog]. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from http://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors