Search Engine Optimization (SEO) determines a website’s ranking in common search engines like Google.
Regardless of the type of business you run (communications consulting firm or bakery), a good ranking is a smart way to increase your online visibility, attract new customers, grow your business, and therefore increase your profits.
Suppose you own a restaurant business in India.
If someone types “restaurant India” into Google, and your website is among the first results to appear, there is a good chance that the person will visit your page, and will be convinced to contact you.
Studies suggest that the top five organic search results drive over 67% of all clicks.
At a time when people rely on the internet to find everything from local dry cleaners to overseas hotels, getting listed on the internet is essential.
Companies recognize this and allocate their marketing budgets accordingly.
The visibility of your website corresponds to the place occupied by its pages in search engine results.
Google’s ranking process determines where the content appears on a search engine results page (SERP).
Google uses complex algorithms to determine the most relevant and useful content for Internet users.
These algorithms take into account many factors, from the number of websites linking to your website (indicating that your platform is authoritative) to keyword usage.
How do you reach those coveted places in Google?
This guide highlights the top 15 Google success factors and explains how to create an effective website.
1. Quality Content
Quality content is at the heart of SEO success.
To attract search engines, you need to fill your website with content.
To start, make sure each page has at least 300 words of original content.
Search engines are able to detect duplicate content, and can penalize your page if it resorts to plagiarism.
Content should be broken into shorter sets, for example with H2 subtitles, so that it is easy to scan.
Above all, the content must meet Google’s EAT criteria, namely expertise, authority, and reliability (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness in English).
Google introduced this concept in 2018.
The EAT concept is particularly important for sensitive topics, such as health, science, and law.
Factors that increase the EAT score include citing respected experts (for example, if you run a health website, refer to health professionals) and citing trusted sources (such as “.edu” or “.gov” sites).
2. On-Page SEO
Content should not only be qualitative.
It should also be optimized for search engines.
How to do?
You can start with this basic on-page SEO checklist:
- Choose a main keyword for the page and three or four related keywords.
- Include the main keyword in your URL.
- Make sure your title tag, meta description, and H1 include your primary keyword.
- The content must be of high quality and written for an understandable reading level for a 3rd-grade student.
- Vary the structure of the content to make it parsable (for example, use H2s and H3s well with bulleted lists).
- Make sure internal links use effective anchor text.
- Add at least one image.
From there, you can dive into finer details.
Keywords are essential.
Each page should be optimized for a unique keyword.
You should also include a title that will attract readers in the form of an H1 tag.
This tells the search engine that this text is the page title and the page subject.
Images are another important part of content optimization.
Try to add at least one image per page.
This makes the content more engaging and interesting for readers while showing search engines that the content has value.
Image files must be tagged using the name of the image file and must include the main keyword as the image alt tag and image title.
It is also recommended that you include in all of your content links to quality sites with a good ranking.
Internal links are also useful.
They direct readers to different pages on your website, which keeps them engaged.
3. Effective Keywords
Keywords are an essential part of on-page optimization.
Your content should include target keywords; basically, the words or phrases people might be looking for that would ideally lead them to your page.
Keywords tell the search engine what your page is about.
In addition to a main keyword for each page, it’s good to have supporting secondary keywords.
Keywords are also important beyond the content of the web page.
You need to create a meta title and a meta description for each page, for example.
The brief title and description of this page are in the SERP.
Again, this is a brief overview of the importance of keywords and how you can use them to your advantage.
These keyword research tools can help.
Start with the Ahrefs Keyword Overview tool which gives you a comprehensive overview of the particular query you’re targeting, including total search volume, how competitive the space is, and top SERP features.
It is also very useful when working based on the “pillar/cluster page” content model.
You will be able to see the keywords associated with your query along with the most common questions.
These are great springboards for building future topic groups and larger pillars related to your initial keyword.
4. Useful Backlinks
Among the ways to improve your online visibility and your SEO ranking, some have nothing to do with your website, but rather with the websites of others.
If more and more people are directed to your website from other sites, Google will recognize this and may rank your site higher accordingly.
So how do you generate this traffic?
The answer lies in backlinks.
These are links on other websites that direct people to your site.
When your site is regularly referenced by other quality sites, Google recognizes that it is trustworthy.
These backlinks are all the more useful if the referring website is reliable.
One of the effective ways to generate quality backlinks is to create a compelling infographic and allow other websites and blogs to use it in their content.
Users love to share infographics, especially when they have relevant or important data!
Canva is an easy tool to create your own infographics.
Create your visual based on important statistics or facts related to your industry and send it by e-mail to others in your field, inviting them to share it with their audience.
When posting the infographic, ask them to include a reference and backlink linking to you.
Great content won’t get you far if your platform isn’t accessible and secure.
You will also not be able to generate quality backlinks if your website is not perceived as reliable.
To ensure the security of your site, use HTTPS encryption.
This allows you to obtain SSL certificates for your site, creating a secure connection between your platform and your end users and protecting information that users might enter on the site, such as passwords.
For your website to be accessible, it must be well-coded.
This makes it easier for Google robots to crawl your pages.
Inserting a “robots.txt” file, for example, tells robots where they should and should not look for information on your site.
It is also important to have a sitemap, which gives an overview of all pages in list form.
This helps Google understand the content on your site.
Indexability ensures that search engines find your site.
Considering that there are billions of web pages on the net, this factor is quite essential!
You want search engine crawlers to be able to crawl, index, and understand the type of content you provide as easily as possible.
Crawl is the search engine process of looking for new or updated pages.
You can check Google Search Console to see how many pages on your site have been crawled by Google.
The “Googlebot” constantly roams the web, searching and indexing pages.
Some of the most common reasons for a Googlebot to miss certain sites are that a site was recently launched, that the site was indexed by design, or that your policy prevents Googlebot from crawling it.
You also need to tell Googlebot which pages should not be crawled, using a “robots.txt” file.
This must be placed in the root directory of your site.
Google Search Console even has a “robots.txt” generator that you can use.
For example, Google advises against allowing the crawling of internal search results pages.
Users get frustrated if they click on a result in the search engine and end up with a different result on your website.
7. Loading speed
Internet technology has come a long way since it was made available to the general public.
Long gone are the days of looking forward to switching connections.
The construction of your web page must take this into account.
Top-ranked Google sites have an average load time of less than 3 seconds.
For sites specializing in e-commerce, 2 seconds is considered the threshold of acceptability.
According to Google webmasters, Google even aims for less than half a second.
Search engine crawlers can estimate site speed based on your page’s HTML code.
Google also uses user data in the Chrome browser to obtain information about loading speed.
Server response time is another issue to address.
A Domain Name System (DNS) server contains a database of IP addresses.
When someone types a URL into their browser, the DNS server translates that URL into the relevant IP address.
It is as if the computer were looking for a number in the directory.
The time it takes depends on the speed of your DNS provider.
Check the DNS speed comparison reports to see where yours stands.
8. User Engagement
We talked about the importance of creating quality content and SEO-optimized content from a technical perspective.
Your content must also meet another criterion: it must be engaging.
Google uses the artificial intelligence tool RankBrain to assess user engagement.
RankBrain looks at things like click-through rate (how many people click on a result when the search engine shows them the result) and dwells time (time spent on the site).
For example, if a user visits your website but immediately leaves it, it will hurt your ranking in Google (if many people do this on your site, you have a high “bounce rate”).
Creating engaging content is the key to attracting and retaining web users.
Use a clear site architecture that makes it easy to navigate.
Quality web design, engaging images, and captivating infographics all help keep users on a page.
9. Schema Markup
Schema markup, or structured data, is a type of structural microdata that tells Google how the page should be categorized and interpreted.
This data helps the search engine to determine the type of page, for example, whether it is a recipe or a chapter of a book.
Structured data should be relevant, complete, and location-specific.
Schema.org provides a universal structured data language.
This is all part of the background architecture of your site.
Suppose you are creating a recipe page, your schema markup language might include “@type”: “recipe” and “name”: “Best Banana Bread Recipe”.
This guide to structured data markup provides more guidance.
10. Site Authority
Site authority basically predicts the ranking of a website in Google search results.
It’s a way to quickly measure the SEO power potential of a page.
Highly rated websites are more likely to rank higher in search engines.
When registering your domain, be aware that it will take time for you to become authoritative.
On-page SEO, backlinks, and loading speed are all contributing factors.
You basically have to prove yourself to get a high authority score.
Your link profile, which relies on strong backlinks, is another factor.
You should regularly check the authority of your site.
You can use services such as the Backlink Audit tool to perform analyses.
Using this tool, you will not only receive your website’s authority score but also an overall toxicity score ranging from 0 to 100, with 60 to 100 being the most toxic range.
You will want to weed out unwanted links or those from low-authority websites, which lower yours.
You can also locate other real authoritative sites to add links to.
11. Mobile Compatibility (Mobile-Friendly)
Computers are no longer the guardians of the Internet.
The majority of all global web traffic is now generated by mobile phones.
Recognizing the importance of mobile web browsing, Google has explicitly stated that mobile compatibility is a ranking factor on the SERPs.
Google offers a mobile optimization testing tool that you can use to identify barriers to using your page on mobile phones.
You want to create a website that provides a user-friendly experience for desktop users and mobile users.
Opt for a responsive design, and avoid ads and pop-ups that block text.
Simplify mobile design.
The clutter will make a small screen look cluttered.
Also, pay attention to details like button sizes, which need to be bigger on smaller screens when people use their fingers instead of a tiny mouse pointer to click.
Large fonts are also easier to read on a small screen.
12. Reliability of Records of Landing
Remember the reference to the EAT concept in the discussion of quality content?
Trusted business records are one piece of the puzzle, especially when it comes to the letter “T” in English.
Business listings, also known as citations, are an especially important local SEO ranking factor.
Create a Google My Business page to demonstrate that your organization is real and legitimate.
This is linked not only to Google Search but also to Google Maps, making it easier for customers to find you online and in the real world.
You can build your credibility by creating business profiles on online directories dedicated to your industry.
Also, make sure that the company name and contact details are consistent across all of your online profiles.
13. Legitimacy on social networks
Being active on social media is a great way to boost user engagement.
By posting links to quality content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., you get clicks and attract users.
Over 3.6 billion people use social media.
That’s a huge audience to reach (and huge potential to drive traffic to your page)!
Identifying which social media platforms to focus on largely depends on your target audience.
Google is paying more and more attention to social media accounts in general.
For example, buying followers on a social media account can backfire.
A social media account with 100,000 followers but no interactions seem less legitimate than an account with 10,000 followers that generates a lot of active engagement.
Google even filed a patent for technology intended to determine whether social media accounts were real or fake.
When using social media, avoid spam link requests or shopping links from other sites in hopes of improving your site’s ranking.
Instead of promoting every piece of content you create, focus on promoting bigger, more engaging pieces.
Well-researched, comprehensive articles that address hot topics in your field are great for sharing.
14. Featured Snippets
A sneaky way to get to the top of search results pages is to use Featured Snippets.
They appear before regular search results, automatically putting you in the desired “position zero” on the results page, even if you don’t technically “win” the ranking race.
We have included an example below.
You can actively target Google’s Featured Snippets with question-inspired content.
So think of a question that people in your niche would commonly ask you.
If you’re in SEO marketing, for example, that question might be, “How do I improve my Google rankings?”
Your content must include this sentence as a subtitle and as a question, and must, of course, answer it.
Checklist-like content lends itself well to snippets, especially numbered lists.
You can read more about Google Featured Snippets here.
If you need help finding the questions people are asking, you can use Keyword Magic Tool to get an idea of a good question you can answer.
All of the above points have one thing in common, whether they relate to technical elements or prominently visible content.
This common point is user-friendliness.
Many people think that successful SEO consists of meeting the algorithms of a Google robot.
Although it’s technically the algorithms that determine the rankings, it’s still people who build those algorithms, and they build them with the end user in mind, which is a real person.
From top to bottom, your website should prioritize the interests of your target audience.
That means solving technical issues, like load times while crafting compelling content that delivers value to users, and to all users.
To do this, you need to include title tags, descriptive alt text, and proper title and subtitle structure.
It’s about applying common sense to your SEO by expanding the audience you can reach.
Reach the first page of Google
The tips above can help you rank well in search engines, especially if you’re new to Content Marketing and SEO.
These tips, however, cannot get you extremely far.
A good ranking in Google requires time, energy, and great attention to detail.
Whether you’re looking for keyword research support or want to track your position, there are plenty of things to keep in mind.
Just remember that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint!
Thanks for Reading.