SEO Basics – 7 Site Factors to Consider if You Want to Rank on the Top Page of Google
If your website is new, you’re going to need to find ways to generate traffic. Without an existing audience, the best way you can do that is through Google.
Over 90% of web traffic comes from the sites listed on the first page of a Google search, but getting listed on that first page isn’t easy.
You need the right search engine optimization strategy to help boost your Google ranking to end up on the first page. But what factors are Google looking for when they’re deciding on their search rankings?
Let’s help you out by listing the 7 most important site factors to remember for your website.
Good, Well Written Content
Your site is only as good as your content. You’re offering something to your users to digest, and whatever your site’s purpose, the text is going to form the majority of what’s on offer.
The quality of your content is one of the most important factors for Google when they analyze your site to determine your site ranking. Getting your website to the top of Google means ensuring your content meets their standards.
So what does Google expect from your website content?
At a basic level, your content needs to be well written and free from grammatical errors. Proofreading software like Grammarly can help you optimize your written content, and this blog can help you make sense of the pros and cons.
You should also limit your use of any targeting keywords in your content, the words that people type when they make a search. Insert them naturally, and don’t overdo it.
Well written content should also offer something. If you write 2,000 words on a topic, who is it aimed at? Does it have a purpose?
Simply writing content filled with “fluff” that doesn’t achieve anything won’t rank highly. Content like this is more likely to be poorly written and lack the SEO signals that Google look for.
We’re not just searching for websites on our desktop PCs or laptops in the age of the smartphone. That’s why Google decided to move toward a mobile-first search platform earlier this year.
Ultimately, if you want to be at the top of search results from now on, your site has to be optimized for mobile devices. If you don’t, your site ranking will be hurt. You definitely won’t be reaching the first page.
Start by visiting your website on your smartphone. Is your site easy to navigate, and are there any obvious problems?
If your visitors can navigate your site as well as they could on a desktop PC, that’s a good start. Make it easy to scroll through, and make sure your layout resizes to suit varied screen sizes using a responsible mobile site design.
Keep mobile content short and sweet, too. Short paragraphs, with easy to read sentences that display well on smaller screen sizes. If your visitors can’t read your content with ease, the Google spider won’t, either.
Domain Age and Authority
It isn’t just the signs that you can see that affect your Google ranking. The history of your domain name itself can have an impact, as can its age.
If it’s a brand new domain with no prior history of registration, Google can’t use this metric to judge your site. This doesn’t harm your site, but it will take time to build your site’s domain profile.
One way to judge the quality of your domain overall is to use something called Domain Authority. It’s a metric developed by the SEO powerhouse company Moz that looks at various factors, from your backlink profile to your domain’s age.
Your site gets a DA score out of 100 to help you judge the health of your domain. New domains will start at the bottom, while the highest authority sites (such as government agencies or the Google site itself) will be at the top.
If you’ve got a score that’s low, your DA ranking can grow by implementing some of our ideas here. The higher the score, the harder it is for your score to grow.
External and Internal Links
One of the most important elements of search engine optimization is your links, both external and internal. They help Google to judge your content better through the company it keeps.
If your site is being linked to from authority sites within your niche, or from other sites with a high profile like news sites, Google will consider this as a positive. It also helps if your links add to the usefulness of the content.
Directing users to other pages on your site that are relevant can help the Google spider made a judgment about your content, too. External links help to do the same job, especially to or from higher authority pages.
Internal links help your users navigate and aid Google in crawling through your content, while external links help to boost (or damage) your site’s reputation.
Page Speed and Site Hosting
You’ve got two seconds to make an impression with your website. That’s how long you have for a site to load and for it to engage your visitors before they click off.
Two seconds isn’t a lot of time, so you better make it count by optimizing your site for speed and readability. Again, content is king when it comes to engagement, so focus on building content suitable for mobile.
But when it comes to site speed? That’s all about the technical elements. Every plugin you add into a WordPress installation can help to slow your site down, but a slow web host can cause you damage, too.
Here are 20 technical improvements you can make to your website to help speed it up for your visitors.
Google isn’t afraid to branch out from its typical quality metrics when new opportunities arise, which is why social signals are another SEO technique for users looking to improve their blog ranking.
Social signals are exactly how they sound – they’re signals of your site’s engagement on, and with, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Likes, retweets, social sharing, and the number of views from social media all help Google determine whether your site is popular.
If your site has a higher amount of positive social engagement, it gives your site a better reputation, and through that, more authority within your niche. More authority means a likely higher Google rank position.
You might not have thought about your sitemap, but if you haven’t, you’re making it harder for Google to analyze your site and each of your site pages.
A sitemap isn’t a map for you or your visitors. It’s a map for the Google web spider to help search through your site. Submitting it to Google via the Google Search Console can help speed up the process of ranking each page.
It can help you hide pages you don’t want to rank, but it helps to build up your site’s profile through your sitemap. More high-quality content available for the Google spider to analyze shows that your site is active and useful for visitors.
Need help creating a sitemap for your website? If you’re running a WordPress site, then take a look at our sitemap creation guide to help you set one up.
Rank Your Site Well with These Site Factors in Place
If you don’t rank well on search engines like Google, you’re not going to see growth in visitor numbers to your website.
Whether your site is personal or business-related, you need a strategy for growth, and implementing these SEO site factors will help you. Good content, a social media strategy, and an optimized site are your building blocks.
Of course, if you’ve never owned your own site or blog before, you’re going to need more pointers than that. Check out our resources on building your own blog to help you get started.