What you need to know to about SEO in 2020. What’s Google really looking for to rank your website?
SEO is about making changes to your website so that it performs better in search engine results, leading to an increase in visitors to your website, that should lead to more sales.
For simplicity, we will just refer to Google, but these principles are consistent across Bing and other search engines.
Saying I want my products number one in Google is a very misleading statement. For example, if in my part of the world I ranked number one in Google for the search term ‘Black skirts Australia’, why is it that I don’t also rank number one for ‘Australia black skirts’?
Google determines the order of their search engine rankings depends on thousands of factors, but we don’t exactly know because this is their ‘special sauce’. Some are within a website owners control, some are not. What we do know is which of the most important factors you can influence to increase your changes of higher rankings.
Before we start there is one golden rule we should acknowledge. Google wants you to create content to deliver a good user experience for visitors. It does not want you to create content to rank better in its results.
- Website copy
Make sure the content on your website is informative and well written for the audience you want to target. This includes ensuring you make good use of important keywords to your industry. Most search engines are clever enough to pick up on words that feature once or twice and will consider this when determining rankings. It’s important now-a-days not to get too carried away with keyword ‘stuffing’ in your well written copy as you are likely to be penalised for , is a good length and includes clear contact details. Also making sure to regularly update your website with new content.
- Page headings, titles and URLs
Be sure these include important keywords and are written succinctly. Make sure titles and URLs reflect what the page is about. For example my website had a page talking about 5 common SEO mistakes, a page with the title EZ Digital – Digitalising businesses is not going influence the rankings nearly as well as ‘5 ways to improve your SEO Rankings – EZ Digital’. This makes sense because I’m telling my perspecivie audience what exactly it is they can expect to read on this page. Same principle for Headings and URLs.
- Mobile responsiveness
Responsive web design means that a website responds to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. For years now Google has rewarded websites that are natively mobile responsive. This is because more people now browse on a mobile device than they do on a desktop machine. Making sure your website is designed with responsive behaviour is rewarded in searches on phones, tablets and desktop computers.
- Images and video
Images do a lot to lift a webpage so be sure to try include at least one image per page with an alternative description for those who are visually impaired. Video has the best engagement statistics of all media, so if you can and include video make sure you do.
- Website accessibility
Accessibility means visitors to your website are able to digest the same content regardless of any physical impairments such as visually impaired, or technological disadvantages, such as a slow internet connection. If I’m visually impaired, or I have a slow modem connection, I should still be able to go the same website as everyone else to buy tickets for a concert for example. For more information on international web standards for content accessibility guidelines read here: https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/
- Social sharing and reciprocal links
Making sure your website can easily be shared or recommend to others not only ensure your content will get more reach but it’s also really important for SEO. Generating new content like articles or blogs can also help with this. Reciprocal link is an agreement between two websites to provide a hyperlink within their own website to each other’s site. Generally this is done to provide readers with quick access to related sites, or to show a partnership between two sites.
- Directories, social media and Google My Business
You website will perform better if you ensure you have it listed in the main search engine directories, Google My Business and social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. There are many other directories you may want to consider but remember to think about the industry you are in and whether or not that directory is relevant. Linking from directories with little relevance to your business are of little value.