If you haven’t made your site mobile friendly, that’s how much online business you lost this month.
Over half the web browsing performed in this month was done on mobile phones. And that number isn’t new. It’s been steady since February 2017.
Consumers today choose mobile first.
So how does that affect your SEO?
Well, Google noticed the mobile-first trend back in late 2016. Since then, they’ve moved toward using your website’s mobile version for ranking, parsing data, and generating snippets.
If you want to increase your SEO ranking, creating a mobile-friendly website is only a tiny piece of the puzzle. You must understand all the particulars that search engines use to rank your site.
Read on to learn more…
By the time you finish this article, you’ll be familiar with all the essential elements search engines look for today. If you add them to your present SEO strategy, you’ll skyrocket your rankings within a year.
DOES YOUR SITE MATCH SEARCH CRITERIA
Let’s first take a look at your site from a search engine’s perspective. What does a search engine do when a user punches terms into the search window?
It matches those words (and letters) up with corresponding words on billions of websites. Then it decides which of those websites most accurately fits the user’s search parameters. It uses the following factors to determine that match:
You can imagine these as little spiders. These little guys crawl around in your site and keep a detailed account of everything they find. They send that information back to the search engine.
The search engine, in turn, stores that information as a sort of quick reference guide. It uses that guide to see later if your site is a match for a user’s search results. That’s why you’d better make darn sure that information is correct.
STRUCTURED DATA (SCHEMA)
Here’s the trick. You can create a sort of website outline for web crawlers. It’ll tell them how your website is structured, and point to critical elements. It’s called a schema and it’s a must.
If you want to see how your data looks to search engines, use Google’s structured data tool and structured data report.
Search engines focus their algorithms primarily on text. Their grasp of audio files and graphics files is a far cry from where it was ten years ago. But it’s a long way from perfect.
To increase your SEO ranking, nail your keywords. Triple check each of the following:
- URL slugs (include your keyword)
- Title tags (only 50-60 characters)
- Alt tags (include keywords and descriptions)
- Long-tail keywords (use long rather short)
- Keyword density (5-10 keywords per 1000 words)
- One specific keyword per page (vs. 2 or more distinct keywords)
Note we didn’t include meta descriptions. They’re still an important feature to attract user interest. But search engines no longer use them to determine your site’s relevance.
If you need a helping hand, use a website audit. It will give you feedback on what your SEO looks like to a search engine. They’ll also offer helpful hints how you can increase your rank score.
HOW WELL IS YOUR SITE CONNECTED?
Search engines look at this next. They want to know how other sites view you, and how you view other sites. As you evaluate your website to increase your SEO ranking, dissect the following:
A hyperlink is a link from one webpage to another. An optimal SEO strategy would include links from your website to authoritative websites. And from authoritative sites back to your webpage.
So what’s an authoritative website?
Some websites have more clout than others. Government (.gov) and education (.edu) websites are one example. Popular sites (especially those within your niche) are another.
Essentially, search engines evaluate how the online community recognizes your site. If the highly-esteemed websites acknowledge you, you become part of the in-crowd.
Evaluate your site for the following:
- Inbound links: Your links to other pages on your website. The more links directed at a page, the higher it ranks in Google. Keep your inbound links to 2-3 per 1000 words.
- Outbound links: Links from your website to other websites. Search engines love when you recognize other sites, especially authorities. Include 2-3 of these links per 1000 words.
- Backlinks: Links from other sites back to your site. The more you can wrangle from authoritative sites, the better. See if any authoritative websites in your niche will offer you a guest blog post. Be sure never to pay for backlinks.
If you have trouble building links, try Ahref’s link intersect. It’ll give you some recommendations on which sites are worth requesting a guest post on.
Each major social networking site is an authority. Maintain a solid presence on at least one of these sites. Pick one that works best for both you and the audience you want to reach.
(Make sure to link from your social network profile back to your business website. And of course, link your business website to your social network page.)
The rule of thumb is:
Gain more popularity on social networking sites to increase your business website’s ranking.
DO USERS LIKE YOUR SITE
The last piece of the puzzle is the user’s experience. Search engines also use the following two criteria to rank your site:
- The number of people who visit your site
- How long those visitors stay on your site (dwell time)
Focus on the following four areas to increase your number of visitors:
- Load Speed: The faster your page loads, the less likely you are to lose an impatient visitor. Use a website speed test to evaluate your website.
- Rich Snippets: Google recently revamped the way it displays search results (SERPs). It loves rich snippets! Include them on all your pages.
- Videos: According to a study by Wyzowl, 72% of consumers said they prefer video to text. Offer them both.
- Voice Search: Comscore says that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Make sure you optimize not only for mobile, but also for voice.
Consider why your visitors would want to stick around. The longer visitors hang out on your site, the higher search engines rank you. Give them an experience worth hanging around for:
- Great page design
- Mobile friendly experience
- Well-written, comprehensive content
Write content your readers want to read. Don’t guess. Go to forums in your niche and find out. Update your content regularly and avoid copyright infringement. The Google overlords watch for both these things.
ONE FINAL SUGGESTION TO INCREASE YOUR SEO RANKING
Start a blog. If you don’t have the time or patience to keep a blog, hire a blog writing service. Each time a new post goes up on your site, you get these:
- More viewer dwell time
- More inbound links, outbound links, and backlinks
- A larger audience
It’s not a quick fix. It’s the best long-term solution to increase your SEO ranking.