If you have invested time in a search engine optimization strategy, you may assume it’s performing the way you want it to, but the truth is that you need to make consistent adjustments to drive traffic to your website. To further complicate matters, Google and other search engines frequently change their algorithms, which results in different tactics needed to maintain your rankings.
If you haven’t invested in a high-quality SEO strategy, you’ll struggle even more to gain a consistent level of relevant traffic. Regardless of whether you have an SEO strategy or not, you may benefit from a free SEO website grader that can help identify areas requiring improvement.
While we don’t know exactly what algorithms Google and other search engines use, with constant changes, marketers can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Google evaluates hundreds of different elements of a website to determine relevancy to users and its ease of use.
Ultimately, the formula needed to get first-page rankings on search engines is complex, but there are certain factors that can help marketers get their website on top. Here are some of the main areas that determine page rank.
Many people with a fundamental knowledge of SEO tactics already understand the importance of links and the roles they place. However, it’s a lot more than simply having a lot of links that direct to your website, with a higher emphasis on quality in today’s SEO environment.
If your business has undergone changes over time, your domain name is likely different from your company’s. Domain factors have a bigger role in SEO than you may initially believe.
Basic SEO knowledge is centered around finding and using plenty of keywords, but this isn’t necessarily the best approach. Knowing where to place them and which ones to use can mean all of the difference in your overall rankings. When grading SEO, this is what you should look for:
At this point, you should realize that content can greatly affect SEO results, but length and keywords are the factors that matter the most. Content needs to be long and useful, engaging readers who stay on the page.
Keyword density used to matter more, but now it’s necessary for content to flow and for keywords to make sense within the context of the content. And while duplicate content may not harm websites the way people once thought, it’s still a good idea to write fresh and unique content that’s of even better quality than what’s already written. You should also avoid keyword stuffing, as this is also known to harm websites.
Other factors such as proper spelling and grammar can also make a big difference. Bullet points and numbered lists can also help, breaking up content for readers.
Recent updates are also important for rankings. Many searches are time-sensitive, so Google will show the date of the page’s most recent update. Edits and changes can also have an impact. Adding or removing sections is more effective than simply switching words around. Historical page updates also serve as a ranking signal.
Website functionality matters a lot more than it used to. Even if you have top-quality content, you need to make sure you have a user-friendly experience to accompany it, or else visitors are likely to leave sooner. There are many things that Google takes into account, including:
While some of the technical factors influence user experience, there are other actions that send strong signals to Google. The number of people who click on links to your website can have a huge impact. The click-through rate is the ratio of the amount of times a certain search listing received a click compared to the number of times it appeared in search results. The page is more likely to appear repeatedly if more people are clicking through to the page.
The bounce rate is related, though it doesn’t necessarily matter, but it can indicate that users are immediately leaving the website upon arriving, whether it’s because of difficult navigation or a lack of information. Google does take time into account when ranking, and people who spend more time on a page are likely to have found something useful.
Page layout can impact user-friendliness, but a complicated layout can make it harder for visitors to digest the content. If you don’t make your content readable, people are less likely to stay on the page. Navigation should also be consistently clear, making it easy for users to visit various pages.
Some businesses have very specific local target audiences, which makes local SEO a priority. Google actually estimates as many as 73 percent of overall online activity pertains to local searches.
At the same time, you need to make sure your business shows up for these searches. You can do this buy claiming local listings and providing as much information about your business as possible. Location-based keywords are also important to include to improve your efforts, and customer reviews offer additional legitimacy.
Your website is often the very first step that potential customers take toward making a purchase of any kind, and you need to ensure your site is good. If visitors don’t have a positive experience when browsing your website, they aren’t likely to return.
When it comes to SEO, Google sets the rules, and not playing by them can have consequences. Trying to go around best practices in SEO can eventually lead to penalties or even completely lost search engine results, rendering your website virtually invisible. Creating a high-quality website with great content is the best way to make sure your website succeeds.
There may be many issues with your website that you’re unaware of, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with Google’s algorithm changes, but an SEO grader can help you determine which areas need improvement. Our grader can analyze your website’s strengths and weaknesses, telling you what you need to work on.