Google and other search engines employ a multitude of factors in order to determine how to rank websites in the search results page. Most of the time, these search engine optimisation factors are related to (On-Site Optimisation) including website content, in the form of text, URL, titles, meta tags and headers. (Off-Site Optimisation) involves other measurements of the website itself such as domain authority, the age of domain name, the quality and quantity of inbound links, etc. However, Google has introduced other factors to help determine search engine results and over recent years announced that the page loading speed of websites and mobile friendly design would both have an impact on search engine rankings.
Developing a long-term Search Engine Optimisation strategy
Developing a clear SEO strategy is the first step to successfully promoting your website in the search engine results pages. A long-term, content-driven approach to Search Engine Optimisation will safely return positive results and naturally grow with your business. ‘White hat’ (non-spam) methods pay off in the long run.
Understanding your niche is also very important. Conducting in-depth competitor research and keyword analysis allows you to identify, and later exploit, opportunities within the marketplace.
Ideally you should concentrate on a small group of keywords. The three main factors to consider when choosing keywords are:
- Search volume
Identifying and targeting appropriate keywords which have a good balance between these three factors will allow you to increase your presence in search engine results. The content of the website has always been a major determining factor for search engine results. Good quality, fresh and keyword optimised content makes a website worthy of a higher position in search results. Good content automatically creates demand, attracts more traffic and has a positive impact on Search Engine Optimisation.
Implementing good Search Engine Optimisation practices
High quality content is considered to be the most important factor. Adding fresh content to a blog on a regular basis is a great opportunity to use different variations of your keywords. However, whilst the use of keywords in content has an important role in how search engines display results, many other factors also influence the rankings of a website. Google is increasingly incorporating new factors relating to performance and usability to rank a website.
- Page loading speed
- Mobile friendly design (Responsive design is the preferred method)
- Internal linking
- User experience and behaviour
Page Loading Speed
Page loading speed refers to the amount of time it takes for the website to load. The page loading speed of the website depends on a variety of factors, which includes your website’s design as well as the quality of hosting server.
As mentioned above, a website may load slowly for a number of reasons ranging from cheap and poor quality hosting services, the design and structure of the site and also unoptimised media files such as images, videos and music with large file sizes. Whether you are running a commercial website or a personal one, you must make sure that the website loads quickly. Page loading speed should be one of the top priorities.
Test the Page loading speed of your website with the free PageSpeed Insights tool by Google
Mobile Friendly Design
Mobile friendly design is a ranking factor introduced by Google in 2015. This means that mobile optimisation has become a major factor in boosting a website’s ranking. Every year the number of people accessing the internet from their mobile devices and tablets is increasing. But there are a considerable number of websites that are still not designed to be mobile responsive, or in other words able to work well with different screen sizes, as well as having slow loading speed. Consequently, the site’s ranking is affected. Mobile optimisation is vital for websites because it takes into account the site design, its overall structure, page loading speed, and most importantly makes sure that the website is not driving its mobile audience away due to poor performance.
According to recent statistics, there are more searches taking place on mobile devices than on computers. Google, has stated numerous times that responsive design is their most preferred mobile configuration and therefore leads to a boost in rankings as well.
Check your website with the free Mobile-Friendly Test by Google.
Another very useful free tool which allows you to check how your responsive design website would look in different devices is the Website Planet Responsive Checker
Search engines use metadata to understand what a website is about. This presents many opportunities to use your keywords. Metadata includes:
- Headings and subheadings tags (H1 – H5)
- Image Alt tags
Images and graphics enhance the visual appeal of a website and also provide opportunities for your website to appear in image search results. It is important to use the image Alt tags as this not only provides opportunities to incorporate keywords, they also improve the usability of the website, especially for the visually impaired who may be using a screen reader.
The file size of images can have a significant impact on page loading speeds, large images can make a website slow loading and users are becoming increasingly impatient. If your site is slow… users will go!
Images need to be compressed. A common practise is to set a “page budget”, for example 1mb per page.
Internal linking can help improve the navigation and structure of a website. Linking to relevant pieces of content on your website allows users to explore topics that you cover and helps them find the information they are looking for. Internal linking can also be used to direct users to the content you want them to see. Appropriate internal linking helps search engines understand what a website is about as well.
User experience and behaviour
Websites that are hard to navigate and are structured in an unusual way often cause users to abandon the site. Furthermore, websites which are slow to load cause sites visitors to become impatient and leave before the site even loads. Users leaving the site almost instantly is referred to as Bounce Rate. User behaviour statistics can be seen in Google Analytics. Low user engagement is not the only drawback; slow loading speed can also impact the site’s ranking potential.
Distinctive Media Solutions is a recognised provider of International Search Engine Optimisation, Innovative Multilingual Content Creation, Localisation and Translation as well as other Digital Marketing services. Our team of Search Engine Optimisation experts are committed to improving the search engine rankings and increasing the online presence of our clients to help them drive growth and boost sales.