What Factors Will Help You Rank Your Website in 2017?
If you ask the top SEO experts what are the most important ranking factors for 2017 are going to be, you get a whole slew of opinions. So if these opinions are based on data, case studies and experience, why do they vary so much? When reading and understanding data and case studies, you have to always weigh in how they obtained the data, and what type of business or brand it may serve. Here is my take on what it takes to rank your stuff, in this much debated topic.
This has always been hottest topic when talking about how to rank a website. Some studies will suggest that its only a contributing signal now, while others say its still counts for the majority of the signal Goggle uses to identify your website as what people want when doing a search. Build great content, and visitors will come in droves to your website, or do you need more?
Backlinks or (votes of trust) will be an important ranking signal for the foreseeable future. Google wants their users to find what they are looking for, period. They want their users to come back and use their search engine and products again, and again. Google’s Rank Brain helps their algorithm (computers) understand and process search queries into mathematical entities, called vectors. But they still need recommendations (backlinks, mentions, reviews, social shares, etc…) to help them understand what’s or who the most important or relevant end result for their users search queries are. Think of backlinks as just recommendations, in what ever form they take or how they are delivered in the future.
The Backlink’s Authority
This is a no brainer. Why wouldn’t Google want to see recommendations (backlinks) from other entities that are very trusted, popular, theme relevant and a lot of people talk about. Think of it like this…Wouldn’t you believe and trust a recommendation to a great restaurant from a friend? Or would you trust the same recommendation from a complete stranger? Well guess what, you and Google think alike.
Diversity of the Anchor Text
Think of this one as the famous “Boy Who Cried Wolf” LOL. No one believe him after he kept stating and crying out the same thing over and over again. So if someone kept recommending the same thing in the same way in the same words to you, wouldn’t you get tired of hearing it and not believe them after awhile? This is a crude analogy, but you get the idea. Google is trying and does a great job of understanding human behavior, better than any other search engine IMO. So the same anchor text, from the same source, giving the same recommendations to you eventually says to Google, discount and do not believe this source.
Relevance of Search Query Content
Provide users with what they are looking for.. period.. paragraph.. They track this through UM (user metrics) and how long they stay on your web page(s). Do they click on your serp (search engine results page) and then click back? How do they navigate through your website, and what path and anchor text do they click on and take? This signals user intent to Google, and can be measured and quantified. How you interact with a website, can tell Google how important this web page may be. They can’t understand the content of the page fully, but their algorithm can measure the UM.
Length of Your Content
Most content that engages visitors is detailed and has some length to it. You wont keep visitors very long to a page of your website, if they can read through it quickly. So length of your content can have correlation to how long someone stays on the page. Simple theory, right? A quick guide to see how long of content you should provide for any given page and search query, is to look at other pages that rank well for the keywords you want to target. Don’t overthink this though, and only use as a guide.
UI (User Experience)
This is on the same level as “provide what users are looking for”. CTR (click through rates) are closely measured by Google now. So a branded keyword in the No. 1 result, (example.. “Red Rain SEO”) should receive around a 50% CRT. Non-branded keywords CRT results, 1st – 30%, 2nd – 15% and 3rd – 10% of the searches. All you have to do is remember KISS (keep it simple S*****). Provide your website visitors with a great UI. What ever search term you are trying to rank for, provide the answer to their solution. Make a great website that users want to stay on, read and come back too.
This is just another type of recommendation (backlink) as I stated earlier, and weight in a lot with Google these days. Websites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are big sites that tons of people spend a lot of time on. So they are very trusted places that the big G likes. When creating content, make sure it’s useful, unique and sharable to start. Also make sure to add social media buttons to your page, so it can be shared. Lastly, make sure you put together a promotion strategy to get your awesome content out there. (That’s a complete topic for another post some day).
With approximately 50% of all search queries done on a mobile device these days, its understandable why Google puts importance on this. With Google announcing their start to index mobile versions and using this index first, its important to have a mobile version of your website. As there are a bunch of options available, having a responsive designed is the most widely used, and is Google recommended. If your website uses a popular CMS (content management system), a responsive template is surely available.
Google now incorporates page speed into its algorithm. Also search engines might craw your pages less if your site is slow due to allocated crawl budget, negatively effecting your site’s indexation. A slow loading web page can have massive effects on UI too. What webmaster and website owners should strive for is a page load speed of 2 seconds or less. The biggest reasons for slow load times can be uncompressed content on your pages, such as CSS files, images and or scripts.
Build your web properties for real users. Give them an excellent user experience. Create and promote extraordinary content making sure when they land on your page it give users what they came for. Using these simple guide lines and you cannot go wrong.