Where does your website rank on Google? If your site doesn’t come up on page one when you search the keywords associated with your product or services, you need help with your search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is part of an overall digital marketing strategy. It’ a fascinating industry and good SEO professionals are part scientist, part artist. However, it can be extremely complicated for laypeople. Here are some frequently asked questions about the process of getting your site ranked on the first page of Google results.
Why Does Being on Page One Matter?
Simply put, not very many people go beyond the first page of those results, because they typically find what they’re looking for without having to check page two. In fact, the top organic result on Google usually earns some 30% of all clicks, with another 40% shared between spots two and three. The numbers drop off drastically for spots 4 and lower, even though those are still on page one! So not only is it important to be on page one; it’s crucial to be number one.
What Does Google Look For?
Google determines how highly to rank your site by using “ranking signals.” One of the most important ranking signals is the number and quality of links coming into your site, or backlinks.
There was once a time when you could buy links in bulk, and it didn’t much matter if those backlinks came from lousy, spammy sites. Now, it matters tremendously. Google caught on to that trick quickly and will devalue sites that seem artificially inflated with low-value backlinks.
What About Keywords? How Do Those Fit In?
Another major ranking signal is the appropriate use of keywords on your site. Back in the days of buying links, a webmaster could also manipulate rankings by “keyword stuffing” — using a certain keyword over and over so that Google’s crawlers would pick up on it. Again, no longer.
Google is now extremely focused on rooting out poor-quality content. It will only push a website higher in the rankings if that site’s content is well-written, uses keywords naturally, and provides actual informative value to a reader.
There is some debate over the preferred length of content. Shorter blog posts — between 400 and 700 words — are still the norm, but there’s increasing evidence that the search giant actually prefers long-form blog content, between 1000 and 3000 words.
Anything Else I Need to Know?
In a word, yes. Check this site to learn more, but be warned that once you start learning about SEO, it may be hard to stop! It’s a complicated subject matter, and one that can be difficult to grasp without some serious studying.
You can perform your SEO tasks on your own, but it will take a great deal of reading, research, experimentation, and time. In fact, many business owners outsource their SEO needs, even if they take care of other digital marketing tasks. It’s that complicated!