High Google rankings are the goal for online businesses keen to increase their visibility, grow their audience, and boost their conversions for long-term success.
However, unfortunately there isn’t a magic button you can click that will launch your page to the top of the rankings. Getting there takes time, dedication, creativity, and persistence – especially when you take into account Google’s ever-changing algorithm.
While there isn’t a quick fix for success, there are steps you can take to rank successfully online.
In this article we are going to outline the 4 cornerstones of successful rankings so that you can master optimisation for both humans and search and enjoy long-term business success.
1. Website Performance: Speed, Functionality, and User Experience
Topping our list of successful ranking factors is website performance. Now, this is a very broad term that covers multiple factors including (but not limited to) site speed functionality, user experience, and mobile optimisation.
A website that performs well is essential to business success. Visiting your website is often the first introduction users have to your brand. So, it better be good. First impressions matter. And the first impression your website makes will determine whether users convert, buy, or bounce. So, it’s essential your website performance is the best it can be.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect website performance.
Page Speed and Load Time
When users are in the midst of browsing through sites, shopping for clothes, trawling through Instagram, or Googling how to get wine out of the carpet, they want answers, and they want them fast. Users expect fast loading pages. If your website takes a long time to load, let alone perform optimally, you’ve already lost most of your audience.
Page speed affects everything about your site’s performance. And, if it’s not fast Google won’t rank it highly. To rank successfully, your website needs to load in 2 seconds or less. Learn how to make your site faster today.
As a website owner your main priority should be offering an exceptional user experience. Without it, you will turn customers away. Site performance greatly affects user experience, meaning that everything from site speed and image load times to quality of content and ease of payment must be optimised.
Optimising your website for user experience plays a vital role in site performance and will dictate how your site looks, functions, and grows.
There are many ways to enhance your website for better user experience. Some of the easiest include, writing high-quality content, using whitespace in the design, optimising your site for mobile, creating a consistent design, engaging interest through images and video, and ensuring your site is fast loading.
How your website functions is an essential ranking factor. Can users scroll through pages easily? Is your website simple to navigate? Can users find what they are looking for? Are payments easy to make?
To optimise website functionality, you need to consider the answers to the questions above and look at your website from a user’s perspective. Think about how people interact with your site and what improvements could be made to make things easier.
As you can see, website performance is about so much more than making things run faster – it incorporates many essential factors. Website performance is about optimising your site in the ways we’ve mentioned above so that it provides value to users and gains their trust. When this happens, you will see the positive effects on your search ranking success.
2. Keywords for SEO
Keywords are one of the most essential elements of SEO as they help ensure your website is targeting and showing up for the words/phrases users are searching for. As a website owner, you want your site to rank highly for the relevant keywords so that customers have a better chance of finding your content.
If you want to rank successfully online and drive more traffic to your site, you need to target keywords within your content. If you own a shoe shop, for example, you want to create content on all shoe-related topics to draw people in and make them away of your products. Without optimising your site for keywords, people won’t be able to find your content. So, keywords are essential.
Start with Keyword Research
You won’t be doing anyone any favours by throwing keywords haphazardly onto the page. Your content needs to provide real value and to do this, it needs to target the words and phrases people are searching for.
An important place to start is with keyword research. Keyword research is how you find the right words to include on the page to achieve greater visibility and ranking success. Keyword research is also a great place to start because it helps you develop a detailed content strategy that covers topics your audience are searching for. Utilising keywords in this way is one of the most basic but important ways you can target your content to rank well in search results.
Including Keywords within Your Content
Once you know the keywords you want to target, you will want to know where to put them. Keywords should always be weaved into content as naturally as possible. We find it helpful to abide by the following suggestions:
- Always incorporate keywords into the content organically. They should never be jammed into your writing unnaturally. Instead, they should be included in a compelling and informative way.
- Most people should not be able to tell what keywords you are targeting simply by reading your content (unless they know about SEO, of course!) Regular users shouldn’t notice that you are intentionally targeting specific words or phrases to increase your ranking success.
- If you can’t find a way to include a keyword into your content naturally, you might need to rework your content.
- Include keywords in titles, headings, and meta descriptions to clearly tell Google what the page is about and rank higher in the search results.
- When it comes to ranking successfully, creating compelling, keyword-optimised content is the key.
3. Content Creation
Content quality, as we have touched on above, is a hugely important part of ranking well in Search Engine Results. Creating consistent, high-quality, and SEO-optimised content will increase your organic search visibility, boost your rankings, and traffic, and grow your online authority.
Google processes over 6.7 billion searches every day to provide useful and relevant content to the user. Google ranks these pieces of content in order of their usefulness and relevance to the search query. Therefore, content that has been keyword optimised and written to a high standard to provide real value to real people will be ranked higher than content that doesn’t.
Content that is ranked highly by Google must be:
- Useful and informative for the user
- More valuable than competing sites
- Credible, showing links, reviews, and testimonials to build trust
- Engaging by utilising different forms of media, from images to videos.
By creating high-quality content in this way, you can maximise your chances of successful rankings in the Google Search Engines.
4. Link Building
SEO and link building have nearly always gone hand in hand. Today, the importance of gaining quality links has never been higher. Reputable links from authoritative sites are one of the most essential elements of successful rankings.
Link building is the process of building hyperlinks from one website to another. If you want your website to rank highly and provide value to users, the more links you can gain from other websites, the better. Gaining links to your website from reputable sources tells Google that your site is a quality website that adds value to the user. Sites with an impressive portfolio of backlinks from authority websites tend to earn higher rankings as a result.
Link Building and Brand Visibility
There are many ways link building can help you gain successful rankings, and these include:
Brand building: if you want your brand to be competitive, link building can help you achieve this. When link building is done right, it can help establish your brand as an authority online. Links from other websites encourage users to check out your website and engage with your brand, leading to increased visibility and traffic, more sales, and higher rankings.
Relationship Building: growing your backlink profile is a great opportunity to build relationships with other brands, websites, and blogs. Positive connections with others in your industry can help your business grow and succeed for the long-term. These relationships can help you build your brand and grow your audience.
Referral Traffic: gaining quality links for high-traffic websites such as the BBC, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, or the New York Times doesn’t just boost your site in the rankings, but it also increases traffic to your site through referrals. This can be hugely beneficial by gaining you new customers, increase brand visibility, and more chances to convert users into sales.
Link building is here to stay. Google’s priority is constantly about serving users with the most valuable and useful content. And if your website has loads of other sites pointing to it, saying “hey, Google – you should check this out!” you will enjoy higher rankings, more visibility, and even more success.
So, there you have it, the 4 cornerstones of successful rankings. There is so much more we could delve into and explore, but we hope this article has given you a useful outline of the important website ranking factors and the steps you need to take to get there!
If you need support from an expert who is well-versed in Google rankings and has years of experience at growing websites successfully online, get in touch today.