Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the strategy, techniques and tactics used to increase the position of a website in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Google has over 200 ranking factors when ranking websites in its index which can be grouped into six main ranking factor categories; content, user signals, technical, user experience, social and backlink signals. When planning a SEO strategy we first need to understand the key areas of impact we are trying to effect.Main SEO Ranking Factors in 2017.
- Content: Overall content relevance, word count, keywords in body, description, title and H1 tags.
- User signals: CTR, time on site, bounce rate.
- Technical: Https secure server, h1, h2, file size, site speed, url length.
- User experience: Font size, number of images, interactive elements, number of internal links, video integration, number of external links.
- Social signals: Facebook total, pinterest, number of tweets, Google +1.
- Backlinks: Number of no-follow backlinks, number of backlinks, number of do-follow backlinks, number of edu backlinks, number of domains linked from URL, number of external links from URL.
The speed with which your site loads and the way that it is coded is a very important element. A good website loads quickly and renders equally well in all browsers and is mobile device friendly. If your page loads slowly, relies on a bloated CMS like WordPress or is heavy on deprecated media like Flash, Silverlight or anything else which requires a plug-in to render, then you have a SEO problem. You probably also have an accessibility problem.
Technical or on-site SEO is focused on elements like secure server protocol, correct meta title, description, h1 and h2 tags, file size and speed. Implementing a sitemap, speeding up page loading times and updating your layout so that your page titles and descriptions are unique and relevant can make a big difference to how search engines rank your website.What about Backlinks?.
Over the last couple of years, Google has changed the way it evaluates backlinks and they no longer primarily determine search engine rankings. Websites can now achieve high rankings with fewer links than their competitors, partly due to the increase in mobile search queries. URLs on mobiles are often liked or shared, but rarely linked to.
If you have undertaken any SEO activity previously, it could actually be damaging your rankings today. Old link-building strategies such as article spinning, mass directory submission or site-wide link exchanges using over-optimised keyword anchor text could all be contributing to your website's lack of visibility in the SERPs.
If you have been hit by a Google penalty because you have "low quality links" or "an unnatural link profile", you will need to get the low-quality links removed before you start work on improving your link profile. A disavow application to Google can help remove these toxic links and help you recover from a penalty.Content is King.
Google values websites that are in-depth and informative. It frowns upon duplicate content. Do not copy and paste press releases, or use "spun" content that is barely readable to humans. You may be able to fool Google into thinking that your spun content is unique, but you cannot hide a high bounce rate and that is another factor which is taken into account when judging the quality of your website.
Implementing all of the changes needed to improve natural rankings will take time, but the unmatched ROI that top natural rankings offer makes it a worthwhile investment.
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