The Internet is a dynamic ecosystem that changes on a daily basis. There are more social media networks than any one business can use, hundreds of ways to advertise your business and well over 200 ranking factors to get your website found online.
In today’s article I’ll discuss the 8 categories to optimizing your website for search and provide tips to optimize your website.
Each of the 8 categories discussed in this blog post are mentioned within our eBook too.
One influence element of a domain is your website’s top level domain (TLD).
The TLD is the prefix after your domain name. TLDs can be .com, .co.uk, .org, .net, .info, etc.
A website’s TLD provides search engines with an understanding of where your business operates. A website that has a URL ending in co.uk will indicate that the website is located and offers services mainly to the United Kingdom.
The TLD of com.au would give signals that a business operates in Australia and a .com would reveal the business is in the United States or serves to a global market.
Your website’s TLD is just one factor of several that influence how your domain impacts your site’s rankings.
Businesses that operate in multiple countries can then take things one step further by using subdomains or creating country specific pages which search engines can rank accordingly.
Want to learn more domain level factors that can optimize your website for online search? Download our free eBook by clicking here.
On-page factors is how you construct pages on your website, search engines assign each page its own rank based on the content within the page.
For example, placing keywords in the title tags and ensuring the right keyword density per page is an example of optimizing for on-page factors.
Unlike other parts of improving your online search presence through SEO, on-page factors is one of the few sections that you have complete control over as a website owner.
On-page factors can be continually updated without any negative effect (it can actually boost rankings as you’ll learn later). For example, if you’ve created pages in the past which weren’t correctly optimized for SEO, there’s nothing stopping you from optimizing them today to increase their online search presence.
There are dozens of factors that go into optimizing each and every page on your website, with each factor influencing your page’s position.
On-page factors focus on a micro level, site-level factors focus at the macro level and influence all pages on your website.
For example, the body copy of every webpage on your website is unique with its own content, images and videos.
Site-level factors are elements on your website which remain static regardless of the page someone is viewing. For example, if your website has a footer with your business name, address and location, that data will appear on every page of your website. This is considered a site-level factor.
Website that use HTTPS over HTTP are given greater preference in search engines as they offer more security for the user when browsing or making payment. This is another example of a site-level factor as HTTP/HTTPS is embedded on every page of your site.
Link building factors
Considered the most important part of the SEO puzzle by many, link building factors are also the most difficult to master.
Moz believe that link signals are the 2nd most important factor to increasing online visibility after on-page factors for local search:
One way businesses obtain backlinks is to pay website owners with favourable domain stats to link back to their website. This is known as black-hat SEO and against Google’s Terms of Service.
Businesses caught trying to obtain backlinks though black-hat methods will be penalized by Google if caught, which can result in sites being permanently removed from their search engine forever.
You can learn the best and Google approved ways to build website backlinks in our How To Optimize Your Website For Search eBook.
As search engines evolve, they are now able to track and measure more metrics than ever before. User engagement comes in many forms, such as comments users leave on your website, pages viewed, time spent on site and sentiment.
Yes, Google’s algorithm has become so advanced that it can now recognize whether the user engagement about your business is positive or negative, and weights the engagement accordingly when ranking your website.
A great way to see how users engage with your website is to check your website’s Google Analytics, take a look at important metrics at a site-wide and page-wide level to see where you can make improvements:
What to look for? I personally believe bounce rate, time spent on page and number of new sessions are great starting points:
74% bounce rate is very high for a website and certainly needs to be looked at.
You can learn about the most important user engagement factors in our eBook.
In 2014, Matt Cutts, the head of Google Webspam team went on record to say that links from social media were not used in their algorithm. He also went on to say:
” I think over 10 years, we’re more likely to understand identity and to understand the social connections between people, but at least for the time being, we have to deal with the web as it is and what we are allowed to crawl and what we can easily extract from that and count on being able to access that in the future.” – Source.
A few years since his statement, there are now numerous reports and studies from well established sources (see here, here and here) that social media does influence the way your business is found online.
Using the right techniques (such as a Google Plus account) you can see your business’s visibility catapulted onto the first page:
Dynamic factors are signals that differ from one user to the next. There are dozens of dynamic variables which aim to make the search more relevant based on a user’s location and previous actions.
For example, earlier I mentioned the importance of TLDs to ranking your website. Someone searching for you business (if you have a .com domain) in the United States will be much more likely to see your business than a searcher in the United Kingdom or Asia if they all searched the same key term.
Another example of this would be the freshness of your content. One of your pages may be positioned #1 for its keyword , but after a few months it slips down the rankings as fresher content has been created since and taken its place.
By updating your page content to reflect the current times, your page may then reclaim its former spot at the top. Google web crawlers take note of the last time content was updated online.
There are various dynamic factors that can influence SEO signals, many of which have been listed in our ebook.
A search engine’s biggest enemy are website owners trying to manipulate their search results for their own profit. Some do this by using black-hat SEO methods to rank their pages on the first page, others do it by creating thin-content sites and offering users a poor customer experience.
Google created the Panda update to fight against this. Panda algorithm aims to penalize websites with low quality content and offering a poor user experience.
What consists of a poor user experience? Here are some of the worst design mistakes you can make on your website:
Getting hit with a Panda penalty because of low quality content or poor website layout take months to fix and cost thousands of dollars to get your website to where it was before.
Be safe and optimize your website the right way.
Brand signals are factors outside of your website that position your business in a favourable way. For example, did you know that employees who have LinkedIn profiles tagged to their company can influence Google as it’s considered a brand signal?
Businesses who are listed on LinkedIn and have employees who are willing to associate themselves with a business shows trust and business legitimacy.
Businesses who are mentioned often on the Internet send signals that a website is still operating (telling Google they are relevant), and frequent mentions can show their authority in their chosen field.
With a little more than 200 website factors that go into optimizing a website for search, it can get rather confusing to know what to optimize for. I suspect that even the best SEOers in the world could not name all 200 website ranking factors.
Luckily for them and you, nobody has to.
You can download our How To Optimize Your Website for Search eBook for free today, and use it as a checklist each time you upload a new page to your website, make site-wide change or work on creating white-hat friendly backlinks.
Need help with your search engine optimization strategy? Get started with BoostSEO http://go.boostability.com/CrowdReviews/SEO
Latest posts by Andrew Eagar (see all)
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