As a growing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and digital agency, the team at Shrewdd Marketing are often asked how we manage to get our clients to the top of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The answer, as you may expect, is not a simple one, as there are a number of SEO ranking factors that play a role.
The bad news is that there are no quick fixes that will help your business to rise to number one over the course of a few hours, days, or even weeks. It often takes months of onsite, offsite and technical SEO development to see any significant progress.
However, we’re here to offer you a helping hand with a few quick tips on some of the top SEO ranking factors that may help your business slowly rise up search engine rankings…
Without question, the most important SEO ranking factor is content.
It’s crucial to understand that you cannot appear on a SERP for keywords or phrases that do not appear on your website.
For example, if you want to rank for the search term “lighting designers in Leeds” and don’t have any reference to the phrase on your website, then Google, or any other search engine will struggle to rank your site.
Ideally, you should develop specific pages for important keywords or phrases for your company – each page should include the keyword or phrase in the URL, title and first paragraph. You could also incorporate other related keywords such “LED” and “architectural lighting” that may assist your audiences in engaging with your content.
Uploading new content to your website on a frequent basis, from either a blog or news platform, will also help. Search engines crawl your site regularly, and the more frequently you upload high-quality content, the more chances they have to analyse your site and rank (hopefully higher) accordingly.
When it comes to content, the phrase ‘less is more’, does not apply. In fact, the more content you upload to your site, the greater chance you have to incorporate your keywords and phrases, and ultimately, the more opportunity you have to boost your SEO ranking – the perfect win-win situation!
It is important to remember, however, that the quality of content matters, just as much as the quantity. Don’t just duplicate content from your competitors’ sites or from different pages of your own website, as it can often end in penalties and be detrimental to your overall rankings.
In today’s ‘viral’ internet world, there is a common misconception that internet users do not want to read long-form content. The truth, however, is quite the opposite. In fact, long-form content has proven to be more engaging, more shareable, and better for SEO.
The average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words, according to Backlinko. Whilst, a study by Moz and BuzzSumo, which analysed over 1 million articles, found that long-form content of more than 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter content.
It is essential, therefore, that you strike the perfect balance between shorter blog posts and long-form content to further engage your audience and improve your SEO rankings.
In March 2018, Google announced it is now using more mobile ranking factors to index websites for the search engine, rather than the traditional desktop version. This change in ranking criteria is designed to reflect the fact that mobile searches are becoming the majority and desktop searches are becoming less common.
The latest development marked a huge shift in how we develop websites and how we advise clients in making changes on their website.
The first step is to ensure your website is fully responsive across all platforms, from desktop right the way down to a smartphone.
In some instances, when developing a new website, a mobile-first approach will work perfectly, ensuring websites function correctly on mobile devices before expanding out onto a desktop.
Mobile site speed is also a factor. Many mobile users may view websites using a 4G or even a 3G connection and if your website does not load within an appropriate timescale, you can lose almost half of your visitors.
Search engines want to reward websites that don’t send individuals away, so a slow mobile website can be penalised. If you want to test your mobile site speed, you can use the Google mobile speed test: https://testmysite.withgoogle.com/intl/en-gb.
User Experience (UX)
Imagine an individual searching for “lighting designers in London” and landing on your page that discusses the projects you have completed within the Leeds area.
Even if the content is great, the user is likely to bounce straight off your website and head to a competitor’s site due to the irrelevance of their search. Therefore, you need to make the contents of the page clear in the heading and description, alongside any meta content (tags and descriptions that is read by search engines and appears in the SERP), in order to increase user retention and experience on your website.
Your content should be clear, concise and well written, with plenty of internal links that can provide individuals with a reason to stay on your site and navigate across a wide range of blogs, products or solutions.
Link building has been a staple of every SEO strategy since the beginning of search engines. Search engines are built on website backlinks, with good authority websites linking to each other, providing an easier way for users to navigate relevant sites.
Google and other search engines are constantly changing the way backlinks are analysed, so to stay ahead of the game it’s important that you work in collaboration with reputable sites, such as news outlets or blogging sites, potentially with the assistance of a PR agency.
Over a long period of time, link building should both provide a basis to develop improved rankings in the SERP, alongside creating even greater referral traffic (the number of users that have come to your website from other sites) for your platform.
There is also the added bonus of your link-building articles on other websites potentially appearing in the SERP for your chosen keyword, while also assisting your company in becoming an authority on a specific subject.
There are plenty of articles surrounding SEO and social media, and if you take time to read through you will see there is a lot of discussion about the importance of Social Media and if links shared have an impact on improving search rankings.
However, what we would like you to consider is the overall digital strategy and how the two can work together to boost your company’s brand awareness.
Remember, social media profiles often show up in the SERP and with social media links on your website, it’s crucial to make sure all platforms are working together in the same digital marketing strategy.
Sharing links across social media is a great way to showcase your content to an audience that may not have discovered your site in the SERP, in turn, driving new traffic to your website, improving the likelihood of ranking higher in the search platforms.
By Jack Eustace