Google is constantly changing their algorithm and businesses that don’t keep up with the changes will be left behind wondering why their competitors have so many new customers. I’ve put together a list of some of the biggest ranking factors for 2016 so you can dominate your competition.
Over 60% of all searches in 2015 were performed by mobile devices. Also in 2015, Google had a huge algorithm update that rewarded mobile friendly sites and punished sites that weren’t mobile optimized. To check if your website is mobile friendly, check out https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Not only will mobile friendly website have a better chance of ranking higher, but they are much more user-friendly, so their conversion rate is typically much higher than a site that isn’t mobile-friendly.
Page Load Speed
Google prefers pages that load quickly for the same reasons as mentioned above. I know it drives me crazy waiting for a slow website to load and if it takes more than a second or two I’m likely to click the back button and check out another site. You can check your page speed at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights. If your site doesn’t pass Google’s test, there are typically some simple fixes that can give it a boost in loading speed like compressing your images.
Google loves websites that are listed in local business directories for two main reasons:
•A local business that has taken the time to list themselves in the directories is most likely a company that plans to be around for the long haul.
•These directories like Yelp, Manta or YP.com, can send traffic to your site, and Google favors websites that get referral traffic. Especially traffic from high ranking sites like many of the local directories.
Google loves websites that are set up on the top social media sites because it shows that the business has taken the time and effort to brand itself and Google LOVES brands. Also, these social media sites can send traffic to your site, and that again is referral traffic that Google favors. A third factor is that when your site is listed on social media, it makes it much easier to be shared with your friends and potential customers.
Do You Know What You Competition is Doing?
Knowing what your competition is doing online including which keywords they’re targeting, how much money they are spending and the amount of effort they are taking can be tracked with online tools and can give you a huge advantage in your marketing. It’s almost as if you’re a fly on the wall of their marketing meetings or maybe a top-secret spy. With your competitors marketing info, you can adjust your strategy and beat them at their own game.
A site like Semrush.com can give you the insight into your competitors marketing, and you can also see which keywords are sending them their customers. Compare the sites of your competitors to your own. How do you stack up?
Optimizing your website may sound complicated, but there are a few simple steps you can take to get you 90% of the way.
1. Figure out what keywords you would like to show up for in Google when your customers are searching for your products or service.
2. Visit Google and do a quick search for those keywords and look at the sites in the top 10 positions.
3. The blue text above a listing is called the “Title Tag.” Count how many of them have the keyword that you just searched. Now check your website. Do you have those words in your title?
4. The title tag is one of the most important “on-page” ranking factors, but you can perform the same test for heading tags, meta tags, and keyword density and you will get a great idea if your site is optimized for your keywords.
Can Your Customers Contact You?
You don’t want your customer to have to search all over your site for a way to contact you. But you also don’t want to provide your potential customer too many choices either. Make sure your phone number is prominently displayed on every page to make it easier for your customers to do business with you. Also, if you can put your address in the footer of your site, so it shows up on every page, do it. If not, at least, make sure you have it on your contact page along with a Google map, your email address and, of course, your phone number. Also, include links to your social media pages and encourage your visitors to check them out and share them with their social circles.
Do You Have a YouTube Video Embedded on Your Site?
Visitors love to watch videos. It’s a fact! Having a video on your site can keep your visitors on your site longer, and Google uses time on site as one of their ranking factors to compare the quality of your site to your competitors. If people are clicking on your website and leaving too quickly, it’s a sign that your website might not be the high-quality site that Google would like to feature on the first page of the results. Also, having an explainer or introductory video gives you a great chance to connect with your customers and give them a direct message about your product or services.
Do You Have an “About Us” Page?
Make sure you introduce your business properly with a well-written page that builds rapport and trust. You’ll only have a short time to make a great impression so make sure to put your best foot forward if you want to convert more visitors into paying customers.
Do You Have Testimonials on Your Website?
If you are like most consumers today, you like to check out some reviews before you spend your hard-earned dollars on a product or service.
I know I do. Having reviews on your website can increase your chances of turning a visitor into a customer. It can also keep visitors on your site longer as they read your reviews, and we know that Google loves to rank a website by the amount of time a visitor spends on your site.
If you don’t have enough reviews, or you have some negative reviews weighing you down, you need to get some more reviews…fast. It’s not hard as long as you are doing a great job for your customers. Just make sure your process includes getting the email address for your customers. After you have done an amazing job for them, send a simple email thanking them for their business and asking them for a review. Be sure to include the link to the review site where you would like them to write the review. Not everyone will do it, but some will and your reviews will grow steadily.
Do Other Sites Link To Your Site?
This is really important when it comes to SEO and trying to get maximum visibility for your website. If other websites link back to your site, it is a thumb up in the eyes of Google. Google prefers websites that have links from other sites as SEO can sometimes be seen as a popularity contest. But, not all links are created equal. Low-quality links can harm your site while high quality “authority” links can give you a significant boost in the rankings. You can check your links and your competitor’s links on a site like https://ahrefs.com to see how you stack up. Also, if your competitors are showing up on the first page of the Google search results, their links are probably good ones to try to acquire for your site.
There are some factors that Google looks at in determining the quality of a website and where it will rank in Google’s search results. The factors listed here really just scratches the surface of Google’s algorithm, but by putting into place some of the recommendations listed above, you can improve your rankings and jump ahead of your competitors to grab more visitors and turn them into paying customers for your business.
If you noticed that your website doesn’t make the grade on some of the tests and you just don’t have the time or patience needed to make the changes yourself, contact Solar Flare Marketing for a no-cost analysis of what it will take to get your website to the top.