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Factors that carry the most weight in SEO when ranking

Posted by on in Search Engine Optimization
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Google's algorithm incorporates thousands of signals when it comes to determining page ranking for a search. There are however, a number of factors that carry more weight than others, so optimising for these factors can be the difference between success and failure of being found online.

1. How Mobile-Friendly are you?

Mobile for some time now has no longer been "the future" but is the "now" and if your website is not easily accessible to a user searching on mobile then you may not rank as highly as you would like. The Google index is going mobile first and if you don't have a mobile-friendly page, then you will likely take a hit in the SERPs.

If you are not sure how your website meets the criteria for being mobile friendly, then log into your Search Console account and look at the Mobile Usability Report. This report will provide you with a list of mobile issues so you can take the appropriate steps needed to fix them. You can also do a test here

2. What does your local presence look like?

Did you know that less than half of businesses have claimed their business listing? Google is always improving its ability to deliver local results, particularly as mobile search and local search are inextricably intertwined these days. 20% of ALL searches have local intent so it is important that you have complete and accurate data in your Google Business profile. Google states that "businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches".

Make sure that you've entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Also make sure you verify your location to give your business the best opportunity to appear for searchers across Google products, like Maps and Search.
Google determines local ranking based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for the search.

Of smart phone users:

• 94% search for location information
• 51% visited a store
• 48% called a store
• 29% made a purchase

So you need your business to be local ready in search engines.

3. What does your UX look like?

Google has always encouraged web developers to make their primary focus one of providing a good user experience. The algorithm is only going to get "smarter" so websites that also get "smarter" will be positioned to benefit the most. A good user experience always goes much deeper than just writing clean code. Smart web design starts with effective planning.
The goal of UX (user experience) design in particular for businesses is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, provide ease of use, as well as providing pleasure in the interaction with a product.

For these purposes your website is the PRODUCT. This means our objective is to determine a user's intent, and then develop a methodology for smooth navigation that also evokes a positive emotion and leads to an overall good experience.

Incorporating UX best practices is not hard, as the web is full of templates and advice. What will separate you from the amateurs is A/B testing, and we have talked more about this in previous blogs. Basically, quantify what is working, what isn't, and continue testing until you get it right.

4. Keyword research is still very important!

Although Google is providing less keyword data, a couple of the largest SEO tool providers, Moz and Ahrefs, have developed and improved keyword tools hoping to fill the void Google has created. The big thing to take note of here is that the way we go about performing and using the results from keyword research has changed, thanks to RankBrain. It is also the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm.

If you are unaware of RankBrain, then let me fill you in.

RankBrain is machine learning and it allows Google to put things in context rather than solely relying on strings of metadata. Because of RankBrain Google is becoming more human and now understands language nuances like stemming, synonyms, and answers. It is enabling Google to better understand the meaning behind the words a person uses and types when searching.

This means that the new generation of keyword tools will take this into consideration and create things like Parent Topics and Keyword Groups. With this in mind, you can develop content that incorporates a series of contextually relevant phrases; however be smart about it you do not have to use every variation of a phrase found and add it to your page – stick to what is most relevant.

5. Use your competition to push you to be better, especially with your content

Content is the second most important factor when ranking on Google, so it's pretty important to get it right. I am sure you've heard of creating "great content" or "useful content" but what does this actually mean when it comes to SEO. It is all about finding the right audience, but more importantly reaching them. Empathise with your prospects and customers, be a problem solver, informative and keep in mind "conversational" search queries when writing.

At least 30% of all searches returned rich answers with many of these answers being in response to "who, what, when, where, why, and how" queries.
It might be good to also point out here that voice search is on the rise and most likely conversational search and rich answers technology is being applied to this feature. 55% of teens and 41% of adults already use voice search daily.

A study done in 2015 by The Content Marketing Institute on B2C Content marketing showed us that 77% of companies' use content marketing, but only 37% of respondents believes they are effective at content marketing. This presents us all with a huge opportunity to be better with our content online, but you really have to be willing to invest the time to make it happen. Blogging is a great way to provide fresh, useful content which is why today there are over 60 million blog posted every month, that's at least 1.97 million posts a day on WordPress blogs alone. WordPress blogs only account for 58.2% of the market share.

Kick start your SEO. Google gets over a massive 100 billion searches a month, so just getting found is already a challenge. Check out our plans today or register for a free SEO report on your website.

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Hi, I'm Renae Weaver, Managing Director of Select Marketing and Web Solutions.  I have been working in marketing for over 10 years and enjoy the challenges having my own business can bring. 
My vision for Select Marketing & Web Solutions is to be able to help small to medium sized businesses succeed with their traditional and online marketing goals more cost effectively. 


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Guest Wednesday, 13 December 2017

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