As a marketing consultant I come across many clients who frequently ask about ranking on first pages of search engines. The question seems to be very simple and straightforward for them but in reality it isn’t that simple. Google in the recent year have updated their search algorithms, no more can you rank on first page by merely optimizing the on-page content. To make the search competitive and accurate search engines also evaluates the authority and relevance of website pages.

Authority: Authority plays a crucial role in SEO success. In order for your website gain search ranking and traffic your content should have credibility. Once you start producing credible content that is liked, shared and discussed by your industry influencers your credibility and authority increases

Relevance: Relevance is achieved when your keywords and content matches to what the target audience wants to find on search engines. Content that intends to solve specific problem combined with good optimization efforts will be perceived as relevant content.

As Lee Odden recently explained:

“Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich, but on its own, it’s not very appetizing.”

Many businesses executive’s I come across asks for best SEO results by only optimizing their website SEO, I than assume that they are not very familiar with how SEO now works. In this piece I am going to discuss the components which decide SEO ranking of a web page.

The 3 Component of SEO

A Search engine does not want your website to be stuffed with keywords that you like and by the way your rank does not get better that way either. May be it’s the best way 10 years back but you got to stop chasing shortcuts now. The marketers and SEO guys now have to put up a combined effort that focuses on improving the usability & website architecture, relevance of your website content with search query and value of your content in return you can expect improved ranking.

Ultimately, the search engines require putting up the best results against the search query and there is no way that we can dictate what we want unless we follow certain rules. Although there are many other factors that decides your ranking but these three factors that we going to discuss best represent almost all the critical touch points of a good SEO strategy.

  • Website Usability and Architecture
  • Relevance of Website Content
  • Authority or Value of your Content

Website Usability and Architecture

Website usability is the single most important factor that determines the success of your website. I mean what’s the purpose of search engine optimization if your website is not user friendly, the data is scrambled everywhere and probably visitor will leave once they see this mess. Your plan of attracting thousands of visitors will fail miserably if the information on your web page is not presented in a right format.

Whereas, website architecture deals with designing the website according to the user and codes it in a way that is easier for search engine to find the relevant content to match search queries.

Do you want to improve your website architecture? We are going to discuss some points that will help you do so.

  • File & URL naming – A website is made up of different files and formats, some of the most common ones are HTML and PDFs files. It’s important that we organize and name those files in a logical manner, for instance it’s better to name the image as appetizer_asiancuisine than IMG_241.JPG. Properly naming a file not only helps search engines to find relevance but it also gives you an additional keyword that can help you rank higher in search engines. Previously your website URL looked something like abcxyz.com/tag/html142?IMG_241, which does not give visitors clue about the page. Updating the URL to something more like www.abcxyz.com/asian-cuising_appetizer.html provides your visitors with basic information about what page they are but also you can include major keywords that can help search engine locate you to match search queries.
  • Website loading time – The faster your website loads the better it is for SEO. Google has stated that they favours website with higher search ranking which loads faster than their competition. Additionally, we developers have to take into account the large number of mobile users, your website should be mobile friendly and optimized to support all the mobile devices.

If you are kicking off with SEO project than I will recommend you start off with website architecture and usability audit. It’s also important to take into account the server error that misleads the users and canonicalization: that is getting rid of duplicate content that confuses the search engine.

Relevance of Website Content

Think of website content and users standing on the opposite side of a broken bridge, SEO helps both of them meet by creating a bridge(of course virtual). But creating a bridge that sustain in the longer run takes time and continuous efforts from your team.

Content Optimization can be done in the following ways;

  • Website Content: If you want to improve your search ranking than there is no true friend than content, the content is undoubtedly the king here. Your SEO strategy will fail to attract genuine visitors without interesting and regularly updated website content. Every page you create should have interesting content with equal effort served on keywords, internal linking and choosing headlines wisely.
  • Internal linking: Strong intra site linking is another important aspect of SEO. Internal linking helps search engines crawlers to penetrate into your website pages and identify useful information against search queries.
  • Headings Tags: Search engines always scans your webpages to determine what your website is about and what information you have there. By using various heading such as H1 and H2 you not only make your website easier for your readers but also give search engines important clues about what is most important on this page.
  • Meta Tags: These tags carry details that allow discussing some additional services relating to your web page.
    Search engines no more use Meta tags when indexing content. As a good practice it is still advisable to put 2-5 keywords in the Meta tags but no need to spend too much time here.
  • Title Tags: Every page contains a title tag; this is the text that appears on the left upper corner or on the tabs of our browser. Titles tags contain a limit of 75 characters, so we have got to put most important words about the services that include some keywords as well

 

Authority & Value of Content: Now you have a great website that’s not only carries valuable information for your visitors but its also search engine friendly. But due to malicious techniques used by some of SEO professionals that ended up ranking those higher using dubious means, search engines started to improve their system.This is because the SEO executive has complete control to manipulate keywords, site architecture and content, the only thing these executives can’t control is public trust in their website.

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That does not mean that we should ignore the on-site optimization efforts but now only those website will be found in search queries that are considered trustworthy and authoritative by the users. Now the questions that arises here is how you should become an authority to rank higher?The answer lies in the content you produce for your website. If the content produced is well read, shared, people comment and raise a discussion then search engine assumes that you are a trusted source of information in your domain (keywords that you have targeted). This is the reason why a real SEO strategy takes months to produce real results; it requires certain level of dedication and investment from the team as well.You can develop authority with your content by;

  • Producing exceptional content so people start linking their with yours
  • Always link with website with good reputation, linking with spammy website will damage your reputation
  • Share your content in all social channels
  • The more people sharing your content means diverse group is sharing and visiting your website

Now, take your time to figure out when you have to get started. I suggest you start soon and review the article again.

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