We all want our websites to perform well, but sometimes it can be a bit unclear what we should be focusing on for it to do so. While certain factors may be fairly consistent, there are ongoing tweaks to be aware of, and so staying on top of ranking factors is important.
Here are some of the top-ranking factors being used so far in 2018.
Responsive Design/ Mobile Optimization
We’ll start with this one because it is pretty obvious. With Google’s mobile-first index there is no way to get around the need for a responsive design and mobile optimization. In most cases, you will see an increasing amount of mobile traffic, and if your site is not mobile-friendly, that traffic will be clicking away.
Content, Content, Content
Content is king, they say. It’s not just about volume of content, however. Is your content high-quality? Is it unique?
Google search is focusing more on user intent. As a result, your content should be focusing not just on keywords, but the intent of the search. Offer the best possible answer to querents, taking into account any possible intent.
If your page isn’t relevant to what is being sought, or doesn’t match the user’s intent, you will not rank well. This is one case where less is more, provided it is a higher quality. You will do better by optimizing the content you have, rather than producing large amounts of lower-quality material.
Your content should also be unique across your entire site. Avoid any possible duplication and provide the highest quality content. Work at constantly improving your best performing pages.
Up-to-Date Real-World Info
One of the effects of the growing use of voice search is the relevance of real-world data such as your company’s location and phone number. With traffic being driven by voice search, Google Maps, the Knowledge Graph and Google’s Local Pack, this information becomes critical in allowing potential customers to find you.
Page Loading Speed
Another effect of modern internet habits is the desire for ever-faster pages. A slower page speed means that the search engine can crawl fewer pages, and it also runs the risk of turning away your audience if load time is more than a few seconds. Slow load times have been shown to negatively impact conversion.
With Google focusing on the customer experience, having a slow speed that discourages use of your site will have a significant effect on your ranking.
Long Clicks/ Dwell Time
When a user clicks through a SERP to visit your page, you want to ensure that they are not immediately hitting that Back button.
This goes again to content quality and understanding intent. Do you have the information that they are looking for? Do you have high-quality content that engages the audience?
Make sure that a visitor to your site is going to want to stay by offering them the best content possible.
There are obviously many, many factors to take into account when optimizing your SEO, but these are some suggestions that have a significant impact, and by giving them your attention, you will be strengthening you SEO and helping your site to reach a broader audience.