Optimize your website in 2016 by having quality content and building links from high authority websites – these are 2 of the 200+ factors Google looks at!

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and has the aim of putting a website in the first position with Google.  It’s like a strange race, as everyone wants to be first for their own keywords and people approach it in many different ways.

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Google’s Andrey Lipattsev announced in March 2016 that on-page content and link building are joint first in importance in Google’s algorithm, with RankBrain (their artificial intelligence algorithm) third.  This means that for a website to reach Google’s first page of results, it needs to:

  • Have great on-page content with good quality text.
  • Have high-quality links coming into the site from high authority websites.
  • Include the judicious use of keywords and fulfill other criteria that the RankBrain algorithm looks at.

There are at least 200 major Google ranking factors, see www.indigoextra.com/200-website-ranking-factors-google-seo, with some saying that there are actually over 10,000 factors in total, so how can you optimize a website for all these multitudes of different factors?

As Google evolves and particularly with the introduction of the RankBrain algorithm, optimizing a website for search engines has become closer and closer to optimizing it for human beings, with a few important differences.

Some factors Google look at are quality and length of content, the amount of time visitors spend on a page, whether visitors quickly click back, then click a different result in their search engine, does the number of visitors increase over time, does the page include at least one image, etc.

To optimize for these on-page aspects, it’s essential to write content that is well researched, a decent length and offers something unique to the people reading it.  Don’t just think of reaching a certain word count, but be sure that you, or your SEO company, write content that actually engages the reader, that you yourself would enjoy reading and that includes something original.  The unique text is a given, but unique content, with unique ideas presented in an original way, is what’s needed to grab your readers’ attention.

Similarly, with link building, the links that will give you the most benefit are the links that will also drive the most traffic to your website.  A link from an original article in the form of a guest blog on a high authority site will drive a lot more traffic to your site than a link from an obscure social media portal no-one uses, whereas links from Facebook and Twitter are social media platforms that everyone has heard of and which will carry more weight.

It helps if some of the links include the anchor text that you want to rank high for, however, it’s important that the links are natural enough, therefore don’t be tempted to use keywords in every single anchor text – a healthy mixture of keywords, the URL, and phrases like ‘click here’ works best.

Finally, those other 200 or 10,000 factors we mentioned!  Google RankBrain’s job is to sort through all the different factors and decide which ones are truly important, test them out and constantly refine them (over 500 times a year).  They include things like having a responsive web design, so your site looks good on any device, ensuring that your page speed loads reasonably fast, making good use of meta tags and ALT tags and including illustrations or photos on your site.

If you focus on quality content and quality links, then you’re 2/3 of the way there and a well-designed website and guidance from an SEO expert will help you win the SEO race.

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