As per Backlinko, the organic result ranking on the no.1 spot of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is 10x more anticipated to be clicked, when compared to a result on the 10th spot.
Every marketer yearns to have their website/content rank higher on the SERPs, and is fighting for the #1 spot. Marketers invest their time and money in SEO to improve their rankings.
What is the benefit of ranking higher and getting clicks?
A higher web page rank and more clicks increase the amount of traffic and generate more leads.
So, what's stopping you from ranking at the top of the SERP?
It's Google's dynamic and ever-evolving algorithm!
As Google strives to improve the quality of search results, it keeps changing its ranking factors quite often. As per Moz, Google updates its algorithm more than 500 times every year. Google’s SERPs are dramatically changing.
Before that, let's understand how search works!
From amongst billions of pages on the web, Google's spiders crawl and serve the highly relevant and quality pages as per the user's search query. And to be able to do that, Google rolls out new and updated algorithms from time to time.
With the addition of new features like Knowledge Graph and Rich Snippets, Google wants to provide faster and relevant results to its customers. It keeps the user experience at the forefront, by delivering desired content at a faster rate and with more relevancy.
Now, you just can't stuff keywords for random terms in your content and give half-done content to your customers. It will directly impact your rankings. These changes will also have a great impact on your CTR.
It's tough to match up to all the requisites of the latest Google algorithm, which impacts your rankings. You need to constantly stay updated to optimize your website accordingly.
To help you stay in tune with search engine's ranking factors and improve your SERP rankings in 2021, here are the key action items you need to mark complete as soon as possible!
# Priority 1 - Know the prevailing Google Algorithm
You might spend days and months optimizing your content with respect to a Google algorithm, and still find your website ranking low on the search engine results.
Because, you were following an older Google algorithm, and meanwhile, Google rolled out a new update.
Phew! Efforts wasted!
To avoid this situation, always keep track of the current Google ranking algorithm, and the requisites for ranking at the top in accordance with that.
To keep track of the current search engine ranking algorithm, Google Search Central is the best resource.
# Priority 2 - Website Load Speed is what you need
Now you know that Google’s main objective is to provide search results faster. Google gives millions of search results in seconds.
Why does Google focuses more on speed?
Google found out that if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, the probability of bounce increases to 32%.
Even a biggie like Walmart felt the heat of a slow loading website!
Source: Neil Patel
When we searched for "SEO Tools" on Google, it showed 1,41,00,000 results in just 0.37 seconds.
Google has optimised itself, it's your turn now!
What does this suggest?
It tells you that Google is trying to solve users' problem instantly and is focusing on delivering results faster and accurately.
What can you do about it?
Start with a page speed test for your website. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights for this.
Source: Google PageSpeed Insights
If the page load time falls under 2 seconds, your website is doing great!
Else, you need to work on reducing the load time.
Google's AMP project is one more step taken in the field of page load speed. Learn more about AMP here.
# Priority 3 - Make your website Mobile-Friendly
As per Statista, mobile devices account for more than half of all website traffic across the globe. This makes it even important for your website to be mobile-first.
Google algorithm keeps mobile-friendliness of a website as an important search engine ranking factor. The "mobile-first indexing" by Google, rolled out in 2020, makes it harder for websites to rank higher, if the users are not able to navigate through those pages easily.
How to check if your website is mobile-friendly or not?
Run Google's Mobile Friendly test for your website. It will show you whether your website is mobile friendly or is on the way to get penalised. All you need to do is enter your website's URL and click "RUN TEST."
Source: Google Mobile-friendly Test
This test will also give you the list of pages that have loading issues and knowing this; you can easily optimize your site and make it mobile-friendly.
Google has launched AMP for better search results on mobile devices. Learn more about AMP and optimize your website.
# Priority 4 - Indulge in an exhaustive Keyword Research
Inbound Marketing strategy 101? Keyword Research!
Know the keywords - short and long-tail, which your audience is using to search for your website.
How to do that?
Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner or UberSuggest. Enter your keyword and look for the monthly search volume and related keywords to understand what is your audience looking for.
If your audience types in "digital marketing tutorial for beginners", it means your audience is a person new to digital marketing and is looking to learn about it.
You get to know your buyer's persona and the user intent - whether they are looking for information or ready to make a purchase.
You can then work on creating content that caters to their needs, and thus rank higher on the SERPs.
# Priority 5 - Ensure creating Quality Content
Quality long-form content covering the topic in-depth is not only loved by your audience but also by Google. It is one of the most effective ways to boost your SERP rankings.
Long content (over 1500 words) with keyword optimisation makes your content specific and relevant. Google always looks for the best content to rank higher, and the best content is comprehensive, up to date, and covers the topic in detail.
The content which is well-written, properly structured around your target keywords, has an optimised page URL and title tags that include the target keywords, has optimised images, and includes rich media, is the one that follows all the on-page SEO strategies to rank higher.
Let your creative juices flow while creating content, to increase your customer engagement and hence, boost your rankings.
You can use tools like Google's Keyword Planner or SEMRush to find the target keywords. This insight will help you in optimising your content and URLs for the keywords and improve your rankings.
Focusing on keywords that are easy to rank is a step in the same direction.
Also, focus on adding long-tail keywords and LSI to improve your content. Implement structured data with proper title, meta descriptions, etc. Don't forget to include the keywords in the meta description too.
# Priority 6 - Speed up your Google Image Indexing
Google image indexing is the least discussed topic in the SEO world, although it's an important factor for improving your rankings and diverting traffic to your business.
How does it work?
Each Google image search click ultimately turns into your site traffic. But yes, this will vary from niche to niche. Google image search is an easy win with less competition.
By indexing your images, you let Google crawl your website easily on a regular basis. This will generate more traffic and improve your rankings.
# Priority 7 - Build Quality Links
High-quality links with a high Domain Authority and trust are one of the top ranking factors for Google. Google search engine looks for links and brand mentions while ranking the website.
Many websites fail to get brand mentions, that is the mentions your website gets on another website, that deserves a courtesy link back on your website.
These links are your precious backlinks which you should not miss!
The best practice of getting backlinks is reaching out to the websites through email and asking politely for a link.
Include links in your content from relevant and authoritative websites. This will improve your rankings by a great deal.
Google sees links as a trust signal and uses them to check a site's authority.
Also, don't forget paying attention to internal linking, that is linking internally to the relevant content or product/service page through optimised anchor text.
Demystifying how Google lets some websites enjoy the topmost rank on the search engine is crucial, yet difficult!
By the time you completely understand one algorithm version, Google is on its way rolling out a new update, turning the table upside down! To avoid your website facing the heat of the ranking, keep an hawk's eye view on what's new in this field!
Once you have done that, ensure that your follow the above pointers.
Start by taking care of the website loading speed, make it mobile-friendly, do an extensive keyword research and include those in your content, create long-form and quality content, index your images on Google, and don't forget link building.
If all of these factors are carefully taken into consideration, you will notice your website soar higher on the Search Engine Results Page.
Get going, today!