There are hundreds of factors involved in search engine rankings, and Google has the habit of regularly updating and tweaking their algorithm; what might have worked several months ago could end up working against you in the long run, so it pays to stay on top of your SEO, continually improving your site, and keeping your content updated.
It’s something of a Holy Grail to achieve the top spot in the Google organic search results – that is, to rise to the top of the search results due to the relevance of your site content in relation to users search terms, rather than due to paid advertising.
To rank high organically, you also have to be doing the right things from a technical SEO perspective…but how do the right things add up to better ranking?
Companies that provide useful, relevant content on their website tend to rank higher on search engine results. Most users want the sense that there are real people behind the scenes of a company and their website, and Google rewards the websites that use this sort of content, with a higher ranking on the search results page.
The use of keywords in your content can help your overall performance in search results, provided you use these keywords in a realistic, humanly readable way. Content that’s crammed with keywords will work against you. Be strategic in your choice of keywords and create content that is useful and focused on the topic(s) that are presented on your website.
Relevant and credible links to and from your site will help the search engines determine that your site is filled with useful content, while an overabundance of links could indicate a site that’s spammy and not useful.
Website design/user experience
Outdated website design, even with great content, can work against you. Certain design elements have had their day, and if your site is still using these elements, your ranking may not be what you hoped it would be. Make sure your site uses current web design techniques and present you content in a clear logical manner.
Page load time
Part of your site’s user experience is the load time. In a recent study by SEO software producer Moz, it was determined that page load times did not impact a site’s ranking. However, Time to First Byte (TTFB), the time it takes for a web server to return the first byte of a site from a requested URL, did have an impact on a site’s ranking in the search results. Google’s algorithm effectively rewards speed in the backend of a site’s structure, rather than in the front-end, user experience.
Success in search engine optimization (SEO) requires not only an understanding of where Google’s algorithm is today but an insight to where Google is heading in the future.
Based on our experience and research, it has become clear that Google places a stronger weight on the customer’s experience with page load speed as part of their mobile-first strategy. With the investment Google has made in page performance, there are some indicators we need in order to understand how critical this factor is now and will be in the future.
Google is increasingly acting upon what is intuitively obvious; a poor performing website results in a poor user experience, and sites with poor user experiences deserve less promotion in search results.
What we do
The technical changes that we recommend when looking at SEO are always a combination of page speeds, optimisation and user experience.
We run your website through our page speed tool to ensure your website is performing at the ideal level. If your website isn’t running at an optimal speed as part of our SEO changes, we will make the necessary changes to ensure the best possible user load times.
As well as running your website through our page speed tool, we also analyse the optimisations that are in place for your website. Any optimisations that have not been carried out will then be done at this stage.
As part of our user experience analysis we look at your navigation structure and sitemaps.
Sitemaps are extremely important for your site as they allow not only search engines to index your site but also allow users to find all your links in one place. If there are no XML sitemaps for a search engine to view, some of your key pages may not get picked up.
Equally important is the navigation structure of your website as it allows your users easy access to the pages they wish to view. With a good navigation structure Google and other search engines will be able to determine which pages are important to you and what role the page plays in your website.