Unlike paid search, organic search refers to the proportion of website traffic that can’t be bought by advertisers. These non-paid results are earned by making your pages relevant to the search query, whilst the search engine ranking positions (SERPs) are left to the discretion of the search engine itself.
Without the right measurements in place, it’s likely your beautifully crafted landing page will be lost in the abyss of Pages 8, 9, 10 and beyond. And with 75% of users never scrolling past the first page on Google Search, you’re immediately limiting your reach without checking your page for SEO. When deciding a page’s ranking, search engines factor in content quality, authoritativeness, and page load times, as well as carefully implemented keywords. Here’s how to make sure your website finds its place at the top of Google:
Content quality checklist
It’s important to first understand what deciphers the quality of content. Begin by asking yourself ‘is this website, or page, going to serve a genuine purpose to someone?’ If the answer’s no, save your energy. If the answer’s yes, proceed.
- Ensure the page contains no spelling or grammatical errors.
- Make sure the on-page information is factually correct, referencing any sources.
- Triple check that all interactive features are functioning properly, from embedded videos to hyperlinks.
- All your content should be original, duplicated content from other webpages is detrimental to your ranking.
- Your content must be formatted in a digestible way. Avoid including excessively large text blocks and incorporate rich media where possible. When writing for SEO, aim for text blocks 100-150 words in length.
- Readability is a key area to focus on when writing for web. To achieve this, steer clear of complex wording, and stick to shorter sentences. Between 15 and 25 words is optimal to maintain your readers’ focus, and also for your website’s SERPs.
- If you’re running an e-commerce site, your products should be easily discoverable. On average, just 62% of site visitors convert into a purchase – this figure will only increase the more you signpost to your product portfolio.
An authoritative website helps you to become more visible via organic search. The simplest place to start is with your domain name – keep it short, snappy, and memorable. Long or awkwardly phrased domains are less likely to be trusted by users, which will only reduce hits, and increase bounces.
Inbound links from other trustworthy sources help to increase your page authority – in the same way that your foodie friend’s restaurant recommendation would take precedent over a stranger’s. Google picks up on the number of high-quality links referring to your website and will take this into consideration when configuring SERPs.
The most telling sign of a website with high authority? User engagement. Search engines will measure the quality of traffic interacting with your content. Whether it’s form fill-outs, video playthroughs, or social shares – interactivity equals trust, and trust equals authority. Seemingly, this is an area that Google is focusing on in 2023 – with user engagement becoming a key metric in their Google Analytics 4 update.
Take the load off
Reducing a page’s loading time will never be the most fun job in the world. But it’s a valuable process, and one well worth the efforts. Google have stated that the chance of a website bounce grows by 32% when a page load time increases from one to three seconds; and 90% when the load time increases from one to five seconds.
Compress text, images, and video. Google recently stated that 25% of webpages could save more than 250KB data by compressing text and images on their webpage, while over 10% could save more than 1MB. Dimensions aside, the optimal file size for a website is no more than 200KB. Countless online tools can help you to reduce file sizes, so when you have a spare hour or two, it’s well worth the graft.
Unnecessary plugins should also be removed from the backend of your website. While they can provide useful benefits to your site, plugins are often key culprits for slow load times. Like that old worn t-shirt that you simply can’t throw out for nostalgic reasons, they’re taking up space that could be put to better use.
Enable browser caching. Browser caching allows your website to store files in a visitor’s browser, so they don’t have to be redownloaded every time they visit the site. For returning visitors, this will significantly improve page loading times – and in turn, improve your website’s organic search ranking.
Once upon a time there was an SEO practice called keyword stuffing. The name probably gives it away: it was the practice of repeating the exact same key phrase throughout a webpage, as many times as possible. This led to a jarring experience for both brand and consumer – sites were sacrificing any established tone-of-voice and authenticity for a high Google ranking, and users felt inundated with valueless, monotonous information.
In the modern day, however, there’s more nuance to the practice.
- There isn’t one true answer to the number of keywords that you should include on your webpage, but we recommend including a few relevant words or phrases, with emphasis on one primary keyword used more consistently throughout. Keep it frequent, but unforced.
- One means of maximising on keywords, is to answer internet users’ frequently asked questions. By identifying and answering these common queries within your webpage, your page could take priority in Google’s Knowledge graph, be mentioned within a Featured snippet, or the People also ask section of search.
- Seek competitive keywords with a significant monthly search volume. It’s difficult to achieve a Page 1 ranking on extremely popular keywords, as there will be plenty of existing content on these topics. Remember, you should provide the reader with genuine value.
- Finally, the primary keyword should be included in the page title, headings, subheadings, first paragraph, and image alt-texts. It’s all about placement.
There are several considerations to be aware of when building a top-performing webpage, and it’s essential to implement each of the steps above to increase your website SERPs. Ultimately, there is no hidden secret that will position your website on the first page of Google; it’s something that takes time, testing, and a few brilliant ideas. If you’re still questioning your web content and your current results, drop us a line today and ask us for an audit. No catches and no ties. We’d love to have a chat and help you optimise your content.