What You Must Know About What Google is Looking For
Google has a very structured, albeit somewhat secretive, way of generating search results for given keywords and phrases. Websites that are considered to be the most relevant and useful appear at the top of the list, and those that are seen to be breaking the rules are penalized for doing so.
A complex mathematical process known as an algorithm is used by the Google bots to determine which websites are those most relevant and useful ones. If only we knew the full workings of this algorithm! Unfortunately, not only does it take into account more than 200 different factors, the people at Google do not make the complete process known. This is why it is important to have a knowledgeable Google SEO consultant on your team.
Some of the most important ranking factors that the algorithm looks for include:
- Keyword use
- Site structure, speed and reliability
- Average time spent on site
- Number and quality of inbound links
It is also important to be aware that there is no human intervention to adjust specific rankings – the algorithm simply presents results based on the best score across all factors. However, the bots do constantly review and update search results, so changes to your website must be made very carefully so as not to harm your listing position. However, your rank may also change because of how your site compares to others – if a competitor ramps up their SEO efforts you can quickly get left behind.
There is no single magic button to jumping up the ranking list, and it is a continually changing arena so you must regularly update your site and stay abreast of the latest developments.
Some of the key things you must always consider are:
- Effective on-page coding and site structure – Your site must be easy to navigate and have the correct behind-the-scenes coding in order for it to be recognised by the bots. A sensible site map and navigation structure are key, and every page should follow the same rules in terms of meta data.
- Quality content – The content on your site must be relevant and of a good standard. You should not try to stuff keywords in but use them naturally where they would be expected to occur. Google also likes to see fresh content, so create a news or blog section and keep it updated.
- Social signals – How you interact with the wider world is also taken into account so how you use your social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and so on can affect your site ranking.
- Links – You should make an effort to gain inbound links to your site from reputable and trusted sources. Content marketing and PR are good ways to achieve this. Internal links are important to – showing that you have lots of relevant content is great for visitors and Google.
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