Here at Designer Websites, we understand better than anyone the importance of having good SEO on your website!
There are so many factors that come into play when talking about SEO, it can be hard to know where to start. The Google algorithm uses approximately 200 different ranking factors to determine where your website will show up; as much as we’d like to go through every single one, unfortunately we don’t have the time (and probably neither do you!). Instead, we’ve picked out 5 of what we consider to be the most important ranking factors. We’re going to be taking a closer look at what they mean, how you can improve them, and how you can keep your website on page one in 2022.
SEO strategy is just one of the many areas we specialise in here at Designer Websites. If you’re interested in using our services, contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.
Top 5 SEO Ranking Factors for 2022
1) Quality Content
'Quality content' sounds pretty vague, but we're going to do our best to help break it down. What passes as quality can be relative, but there are a few things that you can look out for (that Google will be on the lookout for too!) that will keep your website recognised as high quality, both by search engines and by your site visitors.
If you want successful SEO, you need to have quality content on your website; essentially, your content and your keywords need to be relevant. Gone are the days of keyword spamming; you want people to stay on your website once they've found it. It’s useless if you trick the search algorithms into thinking you’ve got relevant, high-quality content by pushing keywords and other technical aspects if the people who come to visit your website aren’t staying to look around.
Keeping your content relevant gives you more opportunities to naturally integrate keywords into the page, which will make your site stand out to visitors and search engine algorithms alike.
Having quality content can also have positive knock-on effects on other areas of your SEO; for example, if you have a website with top-quality content, other web pages are more likely to recognise and link to your website. These backlinks will give you sweet, sweet link juice, which will in turn increase your SEO even more! (If you want to find out more about backlinking, scroll down to factor number 5.)
Having quality content actually ties in directly with our second ranking factor: user experience. Both of these factors highlight the importance of having a website that is easy to navigate.
2) User Experience
Some people get so wrapped up in the competition of rankings and the desire to get their web pages listed at the top of the search results, they forget who the website is really for: the customers. It’s no use having a website crammed full of keywords and other things you think the search algorithms might like if the people browsing your website aren’t engaging.
Besides, Google algorithms have progressed way past falling for such old tricks. If you just copy the content and keywords that you’re seeing in the top-ranking search results, Google isn’t any more likely increase your ranking. You need to take the time to understand exactly what it is your customer is looking for, and provide a better experience than your competitors.
You can also improve user experience by ensuring that you don’t have your text in huge chunks; break it down into manageable paragraphs instead. Make sure your headings are clear, and each page is clearly labelled so users know what they can expect to find on each page without having to search for it. Optimise your images, especially since this can affect your load speed (if you want to find out more about the importance of load speed, check out factor number 4).
3) Mobile Friendliness
It’s 2022. If your website isn’t mobile friendly by now, you're really missing a trick. Nowadays, more people are using mobile devices than desktop PCs to surf the web, so if your website isn’t mobile friendly you’re potentially missing out on massive opportunities for customer interaction and engagement.
If you’re not sure whether or not your website is mobile friendly, don’t panic! Google has a handy mobile friendly testing tool.
Google Mobile Friendly Testing Tool
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or you’re looking for ways to make your website more mobile friendly, here are a list of important factors you should consider:
- Is your website responsive?
- Is the font readable on smaller screens?
- Are the buttons large enough to press?
- Is your website easy to navigate on a mobile device?
- Is all content fully visible?
- Is it loading quickly? (If not, we’ve got some useful tips for that coming up!)
- Are you testing mobile usability regularly?
4) Page Speed
Page speed is pretty much what it says on the tin: it's about search engines judging your web pages on how long they take to load. If you have a separate mobile site, it’s important that both versions of your website load quickly.
There are tools available from Google that can help you monitor your website's performance, including speed. Check out Google Search Console for yourself and take some time to get familiar with it; this tool is invaluable when it comes to improving your SEO and website performance.
Google Search Console
Page loading speed might not seem like a big deal, but it affects more than just your rankings; it affects your customer experience. In 2017, Google released some findings that indicated a direct correlation between page loading speed and bounce rate. They released the following stats:
- If a page takes 1-3 seconds to load, the probability of bounce increases by 32%
- At 1-5 seconds, it goes up by 90%
- At 1-6 seconds, it goes up by 106%
- At 1-10 seconds, it goes up by 123%
As you can see, having a decent page loading speed is vital, and has a direct effect on your page viewers. But don’t worry! There are many things you can do to improve your website's loading speed - one of the easiest ways is to use smaller image files. If your page has a large number of thumbnail images, these don’t need to be very large at all.
Another thing you can do to increase your website's speed is optimise the source code; remove any unnecessary digital debris to decrease your site's loading time.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are a relatively easy way to improve your website's SEO – but what are they? To put it simply, backlinks are links from another (ideally more authoritative) website to yours. By linking from their website to yours, these third parties are essentially giving you a 'vote of confidence'; they’re telling search engines that they trust you.
Having a website deemed by Google to be trustworthy and high quality is valuable; no matter how good your on-page SEO is, if Google doesn’t trust your website, your chances of getting into the top rankings are slim. The trust that these links generate is widely known as 'link juice'. The more authoritative the site, the more link juice you get.
Another important thing to know about backlinks is the concept of 'follow' and 'no follow' links. When one website links to another, it’s usually automatically what’s known as a 'follow link'. When Google sees these links, it counts them in favour of the site. If the linker doesn’t want this to happen, they can add a HTML tag to make the link 'no follow'. This basically tells the search engine to disregard the link. There are many valid reasons to make a link 'no follow' - for example, if it's part of a paid ad or if you don't trust the target site - but it’s important to know that if you want Google to acknowledge the link, it must be a follow link.
When trying to use backlinks to improve your website's SEO, it’s very important to work with reputable websites only. If a website has low-quality content or seems spammy / suspicious, a link from that site could actually drag your website down the rankings. It’s also possible to buy backlinks, but this is frowned upon by Google; if you make it easy for Google to catch you buying massive amounts of backlinks, it could be detrimental for your website's organic rankings.
We hope this blog has been useful to you, and that you'll finish today knowing a little more about SEO than you did when you started.
All of these factors are important when it comes to trying to build your website's SEO, but there's so much more to know! If you’re interested in finding out more about how Designer Websites can help you improve your website's SEO, reach out and contact us today.