One common question we hear from clients launching a new website, is ‘How long will it take for my site to achieve a top Google ranking?’. Quite apart from the fact that the Google algorithm is an ever-changing secret, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are several things you can do to improve the way your site is regarded by Google.
What businesses need to ask themselves is how much time and effort they are willing to invest in the pursuit of a high ranking. Here are a few of our tips for continually improving your chance of being the go-to site when people are looking for a site like yours:
Quality Content, Regularly Updated
The monster-sized computers at Google are constantly crawling the internet, updating their own records of what exists on the web. On average it takes Google four to 12 weeks to crawl a website- visiting it and checking it through before ranking it for keywords. The best way to ensure that Google keeps returning to your site is to keep updating its content and making sure that it is enriched with new keywords. The more content you add, the more often Google will visit. Conversely, if you launch your site then leave it unchanged, Google won’t return to re-rank you.
However, adding new content in a scattergun, unplanned way, won’t help you. If you’re posting regular blogs but their quality is low, and you don’t have time to optimise them for SEO, they won’t benefit your business at all. Not only will they read poorly, they will also lower your Google ranking rather than raising it.
Things to avoid when adding content include:
- Poor readability- long, complicated sentences and no sub-headings
- No on-page SEO activity like meta descriptions, ALT Tags, internal or external linking
- Low word counts
- ‘Hard sell’ articles
There are over 200 ranking factors that search engines like Google take into consideration to generate their outcomes. Keywords are the place to start for most SEO activities. You can use free tools like Google Search Console or Keywords Everywhere to research which keywords are achieving success in your business and your competitors’; investigate both keywords you ARE using on your site as well as rankings for keywords you’re contemplating using. Balance the obvious, high-competition keywords with a few which are being searched with low competition to gradually boost your Google ranking.
Once you have your keywords, make sure they are used throughout your site in the right way including through:
- Image file names and ALT tags
- SEO titles
- Meta descriptions
- Hyperlinks- both internal and external
- In headers and the body copy
Mobile Responsiveness and UX
Making your website easy to use on all sorts of devices is crucial. As is optimising the UX, or user experience, of your site. We recommend that you focus on how your website works on mobiles ahead of tablets these days as the vast majority of internet research is done by people on their phones. You can improve the UX of your site by making sure it’s straightforward to navigate, that ALL the links work, that there aren’t any pop-ups immediately on landing, and, above all, that it’s speedy. Always choose speed as a top priority when working on your website build.
Once these three key parts of your website are optimised and maintained, you can move on to three other things which will improve your Google ranking. First, links. External, authoritative links TO your site give Google a robust account of your reliability, pushing you up the rankings. Internal links encourage engagement on your site and improve UX- both things given high importance by the Google algorithm.
Secondly, your social media presence. Although social media activity doesn’t feed directly into your search engine ranking, successful engagement on social media channels can increase both links and traffic to your website.
Finally, security. Google (and other search engines) take the security of their users very seriously, so if your site is deemed to be high-risk, you will tumble down their rankings. Makes sure you regularly update the plugins, framework and themes that your website uses, and always have an SSL certificate. The easiest way to check the security of your site is to scan it regularly.
Want to optimise your website’s Google ranking?