Factors That Impact Website Rank (Revisited!)
Website ranking is a big deal for a business. You may spend money on a great website design, but if people can’t find it in Google, you are losing ground to your competitors. The rank your website appears on a search can have a big impact on the number of visitors to your site and ultimately your conversions/sales. Understanding what Google looks at when crawling your website can make a big difference. There are a large number of factors (over 200) that are weighted when ranking a website and we're going to feature a few of the top Google ranking factors.
Website Security is Now Very Important
In the past year, Google has forced the browser to display a "not secure" warning on a website if it does not have a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. This additional layer of security helps show the website as a valid and secure website in the eyes of Google and website visitors. The certificate changes your website address from the old “http://” to “https://”. With the installation of the SSL, the browsers will display a “Secure” notification. Since the SSL Certificate is now part of the Google’s ranking factors, it's important to ensure your website has the certificate.
Your Website HAS to Be Mobile Friendly
Nearly 75% of all website visitors are viewing your website on a mobile device. Google is all about the end user's experience and having to pinch and squeeze the screen to view a website is not a good experience. With mobile being a factor in which Google will display a website, it's important that yours is mobile friendly or a responsive design (meaning it scales to the device it's being viewed on). If your website is not meeting this requirement, your rankings are probably suffering.
Page Load Speed is Now Important
There are many factors that can impact the rate at which your website pages load. Large images or flash video can slow down your load speed. With high internet speeds readily available, people expect to find information about a company quickly. If the page isn't loading in a timely manner, the person may give up on the website altogether and move on. Page load speed is a factor you should pay attention to because Google is using it as a ranking. Obviously, there is a balance here. If you are a visual business (home builder, photographer, etc.), you want to have visual content that showcases your expertise. Work with your website company however, to ensure images/video are optimized for load speed.
Content is Still KING
People are looking for solutions to their problems and your website should showcase how your product or service can help. Visual content is eye-catching to draw people in, but text content is what really matters. Ensure your website has plenty of content for Google to crawl in hopes to display your website as a relative result for searchers. You should have text that clearly states what problem you solve, how you solve it, and if applicable, the geographic area that you serve. You should also ensure that all business information (address/telephone/email address) is completely consistent throughout the website, on your social media, and in online directories.
Google takes into account the experience of website viewers. If people tend to spend a good amount of time on a website, it may appear to be a valuable source for that certain search term. Time spent on each page and website page clicks both are factors Google looks at when ranking websites for certain search terms. Test this thoroughly and ask your existing clients about the experience they had when on your website. If they have feedback on how it can be improved, consider it!
The above are just a few of the many factors that come into play when Google ranks a website, but they are important ones to focus on first. If you're thinking about SEO (and you probably should be), it's time to check in on your website and think critically about these factors.