When it comes to search engine optimization, there’s no telling what the exact right mix is to put you on Google’s radar and boost you to the top. The algorithms which dictate who ranks where are constantly changing, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact science to SEO. Fortunately, there are some surefire tips that can help, even if it’s impossible to know everything we want to know. Here are some of the most talked about SEO suggestions for 2018 so far.
Mobile Friendly Browsing
Mobile browsing has become a crucial aspect of Google ranking, especially since the search engine giant rolled out their mobile first ranking system in 2016. Since then, the importance of responsive design for mobile websites has become a huge factor in the way that Google ranks in their mobile index. You can determine how many and how often your website is being used by mobile devices through the Google analytics tool.
Mobile friendly ranking may only apply to the mobile index for now, but it could mean something different over the next few years. With the constant evolution of the Google algorithm, it’s difficult to determine which changes are permanent and which will phase out to be replaced by new regulations.
Pay Attention to Speed
Google announced that July of this year will see the official change of the ranking algorithm to include page speed in mobile ranking. This is a small change compared to many of the other updates to the algorithm which have taken place in recent years. It will affect a small amount of users but make a big difference to those searching on a mobile device.
Google has suggested that the only websites that need to worry about being affected in ranking by this change are those with extremely slow mobile pages. Pages that load slowly for mobile users have been proven to be skipped over in favor of a faster loading page within seconds. By placing fast loading sites at the top of a search page, Google guarantees that searchers will have a better user experience and reach their destination more quickly. This is beneficial to Google as well, as it keeps searchers from branching out into other search engines which might offer different first place results to a query.
Add and Update Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions aren’t a new facet of SEO, in fact, it’s been an important part of the process since it’s arrival. A meta description is a short blurb or snippet that you can read before clicking on a link. These should be concise and to the point, making it clear exactly what you’re clicking on and why you want to click it. These descriptions are so important that last year Google extended the maximum character length from 160 to 320, so that longer snippets were available.
It isn’t enough to simply have a meta description in place, you need to update them when necessary. Many times, these descriptions are left by the wayside, with businesses and website owners forgetting about them as their businesses evolve and websites upgrade. Unfortunately, this can negatively impact your ranking if your description no longer properly represents the website on the other side of the link. Search engines and web users want to see meta data which accurately describes the website being opened.
Monitor Your Links
Just like meta descriptions need to be updated as time goes on, the links on your website should also be closely examined from time to time. When consumers see a dead link, or a link which says it goes one place and winds up in another, it’s not only confusing and frustrating, it also creates the idea that your site isn’t reputable, organized, or honest. Many websites with dead links or dishonest links are scams, which creates a bad name for those sites which are genuine, but just haven’t maintained links well.
Search engines also have a big problem with broken or deceptive links as they make it difficult for the engine to determine the validity of a site. It could push you down the list of rankings if Google can’t figure out who you are and what your purpose is on the internet.
Keep Your Page Interesting
This might sound too broad a topic, or too vague to be helpful in terms of search engine optimization, but in fact, dwell time is a real and growing concern for website owners. Dwell time is the amount of time a searcher spends on your page before moving onto another. Statistics show that the average searcher spends just over 3-minutes on a page, unless there’s something there to keep their attention. Pages with the highest dwell times often rank high among search engines, making them more favorable for searchers.
To increase your dwell time, you need to make your page interesting enough for users to stay put for longer than 3-minutes. This should be done without degrading your site with click bait or false and shocking information.
For more help with search engine optimization, site owners can follow the algorithm updates as they are announced by Google and other search engines. While they won’t tell you exactly how to get to the top of the rankings, Google is open with the changes that are made and how they will affect your site. Many of these changes have to do with having genuine, authoritative content, and having a strong following by consumers or peer businesses.