6 quick wins in SEO
There are many things that you can do to improve the rankings of your web pages on Google and other search engines. Some things are more difficult to do than others. Here are 6 easy optimization tips that you can use to improve the rankings of your website.
1. Improve your website speed
Fast web pages are good for your website visitors. They are also good for search engines. Google prefers fast-loading web pages. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to find out how to make your web pages faster.
2. Change the content focus
The better your web pages answer the question of the searchers, the more likely it is that search engines will show your pages on the search result pages.
Optimize the content of your web pages to make sure that it aligns with searcher intent. Your website should contain many pages tackle the topic of your website from different angles.
It often helps to increase the length of the content of your web pages.
3. Use responsive web design
With Google's mobile-first algorithm, it is very important that your web pages look good on mobile devices. Mobile usability is important if you want to get high rankings on Google.
Google recommends responsive web design instead of individual pages for mobile and desktop. Responsive web design is a setup where the server always sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to alter the rendering of the page on the device.
4. Remove duplicate content issues
If the same content appears multiple times on your website, search engines must pick the best version of the content for the search results. That can go wrong. It is better to remove duplicate content from your website so that search engines can easily find the most relevant page on your site.
Removing the duplicate content can have a very positive influence on the rankings of your pages.
5. Add pagination to endless scrolling pages
Some websites use pages with endless scrolling. Although Google can index these pages to some extend, is is better to have real web pages with pagination. Individual pages are much easier to parse.
6. Remove things that keep search engines away
Many websites contain elements that inadvertently block search engines. If your website contains such an element, search engines won't be able to index your pages correctly.
How to get listed on Google
Google must be able to discover, evaluate, and index your content if you want to be listed on Google. What's the difference between these steps and how can you facilitate the process?
1. Web page discovery
Google must be able to find your web pages somehow. In general, new pages need at least one link from another web page before Google can find that page.
When you publish a new page on your existing website, it's usually enough to link to the new page from one of your existing pages. If you have a brand new website, you need links from external websites.
Without links from other pages, it's unlikely that Google will discover your web pages. The better the linking web pages are, the faster Google will discover your pages.
2. Web page evaluation (this is where things can go wrong)
After discovering your web pages, Google will evaluate them. Google will parse the HTML code of your pages. There are many things that can go wrong at this point:
- Your web page might deliver the wrong HTTP status code. If your web page looks fine but sends a 4xx or 5xx HTTP status code to search engines, then Google won't consider your page.
- Your web page might contain unwanted indexing instructions. For example, the page might contain a canonical URL that points to a different page, or it contains a robots meta tag that tells search engines to ignore the pages. In both cases, Google won't consider your page.
- Your web pages might contain low quality content. If the page does not contain many words, or if the page contains content that Google finds dubious, Google might not consider your page.
- If your web page is password protected, Google won't be able to evaluate the content.
- If your robots.txt file does not allow search engines to access the pages, Google won't evaluate your pages.
When Google has evaluated your content, it will add your pages to the index (if there haven't been any problems). To check if Google has indexed a particular page of your website, enter site:https://www.yourwebsite.com/page-url/ in Google's search form (replace everything after site: with the actual URL of your page).
The actual positions of your web pages depend on many different signals
Being in Google's index doesn't mean that your website will get a particular position in the search results. The position of your web pages depends on many different factors. The most important factors are the relevance of your content to the search term and the quality of the links that point to the page.
Google Says Words In A URL A Very Light Weight Factor But Less After Indexing
Google's John Mueller said once again that Google does use the words in the URL as a ranking factor. But John explained that this is a "very very lightweight factor." John added that it becomes even less of a factor once the content is indexed.
John said this at the 51:34 mark after asked about URLs that may have different languages in it, would it hurt for ranking purposes. Here is what John said:
We use the words in a URL as a very very lightweight factor. And from what I recall this is primarily something that we would take into account when we haven't had access to the content yet. So if this is the absolute first time we see this URL we don't know how to classify its content, then we might use the words in the in the URL as something to help rank us better. But as soon as we've crawled and indexed the content there then we have a lot more information. And then that's something where essentially if the url is in German or in Japanese or in English it's pretty much the same thing.
This is pretty much what he said a year ago when he said "the SEO effect of keywords in the URL is minimal once the content is indexed." Meaning once Google understands the content on the page, the keywords in the URL are even weighted less for ranking purposes.
Google tests displaying cost estimates in local search results
Google has confirmed the company is showing cost estimates from Homewyse for some local queries.
A Google spokesperson confirmed with Search Engine Land the company is testing displaying cost estimated directly in the local panel in the search results. This information comes through a partnership with Homewyse, a fact-based, independent reference for home product, installation and service estimates.
What this looks like. Google displays an estimated range of the cost to have certain jobs done in your local area for your home.
Google’s statement. “We strive to surface relevant information that helps people make decisions. As part of that, we’re running an experiment with Homewyse to surface local cost estimates in local results when users search for select types of home services on Google,” a Google Spokesperson told us.
Rich Results Disappear? Google Says It Might Be A Site Wide Quality Issue.
Google's John Mueller listed a few reasons why your site may not show rich results in the Google Search Results. One of the three reasons is that sometimes Google does not trust the site enough, on the site level, for Google to warrant that the site shows rich results.
John said in a video hangout at the 15:38 mark he said one of the reasons rich results won't show is "usually sitewide signal that is about the quality of the site overall." John explained "Like can we trust this website to provide something reasonable with structured data that we can show in the rich results? And usually what happens when everything from a technical point of view is set up correctly and we've had enough time to process it for indexing and it's still not shown, then that's usually a sign that our quality algorithms around the rich results in general are not 100% happy with your website."
The other reasons can be technical issues, either the structured data is invalid or the content on the page does not reflect what the structured data shows.
Here is the video embed:
Google will not build or use alternate identifiers to track users across the web
Google reiterated that its products will use Federated Learning of Cohorts to enable advertisers to target audiences.
Once third-party cookies are phased out, Google will not build or use alternate identifiers to track users across the web, the company announced recently. It also reiterated that its web products will be driven by the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) API, which groups people with similar interests into cohorts so that advertisers can still serve relevant ads while providing a degree of individual privacy.
Why we care. Google seems committed to its Privacy Sandbox, the company’s initiative to set new standards for targeted advertising, emphasizing user privacy. As an alternative to third-party cookies, FLoC is a major part of that, so advertisers may have to get accustomed to this new method of targeting, especially if alternate identifiers prove to be unviable.
“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. That is why Chrome made the decision to deprecate support for third-party cookies. We believe that aggregate and de-identified methods being developed in the Privacy Sandbox can effectively monetize web publishers,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.
FLoC has the potential to make attribution and cross-channel data even harder for search marketers, though. FLoC is Chrome-based and therefore won’t be a part of a multi-channel advertising ecosystem. It also brings into question for consumers–if Google’s AI and ML are distributing customers into FLoC cohorts, will the individual data be available to Google?
For larger brands, this situation makes a compelling case for gathering first-party data, through email signups, CRM data, rewards programs, etc., which can be used to learn more about their customers or retarget them.