A lot of my clients ask me how exactly Google ranks their websites, and what work we do in order to improve or maintain their rankings. Unfortunately for us in the SEO industry, Google (or any of the other of the major search engines for that matter) don’t tell us exactly how they rank sites for a given keyword. However over 10 years of experience running SEO campaigns for dentists has given us a pretty good idea!
In this blog I’m highlighting the general ranking factors that we consider important for SEO, however this is just the tip of the iceberg….social media and local ranking factors are very important as well but they are for another day in another blog!
Hopefully the following list will give you an insight as to why your website is currently ranking as it is.
1. Age of Domain: Age of URL is very important. If you just bought your domain a few weeks or even months ago you have a long road ahead of you. The reality is the age of your website helps build trust. If your website has been online for several years, chances are you have an established business and Google will rank you higher. A poorly optimised but older site
2. Outbound links: Make sure the websites that you link to are 100% relevant to your business and industry. If you sell animals toys but you are linking to a site that sells shoes that is not very relevant and over time could really impact your rankings. Bottom line is if it makes sense to link to another site, then do so, but remember you could be sending your visitors away from your site.
3. Inbound Links:
Global Link popularity of your webpage is an important SEO ranking factor. The number and quality of inbound links your site has will effect it’s rankings, because Google counts these links as a sign of ‘trust and relevancy’. Link campaigns should target back links from websites which are related to your business. For example, Dental Practices are somewhat related to Dental Labs. Similarly Dental Hygienist, Cosmetic Dental Practices, NHS dentists and Orthodontists will all fall into same ‘Dentists’ category.
4. Keywords: Make sure your website is optimized using your keywords. This means any alt tags for images, meta page information and existing content at the very least of things. Remember to naturally optimize your website based on the content of each page of your website.
5. URL Structure: Make sure your URL structures are very clean. There should not be any random strings of characters at the end of your URL’s. This is part of the onsite search engine optimization process as well.
6. Content: Content is very important. To start make sure you have text on all your important pages, then make sure it is good text consisting of your targeted keywords spread throughout naturally. Simply put, ALWAYS write your content for humans, your website visitors first and NEVER write content for the solo purpose to achieve Google search engine rankings. Chances are the content will not be user focused or provide value to your visitors.
8. Trust: Do you at least have a mailing address listed on your website? You should if you don’t. Google likes to see trust factors on websites so anything you can add that could help build trust for your audience will benefit your rankings. I always recommend having a phone number on each page of your website. Make it easy for people to do business with you, it all starts with establishing trust and that starts with contact information on your website.
9. Bounce Rate: Some see that Bouncerate is a factor for ranking, a website with high bouncerates could be seen by Google as not being relevant and therefore the website could drop in the rankings. Make changes to get visitors engaged with your website. Simple things, like video, newsletter sign up, call to actions, etc will help improve your bounce rate over time. A well designed modern site will also improve bouncerate, older sites that haven’t been updated tend to have higher bounces due to the users being put off by the design and user-friendliness.
10. Probably something Google isn’t telling us……!