Google is a giant in the lives of internet marketing experts and day-to-day internet users alike. Studies show that over half of consumers use search engines to research products and services, compared to only 24% who visit company sites directly and only 18% who inquire through social media. Furthermore, more than 88% of users over the age of 14 use search engines to browse or research products. While the average user typically takes search engine rankings for granted, assuming that the most relevant pages are automatically listed first, advertisers and marketers know that high rankings are the product of plenty of hard work.
It’s true, Google’s PageRank algorithm tends to yield high success rates. In fact, Google is so confident in its ability to correctly order relevant results that it offers an “I’m feeling lucky” button which takes the user automatically to the first result. Incidentally, Google’s first-ever tweet on February 26, 2009 read, “I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010,” or “I’m feeling lucky” in binary code. What gives Google and its users such confidence that search engine rankings are accurate reflections of relevancy? There are a number of factors influencing the outcome, all of which provide an essential piece of the relevancy puzzle. Here are the ones that are commonly considered:
- On-Page Factors
- Well-written, quality content using relevant keywords
- User engagement with the site
- Presence of keywords in HTML title tags
- Well-crafted meta description tags
- Structured data
- Easily crawlable by search engines
- Well-managed duplicate content
- High load speed
- Mobile compatibility
- Off-Page Factors
- High quantities of organic links from trusted, quality websites
- Keywords used as anchor text on off-site links
- Trusted authorship of linking sites
- Sharing on social networks by trusted users
- Location of the searcher
- Personal and social history of user
What does that mean for advertisers? There are a number of practical ways to improve search engine rankings. First, it’s important to have a well-designed, cleanly coded site. That site should have a regularly updated blog, since companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages and therefore, more leads. Sites should also be responsive, making mobile visits easier and more successful. This is critical to success, since more than 70 million users shop on their mobile devices. In terms of building off-site credibility, many companies find it useful to hire an SEO agency who works on the creation and syndication of off-site content, link building, pay-per-click advertising, and a variety of other factors intended to boost rankings.
High rankings are important to a business’ success. Talk to an SEO today about optimizing your site to improve visibility and generate leads. You’ll be glad you did.