2019 has already seen two major core algorithm updates along with various minor updates as well. Google is always trying to refine their search process with these updates. Their focus is to increase satisfaction for end-user experience. The difficulty can be trying to keep up with all these updates. It is like having a full-time job and trying to trade stocks. The majority of us find it wise to hire somebody full-time to do it. The good news is there are a lot of reputable marketing agencies that are ready and willing to help.
So how can somebody improve their keyword rankings when Google is making so many updates? The best answer is to find the experts who live and breathe SEO and have a reputation of providing results. When interviewing a digital marketing agency to manage your online presence, ask them if they follow Moz’s ranking factors. Some agencies think SEO is simply updating a title tag or meta description. While others see it as creating content for a client’s website. These are some of the ranking factors that will make a difference; however, it will take more to get you to the top position in Google. In this blog, we will review the major ranking factors and what agencies should be doing to help you rank.
According to Moz, the most important ranking factor is link signals. Every year, Moz conducts a survey with the top agencies in the industry asking them what the ranking factors are. They list over 50 local organic ranking factors and 30 competitive difference makers. The first one we want to cover is backlinks. Backlinks are similar to votes: the more votes you get the more popular you are.
So what makes up a good backlink for your website?
- Anchor text – Is the anchor text branded, a money keyword (dentist in state), or random? My school of thought is to go by thirds for an anchor text profile. If all of your anchors are on your money keywords, then Google will get very suspicious that you’re trying to game the system. This usually ends up poorly.
- Linking domain authority – Where is the linking domain coming from? And what is the authority of the referring domain? The higher the authority the better the link is. For example, it is better to have one link with an authority of 50 compared to five links with an authority of 10.
- Linking domain quantity – How many linking domains do you have? Google does like to see consistent backlinking to your website. The one thing you’ll learn about SEO is that you can’t stop. It’s like investing in your 401k; you can’t simply invest for one year and expect to see great results 10 years later.
- Link relevance – The last one we’ll touch on today is link relevance. This one is somewhat self-explanatory. The more relevant the backlinks the better off you’re going to be. For example, if you’re a dentist, you want to get backlinks from other dentists or blogs that write about dentists.
These are a few tips to help out with backlinks and to know what type of questions to ask when interviewing agencies that might be running your marketing.
On-page signals is the number two most important ranking factor according to Moz. So what exactly do we mean by on-page signals? This consists of having your name, address, and phone number on your website. Is the keyword you want to rank on in your title tag, headers, and marketing copy? What is the domain authority of your website? Let’s address how you can improve your on-page signals.
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) – Are your name, address, and business phone number on your website? This may sound silly, but businesses frequently forget to update this crucial information, especially if they moved offices. It’s a very simple win to improve your visibility.
- Keywords in title – Is the keyword (or key words) you want to rank on in the title? Ensure your keyword(s) is in your title tag, the marketing copy, and in the meta description. Google can only see text when it crawls your site. This is their way of knowing what you do, so make it abundantly clear that you’re a dentist and not a plumber.
- Domain authority – Domain authority is one way third-party data providers rank your website. The more relevant your site, the better chance your domain authority will be high.
On-page signals make up 26% of the ranking factors. This means the first two ranking factors that we have reviewed make up over 50% of the ranking factors. I would implore every business to focus on these two at the very least.
The last ranking factor that we are going to cover today is behavioral signals. Some of the behavioral signals include a website’s click-through-rate, mobile click to call, and dwell time. There are other signals as well; however, we’re going to focus on these three today.
- Click-Through-Rate – When somebody comes to your site, do they go to a different page or leave after initially landing? If they leave after initially landing on your site, that would be considered a bounce. You can measure your bounce rate in Google Analytics. However, the more engaging your content and insightful it is for an end-user, the better chance you’ll have of improving your click-through-rate.
- Mobile click to call – Does your mobile site have the option to click to call? This is easy to do and you can find pretty much any web developer to do this.
- Dwell Time – Dwell time means how long someone has been on your site. The longer they stay on your site, the better it appears in Google’s eyes. That means you need to have really engaging content, which can include long-form content, videos, and interactive assets.
These are a few of the behavioral signals that you can work on to improve your ranking factors. I would focus on the previous two we talked about first and then get to behavioral signals. Behavioral signals only count for 11% of the ranking factors.
A digital presence is key to any successful business in the 21st century. Focusing on the keyword ranking factors and SEO greatly increase your chances of owning a thriving business. There are a lot of digital marketing agencies that can help with all of these that we covered today. Remember to ask them what SEO means to them. As previously mentioned, SEO can mean 10 different things to 10 different agencies. Lastly, remember to focus on link signals and on-page signals.