If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the idea of search engine optimization (SEO). While not overly complex, it is a broad subject that requires a breakdown into its components to be understood efficiently. However, this presents us with a crucial question.
What is the emphasis of SEO? The answer is simple: It’s the ranking of a website on the search engine results page (SERP). Website rank is the ultimate reason why businesses and webmasters employ SEO. Search engine rank not only allows your audience to find your website more easily, but it also confers authority, another critical influence in building customer trust.
We might break down the essential factors in website rank into two categories: direct and indirect. As you might surmise, the former involves aspects that directly affect the website while the latter are aspects concerning off-site factors.
The Direct Aspects of Website Ranking Factors in 2020
As the name suggests, these factors directly influence how your website ranks in the SERP. These factors take into consideration all the features of your website. The higher you aim, the greater their influence. These are the primary determinants of your website’s overall authority and ranking and can even influence the indirect aspects as well.
The Quality of the Content
Your website’s content is the principal influence in its overall ranking and authority. The richness and quality of your content not only decides your website’s rank, but it also determines how your visitors will interact with it.
Content can take many forms and types, but regardless of its kind, it must be of high quality. In other words, it must provide a unique take on a subject and offer something of value to the reader. Poor-quality content is unacceptable under any circumstance. Let’s take a brief look at a few content forms.
Blogs: Instructive, alluring, and riveting, blogs are a common form of content many webmasters adopt. They allow you to frequently update your website content, which Google loves because it is fresh and new., Although they mainly serve as non-promotional guides, subtle promotion is sometimes acceptable.
Articles: In a way, articles are a more concise form of blogs. While they, too, function as an educative resource, articles are primarily written for promotional purposes.
Press release: The purpose of a press release is to announce something newsworthy about your business. For example, you can publish a press release when you announce a new product, announce a new endeavor, or even achieve an important milestone. A well-crafted press release using the appropriate keywords can go a long way in sending more traffic to your website and increasing your rank.
The second most important, yet overlooked factor is the design of your website.
Design includes features such as images, content organization, and navigation. Website design is vital because it impacts how your visitors experience what you offer.
The website must be designed so that it provides easy access to search engine crawlers for quick indexing while also adding to the comfort and ease-of-use for visitors.
Here are a few of the most critical design features:
Image Size and Quality
We all employ various images and art on our website to increase visual interest and appeal. However, it is essential to optimize our images. In simple words, we should adjust or resize images so that they don’t affect website speed while preserving their quality.
Grouping and Arrangement
A well-organized but straightforward site can grab more attention than an overly complex, disorganized one. While it is tempting to go with an intricate design to make your website more captivating, you may inadvertently decrease speed and function. Remember, the layout should be transparent and straightforward.
Anchor text is a user-friendly way of directing users to a different webpage on the same domain. The last thing you want is exasperated visitors who can’t find the desired page or piece of content on your site. To avoid this, make efficient use of anchor links to enable user-oriented navigation on various web pages on your website.
Another reason for reduced traffic is a slow, laggy website. You have only seconds to capture a user’s interest, so a sluggish website will only annoy people and cause them to click away to faster-loading pastures. A quick tip – ensure proper and uniform testing of your website to check for any lag or speed related issues.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Just publishing high-quality content on your website will do nothing to get traffic to your website and buyers for whatever you are offering. That’s where SEO comes in: you have to optimize your website according to SEO best practices. Doing SEO for clients is what Atastic does every day. There are many methods and tools you can use to make your website more search-engine-friendly. Let’s look at a few of them:
Schema Markup and Meta Tags
Have you ever noticed the brief text description and star ratings under various URLs in a search result? These come from schema markup and meta tags. To explain this phenomenon individually.
Meta tags are responsible for adding a summary of your web page to the search results. This informs the users of what exactly what the page is about This snippet acts as the first line of information of your page, so it is handy in attracting traffic.
Schema markup turns a snippet into a rich snippet. It is mostly concerned with making a page more representative. The main purpose of employing schema markup is to enhance the way a web page is displayed in search results by adding a star rating, vote count, or publication date to the snippet.
To properly establish your SEO strategy, you must understand how to use keywords effectively. Healthy content or a finely structured web page won’t bring any promising returns if it doesn’t reach its intended audience. That’s where keywords come into play. Intelligent placement of targeted keywords can help you attract visitors who are hungry for your content. Let’s take a quick look at the two main types of keywords:
Short-tail keywords are broad search terms involving just one or two words, like black shoes, gym, etc. Since they are so broad, they are highly competitive for search and often hard to rank for. If you are a new webmaster or a business just starting out, you should avoid them for now.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are specific and might extend to a small phrase. For example, best school near me, best SEO company in town, etc. These are far less competitive than their short-tail counterparts, and therefore, much easier to rank for.
The Header Tags (H1)
Header tags define the topic of your page or content piece. They tell the reader (and the search-engine crawler) what your page is about. Fusing your header tags with well-researched keywords can attract the right attention to your site.
The Indirect Aspects of Website Ranking
In this section, we will look at the players that indirectly sway a website’s rank. To spread your influence all over the internet, you must learn to make use of these elements, which isn’t always easy to do.
The Backlink Factor
A backlink is simply a link to your site from another website. A healthy and legitimate backlink network takes time and constant effort to develop, but once formed, it becomes a symbol of your overall web influence. There are numerous ways of creating backlinks, but we can broadly compile them all under two categories: healthy and unhealthy tactics.
Healthy tactics cover all the legitimate means of earning backlinks for your site. It is doubtless the most potent way of forming your backlink web. These legitimate means demand genuine effort and commitment and are, by far, the only way that promises fruitful returns in the long run.
Editorial backlinks and guest blogging are the most common ways of earning backlinks, followed by public forum links. These methods are like wine; they get better with age, earning your site more authority and credibility over time.
Editorial backlinks come from authority sources in your niche. They signal to Google and your potential customers that you are trustworthy and reputable. These constitute the big boss of backlinks. To earn a special mention by these giants, you need to create something distinctive and captivating.
Guest blogging is the practice of allowing another blogger to post something on your website in return for a link back from their site. They get exposure from your audience while you earn a backlink. There are many platforms online where you can connect with other bloggers looking for guest blogging opportunities, but you must be careful to allow guest posts from reputable actors only.
Public forum links serve as a concrete base for backlink creation. People flock to online fora to get answers to specific questions or solutions for a problem they’re having. Pick questions that share an affiliation with your niche and solve them to build a reputation of being a helpful source of information. Then cleverly and subtly place your website link in your answers (only when relevant and convenient).
Time for us to get familiar with the NO-GO areas when it comes to generating backlinks. As the name states, all the methods, means, or ideas employed under these tactics are inevitably going to ruin the overall reputation and name of your website. Adding insult to the injury, the ranking boost they provide is short-lived. So, let’s get acquainted with these unholy methods.
Paid links revolve around the concept of pay for renown. The idea is simple: you pay a certain amount for a certain number of backlinks. Unfortunately, these backlinks originate from malicious and low-quality sites. So, instant success? Not really, more like an eventual failure.
Comment or forum exploitation is the practice of indiscriminately leaving links in the comment section or within forum posts without offering anything of value. It’s a tactic you’ve probably come across before, and it’s easy to spot. You’ll be scrolling through the comment section, and, lo and behold, there’s a comment with an out-of-place link and little else. These links are always considered spam. So, say no to exploitation.
Thin blogging content is content that is not helpful to the reader and adds nothing of value. Duplicate content falls under this category as well as content that is overly promotional in nature. Thin blogging content contains no substance. Thin blogging content is a common problem with guest blogging, where a person creates a network of low-value websites and cross-posts “guest” blogs across it to generate backlinks to a target website.
Social Media Influence
It’s time to take our journey into the world of social media. Social media (to a certain extent, anyway) defines the 21st century. It’s the online hub of the global community. In short, the world happens here. So, can social media influence the ranking of a website? That’s a question that does not need answering. If used wisely, it can boost your website’s reputation into the stratosphere.
Remember we talked about quality content? People crave exquisite, high-quality content, and social media is no exception. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the undisputed emperors of social media and define the concept to a large extent. So, it’s time to dig a bit further and learn more about social media and the distinctions between the various platforms.
Each Platform Operates Differently
The first step towards understanding a platform is to understand its functionality. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all function differently. All of them feature a design that is unique and distinct from the others. So, start with understanding the design of the platform you opt to use.
Different Platform, Different Crowd
Each platform attracts a different crowd. For instance, Instagram is designed for people who are more inclined towards posting photos and videos of themselves, whereas the citizens of Twitter post text instead. The lesson here: design your content according to the mood and taste of the platform-users.
Never Tinker with Sensitive Subjects
The final and most important tip – never pick topics that are sensitive in nature. Social media is unforgiving to those who are careless with sensitive issues. To be safe, pick trendy but not heated topics. Go with light-hearted topics for your content.
Ranking factors in 2020 are composed of direct and indirect sources that work together to produce a page rank in the SERPs. We can employ many SEO methods to boost our rank, and therefore, our revenue. Some methods work better than others, and some should not be tried at all, lest you want to doom your business to failure.
If you need help with SEO or are unsure where to start, please contact us today for an SEO audit of your site. Our experts will analyze your site’s performance and recommend a strategy to boost your traffic and conversions.
Arnjen is the founder of Atastic and created the company when he noticed that there was a need for further development in the digital marketing industry. Arnjen started the agency to help website and digital product owners grow their business.
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