Google SEO: Key Tips and Strategies
As you start your endeavors in the world of SEO, your best starting point is working to rank on Google, as it's the number one search engine across the world. In other words, the majority of internet users utilize Google to find what they need online. So, if you can rank on the first page of Google search results, you'll have a pretty good chance of attaining traffic and getting conversions. Of course, ranking well on Google has long been any SEO's bane of existence, for achieving those top results is rarely an easy task, especially for competitive search queries.
While reaching the top spot on Google search results is a difficult feat, with the right information and accurate analytics, it is absolutely possible. And, here at StatCounter, we strive to provide our valued members with both quality analytics and necessary information to help our members monitor traffic, boost their site, and ultimately make the right SEO decisions to rank on top search engines. With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the best Google SEO tips and what it takes to get your website ranking in the top results.
If you're ready for further reading on SEO, you can view the pages provided below:
Google SEO: Key Considerations
In getting started with Google SEO, you should familiarize yourself with some basic factors Google takes into account when determining search engine results. Some factors to follow not only cater to ranking on Google, but can also improve the user's experience on your website. Take a look:
- Accelerated Mobile Pages: Introduced in 2016, AMPs help content on a website load faster on mobile devices. Though these require more knowledge and experience, it's a good idea to consider them for your website. Of course, you can always hire someone to aid you in the process.
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR) Optimization: Optimize title tags and meta descriptions to match user intent and further improve your website's CTR. You can also link relevant pages of your website to one another to help users click their way through your site.
- URL Optimization: Keep your URL's short but be sure to include keywords and explain what the web page is about. For existing pages of your site, however, you'll want to leave URLs as is, as a 301 redirect can get tricky. For new pages of your website, just ensure the URL follows the hierarchy of your website. For instance, a page on cosmetic dentistry on a dentist's website may look like this: www.dentist.com/services/cosmetic-dentistry/
- XML Sitemap: Search engines prefer XML sitemaps over HTML's because they are easier to crawl. Make sure you submit your sitemap to search engines so it can be indexed properly.
- Page Speed Load Test: Slow page load speed will cause visitors to leave your site quickly, which will hurt your search result rankings. Be sure to run a web page speed test to find ways to speed up your site.
- Over 60,000 search queries are entered on Google every second
- As of 2016, 2 trillion searches are performed on Google annually
- Each month, over 1 billion unique searchers use Google
- Over 60 trillion webpages have been indexed on Google
Why Google SEO is Important
By The Numbers
Google Usage - Global Stats
As we can see in the statistics above, Google has long been the most widely used search engine and its usage is only growing. In fact, if you take a look at the current search engine market share, you'll see Google takes the cake by a long shot so it's easy to see why so many companies and SEOs aim their efforts toward ranking on Google's search results. Of course, you've got to wonder why it's Google that so many internet users go to for their search queries. In short, Google constantly updates its search algorithms to best match user's' intent when searching, and in turn, Google provides results deemed closest to each user's query.
These constant updates and efforts to match users' requests are what keeps SEO experts and companies scrambling to stay on top of the search results. Despite these updates, there are always plenty of ways to achieve top results and remain in the top spot. To achieve and maintain this, however, you'll need a strong SEO strategy and accurate analytic metrics to keep your website ranking well. For starters, it'll help to understand how Google crawls websites and what the search engine looks for when determining which results to draw for any given search query. Let's take a look.
How Google Search Results are Ranked
Though no one may know exactly how Google determines which websites and pages get the top results, Google does provide plenty of insight and, therefore, SEO experts have a pretty good idea of what ranks and what doesn't. In fact, any SEO will tell you Google actually uses approximately 200 ranking factors to determine results. While some of these are proven factors, many are simply speculations and assumptions. Regardless, we are aware of the main ranking factors, and there's plenty of them. Here are the top factors Google uses to determines its search results:
- Keywords: Selecting and properly utilizing keywords throughout your website is a surefire way to increase rankings, within reason. By selecting keywords closely related to your business and industry and strategically placing them throughout your site and within content, you can begin to rank for those keywords, but the factors to follow will also have an impact.
- Page Titles: Your page title tag is what appears in Google results and at the very top of your browser when you're on any given webpage. Page titles should always include the keyword(s) for its corresponding page, as well as something telling about the content within.
- Meta Descriptions: In search results, the description of the webpage, directly below the title tag, is called a meta description. This is used to help search users have a better idea of whether or not that website has the information they are looking for.
- Content Length: Longer content always looks great from Google's perspective, but the content should also be well organized and labeled with headings and subheadings throughout to help Google determine what the page is about. Simply put, more content provides more information for searchers.
- Inbound Links: Both the quality and quantity of inbound links are a major ranking factor for Google search results. Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are links to your site from an external site, which give your site more authority, especially when the links stem from a strong or well-known website.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are any links directing users from one website to your own. In other words, your website acquires a backlink when another external website provides a link to yours on one of their web pages.
While there are certainly plenty more factors Google uses to determines its results, such as the age of a website, domain authority, and more, it's always good practice to meet your users' intended results. Sure, keywords, page titles including those keywords, and inbound links from external websites will all improve your rankings, but Google's ultimate goal is to ensure any given user's request is matched with relevant results. With this, consider what your targeted audience is looking for, and what information they'll be seeking, and gear your content to satisfy those needs.
Avoiding Google Penalties
While there's plenty you can do to improve your rankings on Google, there's also a variety of ways in which you can also hurt your own rankings. Often referred to as black-hat SEO strategies, certain tactics can actually leave you with a penalty from Google. For the most part, these tactics are never intended for the user; they're simply devised to increase rankings. If and when Google picks up on these tactics, your site will be penalized and you'll lose rankings. Of course, there's also some strategies that won't necessarily harm your rankings, but they won't necessarily help either. Some of these strategies (both harmful and unhelpful) are provided below:
- Duplicate Content: Whether elsewhere on your site or taken from another, duplicated content is never good for SEO.
- Keyword Stuffing: While you need to add keywords throughout all content of your site, be sure to not over do it. It won't appeal to viewers, and search engines will even think it's manipulative and could result in a drop in rankings.
- Paid Links: When building your backlink (inbound link) portfolio, it's important to avoid paying for links. Acquire links by creating incredible content people want to link to, rather than forcing it and paying for people to link to your site. Google will pick up on your tactics and you'll lose rankings.
When it comes to performing SEO to rank on Google's search results, your website's content, backlinks, and load speed are 3 important factors to consider and optimize. Using a strong list of keywords, you should create relevant and compelling content for web users, while also paying mind to on-page optimization. This could be updating and adding title tags to include keywords, but is not limited to such. In short, keep the user in mind as you optimize your website, as this is key in ranking on Google.
Track Your Stats with StatCounter!
As you can see, focusing your efforts on Google SEO can surely pay off, as it's the most widely used search engine, and more internet users each day go to Google to search for what they need. However, to develop effective strategies and track the progress of such to see what works and what doesn't, you need to monitor your site's analytics. And that's where StatCounter comes in. We provide our members with accurate metrics so you can determine where your site needs work and what on your site is working. This way, you can bring traffic to your website, keep them on site for longer, and ultimately get those visitors to convert to sales.
If you ever need any assistance in understanding your analytics, be sure to contact our customer support team by filling out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
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