Google’s SEO algorithms rank your site on more than 200 unique (and sometimes enigmatic) factors. But because they don’t want websites trying to game the system, no one officially ever knows what those factors are.
However, those who invest extensive time and resources into identifying what the search engines are looking for, like Be Locally, have a leg up. All 200-plus ranking factors are important, but some are weighted more heavily than others. Knowing a few good SEO hacks can give you an advantage over your competitors in 2017.
Pay Your Domain Registration Ahead
Do you renew your domain registration for one year at a time? If so, it’s time to re-think that strategy, because one of Google’s SEO ranking factors is based on when your domain registration expires.
Google believes that legitimate businesses plan for the future. If your domain registration expires within the next 12 months, you may not rank as highly — all else being equal — as a domain that’s paid five years in advance.
Most domain registrations are fairly inexpensive, so this is a simple and cost-conscious tip that will give your site a legitimacy boost in Google’s discriminating eyes.
Improve the Frequency & Magnitude of Content Updates
Google SEO algorithms continually crawl your website to determine whether you have updated your content, and if you have, to what degree. Both frequency and magnitude contribute to the freshness factor Google values so highly.
Google would be happiest if you could update your site daily, but that’s not possible for many business owners. If you can manage a weekly update, however, you will be rewarded in the search engine rankings. If not, update your site with fresh content at least once per month.
As for quantity, rearranging a few words won’t cut it. Your choices are to add at least a page of fresh content with each update, or rewrite a page of existing content. Since more is better in most cases, adding new content brings the best results for your SEO.
Choose Outbound Links to Send the Right Message
Google’s SEO algorithms notice your outbound links as well as your backlinks, and they use them (in part) to determine your search engine rankings. But good backlinks take hard work and time to build up. Outbound links, on the other hand, are simple to use if you know how.
Google’s revolutionary programming code (for which the company holds more than 5,000 U.S patents with thousands more pending) can “understand” your content like a human reader can. For example, if you use the word “apple” in your on-page content, the Google SEO algorithms can determine whether you’re talking about the fruit or the technology giant.
Your site’s outbound links are one of the primary indicators that Google uses to interpret your content. Choose them wisely, and it will help both your SEO and your conversion rate. Use them irresponsibly, however, and you may be penalized.
It’s important to ensure that any site you link to is an authoritative source, not just a popular one, because Google knows the difference. It’s also critical that you support the theme of your content with your outbound links.
If the subject of your blog or web page content is replacement windows, you might link to supporting content from an architecture or home design site, federal energy efficiency data, local home builders or a window manufacturer.
All of these will help put your content into perspective for Google’s SEO processes.
However, if your content includes links to an overseas online pharmacy, Google will penalized you. The same could happen if the link is bad, if the target site is written in another language or if that site is already known by Google for suspicious or malicious activity.
Add Media to Improve Content Quality
Today’s internet users love visual elements, and as a result, so does Google.
Whether you prefer photos, infographics, video or all of the above, adding at least one to your content will earn you points with Google and boost your SEO. More important, it will help engage your prospects and keep them on your site longer.
You likely have nice, professional images for your site’s homepage and other top-level pages. For subpages, product pages, blogs and other on-site content, you can relax a bit when choosing visual elements.
You can find free stock images from a variety of online sources, but be careful, because some sites that offer free images can infect your computer with malware or viruses. You can also find free visual resources on Google. Or you may want to check out the Creative Commons resources on Flickr.
Rather than pay for stock images, you can hire a professional photographer to take photos of your office facility, staff members and products. Your site visitors will appreciate seeing your team in action or your customers using your products.
Be sure that any images you add are optimized for SEO; otherwise, you won’t get the Google SERP boost that you otherwise could.
The complex process of optimizing your website and online marketing efforts for SEO involves many more factors than we can cover here. But it’s helpful to understand that you can help make your site more visible and user-friendly.
Be Locally, the nationally recognized SEO expert, specializes in internet marketing services designed to grow your business. Contact us today for more tips and tricks for improving your Google SEO efforts.