Many studies have been done, and a lot has already been written, about how to improve your chances of getting high Google rankings for your website in 2015. These studies have thrown up some very interesting conclusions.
One of the most surprising observations to come out of the studies is that social signals will play an increasingly important role in Google's ranking algorithm. Some have even argued that the combined impact of social signals will surpass backlinks as the dominant overall ranking factor. If this is true, then it's possibly the biggest fundamental shift in how Google ranks sites in the last decade.
But this doesn't necessarily mean that businesses or websites that don't have linked social media channels will not be ranked by Google; it just indicates a relative growth in the importance of social signals over other factors.
On-page factors will continue to be of massive importance in determining how well your site ranks. The key things that you need to consider are as follows:
- In general, the shorter domains and URl’s rank better than longer ones.
- Sub-domains are slightly harder to rank than main domains.
- Placing the keyword early in the title is four times more important than having it in a domain or URL.
- Including a meta description, H1 tag and H2 tag all have a positive correlation.
- You should include your keyword in the meta description title and body of the content.
- Keyword density is not important anymore.
Let’s also take a look at on page content, which is something else we have great control over and it provides the perfect ranking foundation. The following are key things to consider to rank your site in 2015:
- Longer content generally ranks better (provided of course the quality is good). You should aim for a minimum of six hundred words but I would encourage a thousand.
- Try and include relevant images and videos where possible.
- Don’t add external links that use a keyword that you want to rank for. For example, if you want to rank for how to start a blog, don’t add a link to another website with that anchor text.
- You should also create internal links from other pages with keyword focused anchors. So find other pages on your blog and add internal links with the keyword you want to rank for to that page. You should also link the page to itself with your target keyword.
Not surprisingly, Backlinks will continue to play a big part in determining a website's ranking. These are some of the key things to consider:
- The quantity of backlinks is important. But the quality and contextuality of these links will play a more significant role. In other words, focus on getting links from web pages that attract good volumes of traffic and where the content of those pages closely relate to your site.
- You should be diversifying anchor text wildly; forty percent of your links should include keyword variations, e.g. Kids Balance Bikes, Balance Bike for 2 Year Old, Best Balance Bikes etc. Use brand URL and neutral anchors like “click here” for the other sixty percent.
- Sites that rank well tend to have a balance mix of no-follow links diverse keywords and generic anchors.
So let’s start looking at how we can put it all together. First of all you need to change your mindset. Google has fundamentally changed how it ranks websites over the past year and you need to evolve with that. We are going to see social signals play a much stronger role over the coming years and, while backlinks are still very important, I wouldn’t be surprised to see less and less reliance on them in rankings over time. So it is important that you create a diverse mix of social signals and backlinks.
It’s time to evolve your approach to SEO. But, don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. First of all you need to realise that social signals and backlinks aren’t the main ranking factors…great content is. If you publish crappy content that has no value, or doesn’t help people in any way, then it won’t get shared. It's critical that you create content that is engaging and helps people solve their problems in one way or another. An easy way to create great content is just by selecting the specific topic and solving five problems the average Joe faces with that topic. (Read my previous blog post about easy & effective ways to create content for your website)
So what is the best way to rank your website in 2015?
Step 1: First of all, fine tune your website and make sure it’s optimised to drive social signals. Every visitor offers you the potential of a social share which means higher rankings and more traffic.
Step 2: Create the very best piece of content on the web for your target keywords. Find out what your prospects' problems and worries are and help them out with your content. See what other content is available on the web and improve on it. Once you have done that you can start engaging your target audience directly with a content promotion in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Not only will this bring you traffic, but it will also drive social signals and relevant links from quality sites.
Step 3: Try and replicate the highest quality backlinks of the websites that rank in the top positions for your keywords. We know that Google likes these sites because they are high in the rankings so why not use this data to boost your own backlink profile? Here are some backlink checking tools which offer free options which are more than enough for most users:
So that’s how to rank your website in Google in 2015 and beyond. If you would like more information about how I can help you with an SEO project, get in touch via the contact form or give me a call on 087 6150581.