When people are in the market for something new, they search online. And in most cases, they head to Google to perform their search.

Google matters in the online marketing world. Make Google happy, and you’ll rank well.

Of course, a lot goes into making Google happy. To get top standing in a Google search result, you have to think like Google. Only then will it reward you well with that coveted number one search rank for whatever keyword you choose.

So how do you do it? How do you think like Google?

Website Design and Performance

What Google Wants

A long time ago, Google decided customer experience was everything. They’ve even developed divisions in the company devoted to customer experience. And while they demand it from within, they also require it from you.

If you want high rankings, your website had better deliver a great user experience. That means it should have things like:

  • A user-friendly design
  • Navigation that makes sense
  • Quick access to the information customers want most
  • Sitelinks that are valid and go to high-quality sites
  • High-quality content
  • Crawlable coding that allows the Google spiders to move with ease

Google crawls through sites periodically to accumulate the data it needs to provide rank. And while that might not matter to your average visitor, it does to Google. That means every aspect should be a user-friendly experience – what Google sees and what your visitors see.

Site Performance

How well does your website perform on a desktop computer? How about on a mobile device?

If your site was developed a few years ago, it might not perform as well as you think. And that can be a big problem for Google.

Do a simple test. Head over and test your mobile speed with this simple speed test. Type in your URL, and in just a few moments, your results will be available. This will tell you things like how long your site takes to load on a 3G network, and how well you compare to others within your industry. It can be an eye-opening experience.

You might love your website’s look and feel. But what ultimately is your goal?

Customers love a good looking website. But they care even more about how fast they can get the information.

Let’s Talk Security

Whose responsibility is it to ensure your site is safe and secure for people to access your data as it pulls from a web browser? If you said you are, you’re correct.

And how you ensure that is to have a valid SSL certificate in place.

It’s easy to tell if your site has an SSL certificate. Head up to the toolbar and take a look at your URL. Does your site carry the http or https protocol? Do you see the padlock that indicates it’s a safe connection to the browser window? If yes, you’re okay.

If not … Google knows too.

Website Coding

Let’s Dig Into The Coding

Most business owners assume their site is coded correctly. As you should. You pay good money for a company to design a website. And that should mean the team designing it understands all the nuances of creating a good site.

There are two parts to every site: the part you see and the part you don’t. Most likely you focused in on the part you can see. You care about the colors, the graphics, the font, and the branding. But the company who designed it should also care about the coding.

In order to rank better in Google, you need proper code.

Title Tag – a title tag identifies the title of the page. It’s an HTML design function that gives the title of the page added weight. Think of it as a keyword telling Google the main function of the page.

Title tags help Google understand what your page is all about. They help the end user determine what to expect if they visit and read through your page. They’ll show up in the search engine rank results, on a web browser, and on social networks. So it’s important you give it some thought.

Meta Description – A meta description is a summary of what the page is all about. It’s a short sentence or paragraph that appears underneath the clickable link in the search results, and entices a searcher to click for more information.

While they aren’t tied to a search engine ranking, they are important in getting a searcher to click. This is your one shot at giving a searcher the right words to take action.

What About Bounce Rate?

Now they’re in; they’re on your page. They’ve clicked through and are reading what you have to say. What’s important now? According to Google, your bounce rate.

A bounce rate is how many times a visitor clicks through to your site, reads the information, and clicks back to the search results without taking any more action. It’s when a reader only reads one page on your site before backing out.

Google likes quality content. They want to reward sites that are filled with information. They want to give a boost to sites that fulfill what visitors are looking for: a great user experience.

If you like what you read in the first few seconds, you’ll click around and want more. You’ll dig deeper. You’ll move through the navigation looking for more content. You’ll watch videos. You’ll do a little shopping.

Are you giving your visitors a chance to do many things? Or do you say it all in one page? Do you entice them to click around? Or do you encourage them to back away?

Website Time

How About Dwell Time?

Let’s also talk about how long they stay on your page. When they click over from a Google search rank, do they click immediately back? Or do they linger, reading what you have to say?

Dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on your site once they click through to your page. If they spend a few seconds, Google assumes your site didn’t have much to say. If they spend a few minutes, Google assumes you’re answering their questions, providing what they’re looking for. If they spend even more time – 15 minutes – Google assumes they’re invested in what you have to offer. They’ve found everything they need, and more.

It’s Not All About You

Of course, Google also knows you should be an authority in your field. And authority sites aren’t afraid to connect with other sites around the internet. An authority site will gladly provide links around their own site, and occasionally provide hyperlinks to sites outside of their own to prove their points.

Are you sharing statistics? Where do they come from? A great link to a study by a major university is a good thing.

Were you featured in the news? Why not link up to the article that sits on the news’ site?

Do you partner with other businesses? Or have complementary products that work well with what you offer? Why not give them a little love too?

Again, think user experience. The more you give, the more you’ll get in return.

So how does your site rank with Google? Are you ready for it to rank better?

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