What makes Google SEO different?
When you think of search engines, Google likely flashes through your mind first. Yet, Google is not alone — plenty of search engines exist across the Internet and many people opt for these alternates. Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and more compete with Google every day.
Because multiple teams built and run these search engines, their setups differ. They each have unique programs, algorithms, research methods, and quality testing procedures. While search engines tend to value similar things in result rankings, it’s worthwhile to understand the distinct approach of your primary search engine, especially when you’re navigating digital marketing.
So, what are Google’s quirks and characteristics? Google has dominated the search engine game for so long that it’s morphed into a multi-purpose word — which is why you can say, “Just Google it!” when someone asks you a question.
Its popularity has driven the search engine to develop into an elaborate, cutting-edge system that examines a range of factors to appropriately rank the best pages.
At its foundation, Google operates by following a systematic progression:
Crawling: Traveling from link to link to discover pages
Indexing: Scanning pages to find out their topic
Serving: Delivering the best results for a search
Ranking: Ordering the results according to factors
Crawling is how Google discovers new websites, and it’s integral to ranking. You can’t show up on a prime search engine results page (SERP) without Google spotting your website’s URL first.
Links point Google from one website to another, and as Google “crawls” around, it constructs and organizes a list, which is also known as “indexing.” Then Google serves users the websites when they align with a search, and their ranking shows how they compare to each other.
Google search engine optimization services that help your business rank
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Can Google see your site?
If you haven’t been able to find your website on Google, it might not appear in their index yet. Google’s index doesn’t just notice your page when you create it. Your page has to relate to others to pop up during the crawling process.
Similar to connect-the-dots, Google needs a familiar point to bridge the gap before you fit into the indexed framework. It recognizes your page when there’s a link between your new page and a previously indexed page.
However, Google can also index your website in other ways. You can submit it into the URL Inspection tool in the Google Search Console or capitalize on your sitemap too.
Once Google is aware of your page, you can focus on improving its ranking and boosting traffic to your website.
What makes a result rank on Google?
To draw in visitors and amplify the number of clicks to your page, your page can’t hide in the depths of the fourth, fifth, and sixth SERP.
Think about it — how often do you make it past the first batch of Google results? Most likely, you stay within the first or second SERP, and that’s where you want your company’s pages to relocate to.
Shifting your website higher on Google is more intricate than you may think because Google has hundreds of factors to determine rankings. They’re also private about their search engine setup, but their Google Webmaster Guidelines are a basic introduction to SEO.
From their guide and the investigation of digital marketers, several best practices for Google-specific ranking are available. The following elements can help you as you learn how to improve SEO ranking on Google.
- Titles and headings
- Readable URLs
- Highlight Purpose
- Loading Time
- Original Content
- Site Architecture
- Images and Media
- Meta Description
How to Optimize for Google SEO
1. Naturally intersperse keywords
Keywords are the lifeblood of Google SEO. In the search process, they cater to people’s wants and needs, which delivers ideal material to them.
Mixing intentional keywords throughout your content lets Google know what topic your covering and that your page should stay high on SERPs for users to find. Decide on a relevant keyword, then distribute it in critical spots on your page.
You don’t have to overdo keyword integration to rise up the Google ranking — the search engine rewards natural placement. Insert the keyword in the title, introduction, and at significant points in your content page.
Unlike Bing and similar search engines, Google doesn’t depend only on exact keywords to rank your page. It has latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords, which decreases the need for word-for-word phrases. LSI keywords are context clues that group synonyms and related phrases to your topic.
2. Label pages with descriptive titles and headings
Everything from the bones of your pages to the main content should have informative labels.
While Google encourages websites to please users, search crawlers aren’t human, and they need extra directions to realize what your page is about, how successful it is, and how it compares to others
Placing keywords in your titles and headings is an early step in optimizing for Google. Your title encompasses the whole page, so give it a specific, authentic label that tells people what to expect.
Headings and subheadings across your page need HTML tags to reinforce the topic for Google. H1, H2, and H3 tags can flank these headings, and crawlers find these clear and useful when they’re gathering details for ranking.
Google likes a series of headings to view and outline the structure of a page. If you use the headings for an aesthetic style, the structure is thrown off. Stick to mapping out a logical layout with headings to elevate your ranking on Google and stimulate a steady stream of traffic.
3. Use simple, readable URLs for Google search results
An automatic URL that a computer spits out for your page can look daunting and uninteresting.
URLs can feature long strings of numbers and vague words or phrases, which is unattractive for users and Google itself.
Google prioritizes user experience and wants its results to hold uncomplicated URLs. If you’re typing out a URL or sharing it with your network, a neat address is convenient and memorable.
Instead of overloading the address with unintelligible parts, plug your keywords into the URL. You can avoid trailing “/folder8/ph593fj93kf8fjj/” after your domain name, and use an effortless and simple address.
People can latch onto the words from their search in an SEO-friendly URL and follow through with your page, which boosts the dwell time on your result.
A short URL is better in Google’s eyes, so demonstrate care when you convert a page title into a URL.
If your new blog post is named “13 Speedy Ways to Organize Every Closet in Your Home,” you can condense it into a concise, memorable phrase like “https://closetorganizingauthority.com/organize-home-closets/”.
4. Highlight the central purpose for Google users
Dense blocks of text, distracting ads, and barriers frustrate your website visitors, so focus on showcasing the information they want.
Google looks for content that’s straightforward and accessible. If you bury the main information, users will move on to a website that’s more open and orderly.
From the minute users land on your website, the text should satisfy their goal.
Did you promise them a price comparison on software programs? The list should come into view after the page loads.
The key parts of the page should be easy to follow. Bullet points, manageable paragraphs, and light design can keep your content tidy and presentable.
5. Accelerate your loading time
Like many other search engines, Google emphasizes the speed it takes for a page to load.
Because it irritates people when seconds start to stretch, page speed is an influential factor in Google SEO.
The HTML of your pages affects how soon the features are ready and functional for users to see and interact with. Optimizing site speed for Google involves decreasing necessary downloads, compressing oversized assets, and rewriting resources.
It’s such a huge concern that Google offers a PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze websites. It diagnoses several metric categories to judge what’s slowing down your website.
As mobile device usage has spiked, Google has increasingly paid attention to mobile internet usability. Mobile page speed also contributes to how Google arranges the best results.
WebFX’s page speed optimization services can improve your site and keep visitors around for longer. Contact us online today or call us at 888-601-5359 to speak with a specialist.
6. Offer original, comprehensive information
Google wants high-quality informational content that can thoroughly answer a question or meet a need.
Your site content matters significantly to Google.
Although long content hits the top of SERPs, Google isn’t necessarily picking out the pages with the highest word count and pushing them to the top. But longer pieces tend to fulfill Google’s ranking factors, like rich linking, social media attention, and dwell time from lingering readers.
Lengthy pages also have a bigger opportunity to assemble more facts, tips, and raw data than shorter pieces. If a page about necklace types covers lengths and another page discusses styles, lengths, clasps, and outfit suggestions, you’ll pick the more robust page for an in-depth perspective.
7. Strengthen site architecture
Website architecture is powerful in Google SEO, due to the crawlers’ habits of jumping through links.
Your pages fall under overarching folders or divisions, and you can control the connections to make a methodical plot.
The pages on your website might all lead back to your home page, but this fails to take advantage of your existing material and its ability to give context.
Building a site silo with your content is a practical Google-friendly strategy. A silo bundles together related subjects into topic areas, which Google appreciates. Users can also maneuver through the sections to find supplementary resources.
8. Build with authoritative links for Google SEO
The relationship between websites through links has remained at the core of Google since its birth.
Links from other websites back to yours, or backlinks, develop authority and reputation for your website.
If you’re a young heavy equipment dealer company and a seasoned equipment dealer links to one of your blog posts, their link serves as a reference to your page.
Google identifies mentions of your brand and website across the Internet, and apparent links to your information is a dynamic signal that your search engine optimization is effective, and you deserve an elevated position on the SERPs.
As you gain ground on the Internet and you appear on blogs or industry websites, you establish a sturdier system. Sincere link building helps you in Google’s index, and soaring through the ranks takes reliable sources pointing to your pages.
Google instructs websites to steer clear of link schemes or sneaky strategies for link building. Concentrate on growing your online presence and natural reputation to trigger links to your pages to appease Google for search engine optimization.
9. Complement pages with optimized images & media
Just like written content, original — not stock — photos earn more credibility with Google.
While Google seems to prize copy over media, images and media do make websites rate higher on user experience
The resolution of your pictures also boosts SEO, but balance this clarity with page speed. Sharp photos rope in visitors, but their size can set back your loading time.
Also, Google recommends you keep your pictures close to the corresponding copy, which helps in Google Images ranking, too. If you have a recipe page for sautéing asparagus, display a picture of cutting up the vegetable with the written step. Google can measure the value of the picture-text pairings better when all the elements fit.
Google’s crawling program can’t pull out text from infographics and pictures, so don’t rely on image-based text for keywords and vital content. Also, Google considers the fact that people like copying and pasting data points and helpful tips to reference later, which is impossible without text to highlight.
Some websites backup their infographics with highlightable text after the image, and these pages cater to the search engine setup and users.
10. Strengthen the meta description
The summary for your page on the SERPs — or the meta description — is indirect support for websites, and high-ranking Google results engage users with these snippets.
Users don’t even have to click on the result to get a taste of the information, and they can judge whether or not it’s connected to their search. The resulting click-through rate of your page and user opinion of your website can impact other direct factors so your page outperforms your competitors.
As a sneak peek to your content, your meta description should briefly pitch your page to people. It’s challenging to craft compelling meta descriptions for your individual pages, but impressive meta descriptions can earn you a prominent spot on Google.
Google also considers the fact that poor meta descriptions hinder user experience. Uninformative, irrelevant, and copied meta descriptions can gain a negative response on search engine results pages.
Because it’s a serious project deciphering Google’s ranking factors, you can benefit from the guidance of an established search engine advertising agency. At WebFX, we have a team of 150+ infusing your campaign with expertise. Contact us online today to learn about our SEO services. You can also call us at 888-601-5359.
A considerable part of Google SEO includes what not to do. Google Webmaster Guidelines heavily caution against misleading schemes, and you can risk penalties to your page if you go forward with them. So, let’s look at warnings tailored to Google to learn how to optimize your website for Google’s search engine.
1. Don’t stuff keywords
While Google needs to see keywords to evaluate your page, sly moves to input more keywords can hurt your ranking. “Stuffing keywords” or repeating them for search engines is a trick that Google punishes.
In the past, there have been keywords packed into title tags, alt text, and meta description, but the influx of keywords doesn’t ultimately satisfy visitors. Google looks for keywords that occur periodically rather than those that overtake the page.
If your keyword is “residential construction companies” and you insert a square that chimes it over and over again, then you’re stuffing keywords. Visitors can tell that you’re manipulating Google rather than forming helpful content about residential construction companies, and they can swiftly return to their search.
Further reading: Google Search Console Help’s discussion on irrelevant keywords
2. Avoid duplicating or scraping content
Google sifts through content to see if it adds value to the topic and suits a search, but when the crawlers run into duplicated or computer-generated posts, it doesn’t find constructive material.
Copied or slightly tweaked content fails to round out a visitor’s understanding on a topic, so Google bypasses it as it ranks pages.
If you have programs churning out content for your pages, you can also get Google’s disapproval. Create fresh, customized content for your pages to prompt quality traffic and practice appropriate SEO for Google.
3. Prevent or report spam
Often, Google detects suspicious activity on websites that don’t stem from the website creators or owners.
A comment section, forum, or message board on your page can attract user-generated spam, and if there’s an accumulation of a high volume of spam, Google takes action.
Google neglects to put spammy pages on their search results to keep users safe and serviced. Reporting spam on your website quickly can guard your pages and promote your SEO.
Nofollowing is a practice that can protect your website’s authority if you link to a questionable page or experience comment spamming.
Further reading: Google’s user-generated spam guide
4. Shy away from redirects
Similar to cloaking, redirecting users to a new page that doesn’t contain related information and tries to trick users is insincere. While some redirects aim to help users land on the right page, others send them to unwanted areas and keep them from their intended location.
Ensure your redirects launch beneficial information rather than mismatched content, and your SEO for Google can thrust you to further revenue and a stellar ranking.
Further reading: Google Search Console Help’s answers about redirects
5. Don’t “cloak” pages for Google SEO
Cloaking is displaying one thing to Google’s crawlers while disclosing completely different content to people. Presenting algorithm-tailored material is dishonest in Google’s perspective, and Google expects pages to stay consistent.
Some pages might lure in users with an informative how-to post that’s ranking high but deliver a sales page. People aren’t happy with these sleight-of-hand tricks, and it can become dangerous when Google isn’t aware of the real content.
What the HTML on the page expresses isn’t actually there, and as Google is alerted to this, the page plummets down the SERPs.
Further reading: Google’s definition and description of cloaking
6. Abstain from link schemes
As we mentioned before, Google urges you to not get others to link to your website through shady methods. But what constitutes a “link scheme”?
Link schemes include exploiting Google’s search engine optimization standards with deceptive linking partnerships and plans. Google wants to accompany its premiere results with editorial links, links from competitors, and respected industry links.
The goal is to show off the pages on the topic that matter, rather than those who’ve finagled their way through the system. Here are a few things that Google associates with link schemes:
- Pages devoted to link swaps
- Paid linking (including offering services and products rather than money)
- Generated or automated backlinks
Further reading: Google Search Console Help’s link schemes resource
Navigate Google SEO with an expert team
Google is a polished and constantly evolving search engine, and digital marketing professionals that stay current on the changes can fortify your SEO strategy.
WebFX is a top digital marketing agency that crafts data-driven strategies — and we get results. Across the nation, we enhance client websites to meet Google and other search engine’s specifications. Through practices like keyword research, link analysis, and keyword incorporation, we have generated 0$1.5 billion in client revenue.