Building websites are all the flair in the 21st century. Everybody is trying to earn money from one. As a result, there are now over 1 billion active websites all over the internet.
There are all kinds of websites. There are deceptive websites, which trick users into giving information. There are also value-oriented websites, there to give users valuable information. And there are websites for fun and games, just to entertain people.
But among all these websites, how do you find the one you’re looking for. How do you know which website will fulfill your needs? Which website is safe, trustworthy and full of good info? Well, the answer lies in search engines. As of now, Google is the leading search engine with over 67% market share in the world.
When you enter a query in a search engine, say Google, it uses your keywords and maps it across the web to find relevant, popular and authoritative websites which might be helpful to you. For example, if you enter ‘new iPhone’, the first two or three links contain pages from Apple.com as they are the company which makes the iPhone which makes their website the most authoritative.
The benefit of ranking higher in search engines is because the higher the rank, the further the top your website will show, and a greater number of people will see and click on your website. Here is the percentage of people who look at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd page of Google search results:
As you can see, nearly one-third of people on the internet never look farther than the first page, which means this is where your website must be to get the highest amount of exposure, and hence, most viewers.
So, naturally, it is the goal of many websites to rank higher in search engines. Google’s algorithm, which is responsible for ranking pages up and down, considers a hundred factors before putting a website in a higher position. It looks for keywords, density, click through rate and much more technical stuff to determine a page’s quality. Many people try to optimize their pages for this algorithm.
While Google encourages users to optimize their websites, many people try to fool Google. They use unethical means to get them to rank higher. For this purpose, Google has now gone to great lengths and changed many factors which qualifies a website to be ranked higher. Some of which are:
As long as your website has great and meaningful content, with relevant images and videos (optional but recommended), Google will rank you higher and as more authoritative.
Say you have used deceptive means to rank yourself higher and people go to your website. But if they don’t find the content they’re looking for or see that it’s low quality, they’ll automatically go back.
This is called a ‘bounce back’, an event when viewers immediately go back to Google after viewing your site for a few seconds. Say, for example, you get 1000 people sent to you from Google and if 900 of those come back within 10 seconds, Google will decide your page is not relevant and will rank you down.
Google uses data gathered from its Chrome browser, the most popular internet browser in the world to determine the quality of your website. If your website is optimized and pages load quickly, Google will rank you higher.
More than half of internet users use mobile phones and tablets to search the internet instead of using conventional PCs and laptops. For this obvious reason, Google now ranks websites optimized for smaller screens higher.
A small tag labeled ‘mobile-friendly’ appears before a website link in Google search results to tell the user this website is great to browse on your phone. Operating a fully-fledged website on a small screen is an extremely uncomfortable experience for viewers. It is slow to load and consumes a lot of resources. But a mobile optimized website is a joy to use and makes a user come back for more, provided that the content is rich.
Suppose you write great tutorials, make great funny videos and provide users with great value one way or another. Many authoritative websites will promote your page and interested users will go to your website through them. Then they will share your website URL with their friends and so on. These are called back-links.
If your viewers are coming from sources other than Google, Google will consider it a good thing and rank up your page.
Social media engagement is necessary for any website if they want to get into Google’s good books. It shows that the website is transparent, interacts with its users and listens to them. It also promotes your content.
So to rank higher, make one or more social accounts in sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram of your website and engage with your audience. Google will definitely rank you higher for that.
What websites should actually be about is user experience. If the user’s experience with your website is good, they will automatically help you rank higher by optimizing your site for search engines. There will be no bounce back rate, more back-links and hence more viewers, which will result in Google having to rank you higher.
For this to happen, the search experience of users, or what can be called ‘Search Experience Optimization’ has to be optimum and of the highest quality. Information should be rich and helpful, your site should be light and beautiful and optimized for mobile.
What this proves is that SEO or Search Engine Optimization is no longer the about optimizing your website to get the approval of search engines. This is a wrong terminology and bad thinking. What it actually is about is the person who’s coming to visit your website to find something meaningful.
Because users are not going to care if your website is Search Engine Optimized or not, they’re only going to care if its optimized for them and see if it fulfills their needs. And coincidentally, that’s exactly what’s Google cares about and it’s what you should care about.
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