By Dale Stillman
22/06/2020
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How to rank higher on Google – things a website owner need to know about SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often thought of as a bit of a mystery. Or something that can be gamed by marketers. In truth, it can be quite simple. But simple isn't easy; it takes a good strategy and some dedicated time to rank highly on Google.

Google Search

Google’s whole mission is to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. For Google Search itself, it tries to rank information in a way that displays the most relevant and useful content for each search query. Google frequently rolls out updates to its search algorithm, such as 2013s Hummingbird update, to combat any ways that people try and game the system. They want to make ‘good quality content’ the best SEO trick.

How Google’s algorithm works

Google has a number of algorithms that help sort the order of search results. The most well known of which is called PageRank, named after co-founder Larry Page. According to Google:

PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

In short, the single best way to boost your ranking on Google is to have other, highly reputable websites link to your content. You want to become the authoritative resource for specific topics. Google will index your pages according to the words they contain, as well as the text in other web pages that link to yours.

But if Google Search was really as simple as that, they wouldn’t be so dominant in the market. Any other big tech company would be able to create a search engine that works just as well. The secret trick that Google has discovered to make their search engine the best is to use people’s searches, and the links they click on in the search results as part of their algorithm. They have a feedback loop that means the more searches are made on Google, the better they can train their AI algorithms to predict the page that the user wants to go to. It’s this that has made Google have a complete monopoly on web search.

Other factors on page ranking

There’s a number of other factors that Google uses to help sort its results, including:

  • Speed. How fast does your page load?
  • Mobile optimisation. Does your site respond to fit well on smartphones?
  • Dead links. If your site has a lot of dead links (links to 404 pages or pages that no longer exist), it will lower your ranking.
  • Your HTML. Are you making good use of correct elements like headings?
  • Page experience. In May of 2021 Google will be releasing another update that places importance on how the user navigates your site. To put it simply, user-friendly sites will rank higher than sites that aren’t.

How to create a content strategy

With all these elements to consider, it’s important to have a simple strategy in place to orchestrate how you will improve your SEO. Being methodical and thorough will allow you to see the areas where you are weakest. These are the places where improvements will have the most effect.

  1. Do a content audit of your current site (if you have one). Asking for advice and using analytical tools at this stage can be helpful. We’ve mentioned a few below.
  2. Map out your site and site content.
  3. Look at what questions your audience is asking.
  4. Make a plan for how you can answer your audience’s questions.

SEO is really just about knowing what questions your customers or fans are asking, and providing good answers to those questions. As long as you can explain something in a useful, understandable, and actionable way, you can succeed with SEO. It’s really that simple.

Nat Eliason

SEO tools to get you started

  1. Yoast offers an SEO plugin for WordPress sites that analyses the content you include, particularly your text content. They also give online courses to help you make the most of it. It’s a great place to start immediately improving your content and making it more SEO friendly.
  2. SEMRush is a more comprehensive marketing tool, covering SEO, advertising, social media, content and competitive research. This is less of a beginners tool but would be useful for a major overhaul of a large multi-faceted site.
  3. Ahrefs has a range of tools that covers each of the stages in our content strategy above. It includes keyword research and competitive analysis, so you can begin to get an idea of how you shape up against other websites vying for those clicks!
  4. Screaming Frog crawls your site and gathers data on areas that affects your SEO status, including sitemaps and dead links (links that no longer go anywhere if clicked on – potentially very disappointing for your users!)

How we help

Although a dozen eggs doesn’t offer SEO improvement as a direct part of our services, we always take it into account when designing your website and branding.

Every element of a site, from it’s internal structure down to blog readability and the labelling of images, contributes to how search engines like Google will rank your site. An easy-to-navigate website, with a fast loading speed, effective plugins, and a well documented back end all contributes to that all-important ranking. These things are all covered as part of the branding and web design process, as we build a site that’s going to support your business aims. Once the site is finished, we can point you in the right direction if we think you’ll need an ongoing SEO service.

So even at those early stages of beginning to think about building or upgrading a website, tell us about your SEO goals!

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