You may have heard rumours that SEO (search engine optimization) is dying. Well, this is partially true. Traditional SEO techniques are becoming less and less relevant the smarter Google becomes. Google is moving away from technical ranking factors and focusing more on reputation and user-experience. If your website is a few years old, there is a good chance that your site is no longer meeting Google’s ranking factors. Gone are the days where you try and ‘trick’ Google into thinking that your content is better than it is by gaming the system.
If you have a WordPress website, you are already off to a great start! Why? Because WordPress is already doing 80-90% of the work for us, this is one reason why you should use WordPress as your website platform. WordPress takes care of the mechanics. Therefore, all Google needs is a simple hierarchy of the pages for easy crawling, titles, descriptions, fast load and quality content. Here is a great video that clearly explains what you can expect in 2019 and what you should do to improve your website’s search engine ranking.
This video sums it right up! Google is getting smarter and wants to provide a better experience for the searcher. They want to serve the searcher with the best possible content for their query. So how do you get your page to the top of the list? Before you publish content, ask yourself this. “How well does my content answer the questions that people ask.” Stop focusing on the little “tactics” and spend your time creating genuine content. Please stop trying to outsmart Google. I hate to break it to you but you won’t! Google has so much data; they will only get smarter.
Want to rank higher in Google? Write better content!
Follow the ranking factors below to help you adjust your focus when writing content. Focus on these factors and write excellent content about topics that your potential clients care about. Your website and blogs should provide the viewer with the information they are looking for. THAT is what will get you noticed by Google! Hey, in some of the larger industries, they actually have real humans ranking a site’s relevance. Crazy, eh?
Most Important Ranking Factors
The Biggest Factor: How helpful is your content for the query?
- Every other factor is a just a way for Google to measure this. Keywords are dead; instead, people have a query or topic that they type into Google. People are now asking questions in Google and not just typing in a keyword. Answer the question at the top of your article and use the rest to answer related questions next.
- This includes pogo sticking and time on page. The longer a user is on your page, the better. These show Google that your content is relevant. Google HATES pogo sticking, as it is caused by immediate dissatisfaction with some aspect of your site and then immediately go back and click the next result in Google.
Content length and how clear and thorough you answer the searchers question.
- Google doesn’t pay much attention to short articles and pages with thin content. Most relevant content the better, but remember to answer the question at the top of the page.
Quality links to your page.
- Now, this doesn’t mean getting your friends or fellow pet sitters to link swap with you. Link swapping is an OLD technique that is no longer relevant. The best link building strategy? Create resources designed for easy sharing.
Site reputation and authority.
- In 2019, you must create a legitimate reputation by creating and sharing genuine content. Reputation is no longer built by just link building. It is much more. Making a guest appearance on a pet industry podcast or video is a way to help establish your reputation as a thought-leader and expert. Be active and engage on social media by organically growing your followers. Post GOOD content that is interesting and educational. Other ways to build your reputation is to speak at conferences, publish an eBook on Amazon or take an online course on the topic you are an expert in.
Use of quality multimedia (Images, Video, Interactive Tools etc..)
- The internet is changing. People get bored quickly, which is why user-experience is essential. Experiment with your content and try adding video, images, gifs and other interactive tools to keep your reader intrigued on your website.
- Long and wordy URLs are no longer relevant. Keep them short, descriptive and remove the unnecessary fluff.
Linking internal pages
- When you publish a new article or blog post, look back at your current blogs and link your new blog article to an old blog and then vice versa, link an old blog to your new blog. Internal linking helps Google’s crawlers understand the context of your website. Be smart when linking text and hyperlink descriptive terms to internal pages and not “click here” text. That doesn’t help Google understand what your page is about.
A small number of outbound links to quality sources
- Use links to high authority sites to help strengthen your article, but don’t go overboard.
Reputation of author
- In 2019, work on establishing your reputation with Google. In Google’s guidelines, they say to add an “About” page that proves you are qualified to talk about your topics. Google said that real-life experience is fine, you don’t necessarily need the credentials if you have gained the expertise through experience. You can also add your author bio to all blog posts. Does your “About” page explain to Google why you should be a trusted pet care professional?
Important Pass/Fail Ranking Factors
- This includes image and speed optimization. Improving load time is important but not critical. Google penalizes the slowest 20% of websites. Other than that, page speed isn’t really a ranking factor BUT it does affect the user experience. Site speed is mostly used as a tie-breaker, but a slow site can cause pogo sticking.
- Your site is mobile-friendly, or it isn’t. Does your website resolve nicely on mobile? Can prospective clients find what they are looking for without searching or pinching? If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will notice your website tanking in the searching ranking now.
- It’s good practice to check your site for broken links regularly. You may have linked to a website five years ago that no longer exists. When Google crawls your site, it will trigger a 404 error, and this could harm your site’s reputation.
Too many affiliate links or ads
- Too many ads or affiliate links creates a poor user-experience so try and keep these to a minimum.
Age of your content
- For newer sites, it can take up to 35 weeks for an article to get up to 90% of the traffic it will begin to bring in long term.
SSL Certificate Installed
- SSL has little impact on rankings, but it also impacts user-experience now that Chrome features the “insecure” warning in the browser. If you don’t have an SSL, contact your hosting company right now to get one installed.
- This is important when writing news-worthy articles and not very important for your standard blog.
Copyright issues and plagiarism
- Be smart and create your own content and get proper licensing when necessary for multimedia content.
With 2019 around the corner, it is time to focus on building your reputation. Time to create quality content with excellent user experience. Do you want to know how to make Google like you? That’s how! You need to put in effort and do the work to get noticed. You can’t just post a blog on your website and think it will find page 1 on its own. It won’t. There isn’t much chance unless you are a huge company. Share your blog, not only on social media and email list but do your research. Find local pet owner groups on Facebook, Reddit and other online forums. Remember, this will be unique to your local area, so your job is to find out where your target audience hangs out online.
In 2019, focus on organically growing your reputation online. Use your experience to answer local pet owner’s burning questions in groups and forums. Becoming a thought-leader will help you build your reputation. Building your reputation online is something that you need to do yourself, you need to commit.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.