This is probably the question we hear most often when discussing with a client about the SEO of his website. There are many people out there who claim that they can get a webpage to the first page (or even first place) of Google’s results within 1, 2, 5 or 30 days.
I wish it worked that way!
Let’s take a closer look at how exactly this system works and how companies can make the most out of their website. Below you can find a number of factors to consider when trying to optimize your business website.
Choosing the right keywords
Before we start talking about ranking the website has in search results, we need to choose for which keywords we are going to do it! That is, what are those keywords or key phrases that we are interested in and that we would like to get to the first page of the results.
If we sit down to think carefully, we will end up with a list of too many keywords or key-phrases. Of course, the more keywords we target, the more effort it takes to achieve the desired results. Starting the optimization process, the company must make a careful selection of those keywords that actually drive results and sales. In this way, the company will aim on bringing website traffic that is more likely to buy what they are selling.
Later, it may also target secondary keywords, which may generate lower sales volume but help identify the brand or the product or other objectives.
What factors influence search rankings?
The list of factors that influence the ranking of a website in search results is huge, constantly changing and not guaranteed (in the sense that Google is constantly making changes to its algorithms, without necessarily explaining what is looking at each website to rank it). However, a list of some of the most important factors could be as follows:
- Website Quality: Website quality is calculated form a number of factors that Google takes into account. These factors include things like website speed, security (does it have https?), usability and much more!
- Mobile Friendly: There are websites and e-shops that are created for people to primarily visit them from their mobile phones. When we say “primarily” we mean that up to 90% (!) of the traffic is from mobile phones! Therefore, it is extremely important for the website to play properly on mobile devices. A website’s mobile friendliness has to do with its design, among other factors. That is, how easily the text is read on a small screen, how easily the various buttons are pressed, etc.
- The “Authority” of the website: The reputation of the site depends on the age of the domain name, the url itself (how relevant it is to the keyword), the inbound links and more.
- Content: The content of the website is probably one of the most important factors that helps in ranking the search results. Content must be relatively frequently enriched, qualitative, useful to read, and written in such a way that a search engine can read it and evaluate it. It must be addressed to both humans and machines at the same time! Also, in terms of content, it must include in a logical and clever way the keywords that we would like to rank high in the search results.
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO refers to a number of technical factors that influence the search results. Some of the ideas included are: the use of keywords in titles, descriptions, images, the use of headers (h1, h2, h3,… tags), sitemap and more.
- User Experience: Google assesses how useful and convenient a website is for users taking into account some metrics from traffic statistics. For example, some key factors are: Click Through Rate (CTR), Bounce Rate and more. For example, if a page appears in search results but is not selected by the public (CTR) or selected but visitors leave within a few seconds, Google understands that this site is not useful to the users for that keyword. Gradually, this will begin to affect its ranking in search results.
- Links: Inbound, outbound, and internal links point to the importance of the page around different words or phrases. Therefore, quality inbound and outbound links increase the authority of the site. Google uses these links to estimate how many and which other sites refer to the business website and therefore consider it important.
What factors influence how fast a website will rank in search results?
There are many factors that influence the speed at which a website will rank in the search results ranking. However, a first, small, list of factors that influence how fast we can get to the first page could be:
- Whether the page is new or has been around for a while.
- How much competition there is in the selected keywords.
- How popular is a website (ex: is it a recognizable brand?).
- What is the current ranking of the site.
For example, a new insurance agency, which has just launched and built a new website, will take a long time and effort to get to the first page of search results for “Health Insurance” (for example). This is because there is great competition around the keyword and the business website and, being new, it does not have any “prior reputation” in the “eyes of Google”.
If it was an existing company with an already existing website in the 22nd position (for example) of the results … then the answer would be different and it would take relatively less time to get higher.
Keeping in mind all of the above, it is impossible to figure out how fast a website can go up in SERP or how far it can get. The competing websites do exactly the same job, and the first page of results fits exactly 10 of them! The 11th will necessarily go to the second page.
What is important is to have a plan and a goal. Usually, the goal starts with choosing the keywords we are targeting, and then we can create a plan of actions that will help the website to get up. This plan usually contains technical work, content writing and optimization, digital PR (for inbound links) and more. Of course, these actions will bring results during months… SEO is a constant “agony” and not a one-time job.
If you think you can make more out of your website but you aren’t sure how … contact us to discuss your opportunities!