5 Ways You Can Make Your Website More Search Engine Friendly
Search engines are the primary portal to the internet for most users. Google’s search engine runs 3.5B searches per day or 1.2 trillion per year. Tapping into this audience requires a website-friendly approach, regardless of your site’s topic. Here’s how to climb Google’s rankings and stand out from the crowd.
Winning the SEO Game
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a design ethos that most websites adhere to in order to drive traffic from organic web searches. About 75% of internet searches start through Google, so it’s no surprise that Google’s algorithms tend to dictate how website content is created and shared.
Broadly speaking, Google’s algorithms look for websites that are information-rich and mobile-friendly with quality content and a high level of user engagement. These websites use SEO strategies to drive organic traffic, helping them cement their standings as Google’s number-one search result in their respective niches.
1. Information Density: Ties.com
The first priority in order to create a search-engine-friendly website is to produce a high level of useful, high-quality content. Google’s Panda update in 2011 introduced a new algorithm that prioritized websites with rich content (as opposed to simple keywording, which encouraged spam).
For example, when searching for neckties, Ties.com lands squarely at the top of Google’s search hits. The secret to their success may be in the utility of some of their pages, including a step-by-step guide for dozens of tie knots. With diverse content such as videos, diagrams, and written instructions, Ties.com exemplifies what quality content should and does look like.
2. Natural Keywording: SafeWise.com
Search engine “crawlers” are algorithms specifically designed to find and rank web content based on keywords (among other things). Despite advances in crawling technology, keywords remain an important tool for websites that want to increase their rankings. Longtail SEO strategies use natural phrases and sentences to target specific niches, which increase their rankings for certain search queries.
SafeWise.com is a great example of a website with a strong connection to certain keywords and phrases. Many combinations of search terms relating to home security pull SafeWise to the top of the rankings since its site headings, titles, and metadata are rich with keywords and phrases that match what readers are looking for.
3. Indexing: Parents.com
Search engines can rank only what they can read, and certain types of content tend to be missed by search engine algorithms. If you’re looking to maximize your organic visitors, make sure your site is properly indexed. HTML text is one of the strongest ways to stand out to crawlers, and the average word count of Google’s first-page results rests at an astonishing 1,890.
Cramming lots of words in a single page is difficult without boring visitors to death, but Parents.com keeps readers engaged with lists. “37 Parenting Tips Every New Mom Needs” clocks in at almost 1.7K words, but the format limits each paragraph to just a sentence or three and nontext content is minimized. This format plays nicely with Google’s crawlers since the page is brimming with long tail keywords.
4. User Engagement: Spotify.me
On-site SEO and indexing might be the primary drivers of web rankings, but Google’s algorithms don’t stop there. The ways that people interact with websites play a key part in website rankings. User engagement can affect a site’s ranking positively or negatively, which encourages web developers to design fun, interesting, and interactive website experiences.
Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services, and its newest project, Spotify.me, looks to create an even more personal experience. Spotify.me shows users how their unique listening habits stack up against other users and gives a behind-the-scenes peek at how Spotify categorizes its users. The dynamic scrolling experience encourages users to linger a little longer.
5. Mobile Browsing: Etsy.com
77% of Americans now own a smartphone, and smartphone usage continues to increase steadily over time. Being mobile friendly isn’t just an advantage—ignoring the smartphone market can kill your search engine rankings. Google’s 2015 “Mobilegeddon” update substantially boosted sites with mobile-friendly interfaces, and further improvements in 2017 began to penalize websites with mobile pop-ups.
Sites like Etsy.com cater to smartphone users. The mobile site features big, friendly buttons that make tapping easier and drop-down menus that simplify navigation. Etsy’s homepage is highly scroll-friendly with lots of enticing links to keep mobile users engaged. Today, one in five internet users are “smartphone-only,” which gives mobile-centric sites like Etsy an edge.
If you’re looking to build a winning website, these strategies can help you build a natural audience for your content over time. Google’s algorithms are updating every day (up to 600 times a year), so the investment in quality content will help keep you ahead of the competition.