When you have a business website, you quickly learn how important it is to show up well in search results. Keeping up with what the search engines are looking for is essential to your website’s viability.
I was planning to write a plumber-centric blog post about what plumbers need to do in 2015 in order to show up better in Google’s organic results, but really ALL of these tips actually apply to ANY type of business.
Number one on your list in 2015 is to make sure your website is optimized for use on mobile devices. Google has announced that starting April 21, 2015 they will expand their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Fair warning that sites that haven’t optimized for mobile will suffer in mobile search results.
And the new mobile-friendly ranking will be on a page-by-page basis, not on an
What Google means by mobile-friendly:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
- Uses text that is readable without zooming.
- Sizes content to the screen so consumers do not have to scroll horizontally or
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.
Regardless of what kind of business you have, and whether you are selling
products or services or both, whether your website is B2B or B2C, your
customers are searching and researching on mobile devices. Be there for them.
Truth and Accuracy
A team of Google researchers has developed a way to rank pages according to the number of correct/incorrect facts on the page. Google maintains a Knowledge Vault, which is a database of facts that are generally agreed upon online to be accurate. It compares the content on your web page with what is in the Knowledge Vault and if your page contains inaccurate information, it goes down in ranking.
This move is generating a lot of controversy because it puts Google in the position of determining what is correct/incorrect and what is truth. If Google thinks your position on a controversial topic like climate change is not accurate, will your website be blacklisted? This is a development that many are carefully watching.
The Panda portion of Google’s ranking algorithm is seriously concerned with identifying low-quality content online and making sure it doesn’t show up in search results. One of Google’s founders has described the “perfect search engine” as something that understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.”
Google has always been much more concerned with providing the best results to the searcher rather than helping websites perform well in search results. One of the most obvious ways to do that is to promote websites with great content. This accomplishes their goal of giving the searcher what he or she is looking for and at the same time ends up promoting the websites that provide the best info.
Regularly adding fresh, original, relevant content to your website is the best way to satisfy the Panda.
Relevant Organic Links
Your backlink strategy should be focused on quality rather than quantity. Once upon a time, Google’s PageRank measurement was a popular guide to the importance or authority of a web page, based on the number of links that pointed to it. As this PageRank indicator has grown to mean less and less over the years, Google has recently announced that it will probably not be updating their toolbar PageRank anymore.
This does NOT mean that links don’t count in Google’s algorithm. Backlinks (other web pages that link to your web pages) are still an important factor in how your site performs in the organic search results, but the sheer quantity of links is not the ranking factor. Google’s Penguin algorithm focuses on screening out paid links, irrelevant links and links acquired through linking schemes, link farms and spam.
Your backlink strategy should probably fall somewhere in between the two extremes of buying or manipulating links (don’t do this!), and having an “if I build it, they will come” attitude. Links from authoritative websites on relevant topics are probably worth more than ever and are worth cultivating.
Here’s some great advice on organic linkbuilding in today’s world of search.