Once or twice a month I’ll get a call or email from someone asking about my locally based on-site SEO training service. All of these requests have one thing in common. Prior to contacting me they have carried out an web search such as ‘SEO training Dorset‘ and come across my On-Site SEO Training for Businesses page.
So why does this particular web page keep being found in Google when there are dozens of other similar pages, basically offering the same service?
There are a number of reasons the page does well
The page is tightly focused around a service I offer of delivering SEO training in the local area and so when people enter SEO training and then a targeted local town or area, it tends to come up top of the results.
So for example if you type in ‘SEO training Dorset‘, the pages comes in right at the top.
The big question is, what is it that makes this page come up over the other similar pages on other sites that offer a very similar service? What factors are giving it such an advantage in Google?
Of course no one really knows for sure, and it’s said there are over 200 different ranking factors, but in my experience it boils down to a much smaller number that deliver the biggest benefits, and many of these are actually quite easy to implement.
10 SEO ranking factors
So I’ve pulled together 10 SEO ranking factors I think can make the biggest difference with the least effort and have compiled them below:
1. Make the content on the page solve a problem someone has. In the SEO training page example the person has a problem in wanting to learn to optimise his or her website and the page provides a solution in the form of onsite training they can enquire about.
2. Keyword phrases make a difference as long as you use them in the right way. No matter how much the experts tell you otherwise having your main target keyword phrase in the title and included in the first paragraph is going to contribute to the page ranking. As long as you don’t overdo this, it still remains a valuable way to match your target keywords to the ones the searcher is using.
3. Be prepared to think long term. Getting a page ranked well can take some months and so it’s not going to be much good if you’re product or services only last a short time. Always think long term in building and optimising pages that have value for months and years.
4. Write plenty of descriptive content. Generally longer pages of quality descriptive content ranks better than shorter pages. This is simply because visitors find the longer content more useful and so spend longer on the page. The search engines notice this and so rank the page higher.
5. Easy to read content. A good way to find out is to ask someone else to read through it and let you know how easy they found it to read. There is a few online tools that will score the readability of your content and one that I sometimes use is: The Readability Test Tool.
6. Grammar and spelling. Believe it or not the search engines now score your website according to how good the grammar and spelling is. In truth there is really no excuse for poor grammar or spelling on any web page and it makes sense to review this in your content. If you don’t have time yourself get someone else to do it for you.
5. Keep revisiting and refreshing content. This is one of the most important thing you can do that will contribute towards a better search engine ranking. Open up one of your website pages, have a read through it and look for ways to improve it.
For example is anything in it out of date? Have you added a new product or service you can mention? Are the links working okay? Could you improve the usability of the page? Or can you expand the content and explain things more clearly.
Recently I did this with one of our pages outlining My Top 12 SEO Tips. The page was first published in June 2015 then in June 2016 I added some Quicklinks to the tips and changed some of the content to bring it up to date.
6. Include main keyword phrase in meta title and description. This is one of the easiest wins. Just getting your target keyword phrase into the meta title and description tags can help directly with ranking. This is because the search engines often use these in the search results page and there’s often a direct correlation between what’s written here and people’s response to what they see. In other word get the right message here and you can influence whether someone clicks as well as helping with ranking.
7. Have images in the content. If images add value to the text then include them. If they don’t add value don’t add them (don’t just add them for the sake of it). Generally speaking where images are included it has a positive effect on ranking when the image supports the content, especially if the image alt tags are completed as well.
8. If there’s useful information on external websites then link to it. There’s a view held by some that linking to others websites is bad for Google ranking and while there is no gain in linking out for the sake of it, if there are resources on another site that will assist your visitors in achieving their aims then it makes good sense to show them it. It’s quite okay to make the link open to a new page (target=blank) so your page is still there for them to come back to.
9. Have links to other useful content on your site. If there’s content or resources on other pages of your website that might be useful to visitors of a particular page then link to it. It certainly won’t harm ranking and may even help it.
10. Include social sharing. There’s some evidence that having social sharing buttons helps with SEO ranking. It actually make a sense that it should as if the sharing make a page more popular the search engines are going to notice this and so maybe rank the page a little higher.
— Irene Nyberg (@inyjar12) January 7, 2017