Oh wow, that's heaps!
There are almost two billion websites online right now and the majority (think, 75-95%) of all website traffic is said to come from the first page of Google. That’s HEAPS!
So if you want your audience to find you online, it’s super important that when they search on Google for ‘coffee in a can’, and your business specialises in canned cold brews, that you’re sitting at the top of the search. Luckily for us, the big wigs at Google have spelled it out for us: the first step to ranking on the first page, is to make sure you have a well functioning website.
A well functioning website is well organised, follows a logical structure and is designed to feel intuitive and easy for your user to achieve the goals you have for your website.
At its core, your website should be geared toward benefiting your users (the people who visit your site and engage with your business), and any optimization should be focused on improving the experience that they have on your website. The starting point for this, is to have a good grasp on who your users are. And remember, they’re not you!
A good website is well-organised from a user perspective. That means, when they visit your site, it should be clear to them WHO you are, WHAT you do and WHY you do it. It should also be easy for your user to find what they need on your website almost immediately. Remember to be transparent––if people can’t find what they need on your site, they’ll go elsewhere. This is something you really want to get right from the get-go, as it helps establish a strong foundation from which you can grow, and it sets up a good relationship with Google.
Google’s Goal is Your User’s Goal
Google’s key mission is to deliver the most relevant and reliable information available. Everytime you search, there are lots of (we’re talking thousands, sometimes millions) web pages with relevant information. It’s Google’s job to figure out which results to display and the order in which to display them. This is where SEO or Search Engine Optimisation comes in. When a web page, or website more broadly, is optimised for search engine use (and it contains the information that is being searched for by the Google user), Google will be more inclined to display the webpage and give it a higher ranking. In the same way that you want to give your site users what they’re looking for on your website, Google wants to give its site users what they’re looking for on its website.
Good Quality Content is Key!
The main reason people visit your website is for your content. That means, you need to actively manage the content you publish. It should be up-to-date, accurate and accessible (more on this shortly). You should also consider appropriate CTAs or Calls to Action, where relevant.
As well as matching the words in a user’s query with the relevant webpages, search algorithms also consider reliability and will prioritise the most trusted source. There are various signals that are considered in this. For example, a page’s expertise, authority or trustworthiness on a given topic––a good example of this in action, is when another trusted website links to yours. It’s a way of saying, ‘hey, these guys know what they’re on about’.
The bottom-line: Google is getting better and better at understanding natural language, which means there is no longer a need for a trade-off between pleasing a search algorithm, and your own site users—they want the same thing.
Work with Accessibility in Mind
Interestingly, over 52% of all web traffic comes from mobile users. This means it’s seriously important that your website is built to function seamlessly across all devices, not just your desktop/laptop. This is key for both your users, who need your deets in the palm of their hands, and for Google. The latest updates from Google tell us that more work is going into optimising Google search for mobile users, so this is not a trend going away anytime soon. On that note, Google’s put together a fancy new tool to test where your site’s at in terms of mobile optimization.
While you’re considering mobile-first, it’s also important to consider accessibility in a wider sense. In 2020, 1 in 6 people in Australia live with a disability. That’s 44.4 million people who could be missing out on your content that don’t need to be. There are all sorts of things to keep in mind when creating an inclusive site, and our learning in this space continues to develop. A few quick things to consider are: choices in font size and contrast, including captions on your video content and using alt. descriptions for all your visuals (again, this one’s key for Google too). There are some great tools available to see where you stack up in terms of accessibility – one of our favourites is WAVE.
The Techy Bits
There are over 200 known ranking factors (things Google takes into consideration, when it’s making the call on whether to show your website to your user) and many, many other bits and pieces that make up best practice SEO. The most important factors are related to website architecture and content structure (some of which we’ve covered here), keyword intention, inbound links, meta tags, loading speeds and security. We’ll take a more detailed look at some of these in future posts. But remember: the first step to ranking on Google’s first page, is a well functioning website.
The Good News?
If your website delivers on: a strong user experience, good quality and strategic content and structure, and is technically sound––Google will help people to find you.
And, if you’re looking for a helping hand, MAYO’s got all the goods to help you attract more fans of your brand, and to make Google one of them!