Today, Google ranking and business success go hand in hand. In fact, RetailingToday cited data from GE Capital Retail Bank that revealed 60 percent of consumers begin product research through a search engine before making a large purchase. Since search is so inherent to consumers' shopping habits, it makes sense for a business to strive to appear on the top of Google's search rankings. However, there are many details that come into play when the company determines which sites to feature. While there are dozens of strategies businesses should employ, the follow five are a good start for getting ranked on Google:
1. Optimize for mobileMobile shopping is growing every year. As a result, Google now favors sites that are optimized to create a good mobile viewing experience. As of April 2015, site owners who have not taken steps to ensure their sites are mobile-ready will experience a negative impact on their search rankings, according to Search Engine Watch.
Business owners can become mobile-friendly by switching to responsive design, creating a mobile app or developing a dedicated mobile site. However, responsive design is typically encouraged because it assures the site will be viewable on any device or browser and will update automatically to fit different screen sizes and formats. Merchants can check the mobile friendliness of their sites by using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test.
2. Create custom contentThe more users share a site's content, the higher its rankings on Google. Additionally, custom content that is structured toward the interests and needs of a business' desired audience will help its site appear in search results. Content marketing is key to search rankings. As the Content Marketing Institute pointed out, Google will only grant a site search traffic if it provides custom, high-quality content. Additionally, CMI listed a handful of criteria Google uses to determine whether original content is high-quality or not:
- Write at an expert level.
- Focus on a great user experience.
- Create a large quantity of content.
- Interact with other sources.
- Provide easily accessible contact information.
- Keep the content new and fresh.
Creating and regularly updating a blog, distributing content through email and updating social media channels will go a long way toward bringing a business to the top of Google's search results.
3. Use strong backlinksBacklinks are essential to an effective SEO strategy. Backlinking involves redirecting visitors to external pages they may find relevant or helpful. According to a study conducted by Moz , 99.2 percent of all websites the company examined that rank among the top results had at least one external link. Additionally, the data revealed the more backlinks featured, the higher the site's ranking. For best results, merchants ensure external links are distributed throughout their entire site.
4. Leverage internal linkingInternal linking is also important for any business that hopes to get ranked on Google. Site owners that link throughout their site and cross-link their pages will experience a lift in search rankings. Kissmetrics outlines a number of internal linking best practices that will improve a site's ranking on Google:
- Create a wide variety of original content.
- Use anchor text.
- Link to pages that are deep within the structure of a site.
- Choose links that are natural for the reader.
- Make sure links are relevant to what the visitor is already viewing.
- Use follow links.
- Include a reasonable number of internal links.
5. Build descriptive URLsFinally, businesses can increase their rankings on Google by building descriptive URLs. Rather than including random numbers and letters, URLs should use descriptive words that give searchers an idea of what they will find once they arrive on a site.
SEO is an important ingredient for long-term business success, and Google rewards businesses who go above and beyond to adapt to this trend.