Written by: Alisha Shibli
From its inception, Google’s core value proposition has been to develop an algorithm that delivers the most relevant, organic search results before you can blink. And what a fine job it has done at that! Searching amidst the world’s vast data, Google systematically catalogues pages using its PageRank formula, which (amongst many other things) assesses the quantity and quality of links to any given webpage.
Initially, Google’s search worked seamlessly, giving the most relevant search results every single time. In fact, it was so good that it sent shockwaves through the Internet, gradually obliterating its rivals. However, as Google’s smart search engine grew into a colossal corporation, both businesses and individuals realized the power of appearing organically at the top of the search. And that began to stir things a bit.
The wish to appear on the top was so strong, that businesses went all the way to be there. But can you really blame them? Google picking their website as the most relevant to the search query was a validation that all businesses wanted. Therefore, once they learned the rules of the game, they began poking and prodding Google’s search algorithm by sharing content that was low in quality but high on keywords, building massive link farms, choosing keyword specific domain names, and more; just to outgun other listings and secure the top spot of the search rankings.
This led to a lot of less-than-savoury results dominating Google’s search. At this point, the search engine had to act or risk losing its relevance. Thus, the algorithm was revised. Adjustments were made to weed out spoofs and scammer, and to fine-tune its semantic search.
The Fundamental Components of Google Search
Before getting into the techniques for succeeding at SEO, it is important to understand the fundamentals of Google’s search engine. You want to know the truth? Most businesses look at SEO the wrong way. They look for ways to put in the least amount of effort for the greatest initial success, when in fact, it’s quite the contrary. In order to win Google’s heart, you need to put in the most amount of effort for the least initial return. You have to woo the search engine—it’s a slow, steady process, but totally worth it in the end.
Simply put, Google doesn’t trust you in the beginning. You’re one among the millions of others who are trying to claw their way to the top of the search results. So, the first real guiding principle of SEO is trust. When you have Google’s trust, you’ll see the consistent boost in your search rankings.
Trust Factor 1: Indexed age of your site and content
This is something Google deeply cares about. Indexed age refers to the date when Google discovered your web page and not the date when it was originally registered or released.
Trust Factor 2: Healthy link profile
A healthy link profile signifies authority. This implies good-quality links coming from high-quality content from across the web. The sites linking to your website must be equally good.
Trust Factor 3: The best possible content
Too many businesses skimp this vital step. Your content can win or lose your SEO game. Not only should it be lengthy, but it must also be well-written, simple to understand, provide value, be keyword rich and highly engaging. The readers must want to spend time consuming that content.
How to dominate the SEO game?
Whether you are doing SEO this year or next year, it’s essential to pay homage to Google’s components of trust. There are hundreds of ranking factors that Google considers before it places a web page on the top of its search results. However, on a larger note, there are certain rules you should be following religiously. And irrespective of the changes Google comes up with in the future, following these rules will always provide the bedrock you need to make progress on the path to healthy SEO. Just remember, it won’t happen overnight. Good things take time.
1. Get a winning domain name
While your domain name won’t directly affect your search rankings, it will provide the necessary push to get there. This study explains how your domain name can actually help you in your SEO efforts. Before you get to doing anything else, you’ll have to register your domain name. It is your business’ online identity—one that people will remember you by. Winning your user’s heart is winning Google’s heart. A web address that is short, simple and memorable will always score bonus points.
Consider these two URLs:
They’re both communicating the same message but, out of the two, the second domain name is doing a better job of it. As a user who is bombarded with more content than you can consume, which address would be easier for you to remember? New domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .WEBSITE, .PRESS, .FUN, .SPACE, .SITE etc not only help you with your branding, but they make your domain names easier to remember.
2. Let your website age gracefully
No matter how beautiful your website looks, if it doesn’t have quality content and link-consistency over time, chances are Google won’t give it the rank you want. We’re talking years here. This is coming back to the very first trust factor – the indexed age of your site. Even if your website looks wonderful, is easy to navigate, and loads quickly; it will fall short in the indexed age.
Think about your oldest buddies—ones you’ve known for years. Did you trust them the moment you met them? Trust takes time to develop and it comes through age and consistently spending time together. With Google, this has to do with the age of the website and how consistently the content on it is updated.
Superior-quality content along with links coming in from high-quality websites, consistently over a period of time, builds trust with Google and gives you the search ranking you’re aiming for.
3. Share superior-quality content
The underlying content of your site will always be king. Inferior quality content will result in poor search rankings. When users go to Google searching for something, they’re looking for information that can help solve their problem. Google aims to deliver the most relevant results in the shortest span of time. If the content isn’t good, how will it be relevant?
The truth is that useful content gets shared. Everyone likes sharing knowledge that delivers real value. So, put time in your content because that’s what counts.
Having a long, keyword-rich content piece is great, but if it doesn’t communicate the message clearly, it won’t help. Which is why context is so important. Without context, your content is like the best dish served without salt. You need to genuinely assist people with understanding a concept or answering a question.
4. Step-up your mobile game
In today’s day and age, if your website isn’t loading fast and navigating easily on mobile, you’re essentially shooting yourself in the foot. Google is furiously promoting mobile-friendly sites. So much so, that this has led to the launch of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project into the mainstream. What this conveys is that building a mobile-first website is the only way to go.
By building a mobile-first design you’re conforming to Google’s wishes and securing your rankings in the future.
Your domain name, the age of your website, the quality of inbound links and your content are a few factors that play a huge role in building trust with Google and securing your spot in the top space. Rushing through this process might give you good results initially, but in the long run, it might hurt your business. SEO is a slow process that requires undeterred determination and effort. Think about providing value to your user and that will automatically give you the results you’re working so hard for.