How does keyword ranking on Google work? It’s the million dollar question if you’re trying to reach an audience using keywords.
It’s not the only way to attract traffic to your website, but it’s still a method that works and worth knowing about.
It’s also easy to get it wrong.
The fact is the Internet’s been around for a while and there’s no way of removing outdated information that’s still freely available.
That means there’s always a chance you’re applying strategies that not only no longer work, but which could be actively working against you.
Get keyword ranking wrong and it could mean you end up being penalized by the mighty Google.
The last thing you want to do is waste all that hard work of yours.
I’m going to show you what every blogger must know about keyword ranking on Google, as it currently stands and give you 16 tips to improve your keyword search results.
WHAT IS KEYWORD RANKING
Keyword ranking refers to the numerical position that Google and other search engines give to your pages and posts for keywords you’ve used in your content.
The number is determined by comparing what you’ve written with other content for the same keywords. The more relevant your content as determined by Google, the higher your ranking.
When someone types a keyword into a search bar, the closer your keyword ranking is to the #1 position in the search results, the better.
When people look at search results they very seldom go beyond the first page, which shows the top ten results. In fact, it’s said that most people don’t go past the top three links.
Here’s an example of the top three results for a keyword I searched. These are the listings that show up beneath any ads and extra information Google might display on the page.
How does google Work?
Of course, it’s in your best interests to ask how does Google work then?
Technically and on the surface, it’s not that difficult to understand.
Once you’ve written, optimized and published your post, it’s simply a matter of time before Google adds your article to its index.
Here’s how the process works in short:
The more important question is how does Google decide which pages are most relevant to show a user when a search term is searched?
This directly affects where they decide to place your post link in the results. If it’s on the first page then you’re smiling, not so if it’s on page 197!!
Nobody knows for sure exactly how this is determined other than Google, but we do have an idea, gained from observing and studying search results over the years.
Google also releases notes each time a major change is made to their search algorithm. While you have to learn to read between the lines, that’s exactly what savvy marketers do and we can always learn from them.
What we do know for sure is that what worked in 2010 or prior to Google’s last update no longer does.
In the past, Google focused on your content to a large extent. If the search term appeared a number of times then that was an indication that your post was relevant.
They soon discovered that spammers were littering their content with keywords just so they could achieve a good keyword ranking.
When a keyword is abused in this way it leads to content which is not fit for humans to read.
Since Google’s first priority is its users, it wasn’t long before they made changes to the way in which they ranked key-worded content.
At its worst, overusing keywords is what is known as keyword stuffing, which means overusing the keyword so that the flow and meaning of the writing becomes distorted.
Here’s Google’s example:
While keyword stuffing was great for spammers for a while, it was not for humans looking for sensible information.
Google has and continues to refine how it works to give the user a better experience. Nowadays the emphasis is far less on what you’ve written and heavily biased towards how users respond to what you’ve written.
In fact, Google would be nothing without its users so they care about nothing more than keeping them happy.
Rather than follow your content, their search spiders now follow users to see what long tail keywords they are searching for and how happy are they if the land up on your page.
Search engines only find your content valuable when readers find it valuable.
How can you improve your keyword search results
The obvious answer to the question how can you improve your keyword search results is do whatever you can to impress readers.
Be aware however that Google considers a lot of other factors too, like total back links, referring domains and even website security, none of which I’m covering in this post.
The reason I’m focusing on strategies to improve your website user experience is because these have been proven to be the most important. Keywords are no longer prioritized as they once were.
That’s not to say that using keywords in your content is redundant. They are part of a bigger picture however and you must be open to seeing all of it.
A keyword may still be be what brings a searcher to your site, but Google is more interested to see if you can keep the user there.
In a study, SEMrush analyzed ranking factors and confirmed that Google is all about providing users with the best experience possible.
Of the 17 factors analyzed, the use of keywords in posts came in at the bottom of the list.
The top four ranking factors are website visits, time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate, all of which relate to the user’s experience.
This translates into definite things you can do to give readers a better experience and at the same time improve your search rank. Here are 16 ways to do this.
Click play for the video version. Text details follow.
Create Engaging high quality content
#1 – Don’t look and sound like everybody else
Create compelling content that is flavored by your personality, opinions and unique insights. How can your content stand out? What value can you bring to the reader that nobody else is doing?
#2 – Give users what they expect
When you do keyword research for blog posts, aim to use long tail keywords so you understand exactly what it is users want to know about and then give them what they expect. Use the keyword in your title, the first paragraph and a couple more times in your content but make sure your content makes sense and flows naturally.
#3 – Link to other valuable content
Include links, both to other related posts and pages of your own, as well as to other authority websites and top level blogs. This provides users with more complete information which makes their experience more meaningful.
#4 – Make sure that links are not broken
There’s nothing worse than clicking on a link that doesn’t work or which comes up with a 404error page. Check your links and fix broken ones to improve the user experience. Use either of these to check your links – BrokenLinkCheck or DeadLinkChecker
#5 – Add video to hold the user’s attention
Adding a video may attract and keep users who prefer watching videos to reading text. It also provides a different type of media to your blog post which can keep readers engaged.
Make Your posts visually appealing
#6 – Break content up into short paragraphs
People are far more likely to stay reading your post if the content can be consumed quickly, in bite sized chunks, rather than being confronted by walls of ongoing text. Paragraphs should be no longer than four lines long.
#7 – Use H1 and H2 heading tags to create subtitles
Breaking your content up with different sized headings keeps your writing organized and easier for people to see at a glance what you are covering and if it’s what they want to know about.
#8 – Use suitable images to illustrate your points
Adding images to illustrate your points makes your content interesting and easier for users to follow. Don’t add any image just for the sake of it. Make sure they add to the content in some way. Also don’t use the same images everybody else is using.
Make Your Website user-friendly
#9 – Don’t allow pop ups to appear too soon
Readers come to your website to read the content they’re expecting to read. Don’t put a barrier like a pop up request to join your email list between them and the content before they’ve even had a chance to start reading. It’s all in the timing.
#10 – Make it easy for readers to get around
Use a clear menu navigational system that makes logical sense so users. A reader must always know how to get around and access what interests them. Getting around your website may make sense to you but how about to others?
#11 – Keep your website Uncluttered
Cluttered websites especially with too many advertisements could make readers feel ambushed or worse still lead them away from your website. This may be worth it if you’re an affiliate and they make a purchase but not otherwise.
#12 – Optimize for mobile and tablets
More and more people read web pages on their phones and tablets. Make sure that your website is optimized for easy access on all devices.
Improve your website’s speed
#13 – make sure your pages load quickly
If readers have to wait ages for your page to load there’s every chance they will click away to find what they’re looking for, elsewhere.
#14 – optimize images size
A critical factor when it comes to the speed of your website, is the size of your images. Ensure images are compressed so they are not too large which will slow the load time of your pages. There are many online tools that can help with this such as TinyPNG which will compress both PNG and JPEG images.
#15 – remove gimmicks
Unless something is absolutely critical to the function of your website give it a miss. Having widgets on your site that take a long time to load will slow the overall speed of your site down especially of they have to load on every page.
#16 – remove UNNECESSARY plugins
As with widgets, certain plugins and too many plugins can slow your site’s load times. Unless a plugin is critical for the functioning of your website, remove it.
keyword ranking on google – wrap up
Knowing how to improve your keyword ranking on Google is important.
Knowing what not to do to prevent being penalized by Google, even more critical.
I like to think of keywords and content a bit like bait on a fishing line. You can’t just have a keyword without the expected follow up content or readers simply won’t bite.
And if readers don’t bite, nor will Google!
What’s one thing you can do today to improve the user’s experience on your website?
Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat
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