When it comes to improving one’s online visibility, everyone is interested and most people want a shortcut to do it. However, what people don’t understand is that SEO takes time. It is not something that can be achieved overnight or even in a few days. Therefore, if someone is promising rapid results, then you should be skeptical.
Below you will learn some of the steps that you need to be familiar with to enhance your online visibility within Google’s SERPs. One question we know you are dying to know the answer to is:
How Long Will It Take to Improve Rankings in Google?
In all honesty, it depends. This answer is frustrating, yes, but it is the truth. As mentioned, SEO takes time, and it takes effort. Each and every situation is unique in its own way and has its own set of variables. One’s budget, skill, level of competition as well as how the website compares to the competition plays a huge role in how quickly rankings can improve.
For all of those reasons and more, that is why it depends on how long it takes to improve Google rankings. However, it is possible to break things down a bit and speed things up by taking the right steps.
It’s Critical to Make Continuous Improvement
In March 2018, it was brought up in a Google Webmaster Central Office Hours Hangout about the length of time for improving a Google ranking. A Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst said that it takes time. This is due to the fact that the algorithm has a variety of tasks that must be carried out, such as re-evaluating entire websites one changes are implemented. Due to the various factors that are in play at any given time, quick changes in the SERPs should never be expected.
The analyst also mentioned that even drastic changes to the functionality and design of a website may not speed up changes in the SERPs as much as one may anticipate. It could still take a few months, possibly even an entire year, to have an effect in the SERPs. He also made it clear that one should not stop working on their website once upgrades have been made. The end goal should always be continuous improvement, as this can positively impact how your website is crawled and indexed by Google.
Googlebot tends to crawl low-quality URLs less frequently, which could potentially cause the re-evaluation time to be even longer than initially anticipated. Therefore, it is important to not remove pages that are not crawled frequently by Google. You never know when those pages may be ranking for valuable keyword terms. If that is the case, removing those pages could result in a negative impact on your rankings as well as traffic. This is one of the main reasons that Google recommends consistent improvement of your website over page removal.
How Long Does It Take to Rank on Google?
A 2017 study offered some very interested information in related to the length of time that it takes to rank on the Google search engine. Some of the key takeaways from the study include:
- On average, pages that were within the 10 were over two years old. In addition, on average, the pages that held the first position were close to three years old.
- Out of the pages within the top 10, just over 20 percent of them were fewer than 12 months old.
- Out of the pages within the study, roughly six percent of the pages appeared within the top 10 for a minimum of one keyword within 12 months.
- For the top six percent pages, the majority of them took about two to six months to find their way into the top 10 from nowhere.
So, based on the findings from the study, it was determined that roughly 94 percent of the pages failed to make it to the top 10 within one year.
How You Can Improve Your Rankings on Google
As can be seen from the previously-mentioned study, it takes hard word, effort, skill and even some luck to get to the top 10 positions in the SERPs within a year, which takes us back full circle to the main topic of discussion: how you can give your Google ranking a boost.
If you are looking to improve your conversions and sales by getting your website to that #1 page on Google, then here are five things you need to do.
1. Develop a Solid Foundation
Regardless of how great your SEO campaign is, if you don’t have a good site structure and quality information architecture, it isn’t going to matter a bit. Your rankings will suffer if users find it difficult to navigate your website and Google is unable to easily crawl your site.
Therefore, it is imperative that you always think “user-friendly” first and foremost, as this is how you will achieve success on a mobile platform.
Conduct a Technical SEO Audit
In addition to machine learning, there are hundreds, possibly even thousands, of signals that the Google algorithm incorporates when it is learning to determine rankings. With that being said, it makes sense that you are familiar with SEO basics, as this will ensure you have a true advantage over a wealth of your competition. To ensure that you are following the proper SEO procedures, you will need to conduct a technical SEO audit.
Fix Any Duplicate Content
More often than not, duplicate content problems are related to technical issues. Many times, there are several different versions of the exact same page. This is the most common type of duplicate content. An example would be the following:
These websites would be considered duplicate content because they are four different (separate) pages, but they have identical content to one another. One way to resolve the issue is to create the appropriate redirect rules in the .htaccess file.
2. Mobile Optimization
With the mobile-first index being rolled out by Google, it is imperative that your website passes the Mobile-Friendly Test. With this index, the mobile version of your website, rather than the desktop version, will now be used for indexing and ranking by Google. Therefore, you must focus on mobile and performance-related tasks as you move forward to avoid a mobile ranking disaster.
Once users land on your site, what do they want to do? It is important to think about this question. Your users must be able to perform those tasks without zero difficulty and smoothly even if they are multi-tasking. Ideally, you should come up with three to five basic tasks of your users, and make certain that they can effortlessly be accomplished.
Most people don’t realize it, but they have a major problem with performance on their mobile website. When users have to scroll endlessly in order to access the products or services that you have to offer, there is a performance issue. When images are causing the website to take forever to load, there is a performance problem.
Beginning in July of this year, page speed will be a significant ranking factor for mobile search. Plus, since connections on mobile devices are often slower than desktop PCs, loading times of websites are very important. If it is taking too long for your site to load, a mobile user is going to stop waiting around and move on to another website that will better suit their needs.
3. Speed Optimization
Regardless of whether you are working on a website for desktop or mobile, it is crucial that you are constantly monitoring its speed and work on improving it. In order to track your site’s speed performance, you can utilize the Google PageSpeed tool. Here is how you are able to execute speed optimization for your pages.
Image File Size
Pull up the image editing program that you utilize the most. Prior to uploading your images, you can optimize your images by utilizing a compression and optimizer tool for images. You will also want to make sure that the image dimensions properly fit into the image space on the page in order for it to maintain a clean, concise and structured look when the image goes live.
There are numerous resources that are loaded each type that a page is loaded in a web browser. These resource files are stored locally on the computer of the web user through a process called browser caching. Ironically enough, the files are stored in what is known as a browser cache. The reason for this is to minimize the need for those resources to be loaded each time in the future that the user visits that same website again.
For the majority of websites, the easiest and most effective way for browser caching to be enabled is to incorporate a code into the web host and/or server .htaccess file. With WordPress, you would use a plug-in.
Prior to loading numerous CSS and JS files in order to improve your website, you need to ensure that they are actually needed because they will eventually result in a slower website overall. If you want to help keep page speed up, it is possible to minimize your files by stripping your comments. You could also merge several scripts into one file, if possible. This will allow for a single retrieving call on the server for the scripts to load to.
4. Focus on Links
Internal and external links play a significant role in your website’s ranking. To help ensure you are on top of your linking game, here is what you need to do.
Fix Any Broken Links
It isn’t uncommon for a lot of website owners to ignore links that are broken. However, for users visiting your site, this creates a negative user experience. In some cases, you may not realize a link is broken. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, right? Well, with a tool like W3C Link Checker, which crawls your website, you can easily find out what links are broken and correct them immediately.
Exact Match Anchor Text
When you abuse the rules of exact match anchor text, you are literally shooting yourself in the foot. You need to be extremely careful when choosing your internal anchor text. Make sure you aren’t spammy, but you do want to choose relevant text.
Turn Your Site Mentions into Useful Links
To ensure that you know each time your site is mentioned, set a Google Alert. This will make sure that you are able to successfully keep track of when your brand is mentioned online. When your mentions are not linked, get in touch with the webmaster and ask them if they can turn that mention into one.
5. On-Page Optimization
If you aren’t familiar with on-page optimization, the good news is that there is an SEO Start Guide that Google has been kind enough to create. It is designed for all of those individuals who are interested in promoting their online content on Google search engines. This guide explains that even just the basics will give you a huge leg up on your competition.
Let Google Know What’s on Your Pages
You are able to perform this best practice by incorporating structured data into your website. This allows Google to be able to fully comprehend what each of your pages is about. The preferred format by Google is Schema. Some of the most popular types of Schema include products, businesses, recipes, and authors, though there are plenty of other types.
Develop Brief, Descriptive, Compelling and Unique Titles
When creating your page titles, it is very important that each one is not only unique, but also descriptive and compelling. You also don’t want to go overboard with keywords, or words in general.
Create Meta Descriptions That Are Clickable
While meta descriptions may not have a direct impact on the ranking of your website in Google search results, they are important when it comes to CTR, which, of course, has the ability to boost your site’s traffic. Therefore, it is important that you focus on creating meta descriptions that are unique and compelling enough that people will want to click on them. Also, keep in mind that if you fail to create a description or if your description isn’t like by Google, one will be auto-generated for you.
Google is continuously focusing on putting a stop to spammy schemes and techniques. Therefore, if you are serious about online marketing, then you need to make sure that you have a clear view on what is important in this industry. The aforementioned strategies aren’t new and they aren’t particularly exciting. However, they do work, and they will require effort on your part, not to mention an investment of resources.
If you worried about being able to pull this off on your own, never fret; simply give us a call at WebDetail and we will help you bring your website to success.