Looking to get on the first page of Google?
Boy has the SEO world changed in the last few years . . .
Back in the day, you could just start submitting your website's link all over the place and in a few weeks or so (Sometimes faster depending on how fast you got your links), your website would end up on the first place for your desired keyword.
This led to a lot of websites that had low quality information to become number one in their markets.
How did you think Google felt about that?
Not very good of course and they striked hard! By releasing all these updates recently such as the Panda update or the Penguin update, Google dropped millions of 'cheap' websites sending the SEO world in a frenzy.
At the end of the day, this was an excellent decision on Google's part because it truly separates the people who are willing to give real value from the 'get rich quick' crowd.
So how do you rank your site properly in 2014 and beyond . . .
Well here are some of the key factors that will help your website get on top of Google and stay there.
1. Links from other domains (Other websites)
This is still the top factor for rankings online. However, it's not just about getting a link from another site, they should also be relevant and be a quality (Domain age is a factor) site themselves. A good rule of thumb is to keep your customer in mind when doing these. Before placing your link on some site, blog, directory or what not, just ask yourself the following "Will a potential customer find my information helpful and do they hang out on this site". That kind of mindset will help you waste less time and give out quality information where it's needed the most.
2. Great content
If you are providing information to your users, make sure they are fully detailed phenomenal articles.
What is a 'phenomenal' article in Google's eyes?
Something this is rich in quality (Contains great information from various sources) and is around 1000+ word long. Long copy is greatly favoured these days and has shown to be a key factor in search engine rankings as well.
3. Using responsive design
Now with the mobile market literally exploding, Google is also taking in how 'responsive' your web design is. I believe Google is doing this to see if you website is up to date with the current times. Google also has a huge stake in mobile marketing (Does anyone remeber the giant $750 million aqusistion of AdMob?).
4. 404 error page
Ever ended up on a website where the page didn't exist and you got a '404' error. Well google looks at it as well to see if you have optimized it to redirect your user properly. This is also great for marketing so you can somewhat 'win back' or guide your visitor again to where you want them to be. Optimize your 404 and any other error pages on your website today.
5. Speed of site
If you have a slow site, your rankings will be effected in a negative way. This has been a factor in getting top 10 rankings for a while and it is still in effect. Put your self in Google's shoes . . . Why would they promote a site that doesn't even load fast? It makes them look bad as Google is all about retrieving quality sites for their visitors.
6. Google Authorship
Ever seen a face of a person next to website when you are searching on Google? That is 'Google Authorship'. With everything being more social and upfront, Google wants to move in this direction as well and if you use the Google Authorship setup on your site, your rankings will increase as well. Plus your conversions as well since people will see your brand associated to real people. Google is doing this to 'reward' people for using their social network.
7. Keywords in Title Tag
This has been a factor and still is. A title tag should be carefully optimized and will definitely help you rank better.
8. Use Google Plus . . . NOW!
A lot of the key ranking factors are now being pushed through Google Plus (Google's very own and second biggest social network in the world). Make sure you are active on your Google + and are putting out content that people are sharing.
9. Be active on Facebook and Twitter as well
It's all about being social and your Facebook likes and Twitter activity is also playing a key role in search engine rankings. In another worlds, be social.
10. Use common sense
Yes "Social Signals" are going to play a key role in near future but don't forget that the foundation of Google is on the quality of links (Google Page Rank) that point to your site. Our point on the other hand is, don't forget to stick to the basics.
Create awesome content, submit your links to valuable quality sites on a regular basis and make sure you are up on recent trends and change in marketing. This is what we've been doing for ourselves and our 400+ and growing list of clients as well.
At the end of the day, what has been working (The tried and tested methods) will always work. Long story short, think quality and put yourself in your customers shoes whenever you are taking in action towards marketing or promoting your website.