How long until my website achieves a high ranking on Google?
We get asked ‘How long will it be until my website achieves a high ranking on Google?’ all the time.
The real question should be how much time, and effort are you going to invest to gain that high ranking? Probably not what you wanted to hear, but take a look at the stats and all will become clear:
On average it takes Google 3 – 6 months to crawl a website.
By crawl, we mean to visit and check it out before ranking it for keywords. Ultimately, if you keep adding valuable content to your site, you are enriching it with new keywords, which keeps Google coming back. The more content you add, the more often Google will visit. If you build a site and let it sit, unloved Google won’t come back to rerank you.
TIP. While we strongly advocate creating and publishing new and useful content, It is important that you do not stretch yourself so thinly that you start producing substandard content, as this will have a negative impact.
What makes content sub-standard?
- Too salesy
- Low word count
- Not relevant to your business
- Poor readability i.e no headers/sub-heads, over use of passive voice, long complicated sentences, keywords stuffed in
- No images or video
- No on-page SEO e.g ALT Tags, internal linking, external linking, meta descriptions etc
In light of all of the above, while they may be the ultimate goal, these illusive high rankings should not be your sole focus. Engagement and conversions are the real indication that your SEO and content marketing is working! Read more on how you can get your audience to engage with your site here.
SEO activities to help a website gain a high ranking.
There is no magic formula to a high ranking on search engines. With over 200 ranking factors that search engines take into consideration, website owners just need to get involved and tick as many boxes as they can. If you do this, you will be rewarded with improvements in your ranking.
Here are a few pointers:
We blogged about the mobile-first index back in 2017, and that means that Google now shows mobile-friendly websites first. If you are not building a website with mobile at the forefront of the build you will not achieve a decent ranking.
TIP. Build website for mobile, do not worry too much about tablets. Mobiles are the leading internet source for people as they always have them with them. Don’t believe me? Check out your website’s analytics and see what devices your audience is using. I bet tablet is less than mobile!
User experience (UX). A website needs to be:
- Speedy (read our blog on improving page speed)
- Easy to navigate
- Well written content that is relevant to the business & customer intend to see when they land
- Not have pop-ups that jump out as soon as someone is on the website (don’t have these at all on mobile verisons – please!)
TIP. Turn pop-ups off on mobile, they rarely work properly and have a significant impact on user experience.
Regular content added.
Yes, that one AGAIN. However, it is true. Moreover, the content should not be salesy and be valuable to the reader (like this one we hope). This can be a blog, vlog, review or whatever. As long as it is well executed, relevant to your business, what your readership wants and optimised.
TIP. Start a content plan based on keywords that people are finding you under and clicking from. Beyond that, use keyword research tools to see what people are searching for that you can use in a well-written blog.
Internal links and external authoritative ones to your site are vital. Internal ones can improve UX and encourage engagement on your site. External authoritative links help boost trust factors with Google.
TIP. Link Google’s search console to your site to monitor links. Use MOZ free tool bar to determine if external links are going to help or hinder your DA and rankings.
While Google will not confirm how social media supports SEO efforts, what we do know is that it:
- Increases links to your website and draws in traffic.
- Social media networks have a high DA so that backlink from your profile is only going to be a good thing.
TIP. Start where you are getting the most traffic from and go from there. Do not feel you need to take on the whole social media world at once.
Search engines take the security of their users very seriously, so if a site is deemed to be a security risk, they will demote you. Having an SSL certificate can help with this as can making sure that you are regularly updating the framework, themes and plugins that your website may have as they come in. Regular security scans can also ensure that everything is going as it should and that your website is not a threat to anyone visiting it.
Advice on how to monitor keywords that a website has a high ranking for…and those that need help.
Using free tools such as Google search console can help you see which keywords you are doing well for. You can find out:
- Rankings for keywords you are using on your site
- Rankings for keywords you are not yet using on your website
- Click through rate (CTR) of keywords – it is then essential to link Search Console to your Google analytics to see the bounce rate of this keyword
- How many people look at your website for specific keywords
Remember that at certain times of the year, and for various SEO reasons, these may change. If you find you are continually going backwards, then it is time to do a full analysis and SEO refresh of your site and content.
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