The best place to hide a dead body? Page 2 of Google. Like your site, no one will ever find it. Ever. Well, without improving your sites SEO that is.
In comes search engine optimization, SEO. The daunting task of pleasing Google to grow your site in the rankings. Google has over 200 unique factors that determine whether your site is worthy of a first page listing.
We'll be looking at a few of the major factors that Google considers, and why they look at it when they determine your sites ranking.
SEO Ranking Factors (in no particular order)
#1. High Quality Links to Your Site
Having high quality, relevant sites point to your site is huge to Google. Google Search has been built around the idea that people link to things that they find valuable. Linking is a huge part of a sites' SEO strategy, and contains dozens of factors within itself to determine whether a link is high quality or not. Relevancy, domain age, content freshness, anchor text, site authority, link placement and dozens of other things play a role.
#2. Site Responsiveness
Just recently, Google has taken a look at whether a site is mobile responsive in determining their rank. It's now showing mobile-friendly tags on mobile devices, which may help users decide between two otherwise equal sites. You can check whether your site is mobile friendly here.
#3. Page Speed
No one likes a slow site, especially not Google. Having a page that takes forever to load, or is unreliable is sure to get you penalized. It uses data it gathers from when it "crawls" your site (automatically pulls data from it for the index) and from data from users visiting your site with the Google Chrome browser.
Having loads of content, that is related to your niche is extremely helpful. Google wants long, well written content that's optimized for keywords and is easily readable on the Flesch Scale. Adding meta titles and descriptions is also helpful, though the description isn't as helpful as it once was. The rule of thumb is to write things that people would find helpful, and Google will find it helpful as well. Everyone else has to like you before Google does.
Having multiple images, all with descriptions, titles and alt tags is amazing in the eyes of Google. While they can't see the actual content of the images, your text clues will help it piece together the page and help add to the user experience of your site by breaking up your content.
Having quite a few comments on your page is helpful, as it lets Google know that people are actually interacting with your site.
#7. Bounce Rate & Time on Page
When people land on your site, do they immediately leave without exploring any other pages, or do they take time to interact with multiple pages? Google looks at both the time people spend on your site, as well as the number of pages they view when they determine your rank.
While this is just a general overview of SEO and all that goes into it, it's helpful to reference when you're not sure if something is kosher in Google's eyes.
Have an idea for a factor that Google isn't currently considering? Let us know in the comments!