A search engine rank is a position at which a particular URL or website appears in the results after you search for something related to it. Rankings are made per web page and not for the entire website.
Rankings are dependent on various factors, which differ from each search engine to search engine. Though most of these factors are common to all search engines and are fairly obvious, like the relevancy of content to the search query, quality of content, metadata tags, regular updates, and etc.
However, there are a few factors that will help you in improving your search result rankings that you might not be aware of. These small ways will impact your search rankings in a way that you wouldn’t have expected. And while it is not an instant process as a change in search result rankings takes some time due to the time taken for re-evaluation by the search engine, and it improving your search result ranking is a continuous process, these steps are a few easily done, but often overlooked ways to improve your search results.
Optimizing for Mobile Users
With mobile users starting to become a large chunk of web traffic for each website, Google now only crawls and indexes the mobile version of each website and ranks them accordingly. Since these ranking affect your website when someone uses a search query through a phone, and with mobile searches making up the majority of all daily searches, it is critical that one makes sure that their site is ranked properly when it comes to mobile search results.
The way to do achieve this is to make sure that your website is properly optimized for a mobile viewer. Proper optimization, in this case, means that the page is easy to read, loads quickly and doesn’t take too much bandwidth for mobile users.
Making a website easy to read on all platforms and devices is a function of responsive design. Responsive design is a CSS code which uses “media queries” which helps the website identify the type of OS and the screen of the user and adjusts the page accordingly. The website is adjusted by changing the size and shape of the website. By adjusting the page, it will show an optimized display for the website that the user is trying to access. This ensures that the user while trying to access the website doesn’t face any problems with zoom level or scroll size.
Another way to ensure that Google ranks your webpage higher in search result query is to make sure that the loading speed of your website is fast. The faster your website is, the higher it will rank in search result queries, especially for mobile searches. These two factors in tandem drive more traffic to you from Google and increase your search ranking.
HTTPS and other Security Protocols
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It stands for a form of communication between your browser and website that is encrypted. It is a much safer way of communication between the websites and their users. It combines the previous web protocol service of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) combined with the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS). It encrypts all the requests sent from the user side and then decrypts that same information back at the server side.
Other ways to help your website be more secure is to make sure that your website has updated security certificates or SSL certificates, website scanners and security firewalls, encrypting login pages, hashing and salting user data (especially in case of payment details), strong policy password and a few more. Making your website more secure will make it more appealing to your users and also make sure that Google starts ranking your website higher in search result rankings
You can get SSL certificate for free from Cloudflare.
Also try to go to your server setting configuration files to make sure that you have prevented directory browsing, image hotlinking so that malicious users don’t get access to information about your website, which would be valuable data to any potential attackers. And preventing hotlinking to your images stops malicious backlinks and also prevents your hosting bandwidth allowance to get used up. There are various service providers who can do all of the above for your website.
Quality of Images
Your website can be just a collection of text or it can be more interactive and incorporate properly optimized and quality images. The better optimized your images are, the better your search ranking result will be. Since search engine crawlers can’t see the images properly, they rely on all the additional data embedded in the image in order to index the image properly. Such data includes the name of the image, the alt tag for the image, the file name, the anchor text, the caption and sometimes more.
Making sure that the name of the image saved on your desktop before you upload it and becomes a part of its URL when you upload it. For that reason it a good idea to make sure that the name of the image is relevant and related to the subject matter so that it results in a higher ranking for the webpage that the image is on.
You can use online image optimizers to reduce image size.
Alt-tag is the alternate descriptor of the image in case it doesn’t load or cannot be seen and is an incredibly useful aid for the visually impaired user of the website. The image title tag is the title of the image, which appears when you hover over the image. The caption is a brief description of the image just under it for users to see. All of these factors improve the SEO for your page and result in better search result rankings
Page speed is a factor that has a massive impact on your user experience and also on the search result ranking of your website. The faster your webpage will load, especially on mobile devices, the better ranking it will achieve. If your page takes longer than 2 seconds to load on average then Google will push down the search ranking of your website.
To make sure that your website loads faster, make sure it is properly optimized. Optimization includes clearing website database, using a caching plugin, disabling unnecessary plugins, and etc.
Schema Markup is not something that not everyone will know about. It is a code that one can put on their webpages that would help search engine crawlers to return better results for your users. It makes it easier for search engines to interpret the content on the webpage by structuring data in a certain standard. It is a form of microdata which when added to your website adds enhanced descriptions which appear beneath the search results. It also has the added benefit of increasing your click-through-rates for your website. This very simple factor can be a huge deal when it comes to your search result ranking.
With these, you have 5 simple but not obvious ways that you can start to improve your search result rankings for your websites and webpages. Keep in mind that even after you implement all these changes that there will be a period of time before search engines reflect the changes in their search result rankings. To implement these changes as soon as you can and be patient and watch as your website slowly climbs up the ladder of search rankings.