20 Easy Ways to Supercharge the Speed of Your SEO Efforts

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So, you want to get to the top of the Google search results. You want it to happen quickly. Well, how do you know how long it’s going to take?

First, check the current ranking of your target keywords. If you are at or near the top, you may have to do minimal maintenance to stay there. You may have to do the same amount of SEO work you’ve already been doing. If you’re not ranking where you want to be, you will need a comprehensive audit. This will show what elements may need to be changed to help you get ahead, and which ones might be holding you back.
You can’t pay Google to rank higher in the authentic search results. While there is no magic button to rank higher than everybody else, you can work your way towards the top. Work through Google’s SEO elements that you aren’t already taking care of.

The amount of time it will take will depend on the level of competition for that keyword. It can also change because your competitors sites may change over time. Google does not give out specific ranking numbers to websites. These changes would not allow for flexibility in ranking quality websites and content higher. Google’s customers are happier when they return higher quality results.

1. Depends on search terms

The pages that end up in the search results are a direct result of the keywords the user types into the search engine. Different words, and groups of words, will return different results.
Using the right keywords is important. Use the same words your prospective customers will be likely to type into a search engine. Sites with those words will show up in the search results.

The pages in the search results are a result of the keywords the user types into the search engine. Click To Tweet

2. Keyword Research

Do keyword research to find out what words you should be focusing on. There are a variety of ways to do keyword research, but the most important part is to do it before the other steps.

Start by:

  • make a quick list of 5-20 search terms that you think may work
  • don’t use any industry jargon
  • use the words that your customers might be typing into the search bar
  • use the Google Adwords keyword planner tool
  • check competitor sites for keywords
  • plan keywords according to user needs

3. Check the competition

Some words have a high competition level because a lot of other websites are using them. Others have low competition because not as many sites are using them. It is easier to rank higher when you use some keywords that have a lower competition. Groups of words or phrases called “long tail keywords” often have lower search competition. They are not as commonly used and are more specific.
Getting the right keywords on your keyword list is a good place to start because other companies will be evaluated using keywords as well.

4. Depends on 200+ ranking factors

Websites depend on more than just keywords to try to rank higher. There are 200+ factors that Google checks to determine where you will rank. Each of the factors carries a different weight. They can each be completed in different levels. Your competitors might have more backlinks, for instance.
Improperly implemented items may hold you back.

Google checks 200+ ranking factors to determine where you will rank in the search results. Click To Tweet

An audit will reveal whether there are any improperly implemented or black hat SEO techniques. These items will hold you back and actually lower your SEO score. Using an auditing tool like SEM Rush and Google Webmaster Tools can help identify and correct these errors.

Creating authentic, conversational content that is easy for your visitors to read is an important step in ranking higher. You will want to avoid black hat techniques like keyword stuffing and writing for the search engines. Friendly, concise, and informative writing is generally best.

The Periodic Table of SEO Factors
Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

It is actually impossible to know what the most important ranking factors are, but Google has stated what the top 3 are. They are, in no particular order, content, links, and RankBrain.

Google has stated that the top 3 ranking factors are content, links, and RankBrain. Click To Tweet

5. Content

Content is the words on a page. Google looks at all of the words to determine what your website and page is about. It looks at the structure of your sentences and paragraphs, and also the grade reading level. Authentic content that is easy for the visitor to read performs well.

6. Links

Links have, for a long time, remained one of the top weighted SEO factors. Are links from trusted, quality or respected web sites? If they are, your ranking will go up. Lower quality backlinks make your site rank lower.

7. RankBrain

RankBrain is a ranking algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to make best guesses and estimates of what a person is looking for in the search results. It includes the Hummingbird and Penguin updates. It also works to keep the search results clear of some spammy results. It can use data to refine the search results over time. To us, this means that we should focus on using white hat techniques to keep sites clean, quick, and focused on a quality user experience.

People have speculated about the other elements that are the most important, but Google does not tell us outright what they are. Instead, researchers and SEO consultants have had to determine this based on their own studies.

According to that research, the next highest ranking factors are:

8. Visitor engagement and the diversity of search queries

The amount of time a visitor stays on your site and whether they click any links affects your rankings. Get customers to stay on your site longer by auditing your website and content for the user experience. Create new content based on your new keyword research.

9. Brand/domain name mention in offline and media publications

Websites that are owned by brands that have a following offline in print publications and other media publications are noted to rank higher. Applying marketing efforts to a diverse application of media can help you rank higher and help your brand become more well-known.

10. Domain-level features

Features that exist at the domain level effect SEO also. The length of your domain name is important. Your domain should not be so long that it is hard to type or remember. Google is also giving some additional rank juice to websites that have an SSL certificate installed. SSL certificates encrypt data that’s being sent over the internet, so it protects things like credit card data and online forms.

You can check if you have an SSL certificate properly installed by going to:
SSL Checker input box example

11. Content Quality

Aside from having pages that are easily scannable for humans and search engines to read, they should also be well written and have substantial quality content. Pages should be compared against your website goals and your user needs, to make sure you don’t have too little or too much information.

12. Crawl

Using tools like Google Webmaster Tools helps Google to know how many pages there are on your site. Upload an XML sitemap to your hosting server for only search engines read is recommended. This way, Google knows what to expect from the page structure on your site. If you update your page structure, you should update your sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools. You can also check for any crawl errors.

13. HTML titles

Each page should have HTML title tags contain keywords relevant to page topics. Title tags tell search engines what the page is about so they can produce the most relevant results. Each page should have one title tag, and the title should be the same as the page URL.

14. Links, shares, and other trust factors

A site becomes a trusted authority to Google when it grows in links, social shares, and other trust factors such as the amount of time on your site and number of links clicked.

15. Country

Google attempts to return relevant information, so if a search is done in a particular country, they will try to provide results that are from the same country. This helps people who are searching for information in different languages as well and improves the user experience of the visitor.

16. Locality

Depending on what city or local area someone is in often alters the search results, even when within the same country. Searching for items to buy or stores or locations produces results that are nearby the user’s physical location.

17. History

If someone has regularly visited your site or socially favored it, your site’s history will affect their search engine rankings. Popular sites tend to perform well for a variety of user experience-related reasons, so those sites rank higher.

18. Page level social metrics

Social metrics are a good indicator of the popularity of a site. The quantity and quality of tweeted links, Facebook shares, Google +1s, and other social mentions to the page are an important source of link building and social trust.

19. Negative factors

Purchased links, cloaking, and other black hat SEO tactics bring down your ranking. If you create links by spamming blogs, forums, or other places, search engines view this as manipulating the system, and they do rank lower for it.

20. Is it ongoing or one time?

A great SEO plan will have an ongoing list of items to check and create, providing you with updated content and clearing any issues along the way.

A great SEO plan will check ranking factors and create backlinks and content on an ongoing basis. Click To Tweet

Some ranking factors are items that happen one time and then they don’t need to be changed. Getting listed in local online business directories is one of these factors. Many ranking factors do need to be updated on an ongoing basis, and all should be periodically checked over time.

We recommend ongoing optimization for several factors, including link building, blog writing, user experience optimizing, and online monitoring.

Conclusion

Even though there is no way to tell exactly where you will rank and when, you WILL improve over time if you put the work in.

The best way to analyze your progress is to track your keyword rankings over time and your Google Analytics visitor statistics data. This way you will know what your visitor trends are and what changes you may want to make over time.

You can’t know exactly how much work you will need, but you can sometimes get a general idea by doing a Google search for your keywords. Then do a general audit of your web presence to compare it to where you want to be.

Having goals is the best way to meet them! Compare your goals to the statistics you have in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to continue revising and working towards your goals over time.

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