SEO Ranking – how quickly will an optimised site move up a search results list?
This is a question we hear a lot and the answer is not as simple as you might think. Its kind of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question. There are many facets to take into account as its not a one size fits all situation.
There are many articles on this subject and most highlight the key items required to get Google’s attention (which we’ll look at below), but there’s also the X factor. What is that X factor and how does it affect SEO ranking – we’ll explore that too.
Key SEO ranking steps
There are a number of things required for Google to consider your website page legitimate content, worthy of a high rank. Below are the main ones that will give any web page a great chance or ranking highly.
Step 1 – Speed
For Google to pay any attention to your website, its must load fast on a secure connection. That sounds easy right? Well not quite. At Zephyrmedia, we specialise in developing WordPress websites because of their ease of use for our clients. WordPress is known for free or cheap theme templates that make it easy to change the look and functionality of websites. But all that free and cheap functionality takes up processing power and thus load speed, which can have an adverse effect on SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.
We build our WordPress themes from scratch ensuring optimised functionality and code. We also employ a range of techniques like minification of code (taking out extraneous spaces, returns and comments), combining multiple scripts into one and asymmetrical loading of scripts to achieve very fast load times.
Step 2 – Site security
We insist all website hosting includes an SSL certificate. This ensures all information transferred between browser and server is done securely leading to less hacks or information compromises.
Step 3 – Mobile friendly
With over 60% of web searches completed on mobile devices, having a mobile friendly website is essential. Plus Google doesn’t show websites that are not mobile friendly on mobile search results. We develop websites that are 100% mobile friendly, so your site is everywhere your clients are.
Step 4 – Key word/phrase research
Ensuring you are targeting the best key words or phrases is essential in best-practice SEO. The research can help you figure out what users are actually looking for so you can specifically target your content at them and their searches. We can provide key word/phrase research to help point you in the right direction.
Step 5 – Content
Now with Google, content is king. The information on your website needs to be well written, informative and at least 300 words. Sprinkle in the best key search words/phrases from your research and you’re well on your way to SEO ranking heaven.
Step 6 – Imagery
Be sure to include your key word/phrases in the alt tags of your images. Alt tags are text that shows up before an image loads, seen usually when internet speeds are slow. But Google also uses them for SEO rankings as they add contextual meaning to pages.
Step 7 – Meta data
This is an important one as helps the search bots understand what your page is about. Page Title is a the blue link you see at the top search result, usually underlined. Its also in the tab at the top of a browser when the site is open. You have around 80 characters for this, prominently use your feature key word or phrase here.
Meta Description provides a snippet of information about the page content. You also see this in the a search result, its the grey text under the link. Again only about 150 characters to work with so keep it short and sharp. Make sure it contains your feature key word or phrase.
My page has been optimised – now what?
If your website is already known to Google, your new page will be indexed the next time a search bot crawls the site. How often a search bot crawls the site depends on how often you add pages to your site or if you inform Google of the new page through an SEO plugin. Once indexed it will be added to the SERP list, usually a few pages from the front.
The X Factors – How fast will it rise to the top?
The X factor really boils down to competition and are the key phrases generic or specific? The answer to these questions are really the key to determining the speed of advancement up the SERP list.
Obviously the more businesses competing for the same key words the harder it is to rank high, especially if you are new to the search term. This can lead to longer advancement periods as Google generally sticks with older, proven web pages. But by making your page more interesting with more relatable content, you can make headway. We’ve seen sites take as long as 6 months for search results to make it to the first page in congested markets, so be prepared to play the long game.
Don’t be generic
Sometimes a more specific key phrase is the solution. The more specific the greater chance people who actually want to find you, will. Though total search numbers may be smaller, you may rank higher or even on the first page very quickly (within a few weeks). You may also find this will lead to greater conversion rates (users contacting you from the site) as its better targeted.
So… how long?
Well back to the original question, how long before you see SEO ranking improvement. The real answer is anywhere from a couple of weeks to quite a few months depending on the X factors above. Don’t be fooled by quick #1 on Google advertising, the reality is, to do it right takes time. But to give yourself the best chance of Google ranking success, steps 1 to 7 need to be implemented as thoroughly as possible.