I often get asked if there are SEO secrets to doing good or great SEO and ranking quickly. Many people view SEO as voodoo or magic, but in reality, most SEO strategies boil down to 4 basic elements for increasing Google traffic; user experience, crawl ability, being contextually relevant, and having enough authority (proof of contextual value) to prove that your website should rank above others in the search results. Let’s quickly explore these “secrets of SEO” that will help your website earn rankings quickly.
Google SEO Secret 1: User Experience
Our approach to Google SEO and increasing traffic starts with the website experience. This includes the website’s usability, design, and brand consistency.
When determining if a website meets the value that users and Google expects, we use a set of questions that span across the following categories.
- Marketing Integration
- Content Value
- Brand and Image Consistency
- Cross-Device Compatibility
You can see the full list along with the question in our website quality evaluation checklist.
Google SEO Secret 2: Crawlability
Website crawl-ability and making a website searchable goes beyond making sure Google can “crawl” the website. Understanding how a website’s users (including Google) are navigating a website is key to building an information architecture. Building the information architecture in a way that mirrors their thought processes will help both user types discover information on a website.
Google SEO Secret 3: Contextual Relevancy
Ensuring a website is contextually relevant for both user and search engines is one of the Google SEO secrets to ranking quickly and increasing Google traffic. Being contextually relevant is rooted in two primary data points.
First, does the website have a piece of content that satisfies the searcher’s intent?
There are many theories, some backed by data, that show Google uses user metrics such as bounce rate, click through rate, time on site, etc. when determining the relevancy of a piece of content to the searcher’s query.
If your website is trying to rank quickly for a specific topic, and yet there is not a piece of high-value content that addresses that topic, the probability of showing up in the Google search results is small.
To find these gaps in content and rankings there is a strategy called a Gap Analysis that is used by SEO strategists. This strategy takes an inventory of current content and keyword targets and then compares them to the keywords and topics the website is trying to rank for – which gives you the gap between expectations and reality.
Second, is that piece of content optimized for both users and search engines?
There are many on-page elements that go into optimizing a piece of content for the search engines – such as title tags, keyword placement, using multiple content types, topic modeling, etc. (you can read more here about basics of onsite SEO).
When optimizing for your website visitors there are a couple additional areas focused on.
What this means is if the user scans your content (which the majority of readers will do), is the answer they are searching for easily findable within the page they landed on. In other words, does the piece of content use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to define sections based on sub-topics?
Ensuring that your piece of content explores the topic fully across many relevant sub-topics, and doesn’t only provide a thin/generic answer, will help with discovery and perceived value.
Google SEO Secret 4: Being Authoritative By Earning Links
If your website has a great user experience, is designed well, can be crawled, and contains contextually relevant content, then the last part is building authority.
Authority is built by earning links, or what some refer to as votes, for your website and is one of the quickest ways to rank quickly in Google. This is accomplished by creating great content that provides so much value that other high-authority websites reference it.
The ability for a piece of content to earn natural links that positively contribute to a website’s link graph is directly proportional to that contents value. In other words, the more valuable the piece of content is, the easier it will be to earn high-value links and increase Google traffic. Conversely, the less valuable a piece of content is, the harder it will be to earn links.
So are their secrets to ranking in Google and increasing your Google traffic? That’s for you to decide. But, what I choose to believe is there’s not a one-size-fits-all, or quick-and-easy way to rank fast in Google. SEO secrets boil down to creating great content that will naturally earn authority and that is optimized for both users and search engines, and wrapping that content in an experience and quality website design that fosters engagement.
So if you invest the time in the above “secrets” then you’re giving your website the best chance and potential to skyrocket to the top positions in the Google search results.