Google and other experts have revealed a few key nuggets of information this past month that are of note. I wanted to bring these important items to your attention in this newsletter as they have a pretty big impact on organic placement and tactics you may use.
These nuggets are the importance of website speed and the decreasing impact of on-page optimization. Both are important topics that I've tried to address in easy to understand terms in this newsletter.
As there are lots of other important topics, that you may be interested in throughout the month, I encourage you to visit my blog "The Web Authority" where I post articles on Tuesdays and Thursdays. See you there!
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Google Wants the Fastest Web Pages to Rank the Highest
Google has a new team that is King for now, it is the Making the Web Fast Team headed by engineer Ilya Grigorik. You'll be hearing a lot about this new team in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
To understand how important this new thrust into page speed is for Google, I recommend watching Ilya's recent presentation on the topic. The bottom line is that Google is serious about website page speed, and has even come out point blank to say that PageSpeed (a new term coined by Google) is now part of their algorithm used to rack and stack websites in the organic results.
Google is so fixated on speed that they want you to be as well, and so as a result has set up a new tool where you can check your own PageSpeed online: http://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. Using this tool – the PageSpeed Insights Tool, Google will quickly spider your site as well as your mobile site and give you a score as well as tips on how to improve your site speed.
So just how important is PageSpeed to Google?
Well this is what Google says specifically, "Fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions." That means that Google feels that to keep its own search engine in the number one spot for users the sites that it returns in the organic results had better be FAST!
Okay, how fast is fast?
Google wants speeds of 2,000 milliseconds or less for page load time. If your page loads in about one second or less, Google should be happy with your site. If your site loads in over one second, I would recommend you start looking to drop images, compress image files, enable http caching, and strongly looking at ways to speed up your page load time.
Here are some great resources from Google to help you improve your PageSpeed.
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/ developer tools provided by Google
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/service a beta by invitation PageSpeed improvement service
http://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ pagespeed testing tool
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/psol page speed optimization libraries
On-Page Optimization Only Affects Organic Placement by 25%
Google has really mixed up and turned upside down how website owners now go about trying to get organic placement in this past year. It used to be that on page optimization was the first and foremost thing to do to improve placement on Google.com. Now SEO experts and "talking heads" in my industry say that on page optimization only impacts organic placement by a meager 25%.
So what are the big impacts that bump up organic placement on Google now?
- Shareable content that other blogs and users want to link to for more information.
- Resources that speak about you and your site as authorities and experts in your industry.
That's co-citation - an important new term.
- Social media chatter about your business and content.
- Followers that become advocates for you and your services through social engagement.
- Authority websites that link to your content.
With only a 25% impact coming from on-page optimization, is it worth the time and trouble to update your meta title and meta description tags? You bet! Although this is now a small part on what it takes to get ranking on Google.com, it is one of the easiest factors for you to update quickly and may give you the "bump" in placement you need to move above your competitors.
Sure the other 75% of factors are tough, really tough to impact, but with great content and being active in social media, you can work to engage others and start buzz that will directly impact placement on Google over time. Personally, I believe that having a great content strategy is the very first step.
In this strategy you'll want to look at the following:
1. Set a schedule for creation of shareable white papers to be done on a monthly basis. This gives your site something unique to push in social media and provides value to readers. I would not necessarily lock this new content down behind a gateway or pay wall, but rather allow it to be used freely and widely as long as links back to your site are maintained.
2. Set a schedule about how frequently you'll self-promote in your social updates. Typically we recommend one soft sell update a day out of five updates.
3. Make sure your blogger is focused on supplying content for your target audience. The days of pushing your service in each and every blog are long gone. Now you'll want to provide something of substance in your blog posts that others you want to have become customers will consider real value.
4. Monitor your progress. You won't know if what you are doing is working if you don't have a starting benchmark and check regularly (monthly) to see if what you are doing is impacting your organic placement.
5. Know that everything you do now should be to improve your user experience and not to cater to search engines. By putting your customer and/or prospect first and foremost in your new strategy, organic placement is sure to come over time.
If you need top level, but down to earth practical help with your content strategy, it all starts with our initial SEO evaluation. Take a few moments to find out if we may be a good match for your needs.