The Blog


If you having been following developments in SEO, and in particular what direction Google has been heading in terms of determining the rankings of websites, you will have seen that ‘user experience’ has become one of the primary factors they apply.

For Google, it is no longer enough for a website just to have good information, it also needs to meet the needs of, and provide a better experience for, those who have searched, and then landed, on that website.

There are lots of complex solutions as to how a website might achieve these aims, however, there is one simple, and highly effective, method you can try, and that is to answer questions.

Questions, Questions, Questions

When we say answer questions, we mean the questions that get typed into Google’s search bar. When searching, what many people do is, instead of simply typing in a search like ‘dog training’, they will instead type ‘what is the best way to train my dog to stay?’, or ‘how can I train my dog to do tricks?’.

Within your niche or business sector, you will hopefully have ideas as to what questions your potential customers might ask on Google, and if you do, you are even closer to taking advantage of this.

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In recent times Google has been making a number of announcements about mobile-first indexing. It had planned to roll out mobile-first indexing for the entire worldwide web in September 2020 but at the time of writing that has now been postponed until March 2021.

No doubt it brought a collective sigh of relief for those who have no idea what mobile indexing is, and therefore no clue how to prepare for it. The other group who may be relieved are those who knew what to do but hadn’t bothered to take any action yet.

In truth, mobile-first indexing is nothing to be alarmed about, although if you have no idea what it is, it might serve us well if we explain it to you.

Why Is Mobile-First Indexing Happening?

As a business owner, It can’t have escaped your notice that more and more of your customers are interacting with your online properties via their mobile devices. By properties we mean not just your website, but your social media pages as well.

It has also not escaped Google’s notice either, but for them, the trend is not just with regards to people going online via their mobile devices, but them also searching whilst on their mobile devices too.

This has developed to the point whereby we have crossed the point there are now more searches carried out on Goggle via mobile devices than there are via desktop computers or laptops.

As such Google has determined that it needs to change how it presents search results to take account of this, and that change is called mobile-first indexing.

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As soon as they sense a drop in their ranking many business owners panic and think that they are on the slippery slope to page 5 of Google. Thankfully, in most cases the situation is temporary, and even if the drop is sustained, there will be an explanation for it.

What it will mean is carrying out some simple checks to determine why the ranking drop happened. Some of those checks will involve using SEO research tools so it might mean you need to employ an SEO consultant or agency to carry them out.

Here is a guide to 4 of those checks that can be made in order to find the culprit and reverse the drop.

#1 Is Your Website In Full Working Order?

It is astonishing that many business owners do not look in on their website on a regular basis, and so if anything happens to go wrong on it, they do not become aware of this until their rankings start going south.

There are some really basic things you need to check such as the expiry dates of your domain registration or your hosting. Yes, it does happen that a website disappears from rankings because the business owner forgot to renew their hosting service or their domain.

Also, check if your hosting company is having any problems or outages. While most hosting services will be up well over 99.5% of the time, it could be that 0.5% downtime that is the issue.

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The fact is that even if you know absolutely nothing about the SEO process, the means should be in place for you to be able to measure the success of any SEO campaign created for you. If not, then alarm bells should be ringing.

We will say from the outset if you ever come across an SEO agency or consultant, that does not give you any way to check what they’ve done is working, be very, very wary of working with them. After all, if they were that good, would they not be putting their results front and centre for you once their SEO campaign has been implemented.

Let us assume you have employed an SEO agency whose previous results and testimonials indicate they can get you results, how are those results going to manifest themselves, in terms of measuring success?

One way could be to micro-manage so that you check every single piece of data. However, for most business owners, especially those who value their time, that might be regarded as overkill.

By that we mean if you want to check hourly for how much traffic you are getting you can, but it is not necessary, or indeed useful. Checking data to that degree is not an effective use of your time, and in fact, even the SEO experts do not check data that often…well most of the sane ones do not.

There are basically three result areas that will give you a strong indication as to whether an SEO campaign is achieving its objectives, and they are rankings, traffic, and leads/sales.

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It is hardly surprising that many website owners who do their own SEO often feel like their head is spinning trying to keep up with Google’s ranking factors. Truth be told, many seasoned SEO experts often feel the same way.

Well, hopefully, we will not make you feel too dizzy as we highlight Google’s top 10 ranking factors for 2020.

#1 Content still rules as Google continues to reward websites that publish quality content over those that produce sub-standard content.

#2 Mobile over desktop is how the world has moved in terms of consuming online content and that is why Google now indexes mobile sites first. That means if your website is not mobile optimised its ranking is going to continually drop

#3 Page load speed has become more important due to mobile indexing and it means that websites that load quickly have a distinct advantage over clunky websites that take ages to load.

#4 Freshness is a ranking factor that many are blissfully unaware of, so their old, stagnant content does nothing for their ranking. If, instead, they updated it, and even included the present year, Google will look upon it a lot more favourably.

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