Category: SEO Rankings


Unless you are trying to rank a website for a business that operates purely online, or if it’s a business that competes on a national or international scale, the ability to rank your business website for local search terms is vitally important. If you are a local business and not focusing on SEO that helps you appear on page one of Google for local searches, then you are losing lots of customers to local business competitors who are.

There are several actions you can take which will ensure that your local business’s website can compete with, and ideally, outrank your competitors, provided they are done correctly.

Below we have 7 of the most important ranking factors which Google look for when assessing local websites in its search engine results. Many of these can be implemented quickly and easily, while some may take a bit more time and effort.

Google My Business: Normally abbreviated to ‘GMB‘ this is arguably the most important ranking factor that exists for local businesses. It is essentially set up to let Google know what your local business is about. You need to include the business category, your business address, highly relevant keywords in the title, and even having your opening hours is a plus.

Linking: With backlinks, it is important that you focus on the type and quality of the backlinks rather than simply trying to amass as many as possible. By all means, try for high numbers of links, but make them quality links. Link signals which are especially influential in local ranking are the anchor text used and the authority of the websites that the backlinks are coming from.

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The question, ‘What’s in a name?’ gets used in many contexts, but when we are discussing SEO, it normally refers to the domain name of a website. In particular, the biggest debate surrounds whether you should use one or more of your main keywords in your domain name.

Several years ago, the answer would have been a resounding ‘Yes’ because having an exact match keyword in a domain name carried a lot of weight in Google’s ranking algorithm. Where this caused a problem for Google was a plethora of websites, many of them spammy, springing up using exact match domains, getting a good ranking, but offering little else in terms of relative or quality content.

Google soon realised this was bringing the quality of their search results down, and so they acted. In 2012 their algorithm was altered so that the spammy sites we mentioned did not benefit from their keyword domain. This also impacted some sites that would be regarded as not spammy, and since then there has been some confusion about whether having a keyword or exact match domain helps or hinders.

There have been several case studies and lots of comprehensive SEO testing to establish whether keywords in domain names make any difference to ranking. Whilst there are some variances on the scale, it is generally agreed that it can be positive, but with several caveats.

The first of these is that the amount a keyword in a domain name will influence a website’s ranking is limited, especially when compared to other factors like backlinks. It could tip the balance if all other factors were equal compared to another website, but it is not going to jump you from the bottom to the top of page one on Google.

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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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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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There are certain comparisons that are made where the evidence provided by data, does not match what the majority of those with an opinion will tell you. A classic example is when people ask whether HTML or WordPress is better for SEO. Let us say from the outset that most of the empirical data and statistics indicate that neither HTML nor WordPress has an advantage over the other when it comes to SEO.

Now we must clarify what we mean by an advantage. What we are talking about here is whether sites built using WordPress, for example, will rank higher than a site built with HTML, when all other factors are equal. The fact of the matter is that Google doesn’t place any great emphasis on what a website is built from when it comes to ranking them.

To confirm this, do a random search on Google and click through to each of the top ten websites. For each one, if you then press CTRL+U on your keyboard the source code will appear. Using the find function in your browser type in ‘inc’. If the search finds that in the code it is a WordPress site, and if not then it could be either a HTML site or one built using another less popular Content Management System (CMS).

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