4 Defining Characteristics of a Website Google Will Love
Search engine optimization (SEO) remains an obsession for many digital marketers, because it promises to improve your website and increase its exposure in Google. However, using the wrong tactics or prioritizing SEO over your human visitors is invariably counterproductive, instead harming your brand's image and decreasing your visibility in the search results.
As the search engine crawlers continue to evolve, traditional SEO becomes ever more meaningless. It's no longer just about keywords and link building, and responsible, sustainable SEO has never been about trying to manipulate the search engine results in your favor. It is about providing an excellent user experience and ensuring that the search engines can easily read and navigate your website.
Following are four of the defining characteristics of any website that should rank highly in Google:
1 - Relevant Content
Realizing that people don't want to be bombarded with things like results for dodgy online pharmacies when they're searching for weight loss tips, Google prioritizes relevancy and quality in its organic search results. If you're trying to target supposedly high-value keywords that aren't directly related to your content, you'll succeed only in getting your website penalized.
As a digital marketer, your priority should be to publish website content that is relevant to what people are searching for. While you might succeed in getting a temporary boost in traffic by using black-hat SEO methods, your bounce rate will skyrocket and, eventually, you'll get your website removed from the search indexes entirely. Instead, you need a targeted audience and content that is relevant to them.
2 - No Duplicate Content
In an effort to stamp out plagiarism as well as provide useful results, Google avoids displaying the same content in search results. However, duplicate content is, on occasion, a necessity. For example, your e-commerce store might include product descriptions or specifications copied from the manufacturer's website, or it might feature printer-friendly copies of certain pages.
Unique content is essential for getting your website to rank, but there are ways to deal with duplicate content that you require. For example, you can tell the search engines to ignore webpages containing duplicate content by listing their full URLs in the robots.txt file stored in the root directory of your Web server. However, contrary to popular belief, duplicate content will not hurt your website's overall ranking.
3 - Excellent User Experience
If your website isn't easy to navigate for your human visitors, then the relatively simple-minded search engine robots certainly won't have an optimal experience with it either. User experience should be considered a key priority, particularly if you plan to sell products through an e-commerce store or provide any kind of a sign-up function. People and search engines treasure simplicity and ease of use.
In the last few years, mobile Internet usage has skyrocketed as well, making it crucial for businesses to take mobile users into account when planning their websites. A recent Google algorithm update was introduced to prioritize mobile-friendly websites, such as those using responsive themes, on mobile searches. No longer can marketers avoid to ignore the mobile experience.
4 - Organic Backlinks
If you're thinking of hiring an SEO company, you'll want to stay clear of any that require you to place a link to them on your website. Such aggressive link-building schemes rely on plastering links all over the Internet in the hope that, the more backlinks they have, the more visibility they will receive in Google. In reality, the opposite is true.
As the search engines get smarter, the line between SEO and user experience gets ever blurrier. By creating compelling content presented in the form of an easily navigable, mobile-friendly user interface, your website will largely market itself. However, you'll also want to make sure your site has clean, error-free code and an XML sitemap to help assist the search robots with navigation.