Rank Higher: 4 Website Elements that Improve Search Results

For many businesses, getting your website to rank better is a major concern.  We focus a lot on showing our clients how to perform better in the search results by using SEO strategies, website content and social media.

These strategies work best when your website is constructed correctly and includes some additional elements that make it more secure and reduce load time.  Of course, these are elements that Google detects and if they are present, your website will rank higher. 

They are a part of a deeper SEO strategy but necessary to rank well with today’s Google search algorithm.

SSL: A Secure Site will Rank Better

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protects your sensitive information as it travels around the web.  Even if you don’t deal with sensitive information such as credit cards, a SSL protects both your website and those who visit it.  But if you do process payments, it is necessary for PCI compliance.

A SSL let’s users know that your site is safe, secure and that it can be trusted.  Google actually places a high value on SSLs for this reason.  Websites that have them rank better in searches than those that don’t.

Recently, Google began pointing out sites without SSLs by showing an exclamation mark (!) in a circle in the address window of browsers.  It’s a way to let warn users that this site may not be secure.

CDN Reduces Load Time

Depending on where a user is in proximity to your website’s server can impact the load time of your site.  It takes time for all of that data to travel from one point to another.  The longer the distance is between the two points, the longer the time will be for that data to make the journey.

So if your website is hosted in Columbus, Ohio and someone from London wants to access it, they will experience a slower load time than someone from New York.

This is an important consideration because Google’s search algorithm takes note of load times when it ranks websites in a search.  A website that loads quickly will get rank better.  A Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help with that.

The CDN technology stores static content such as stylesheets, javascripts and images on a network of servers across the globe.  Visitors are then redirected to the server nearest to them.  Because it is closer, the load time is reduced.

According to WPBeginner.com, websites using a CDN experience fewer crashes, load faster, provide an improved experience for visitors and experience better search rankings.

Google Rewards AMP Use

In October 2015, Google launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP) to help improve the performance of the mobile web.  It is a revamped version of HTML, the language used to create web pages.

SearchEngineWatch.com reports that the AMP HTML removes javascript and other elements that slow pages down on mobile.  Web developers essentially create an AMP version of the web page that mobile users see. 

The advantages to using AMP are two-fold:

  1. Load times are expected to be faster with AMP, something the Google algorithm detects;
  2. Pages with AMP will show higher in the search rankings.  The Google search algorithm rewards sites that are mobile-friendly with better rankings.  Using AMP, a Google product, should give pages an even higher boost.

Gzip Compression

Another way to improve your page load speed is by using Gzip compression.  Most people are familiar with .zip files that compress documents or images down to a smaller, more manageable size.  Gzip does the same thing for web files.

When a visitor accesses a website, the compressed Gzip file is sent to their web browser which automatically opens it and loads the original file.  Gzip files are compressed to about 30% of the file’s original size.  Thus it travels from the server to the user much faster.

As we’ve mentioned above, faster load times result in better search rankings by Google.  Thus enabling Gzip Compression will help your site rank better.

The Wrap

Ninety-five percent of all Americans use the internet to find the products or services they need.  Of those people, 91% only click on an entry that they see on the first page.  They never look at the results on the other pages.

So if you want to be found in online searches, you have to rank high on the first page.  Having a SSL and using a CDN, AMP and Gzip compression are vital for your overall SEO strategy to get your site ranked high.

If you have questions about how to get your website to rank better, call me at 513-237-5530.

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Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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