They don’t even have their listings claimed in various directories, yet there they are at the top of search results.
How can they get away with it? Surely, they’re using black hat tactics or buying a ton of links.
Don’t be quick to judge. There are over 200 factors Google takes into consideration in its algorithm to determine search results.
Keep reading to learn what the most important ones are and how you can position your website for the top of SERP results.
The Technical Side of SERP Analysis
Let’s start with the technical side of SEO to make sure your website’s foundation is solid. Believe it or not, your website’s design has a tremendous impact on search results.
There are two main components of the technical side of your website: responsiveness and page speed.
Responsiveness refers how your website responds to other devices such as phones and tablets.
Almost two-thirds of searches are done on mobile devices, and Google expects that your site will be mobile-friendly. If it’s not, your site won’t appear in search results at all.
The second component is site speed. Google considers websites that load under three seconds to be excellent and they will generally rank higher.
Google offers a couple of tools to test your site’s speed. The first is Page Insights, which will test your site’s speed on both mobile and desktop devices.
You’ll also get a detailed list as to how you can make improvements.
The second tool is a Mobile Speed Test. It runs a speed test on a standard 3G connection to simulate most mobile connections.
You’ll receive a report as to what improvements you can make to improve the speed of your website, but it won’t have the level of depth that Page Insights will have.
How Many Inbound Links do You Have?
How many backlinks does your website have? You should check the number of pages that have links to your website as part of your SERP analysis.
Backlinks are important because they send a signal to Google that your website has something valuable to offer.
That doesn’t mean that you should go out and get links from anyplace you can. That tactic worked in 2005, but Google has since caught on.
In on of its many updates, Google added a couple of layers to judging backlinks to figure out if they were spam or legitimate sites that found your content useful.
That means that you want to get links from other sites that are of high-quality.
Also, if you have multiple websites that link to each other, that won’t impress Google, either. Especially if they share the same server.
Domain Authority Rules
You already know that you can’t just go out and buy links. How do you find high-quality places to get links from?
Look at the domain authority (DA) score.
Domain authority is a measurement that was created by MOZ that measures how a site will rank in search engines. MOZ also gives a SPAM score, which predicts if a site will be penalized by search engines for low-quality backlinks.
These scores take other factors into account. Those factors are the age of the size, how popular it is, and how much content it has.
You can search for a site’s domain authority using the Moz Open Site Explorer tool. Use the tool to research sites that you would want a backlink from.
You can also do your research using SEM Rush, which looks at three metrics: Page Score, Trust Score, and Domain Score.
Once you find websites that are good for backlinks, reach out to those sites to see if you can write a guest post for them. You can also share articles with them to see if they will refer to your site.
It’s also important to have pages within your site to link to each other so they can create a hierarchy of content on your website.
For example, your most important page might be your services page. You’ll have content throughout your site that links to the services page, which tells search engines that is one of your most important pages.
In your SERP analysis, establish what the most important pages are. Then go to each page and see how your content links to each other.
You also want your links to be natural, meaning that your keyword cannot be the text that’s used in the link.
How Customers Respond to SERPS
Google is in the business of providing top-quality search results for its users. With that in mind, you need to provide information that’s relevant, a website that’s fast and mobile friendly.
The more people find a search result to be useful, the more likely they are to click on it. The higher the clickthrough rate for a search result, the higher it will appear in your SERP analysis.
The top search results have click-through rates between 30% and 10%. You can go into Google’s Search Console to see how your website compares. If you’re getting a click-through rate (CTR) that’s nowhere near 10%, there’s an area of opportunity for you to change that.
Look at the listings of the top search results. What are their titles and descriptions like? Are they engaging or is there a call to action?
How can you improve your titles and descriptions to make sure the keyword appears and to make it inviting for a reader?
Take your time with this exercise. When you think you have it right, change the title tags and descriptions. This can be done in HTML code or if you’re using WordPress, you can install a plugin that will change that for you.
That’s an easy way to start to improve your clickthrough percentage. As your CTR starts to climb, so will your search rankings.
Get Started with SERP Analysis
Now that you understand the main factors that go into Google’s search algorithm, it’s time to get started improving your SERPS.
The first step is to do a full SERP analysis to learn where your website stands against the competition and to see where improvements can be made.
At Parxavenue, we work with small businesses to help them develop sustainable SEO strategies that set them up for long-term success.
Contact us to start your web project today.