What Makes a Site Rank Well on Google?
That’s a million dollar question. Wait. Actually it’s billions of dollars and, with the onset of things like AI and machine learning, there’s a lot going on here. In fact, sometimes, Google might be hard-pressed to tell you the answers themselves. However, SEO professionals who have been doing this for a long time (insert “12 Year” humble brag here) are looking ar ranking factors in the hundreds. Yeah. Hundreds.
It would be easy for me to say, “ Yeah. Just have great content on your site, and you’ll have done the bulk of the work” and that’s somewhat true but it’s not the entire story. Any number of things can help a site to rank well (or poorly) and – while you can cover the bulk of it with a couple of actions – it’s those last percentage points that will raise you above your competitors, especially if they’re also paying attention to their own SEO.
So, how do you get your site to rank well on Google? Number 1: answer questions. Google is there to answer questions through the queries of its users. That’s its entire base. So, if you’re offering better answers than your competitors are, that’s the bulk of it. But what are the other things that can make a massive difference?
Things like having a website that loads quickly. Core web vitals that ensure a great user experience. You don’t want things that get cut off on the page. You don’t want things that move on the page while the page is loading. And, since everyone’s got a smartphone these days, the design has to be mobile-friendly so that it looks great and performs well on a small screen. Outside of that, you need to have an optimized sitemap that makes it easy for Google’s crawlbot to come through and know exactly what’s your on site and where it is, so they can prioritize what’s new (versus content they already know about) so it can be indexed properly. And you need a complex internal linking structure that joins your pages together into something that looks like a cohesive map. You need a page that’s related to another page to actually link, making it easier for a visitor to navigate your site. And remember, if we’re looking at key performance indicators of any website, time on site is a big one. Why is that? Well, it informs Google how visitors are using your website, including the duration of their stay, indicating if they’re having a good user experience and how close they are to closing down that funnel, converting from visitor to customer.
Why Should You Care?
You don’t own a website for the fun of owning a website. You’re there to make money by doing business, by selling cars, scheduling service appointments, selling parts. You’re there to remind people that your financing is easier than that offered by any of your competitors. In the end, it’s a business and all the marketing efforts need to point towards the end goal of conversion. If you have an SEO provider who isn’t focused on your bottom line, you might want to look for another SEO provider.
There are literally hundreds of ranking factors that influence how well a site performs on Google, and that list is constantly evolving. User experience. Site performance. Mobile-friendliness. Internal linking within your site. An optimized sitemap. These are just a handful of factors that an SEO professional should be focused on optimizing to assure Google that your site has the answer their users are looking for. And once those users are on your site, such optimizations will help to provide them with a better user experience, helping to generate more sales and service opportunities for your dealership.