Search engine optimization (SEO) can make the difference between success and failure for your company’s website. When someone does a search in Google, you want to make sure that your company is there first. Being higher on the search engine results page generally means more clicks, and more clicks means more potential leads for your business.
So, when your important rankings suddenly drop off, it can be mystifying — there one day, gone the next. On the other hand, climbing higher on the search results page can potentially change the fortunes of your business. Let’s look at some of the factors that affect your site’s SEO, and what causes your search engine rankings to move up and down.
How Does Google Rank Sites for Organic Search?
How does Google decide that one website should be ranked higher than another? It all comes down to their search engine algorithm. The algorithm takes hundreds of factors into account, to try and give the user the best options in order from first to worst.
The tricky part of working within the algorithm is that nobody knows exactly how different search engine factors are weighted. To try and avoid manipulation, it’s a closely-guarded secret. In the end, Google wants its search engine users to get good quality results and have a good experience so that they keep coming back.
What Determines Your Organic Ranking?
Even though we don’t know the exact inner-workings of the algorithm, 20+ years of search engine experience has given us some good intel. Many suggest that there are hundreds of search engine factors that determine your organic ranking.
However, since it’s usually impractical to focus on getting hundreds of miniscule factors right, most SEO practitioners direct their time and energy towards some of the factors which play the biggest role in determining your search engine rankings. Those include:
- Links to your site from other websites. Good quality links from other sites are seen as almost a vote of confidence in your site. A link passes authority from one site to the next, and as your site acquires more and more backlinks, it builds up authority of its own, helping it to outrank competitors.
- Website Content! The actual written material on your website can make a huge difference in your search engine rankings. You want it to target the searchers need, contain the type of information that your searcher is looking for, and ultimately, compel them to take action rather than bouncing back to the search engine results page.
- Meta Data. Generally, you want your website’s pages to closely match what people are searching for. Adjusting specific elements in the structure of your website, including title tags and URLs can give you a lot better of a chance of showing up when people are searching for the keywords you are targeting.
- There are many other factors that can help or hinder your site’s ability to rank. These may include things like site structure, domain history, SSL/HTTPS, site speed, bounce rate, and many more.
Factors that Can Shift Your Search Engine Ranking
Chances are, there’s probably dozens of ways to potentially improve the SEO on your website and climb higher on the keywords that matter for your company. On the other hand, if you’re already dominating the search results, what might cause you to move down?
It could be any number of things. For one, Google is constantly updating and refreshing their algorithm: taking new factors into account, and placing more or less emphasis on certain factors. If your site is vulnerable to these changes, that can definitely affect your ranking for certain keywords.
Another big influence can be what other people are doing with their website. Competition is a huge factor, and you’ll find that the most lucrative keywords will tend to have the most competitive environment. If your competition improves, they can slide up and overtake you. That’s why monitoring your rankings over time is important.
SEO Help in Ottawa
If your rankings are tanking, you can count on us to help you out with our Ottawa SEO services. We see organic search engine optimization as a vital part of your overall digital marketing strategy and will take the time to understand your business and objectives before we dig in. Contact us to get started today!