If you are the owner of a growing business, a webmaster managing dozens of websites, SEO specialist, or an aspiring SEO ninja who is keen to understand the priorities of an SEO, then this guide is for you.

Of course, this guide won’t take your website to the first page of Google rankings, but following the SEO requirements will make it easy for Googlebot and other search engines to crawl, index, understand and rank your website with time.

how to rank your website in 2018

Checklist, how to rank your website in 2018?

1- Ensure your website pages are in Google’s “index”

Google’s crawler identifies several of URLs on a daily basis by either by reading a website’s sitemap (list of your website pages that needs to be indexed), following links, and many other ways.

Considering Google search engine, it will store all your indexed web pages in its “index.”

Each indexed page will define the content and location (URL) of the website page.

Tips

There are many reasons why your website page may not be crawled by Google.  Therefore, I decided to share this video that explains examples of “Uncrawled URLs in search results” presented by the most experienced software engineer himself, Matt Cutts– who joined Google in January 2000.

Additionally, you can manually check whether your site is in Google by doing a site: search for your website’s home URL.

For example, if we search for “site:education.org” we get the following results.

                                                                                 Image source: Google search engine

Therefore, if you see results your website, means your pages are in the Google index and available to the online audiences.

Please note: You don’t have to submit your site to Google for crawling as Google is an automated search engine and explores the web constantly.

2- Create Sitemap

This is another method to ensure that website is reachable to Google. Googlebot also responds to a sitemap and crawls over the pages that are requested for.

A Sitemap is a file on your website that will help Google to understand the new, as well as, changed pages of your website.

Tips

You can alert Google about pages that you would not like to be crawled and the ones that you would not like to be crawled.

By creating a robots.txt file, you will indicate Google about the pages that you would “not like to be shown” in Google search result pages.

Google Search Console has a friendly robots.txt generator to help you create this file.

However, for sensitive information pages you would like to use a secured method (user password, or remove the page), a robots.txt file will surely instruct the crawlers that the text is not for them but it won’t prevent the server from delivering those pages to the browser that request them.

3- Allow Google to access your website

Google will crawl the content and pages that are easy to access and then perform optimal rendering and indexing of them.

The search engine’s crawler will expect to see the content as it would be displayed to your users.

Tips

Ensure your Javascript, CSS and image files used by your website are accessible to Google’s crawler. You can test your website content via Fetch as Google tool that will allow you see how Googlebot will see and render your content.

You also check and test your robots.txt file, using Google Console.

4- Focus on quality content

There are multiple black-hat website SEO techniques, which are been penalized by Google post the Google Penguin update. Googlebot makes page primary focus to users, and not for search engines.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool and Search Analytics Report is helping website owners understand what users are exactly looking for.

Tips

– Ensure easy-to-read text

-Create original content

– Use anchor link text (links to internal/external page)

– Set the value of “rel” attribute to “nofollow” for links that you would not like to be considered for rankings.

5- Focus on quality images

Adding a title and defining the file name for your website images will allow you perform one of the best image search engine optimization practices.

An “alt” attribute (text) for your image will add-on to SEO for your website and pages. Additionally, a user screen that cannot support the image will get an idea about what the image is all about.

Tips

– Use descriptive filenames

– Use alt text in your image link

– Use commonly supported formats (PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, and WebP image formats)

– Create Image sitemap

6- Manage your site hierarchy adjustment in Google search

Considering your website URLs and navigation of your website pages- Googlebot will prefer a unique URL per page or piece of content for crawling and indexing.

Google recommends websites owners to use https:// as a URL whenever possible.

Tips

– Use a keyword in URL

Adopt directory structure (easy for users to know where they are, and from where did they come from)

– Offer a custom 404 page (this will help you divert a user to a working page on your website)

Use Breadcrumb lists (a row of internal links offered to allow users to navigate back to the previous page, or the root page)

7- Mobile-friendliness

As of April 21st, 2015- Google has expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as one of the major ranking factors.

Statcounter latest report on the browser market share from January 2017- January 2018, Google Chrome is dominating with 50.88%, following with Safari (18.1%) and UC Browser (15.17%) as shown in the image below.


Tips

– Ensure same HTML code is sent to all devices that will make it easy for Googlebot to index the page

– Use Vary HTTP header to help Googlebot discover your mobile-optimized content quicker

– Provide a separate URL for mobile users

8- Use webmaster tools for SEO

Search engine optimization strategy is an ongoing process for improved ranking in search results. And, popular search engines, including Google, offer free tracking tools.

Google Search Console provides webmasters with tools that can allow them to analyze clicks of a Google search, alerts about critical errors and issues, and, whether Google can understand your content or not!

Tips

– Identify issues with titles, and description Meta tags

– Understand the search-terms used to reach a site

– Receive notification about Google quality Webmaster Guidelines

Summing up

Earlier SEO was limited to creating high-quality content, linking and sharing, however, considering the many factors in Google algorithm; I have covered the most important SEO priorities that you can implement in this New Year 2018.

Source used: Google Search