You’ve added the keywords and did all the research to figure out how to present your content on your website. But Google is still not ranking you! It takes a little more for Google to recognize your website as legitimate. Let’s get to the top 3 reasons you are not being ranked by Google.
One of Google’s top priorities is browsing safety. The detection of malware, which is any software or mobile application that is designed to cause harm to your computer, mobile device, software, or users, will cause your website to be flagged as unsafe and prompt Google to send users “back to safety”. Most of the time, website owners aren’t even aware that malware is present. But malware can exist in downloadable files, apps, or software that you used to create your site.
If malware is found, this directly influences your SEO in the form of the number of people that visit your site, bringing down your organic site traffic, your bounce rate, and the time people are spending on your site. Showing up as an “unsafe site” can also make users less likely to do business with you or visit your site again.
What’s the longest time you’ve ever waited for a site to load before you left the site? Would you believe that the majority of people leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time. But studies prove that even 2 seconds increase a site’s bounce rate. So the longer your page takes to load, the higher your bounce rate. If your site has a high bounce rate, this tells Google that users aren’t finding your content useful, so it drops you in the rankings. Not only this, your page load time has a huge impact on consumer sales.
The ideal time frame to load your page is under 1 second to 1.6 seconds. But that’s not the entire picture. Speed metrics include:
- How long it takes for the page to begin loading, or the Time to First Byte (TTFB)
- How long it takes for uses to see the first element of a page, or the First Contentful Paint (FCP-this could be an image or text)
- How long it takes to load the page fully, or Onload Time
Google also uses these 3 metrics, based on the actual speed of the page, interactivity, and stability:
- LCP-largest contentful paint. This is the main content loading time. This should be 2.5 seconds or less)
- FID- first input delay. This measures how long it takes until a user can interact with the page. Typically you want this speed to be less than 0.1 seconds (100 milliseconds)
- CLS- cumulative layout shift. This measures how often users experience a layout shift (i.e. when a page jumps up or down while a visitor is reading it due to another element loading). You want this time to also be 0.1 seconds or less
To find out how fast your website loads, go here.
3.SSL Certificate- Secure Sockets Layer
Remember, Google is all about safe browsing. So having a SSL certificate will automatically get you a higher priority over those that don’t. To Google (and probably the rest of us) HTTPS is an additional layer of security that has been placed to keep users safe from hackers, even if you are not requesting any personal information on your site.
*Important to note: SSL has evolved into TLS (Transport Layer Security). The reason for the name change is because back in 1995, SSL was developed by Netscape. In 1999, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) updated the security level and because Netscape was not involved in the process, the name was changed in order to signify a change in ownership. The SSL term has been kept throughout the years due to name recognition. If you see SSL/TLS encryption, know they are the same, but TLS is the “current” version.
Getting to the top of Google is no easy feat. Ensuring there is no malware on your site, your speed is acceptable in Google’s eyes, and keeping your website secure will help you get there.
For assistance with implementing any of these changes to your site, contact our Quartz and Clay team today.