b'SMART OPERATIONSWhat You Need to Know About Google Ranking SignalsUnless you are interested in pouring money into the bottomless pitPeterofonlinesearchadvertising,youarehighlyadvisedtotakeeveryPelland measure possible to ensure that your website has the highest possibleorganic search ranking.My last column dealt with the im- ages, videos, links, META data, andOutbound links to authoritative the inherited penalty can be difficultportance of Googles mobile-first in- structured data. This is by far the sin- sites are also important but be cer- to overcome.dexingasacriticalrankingsignal gle most important ranking signal. tain not to overdo it. Check your out- Pagequalityissues.Yoursitethat helps to determine your web-Pages that load slowly, particu- boundlinksonaregularbasisto must present its full content on mo-sites organic search ranking. Organic larlyonmobiledevicesandin confirm that they are still valid. If biledevices,includingtext,titles,searchresultsarebaseduponthe Googles Chrome browser. your site links to a nearby business captions, and content that is not im-merits of a website and the associ-An SSL certificate and a site that that has subsequently lost its domain peded by ads. Spelling and grammarated skills of its webmaster. I men- usestheHTTPSprotocolandap- name,andthedomainnamehas issues can also penalize your site.tionedahandfulofadditional pears as secure in browsers are very been picked up by somebody who isDwell timemeasures the amountranking signals out of the 200 or so important. hosting spammy (or worse!) con- of time that a user spends on yourthat have been identified in recentLow-quality images. It is impor- tent, you will be penalized for linking site due to its useful content, whereyears, some based upon speculation tant that image size and resolution to that page. longertimeisbetterthanshorterand others based upon either Google be adequate for viewing on mobileAs much as links are important, times. A high bounce rate on yourannouncementsorinternalcorre- devices. Googlelikessitesthatgetalarge site can harm your ranking, to the ex-spondence.Missing ALT text. This issue is amount of direct traffic (where peo- tent that it is based upon content.One thing is certain: 92% of online also mission-critical for your site to pleknowandtypeinthedomain Websiteswithaprivacypagesearches today are performed using be ADA compliant. name.) It also likes high numbers of (and terms of service pages for e-the Google search engine. Unless you Missingpagetitles.Thetitles repeatvisitorssinceeachofthese commerce sites) are deemed moreare interested in pouring money into should be equivalent on all devices factors indicates a high-quality site. trustworthy.the bottomless pit of online search and unique to each page.If you are starting from scratchUser reviews, whether on Yelp oradvertising, you are highly advised toMissing META descriptions. As (perhaps rebranding a park that you a campground review website, aretake every measure possible to en- withthetitles,thedescriptions have just purchased), choose your particularlyvaluable,especiallysure that your website has the high- should be equivalent on all devices. new domain name wisely. Having an when they include links back to yourest possible organic search ranking. These generally provide the snippet important keyword in your domain site.Here is a list of some of the most of text that accompanies individual name is a plus, particularly if it is theGoogle likes pages with videoimportantGooglerankingsignals search results. first word within the domain name. content,particularlyembeddedthat can either help or hinder yourServer uptime is a very impor-On the same token, it is highly YouTube videos; however, any videosites search engine ranking: tant ranking signal. advantageous to include one or more content must be presented in a for- As I mentioned in my last col-A hacked site that is not quickly keywords in your pages title tags, mat that is supported by mobile de-umn, Google is fully implementing recovered will likely be delisted. description tags, and H1 (headline) vices, should not require a user toits mobile-first indexing in March.Links are important, including tags, particularly if the most impor- scrolltoofardownthepage,andIfyoursiteisnotmobile-friendly incominglinksfromauthoritative tant keyword is the first wordof each shouldnotbeexcessivelyslowto(preferablyusingtheresponsive sitesandinternallinksfromone tag. Your most important keyword(s) load.framework),itisatriskofbeing pageofyoursitetoanother. That should also appear in any H2 or H3Avoid SEO tricks that are oftendropped.Googlewantstoseethe said, any broken links will hurt your tags and within the first 100 words of employed by the people who offersamecontentonyourwebsitere- sitesreputationbecausetheyare text on a page. your first place position on Google.gardless of the device with which it is seen as a sign of neglect (not only byFrequently updated content is Things like keyword stuffing, door-being viewed. This includes text, im- Google but by your users.) an indication of a more useful site, way pages, meta tag spamming, theand the use of a sitemap (an XML excessive use of reciprocal links, linksfile,notamapofyourpark!) file from totally unrelated websites, andhelps to point search engine robots outbound links to affiliate sites canto that content. all backfire. Make your who is information Ifallofthissoundsmind-bog-public, not private (and in the process gling, this is a good reason why youavoid paying an additional annual need to trust the services of a reliablefee to your domain registrar.) Having and competent webmaster and host-nothing to hide is advantageous. ing services provider. If your site has The age of your domain is a fac- been penalized but you have sincetor, where a newly registered domain resolved the problem, your webmas-name is at a disadvantage to a do- ter can file a reconsideration requestmain name that has been actively with Google, a complex and techni-registered for several years. New do- cal process.mains typically find themselves in It is far better to avoid problemsthe Google sandbox for a period of rightfromthestart.Abraham time. If you purchase an existing do- Lincoln is credited with saying thatmain, be careful. If the previous con- A man who represents himself, hastent had been at one time penalized, a fool for a client. Originally refer-encing attorneys, this advice couldequally apply to do-it-yourself web-masters today.PeterPellandistheCEOof Pelland Advertising, a company thathe founded in 1980 that has beenserving the family camping industryfor nearly 40 years. His company spe-cializes in building fully responsivewebsites, along with producing a fullrangeoffour-colorprocessprint advertising, for clients from coast tocoast.LearnmoreaboutPelland Advertising at https://pelland.com/or see their ad in this issue. WCM8 -May 2021Woodalls Campground Management'