Dominating the search engine result pages is no small feat, and, like all small business owners, you can probably use all the help you can get to achieve that.
Well, you’re in luck because Google has some secrets up its sleeve that can help you climb the ranks and take your online presence to the next level!
In this article, we’ll be sharing 10 Google secrets that can help you dominate the SERPs and achieve digital success. From leveraging Google’s own SEO guides to using its cache feature, we’ve got you covered.
So, keep reading!
#1 – Google publishes its own SEO guides, and they’re not bad at all
Did you know that Google has released their very own SEO guides?
Yes, you read that right.
Even though some things at Google may seem hidden, they’ve made it their mission to provide helpful resources to help you succeed with SEO on their search engine.
So, what exactly do these guides cover?
They cover pretty much everything you need to know about succeeding with SEO. From the basics of creating content that users love to more advanced topics like optimising for mobile devices and using structured data, these guides have got you covered.
The best part?
These guides cater to all levels of skill and expertise. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s something for everyone. For example, they have a starter guide for those just starting out and a developer guide for those who want to dive deeper into the technical side of things.
Did you find those guides a bit lacking?
No problem; you can check our SEO guides instead!
- What Are Indexed Pages? Here’s The Answer!
- Search Engine Marketing 101
- The Complete SEO Off-Page Checklist
- 10 Tips To Improve SEO Of WordPress
- How To Rank Higher On Google Maps: 12 Tips
#2 – Google secrets: Google makes a helluva lot of updates every year
If you’re a seasoned marketer, you probably already know this. But if you’re just starting out, it may come as a surprise that Google makes hundreds of updates to its algorithms every single year. Those updates can range from simply removing spam or changing how ads are displayed on the SERPs (or search engine result pages) to radically changing essential rank factors.
So, why should you care about this?
Well, because these updates can have a massive impact on your website’s visibility in the SERPs. Imagine working so hard to rank your website on the first page of Google just for your pages to disappear into oblivion because of an algorithm update. Not a good feeling, right?
To stay ahead of these updates, you need to:
- Keep track of those updates by checking Search Engine Journal’s History of Google Algorithm Updates or the Google Search Central Blog
- Ensure that your website is agile and editable. This means building a website that can adapt to changes, making it easier for you to roll with the punches and set yourself up for digital success
And if all else fails, just blame the algorithm! (Kidding, kidding… maybe.)
#3- You can access any website’s cache using Google
When researching a competitor’s website, it can be a bummer to find that one of the pages you want to check is down. Worry not, though, as Google has your back with cached pages.
But first, why would you need to research a competitor’s website using Google?
Simply put, studying your competitor’s website is like getting a sneak peek into their playbook. It helps you understand their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. With this intel, you can make informed decisions, boost your own online presence, and maybe even steal the spotlight (don’t feel bad about it, your competitors would do the same in a heartbeat.).
So, why snoop around your competitor’s website using Google’s cache?
- Time travel: Cached pages are like digital time capsules, showing you what a site looked like in the past. That lets you observe changes in your competitor’s strategies over time
- Offline access: Seeing the dreaded “page not found” error when you’re trying to dig deeper into a competitor’s website is like finding that your favourite bakery is closed when you’re craving a cupcake. A webpage could be down for a plethora of reasons—technical glitches, site maintenance, or perhaps the content has vanished into the digital abyss. But fear not, because Google’s cache is here to save the day!
- Speedy browsing: Cached pages load faster than live ones, allowing you to zip through your competitor’s website like a caffeinated cheetah
- Content recovery: If you’ve accidentally deleted content from your own site or need inspiration from a competitor’s now-vanished page, cached versions can be your lifesaver
Okay, how do you access a site’s cache?
Well, all you have to do is use the cache: search command before a site’s URL. And voila! You can view the most recent version of the site within the cached copy. However, don’t expect to find a years-old draft (you can find that using archive.org). You’ll only be able to view the most recent version of the site that Google has saved.
#4- Google secrets: Google wants you to write content for humans, not bots
Search engines can quickly spot content that’s been written solely for them rather than for human readers. For example, if you overuse your keywords, copy content from other websites, or have poorly researched articles that lack credibility, Google will notice.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, just like us humans, search engines love content that is unique, credible, and compelling. That means you should aim to create content that not only satisfies the search engine algorithms but also engages and informs your audience.
To do that, check some of the valuable guides we published on our blog:
- What SEO Content Strategy Works in 2023
- Creating SEO Content That Ranks
- What Is An SEO Optimised Article?
#5 – A smooth user experience is a must if you want to dominate the SERPs
The user experience is often ignored by webmasters when they’re creating their websites – something that can wreak havoc on any site’s rankings.
If you want to create a successful website, you need to prioritise providing a smooth user experience. Period. That means making your website easy to navigate using:
- logical menus,
- clear page titles,
- and URLs that actually tell you what the page is all about.
For instance, instead of using confusing URLs like “www.example.com/123abc,” opt for descriptive URLs like “www.example.com/plumbing-services-London”. This makes it easier for both users and search engines to understand what the page is all about.
Additionally, including breadcrumb trails at the top of your pages can provide quick and easy access to other pages on your site. And you can also use them to throw in some relevant keywords.
Don’t know what those are?
Well, breadcrumb trails in SEO are like a handy roadmap that guides users through your website. They’re a series of clickable links, usually found near the top of a webpage, that shows the path a user has taken to reach the current page. Breadcrumb trails not only help users navigate your site more easily but also give search engines a better understanding of your site’s structure. Here’s what they look like:
Other measures that support easy navigation include:
- Using simple wording in your menus
- Ensuring your buttons stand out in a bold colour with a clear call to action
- Putting your navigation in a standard place so that it’s consistent across your pages
Those are just a few tips, of course. The list of things you can add to your website to improve UX goes on and on. For more details on them, check this guide we published a while ago.
#6 – Google knows when a user leaves a page, and that can affect rankings
Did you know that Google can track when users exit a page?
It’s known as the bounce rate. And if you’re struggling to boost email sign-ups, increase site search traffic, or get more leads, your bounce rate could be the root cause of your problem.
So, what is a bounce rate?
Simply put, it refers to the number of individuals who visit your landing page and leave without conducting any other interaction (such as clicking on a link, scrolling down, etc.). It’s an important metric because it allows you to understand your audience’s on-page behaviour.
And guess what?
Google has a clear record of this behaviour through Google Analytics. By tracking your bounce rate, you can get insights into how your landing page is performing.
Is it a ranking factor?
Well, the bounce rate doesn’t directly affect organic ranking. It’s not a direct ranking factor. BUT since the bounce rate reflects how other ranking factors, like page speed, design quality, and mobile optimisation, are handled, it can definitely reflect how well a page is going to perform SEO-wise.
What can you do about it?
If you’re experiencing high bounce rates and struggling to achieve your marketing goals, fret not, as there are several steps you can take to reduce this metric.
One of the most important steps is to ensure that your landing page is relevant and engaging to your target audience. This involves optimising your content and design to make it more appealing and useful to your visitors.
Other steps you can take include improving your website’s loading speed, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, and providing clear calls-to-action that guide your visitors towards your marketing goals.
As always, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about how to reduce your bounce rate, check this guide by WordStream.
#7 – Google secrets: Visuals are as important as written content
Did you know that visual content, such as videos and images, is becoming increasingly popular?
In fact, the average person spends 17 hours per week watching online videos in 2023, according to Statista.
But it’s not just about the content itself. It’s also about the behaviour that it drives. Visual content often triggers a deeper emotional response than words on a page. Furthermore, visuals are easy to digest, engaging, accessible, and more likely to be shared. That’s why video click-through rates on search results are 41% higher compared to plain-text content.
And it’s not just humans that love videos and images; search engines do too!
After all, when people spend more time on your web pages due to engaging visual content, search engines pick up on this and consider your content to be valuable. This, in turn, can boost your search engine ranking and help you reach a wider audience.
Although backlinks are usually regarded as the holy grail of SEO, internal links are equally as important, and that’s according to John Mueller himself.
Mueller responded to the following question, “If you have structured data for breadcrumbs set up, is internal linking still important for SEO?” with this:
Yes, as you can see, John Mueller made it clear that internal linking is not a ranking factor. However, it’s still an effective way to tell Google which pages are important on a website.
To better explain that, we can look at the structure of a traditional website, which resembles a pyramid.
The top of the pyramid contains general information about the site (usually on the homepage). And as you click through the layers of categories and subcategories, the topics become increasingly specific.
As a site grows, it becomes more difficult for important pages to be noticed and accessed amongst the abundance of content. That’s where strategic internal linking comes in. By thoughtfully linking to the most popular or important topics, Google and site visitors can quickly find what they need.
Mueller emphasised the importance of taking a strategic approach to internal linking. You should consider what you care about the most and how you can highlight it with your internal linking. Internal linking isn’t about tricking Google into thinking a web page is relevant; it’s about telling search engines which pages are most important.
For more information on internal linking, check our article Internal Links vs External Links: What’s The Difference?
#9 – You can reveal more about your competitors using these advanced search options
We all know about the standard search, images, maps, and shopping, but did you know there are advanced search options and functions that can help you take your competitor research game to the next level?
Let’s take a look at some of these game-changing tools:
First up, we have the ability to search for social media profiles by adding the “@” symbol before the business name. Because who needs a phonebook when you can just “@” your way to success?
Additionally, we have the power of the “#” symbol. By adding it at the start of your search, you can find specific content both online and across social media. This tool is perfect for business owners who want to see what other hashtags are trending alongside their own business hashtags.
Those are only examples, of course. You can find the complete list of Google Search operators here.
Besides helping you dig deeper into your competitors’ web properties, using these advanced search options can help you uncover a whole new world of potential keywords that you hadn’t even considered working into your content.
#10 – Google secrets: If you’re not familiar with E.A.T., you should be
No, we’re not talking about your lunch, but a concept that’s so important that it can make or break your website’s ranking on Google.
E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and it’s a set of standards that Google uses to assess the quality of websites. If your website fails to meet these benchmarks, you can kiss your spot on the first page of SERPs goodbye.
But what does E.A.T really mean?
It means that your website needs to have content that’s not only helpful to users but also written by experts with a proven track record. Furthermore, your website must have authoritative backlinks from reputable sources. For example, if you’re in the health niche, you can try getting backlinks from Mayo Clinic or Healthline.
This is especially important for websites in niches like health, finance, news, law, or government, where inaccurate information can be harmful to readers
Although E.A.T. is not a direct ranking factor, Google has made it clear that it will favour websites that follow those guidelines.
So, if you want to rank higher on Google, make sure you pay attention to E.A.T. It’s not a laughing matter but a serious concept that can make all the difference in your website’s organic traffic formula.
We can help you implement those Google secrets
The Google secrets and strategies we listed may seem simple in theory, but they can be challenging to implement in practice. Worry not, though, as we’re here to help. Just book a discovery call with us today. We’ll show you how we can implement the right strategies for your website.