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Analyze, Optimize, Rise with SEO

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We are so excited to introduce our first installment of our SEO/SEM Series by Tom Kasperski, AVALA, Inc.’s Director of Interactive Strategy. We will present some helpful tips and tricks to successfully inject SEO and SEM strategy into your marketing plan to help boost your SERP rankings. This first post is about the general guidelines Google follows in order to rank search results, and what it deems important. Read on to find out how to win with SEO.


AVALA recently evaluated the most popular traffic channels for 18 boat and RV manufacturer websites. Unsurprisingly, 57% of their traffic came from organic search over the past 12 months.

Netsertive, BIGresearch, and the eCommerce Foundation all report that between 79% and 88% of customers research online before visiting a store, and about half of all product searches begin on Google.

Direct Website Visits

Popularity might not get you far in life, but it sure does online. One of the best ways Google and Bing can determine whether you’re popular or not is by the number of visits you get directly– clicks from other sites, organic search clicks, bookmark clicks, or someone typing your URL into their browser.

Engaging Content

If your site isn’t engaging, Google won’t rank you high for competitive search queries.

Time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate are pretty good indicators of content quality and relevance.

Studies by SEMrush show there is a high correlation between these user engagement metrics and search engine rankings.

Making your site unique, helpful, and engaging will ultimately help you attain higher SERP rankings = more traffic and more sales.

Backlinks and Referring Domains

Google and Bing see every link to your site as a vote in favor of your site, especially if the site linking to you is reputable and relevant to your brand, products, or industry. Total referring domains, backlinks, referring IP’s, and followed backlinks are all indicators to search engines that your site is popular relative to a topic.

Content Length

Generally speaking, pages with longer, more in-depth content will rank higher than pages with thin content. Just make sure you don’t let content quality suffer when creating longer content pieces.

Website Security (HTTPS)

If your website isn’t already HTTPS/secure, you’re behind the times and your search rankings will suffer as a result. Call your web administrator today to get an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate for your site.

Page Speed

Users (and search engines) don’t like slow loading sites, particularly on mobile devices. It’s a good idea to run some webpage speed tests on your most important pages using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, or Pingdom’s Web Speed Test, and use their recommendations to fix any technical flaws.

Keyword Usage

Although not as important as the factors listed above, the inclusion of relevant keywords in link text, page titles, headline tags, and body copy still plays an influential role in page rankings.