When consumers require an answer, a product, or a service, where do they turn? They go online. They use Google, and 95% of them don't look beyond the first page of results.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an $80 billion market for this reason. The method of aligning a website with Google's ranking factors is known as SEO.
As a part of SEO, You conduct extensive keyword research and generate amazing content that performs admirably. You feel like you're on top of the world as you ride the waves of SERP development. Then, the next day, there's a Google algorithm update... and your rankings have plummeted.
Whether an algorithm update rocks or destroys your world, it's an unavoidable fact of life. So it's time to confront the reality and adjust to the changes.
And that's why you need the Google ranking factors that help search engines determine which pages are eligible to rank on the first page or top of the Google SERPs.
What are Ranking Factors?
The criteria used by Google (and other search engines) when evaluating pages to determine the best order of relevant results to return for a search query are known as ranking factors.
Understanding ranking factors is essential for SEO success. They should be recognizable to all marketers, content writers, and SEO strategists; not because they're the be-all and end-all of SEO (they're not), but because they help create a better user experience.
Types of Google Ranking Factors
There are various ranking factors that differ based on the search type. In addition to these, there are over 200 other ranking signals that Google uses to determine a page's relevance and authority.
Most SEOs divide these ranking factors into three types:
- Off-page ranking factors: These are criteria that Google considers outside of your site and mostly include backlinks.
- On-page ranking factors: These are mostly concerned with your sites' keywords and informational quality.
- Technical ranking factors: These are also measured on your site, but they focus on the overall performance of the site rather than specific pages.
Let's find each of these ranking factors in detail.
- Keywords in H1 & Title Tags
It's critical to inject keywords into certain areas on your page, such as the title and header tags, once you've determined the phrases you want to rank for. These tags help search engines figure out what the page is about and index it effectively.
The H1 tag identifies the topic of your material. As a result, include your term in the H1 tag. However, some SEO experts believe that repeating the same sentence in your H1 and meta title is a sign of keyword stuffing.
- Use Keywords in Meta Description
The meta description briefly explains your page that appears below the search engine result pages (SERPs). If users are looking for information about a certain topic, it's important to provide context, so they don't have to guess what you're selling.
For maximum SEO benefit, use keywords in your meta description and make sure it's long enough to capture the attention of potential web visitors accurately.
The relevancy of your website to the query is perhaps an important ranking factor. The query is the search term the user entered into the search bar to generate the SERP.
Keywords are the words and phrases that make up this query. If you want to rank higher on Google, you'll need to conduct keyword research to determine what your ideal audience is looking for and create high-quality content that gives them the exact answers they're looking for when they conduct those searches.
- Quality Content
What does quality content mean?
Quality content means that the content is captivating, easy to read, accurate, practical, and relevant to the keyword it's aiming for. But don't try to rank your page by stuffing it with the relevant term. You will be penalized by Google as a result of keyword stuffing.
Google pays significant attention to content quality. You can't anticipate higher ranks if your content isn't valuable, no matter how well-optimized your website is.
It's also worth noting that even the most evergreen content loses its relevance over time. As a result, in addition to creating new content, you should also be updating old pages with new information and keywords.
This is a key to getting a higher freshness score.
Furthermore, if your content is a copied one, it may negatively influence your SEO. For instance, your page may not be indexed or ranked by Google.
Google may even slow down the crawling of your website if you publish duplicate content regularly.
So, when you're writing content, make sure it's unique and superior to the information on other websites that rank for the same search phrase.
- Image Alt Text
If you've ever used Google Images to look for something, you're probably aware that images have an SEO component. Every image on your website has alt-text, which is also known as an alt-tag.
Now, there are certain benefits of using alt-text in Google images.
- If your image doesn't load, the alt-text will be displayed instead.
- It helps search engines comprehend the image and properly index it.
- URL Structure
A URL may be short, but the structure affects your search engine rating. A messy URL with many mixed characters makes it difficult for search engines to understand what the page is about.
A URL that follows a simple structure, is brief, and includes the target term on the other hand, is an SEO-friendly URL. The visibility of a page may be harmed by excessively long URLs. In reality, short URLs have more advantages in Google's search results.
- Content Length
Content length is one of the most debated topics in SEO. Some argue for a word count of 2000 words minimum. That shouldn't be the case, but it's critical to publish long-form content only when necessary to cover the complete topic.
Using Scalenut AI writer, you can determine the suggested content length.
It's also a good idea to look at what your competitors have because this can be a sign of good content. If all of your competitors have 2000-4000 words and you just have 200, you are unlikely to rank higher for that phrase.
- Page Speed
Page speed is another factor that can harm SEO. Sluggish websites often rank lower than their faster counterparts. There are a lot of problems that can occur concerning page speed, but it's been said that if the content and other elements prevent the site from loading in under 3 seconds, Google could penalize you for very slight gains.
Your bounce rate will rise, and your ranking will fall if your pages take too long to load. You can use GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your site for SEO improvements.
In recent years, Google has been focusing on making its search results more mobile-friendly. This means that the primary focus of Google's algorithm will be on rankings and not just organic traffic.
Even if your site's desktop version is faultless, your search engine rating could suffer significantly if it isn't optimized for mobile.
That being said, you still want your website to look great on all devices.
If your site isn't optimized for mobile-first indexing, it would lack the traffic from smartphone users. The best way to optimize your site for mobile users is through responsive design. Make sure that everything from your design elements to your content is easy to read and understand on the phone.
Before you hit the publish button, most content management systems include built-in tools that allow you to do this. Alternatively, you can utilize a free mobile usability testing tool like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to get similar results.
- Core Web Vitals
As part of the page experience change in 2021, Google added a new ranking factor called Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals are a way to measure a user's interaction with your website.
This includes things like how long it takes users to load your pages, how many errors they encounter, and whether they interact with your site's content. Here are the three important factors of core web vitals:
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): The time it takes for a page's visible elements to load.
- FID (First Input Delay): The amount of time it takes for your page to register the first click or tap.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): Whether there are any unexpected movements or popups.
- Domain Authority
Domain authority is one of the most important ranking factors on Google. It measures how well your website ranks compared to other similar websites.
The Domain Authority score is a search engine ranking score indicating how successful a website is in search engine results. Moz, a software development firm, developed it, and it provides an overview of expected search engine performance.
When more trustworthy sites link to yours and your content ranks well, it indicates that you should be trusted, which improves your rankings even higher, contributing to your DA (Domain Authority). In a nutshell, even if Google doesn't officially consider DA as ranking factor, you might want to focus on increasing your DA.
- Page Rank
Page Rank is another important ranking factor on Google. It measures how authoritative your website is relative to other websites.
The Page Rank score indicates how much trust you're likely to receive from Google viewers if they were looking for information about that topic.
This is how Google defines Page Rank - PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to roughly estimate how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.
- Quality Backlinks
After quality content, backlinking is the second most important ranking algorithm.
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are a vote of confidence for your website. Google adds up all of the votes and determines whether your website is deserving of a spot in the top ten rankings.
You can improve your chances of higher ranks by obtaining backlinks from high-authority websites. By obtaining these links, you're signaling to Google that your page is reliable because several websites have endorsed it.
The sites that link to you are examined based on several backlink factors to decide where your page will rank. When they have good content, sites with higher quality links to them get higher rankings.
Here are some of the backlink factors to consider:
- Age of linking domain.
- Number of referring domains.
- Number of referring pages.
- Anchor text of backlinks.
- Alt tag of image links.
- Links from .edu and .gov domains.
- Trust factor of linking page.
- Trust factor of linking domain.
- Links from competing domains.
- Bad links.
- Links from non-ads.
- Country TLD of referring domains.
- Domain authority.
- No-follow links.
- Diverse link profile.
- Linking page context.
- Presence of more follow links that sponsored or UGC.
- 301 or redirected backlinks.
- Link location in content.
- Links from relevant domains.
- Link from relevant web pages.
- Internal Links
Internal links are a form of backlink that go from your website to other pages on your website. They’re important because they suggest that the pages on your site are affiliated with each other and likely link to good content.
When you submit a web page for indexing, Google first looks at all internal links. This means that if you have many high-quality inbound links, Google is more likely to include your page in the index.
The better and more tightly knit your internal linking structure, the easier it is for search engines to find what they're looking for.
To accomplish this, you must know which pages you are linking to each time you create fresh content.
Creating topic clusters is a popular method for keeping your internal links organized. The concept is straightforward: you create content centered on a single "pillar" topic and keep your interlinking within that cluster.
- Search Intent
Search intent is another important Google ranking factor vital for connecting your user to the right content. Search engine optimization aims to make your website as visible as possible so that your users can find what they are looking for.
When creating a page, think about how the user will stumble upon it. They'll do so by searching for specific keywords or phrases.
Therefore, it's important to ensure your website content corresponds with the keyword phrases that people might be searching for.
- Website Structure
From a crawling and indexing standpoint, the architecture of your website is critical. It makes it simple for Google crawlers to find your website and its pages.
You can also start by establishing a sitemap in WordPress to improve the site's structure. A sitemap lists all the important pages that the search engine should be aware of.
It makes it easier for Google's crawler to explore your website, find new information, and index your pages.
Optimizing your WordPress robots.txt file is another approach to help Google index your website.
A robots.txt file directs Google bots to your website and informs them how to crawl and index it. It aids in identifying which pages search engine spiders should and should not crawl.
- Social Signal
Google considers social signals to be an important ranking factor. These signals come from your social media users' interactions with website content.
The collective shares, likes, and general social media visibility of a webpage are referred to as social signals by search engines. These activities add to a page's organic search ranking and are considered another citation type.
Q. Which one is better: quality or quantity of backlinks?
Ans: For most SEO, the quality of backlinks always outweighs the quantity of backlinks. A single high-quality backlink is more authoritative than various spammy or low-quality backlinks.
Q. What is the target of SEO?
Ans: Although the SEO method primarily focuses on organic links and search engine result positioning, it is frequently supplemented by more aggressive measures (such as paid search ads) and is frequently used in conjunction with traditional marketing initiatives.
Q. What is over-optimization in SEO?
Ans: Over-optimization is the excessive or obsessive modification of web page content and metadata to improve ranking within search engine results pages (SERPs). This can often involve unnatural keywords, hidden text, duplicate content, and too many backlinks.
Q. Is HTTPS a ranking factor?
Ans: Yes, HTTPS is a ranking factor. A website that uses https:// increases the site's trustworthiness and may result in increased click-through rates (CTRs).
Q. What is the #1 ranking factor on Google?
Ans: The #1 ranking factor on Google is generally high-quality content.
These were the most important Google ranking factors that you should use to rank higher above other pages for the same keywords or related keywords.
Remember to use all of these factors together in an overall SEO strategy and continue optimizing your website for improved organic search engine rankings.
By using Scalenut, you can create high-quality content that is a major ranking factor. Plus, you can also create heading tags and meta descriptions. Scalenut considers search intent to create highly relevant content for the users.
The best part is you can try Scalenut for free.