Have you ever wondered how Google and other search engines rank a website? How do the search engines decide which website is worthy of the top spot?
Google considers over 200 factors and decides a website’s place in the ranking. Marketers must optimize websites to make sure they live up to Google’s standards. This article mentions some of the most important ranking factors.
Google is switching to a mobile-first index this year. This means the search engine will examine mobile versions of websites during the ranking process. It will index pages through a smartphone agent. If your mobile is optimized well for a mobile platform, it will rank higher.
Most people assume having a responsive website is enough to rank well in this category. That’s not accurate as you need to look at smaller components of your website, which include:
- Page load times and speed on mobile platforms.
- Readability of content on smaller screens.
- Size and optimization of image files on the website.
- Optimization of video files on the website.
Make sure all aspects of your site are suitable for the mobile platform to get a better ranking as just having a responsive website isn’t enough.
Length of The Content
Content is still the most important ranking factor, but did you know the length of the content matters during the ranking process? There’s a common belief that readers online have a short attention span and will read smaller articles more often.
That’s not the case. According to a study conducted by OkDork and BuzzSumo, long-form content ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 words are most shareable. These articles are also more likely to rank higher because articles on the first page of Google are 1,890 words long on average.
Image Source – arassocies.com
There was a time when most website URLs had no structure and they were just a jumbled mess with numbers or letters. URLs have developed much better structure since then, but most people don’t realize the URL structure impacts SEO ranking.
Ideally, the URL should be readable and match the title of the page as much as it can. You can include the primary keyword in the URL, which will make it easier for Google to find you.
You will also need a robots.txt file that provides your website information to search engine bots.
These two factors along with a good sitemap will make your website more accessible to Google and help it rank higher.
Most articles and website content available online have H-tags. These include H1, H2, and H3, etc. H1 is the title of the page, H2 is supporting text that follows the H1 tag. H3s are subtitles commonly found in listicles.
These tags are coded into the article page and give it structure. Google bots have an easier time scanning the material and readers find such content easier to read. If your content has these tags and bullet points, it also has a higher chance of showing up in Google’s Knowledge Graph box.
Schema Markup Code
Image Source – steemitimages.com
Google search is becoming very intuitive with machine learning and AI influences. The engine doesn’t just match keywords, but it looks at the intent of the search engine used to find the best results. That’s why websites with a good Schema code rank high.
The code presents important data like business addresses or phone numbers in an organized manner. Google likes Structured Data because it allows them to understand the information on the page better.
Domain Power and Relevance
Domain name isn’t as simple as finding something suitable for your brand. Google extracts a lot of information from the domain name and considers it an important ranking factor. The search engine will consider:
- The age of the name, which is considered but isn’t very important.
- Length of domain name registration. Longer registration terms show Google your website is more likely to be legitimate.
- Keyword in the domain name. If the key phrase is the first word, you will have an edge over the competition.
Exact match names rank higher than other alternatives. Name with .com rank higher in general search but names with local suffixes .uk or .au can rank higher in local searches in the relevant areas.
Security is a very important factor during the ranking process. Google will rank websites with security certification higher than regular HTTP websites.
This has also had an impact on user browsing behavior. People trust secure HTTPS websites more than HTTP sites because Google clearly marks HTTP sites as not secure.
Social shares can help boost your reputation and provide better visibility. But did you know it has an impact on search engine rankings as well?
While this might not be considered an “official” ranking factor, social signals can help improve your position on the SERP. High levels of visibility will also get you links from more authoritative sources like high-quality websites in your industry.
This is one ranking factor you can’t afford to ignore if you want to stay ahead of the competition.
Almost every experienced marketer and business owner understand the importance of user experience. It has a positive impact on website visitors and can help boost the conversion rate.
Google ranks websites that deliver good user experience high on the results pages. It judges the user experience through Rank Brain based on factors like:
- Click-Through Rates
- Bounce Rates
- Website Dwell Time
Good click-through rates, low bounce rates, and high dwell time show the search engine that your website offers a good user experience.
Good Quality Links
Most marketers focus on backlinks or inbound links, which is an important aspect of SEO and an impact ranking factor. Links from trustworthy websites will improve your reputation and earn Google’s trust.
But your content should also have outbound links to high-authority sources and internal links that connect content in the same subject category. A good balance of these three types of links will help improve rankings.
When you keep these ranking factors in mind, you can lead your SEO campaign in the right direction.
Justin Kemp is working as a Jr. content writer and blogger with Ranking By SEO. He can be seen blogging about digital marketing, SEO, SMO, PPC, etc.