5 Google Ranking Factors You Really Need to Know

5 Google Ranking Factors You Really Need to Know

SEO agencies don’t have access to all the ranking factors. Nevertheless, they plan SEO optimization based on what Google officially shares and implement proper mechanisms to reach the top 10. Even limited information is enough to lead to successful SEO actions. We recommend you to follow the SEO trends and Google updates as they may change once in a few months. This article discusses 5 google ranking factors that are crucial while setting up a website.

What are Google Ranking Factors?

Both Google ranking factors or SEO ranking factors lists are the most influential areas for positioning. These factors help evaluate your website, but they only apply to organic search results. Globally, there are over 200 factors that determine the performance of our website on the internet. Before we go any further, it is worth explaining that they divide into two main groups: off-site and on-site. So what does it mean, and how can they be distinguished?

Google ranking factors: off-site and on-site. What is the difference?

Both off-site and on-site factors are equally important for positioning. It’s good to understand them, what their functions are and, most importantly, how they differ from each other. On-site factors are related to the content, UX (user experience) and technical optimization. These are actions within the page. On the other hand, off-site factors, are external and dynamically build the website’s reputation and position in search results. Marketing specialists are familiar with them and use them daily. We guarantee that combining all factors and regular work brings the expected results very quickly.

Off-site SEO ranking factors are:

  • Google Maps profile,
  • backlinks,
  • guest blog posts with a visible link to our website.

Online SEO ranking factors are:

  • proper use of keywords,
  • quality content on the website,
  • using headline (H1-H6),
  • avoiding duplicates and URL cannibalization,
  • implementation of images in right format,
  • statistics of Bounce Rate and Time on Site.

5 Google Ranking Factors You Should not Ignore

1. Technical optimization (on-site)

Inaccurate technical optimization of the website can confuse a lot in the search results. As a single element, technical optimization will not guarantee better website visibility, but it may be the decisive factor in the case of rivalry with the competition. In addition, it is worth emphasizing that the correct optimization of the website guarantees its proper performance. So what to focus on in the context of technical analysis?

1.1 301 redirection (constant) – many domain variants exist: with HTTP or HTTPS prefix, with WWW or without it. More than one address of the domain creates duplication of the entire website on Google, and as a consequence, it leads to cannibalization and a lower position in search results.

1.2 Crawl Budget – refers to the number of pages Googlebot crawls and indexes on a website within a given timeframe. It is limited, so one session may not be enough for Googlebot to index the entire complex domain. To optimize the crawl budget, we try to navigate the Googlebot crawling track, limiting the possibility of indexing poor-quality pages, e.g., privacy policy, cookies, GDPR, login, cart, as well as filtering and search results. As an effect, there will be only valuable content in the search results.

The next step to optimizing the crawl budget is adding the “no follow” attribute to external links. This attribute makes external links invisible to Googlebot, so they will remain on our website instead of encountering external links. If you want to improve this process of crawling and indexation, it’s worth doing internal linking.

What are the following steps to minimize Crawl Budget?

  • index poor-quality pages from search results with a meta tag or X Robots Tag,
  • add “no follow” attribute to external links on your website,
  • create an internal linking network.

Heading optimization – headers organize your HTML content. They provide information to Googlebot about what your website consists of. Headers are one of the main Google ranking factors, so don’t underestimate them. What are the dos and don’ts of creating headlines?

  • Start with placing one main H1 header, which contains the main key phrase,
  • organize your content with H2-H6 headers, which also contain keywords,
  • expand your content with lower-level H2-H6 headers, which also contain keywords,
  • do not use styling elements such as navigation labels as header tags on the page. This is a common mistake that you should avoid.

1.4 Robots.txt

Make sure your page has a robots.txt file. As the name suggests, this file is targeted at Googlebot, which crawls the website. It defines which parts of the website Googlebot has access to and which are for positioning.

1.5 Sitemap

It’s an XML file that defines site’s structure and navigates the direction for the bots analyzing the page. In addition, the sitemap allows bots to reach URLs hidden in the website’s structure.

Microdata

For several years, Google has been moving towards displaying search results by creating featured snippet fields and implementing many display improvements such as Knowledge Graph or Answer Box. More advanced search results are displayed because of including the relevant schemaorg.com microdata that informs Google about its content.

2. Page Speed Optimization (on-site)

One of the most important Google ranking factors is page loading speed. A website that loads for too long may discourage users and as a result, they will leave. That’s why Google favors websites that load quickly, even with a slower internet speed. So, how to speed up the website? Google offers a solution: PageSpeed ​​Insights. It is a free tool that analyzes the website in terms of the speed of loading individual elements on the page, both in the mobile and desktop versions.

3. User Experience optimization (on-site)

The recent updates of the search engine algorithm made by Google are a decisive step towards a better user experience. In 2021, UX officially became one of Google’s ranking factors, so setting a website with the best possible user experience is extolled by Google. Search engines look for websites and content created for users’ experience, motivation and comfort.

Which aspects of UX are essential to follow?

  1. Take care of typography. Choose fonts that are easy and quick to read. Also, remember that their size cannot be too small (min.16px)
  2. Good contrast is essential for reading on a screen. Remember that users will be viewing content on different devices. Therefore, there must be adequate contrast between the text and the background, and the colors cannot be in a similar tone.
  3. When organizing clickable elements on a page, remember to keep gaps between them. Googlebot pays attention to whether buttons and other links are too close to each other. It’s crucial also from the users’ perspective, as it may be annoying when they click the wrong button because it’s hard to reach them right now.

3.1 Mobile First optimization (on-site)

Mobile-First and optimizing the website for mobile devices is now not only a recommendation but also a duty. The number of users who browse websites and make purchases in e-commerce on mobile devices is increasing each year. Therefore, ensure that your website fits phone screens and loads correctly on iPads and other mobile devices.

4. Content opitimization (on-site)

One of the most critical factors in Website positioning is the content – it’s quality and the principles on which it is created. The content often determines which key phrases are positioning our website. Will users find our website under these key phrases? How to create valuable content that will be able to rank us? There are a few things to keep in mind:

4.1 Catchy headers

A headline is a key crucial element in reaching. David Ogilvy, one of the most famous advertising creators, said that “80% of users read headlines only, that’s why we should take time on creating them”. We scan texts looking for key phrases and answers to bothering topics or questions, so we should make them highly visible as content creators. The headline must be short, concise, and catchy at the same time. Readers like titles formed “5 recipes”, “ways to” and “learn how” as they clearly show the topic of an article. It’s easier to catch a reader’s attention just with a suitable title. The more catchy headers you use, the better results you gain. Because as a result, the headlines, titles, and subheadings are the most influential in generating numbers in statistics. If you create know-how content, make sure that the tone of voice in your text is similar to an expert’s speech and readers will learn from it or at least find comprehensive answers to their questions.

4.2 Respond directly to users’ questions

Try to get straight to the point in your texts. Nobody likes bloviating, especially the person who focuses on finding certain information and solutions. When creating content, try to understand your readers’ motives – why did they visit your article or blog entry? What information are they collecting? If you respond fully to users’ needs for information, you are more likely to be placed higher in the search results. Potential clients will stay on the website longer and probably come back for more. Providing the essential information is the starting point for effective sales and brand development.

4.3 Content Formatting

When writing texts, we should focus on two crucial areas: quality content itself and creating the structure of a text that will be logical and clear. Well-written texts are easy to read and provide readers with reliable information. Long forms should be divided into thematic sections separated by headings with key phrases so that readers can navigate them easily while scanning the whole text. However, do not forget to optimize the content for the search engine and SEO ranking factors. Otherwise, it may be invisible on the internet and completely ineffective for your website. For this purpose, place HTML tags and structure texts with the hierarchy of headings and their meaning for search engines. However, the most crucial header is the title at the top of the page for the reader. Googlebot sees our text starting with the H1 tag, not the title. Next, it’s good to include lower rank headings – H2, H3 – formatting the content into sections.

5. Link profile and commands (off-site)

What about off-page Google ranking factors? The most popular one is external linking.

5.1 If the links to your website are on high-quality websites, blogs and industry portals (as long as they do not have the “nofollow” attribute set), your website will be ranked higher by Googlebot. Nevertheless, if your website link to low-quality spam pages and forums, the effect may be the opposite and your position in search engine results may fall. Therefore, control which pages contain links to your website or store.

5.2 One of the mandatory things in off-site activities is to set a Google Map profile for your business, especially if you run a company with a location in a particular city. Visibility on the Google Map with basic contact info, and the customer feedback section can significantly improve your positioning of your website.

5.3 Links shared on social media are not ranking factors as such, but they may have a positive impact on the positioning. For Googlebot, frequent visits to the website via social media channels means that the site is interesting for users and willingly visited.

Google Ranking Factors Summary

Google algorithms are constantly developing. Therefore, matching search results to user queries is more relevant with each Google update. However, as SEO agencies, we still do not know the exact number of ranking factors that affect the website’s positioning. Only Google knows them all. Nevertheless, from our experience, we observed that ranking factors such as technical analysis, mobile version of the website, original and comprehensive content, and external linking are still some of the essential elements for positioning.

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