It is important to know that Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. Some are extremely important to know while others are not so much important. In this article, we will focus on 20 important ranking factors you should know that we think will be beneficial to you.
The list below is not in any particular order.
- High Quality Backlinks
- Mobile Friendliness
- Include Videos in Your Content
- Google RankBrain
- Bounce Rate
- Optimized High Quality Content
- Internal Links
- Page Speed
- Image Optimization
- Google Search Console Integration
- User Experience
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
- Keyword in Domain
- Keyword in Title Tag
- Keyword in H1 Tag
- Keyword in Meta Description
- Duplicate Content
- Content Length
- Content Freshness
1. High Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are a very important factor that affects how you are ranked in Google and get traffic to your website. Links between webpages makes it possible for us to find related topics and to be able to gain knowledge of different content that is available to us. When you are networking with another website and your website links are being sent back and forth, you are telling Google that these are create valuable content that are helping people.
2. Mobile Friendliness
It is no doubt that a large number of searches are done using a smartphone. This is why Google has decided to make mobile friendliness a ranking factor. In short, websites that are optimized for mobile are ranked higher than those that are not. On July 1, 2019, Google enabled mobile-first indexing by default for all new websites. If you want to know if your website is mobile friendly, then you can do the mobile-friendly test.
3. Include Videos in Your Content
Including videos in your content is another important ranking factor. Yes your articles and blog posts maybe great as is but adding videos will even make it greater. You can create backlinks from your website to your YouTube channel. This will tell Google that you have valuable information so let’s move it up in rank. Creating video content and sharing it on your blog post, can make you rank in the top of Google.
4. Google RankBrain
Google RankBrain is the artificial machine within Google that scans all the websites on the web in order to find help for information for whoever is on Google searching for keywords. Google RankBrain looks at two (2) different factors in order to rank a website and content on the platform.
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – This is how many percentage people have clicked on your link when they find you on Google.
- Dwell Time – This is how many minutes or hours people are spending on your website.
5. Bounce Rate
Why many may not consider bounce rate an important factor, it is still a factor to consider. Bounce rate is simply the percentage of users that leave a website without actually taking any form of action. This could be filling out a form, making a purchase etc. When a visitor bounces from your website, then there is no conversion and this will decrease your conversion rate. Having a high bounce rate will indicate that either the user experience is not a good one, there are issues with the content that you provide, or they just didn’t find what they were looking for.
6. Optimized High Quality Content
To just write a generic blog post is not ideally the best way to get ranked high in Google. To write content that is really helpful to whatever targeted audience you have if key. Helpful information that goes in depth and is well put together is extremely important. With content like this Google will see that visitors are spending a lot of time on your website and therefore your website will be ranked higher. Try to optimize your content with great headlines and great meta descriptions.
7. Internal Links
It is good to know the difference between internal links and external links. Internal links point to other pages on the same website, while external links point to pages on other domains. Internal links help users to navigate around the website and they also help to pass value and authority from one page to another. Internal links are not as powerful as links from other websites, but they still help to add value.
8. Page Speed
Page speed is basically the time a webpage takes to load. Some of you maybe wondering why is page speed an important factor. Well, Google has stated in 2010 that page speed is not only important to site owners, but to all internet users. In other words, if you have a slow website, then it will affect your Google ranking. While they are many factors that could affect your page speed, it is always best practice to make sure that those factors are addressed for a better user experience. Let’s face it, the longer your page takes to load, the more visitors will leave your website.
9. Image Optimization
Images are important because they bring value to your content and make your website look more attractive. Most importantly, once your images are optimized, they help with page loading. By creating high quality images in the correct format, size and resolution, will increase user engagement. It is extremely necessary to ensure that you use alt tags.
While your visitors can look at an image and know what it is about, Google search engine spiders would still need to know how to index your image accurately. Also, try to use unique images on your website as far as possible. It’s more than likely that if you use stock images, someone else maybe using that same image on their website. If you do use stock images, ensure that you use a good description of the the image and caption.
10. Google Search Console Integration
It is a good idea to have your site verified with Google Webmaster Tools to help with indexing your website. Google Webmaster Tools can also help to identify issues with your website that needs fixing. The greatest part is that it is absolutely free of cost. One thing to note, is that, you do not need use Google Webmaster Tools for your website appear in Google’s search results, but it definitely helps to provide relevant information to help with any marketing efforts for your business.
Here are a few ways how Google Webmaster Tools monitors your website performance?
- It allows Google to access content on your website.
- It detects malware on your website that is not easily found under normal circumstances.
- It gives you an idea of what keywords your website shows up in when searched for
- It shows how many impressions your site gets.
Sitemaps are extremely important because they let Google and other search engines to discover the pages on your website. In addition, having a sitemap helps the search engine to index the pages on your website. With that said, in order for Google to crawl the important pages on your website, then you need a XML sitemap. An XML sitemap enables Google to find. and crawl these important pages and helps Google to understand the structure of your website.
12. User Experience
User experience also known as UX, can cover a variety of features of a website such as user engagement, ease of use and desirability, and this is why it is an important factor of your SEO. Having just a well coded website is not enough, you have to create a website that can easily attract visitors and in the end, turn them into customers. It’s all about creating a kind of atmosphere that engages users to always want to come back to your website and that’s what user experience is all about.
How is user experience connected to SEO? Well, Google is not just giving access to content that answer your questions when you search, they are collecting data to see how users are interacting with the content. Try to focus on monitoring, testing and leveraging best practices to position your website for the best user experience.
13. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
Security is a top priority for Google, so having a secured website will help with your SEO. If you visit a non-secure page, it will show a “Not Secured” warning by Google Chrome browser. However, https is still a lightweight where ranking is concerned for Google search engine.
14. Keyword in Domain
A keyword domain is just a domain that includes the keywords of your business, services or your products. Does having keywords in my domain name helps with SEO? The answer is yes! Though it doesn’t help to a great extent, it still does. Whenever a user searches for a keyword, it’s more than likely that they will click on the domain that includes the keyword. Let me give you an example. If a user searched for “web design”, that user would feel more inclined to click on a domain like webdesign.com or bestwebdesign.com, rather than a domain name that doesn’t have the keywords.
However, those types of domains are hardly being used these days. That’s because Google started noticing that a lot of spam websites were abusing the system with exact match domain names and it cause Google to update their algorithm. Though keywords play a vital role when it comes on to getting traffic to your website, if you do use keywords in your domain, use them moderately.
15. Keyword in Title Tag
Having your keyword in your title tag will increase your SEO ranking. Your title tag should contain your focus keyword for best results but try to avoid keyword over stuffing. Ensure to put to keyword as close to the beginning of your title so that users are able to see your keyword early, and they are able to see what your webpage has to offer.
When constructing your title tag, make sure that it is related to your content and it should always grab the attention of your readers. A good title tag title should consist of elements such as relevant keywords, good length and great readability.
16. Keyword in H1 Tag
What is an h1 tag? It is a HTML element that identifies a heading on a webpage. H1 tags have been a very important ranking factor and are the most notable content on any webpage. Though you can use multiple h1 tags on a webpage, it’s not recommended. Why? When you have multiple h1 tags on a webpage, the search engine will not know which one has your target keyword and therefore dilute the SEO value of a single h1 tag.
Try to limit your h1 tags to 20-70 characters in length, though this is not as important as back in the day. Though you want your h1 tag to be of a certain length, you want to avoid long h1 tags so that Google is able to display the whole thing in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). You don’t want Google to shorten your h1 tag by adding ellipsis at the end to shorten it. Bear in mind that the h1 tag is what gets displayed in the search results. If the information is getting cut off, then the users that are in your target market, will not be able to see the information relating to your business.
17. Keyword in Meta Description
A meta description is simply an HTML element that acts as a 160 character snippet or summary that describes a webpage. It is used by search engines to tell the user what the page is about. Though Google does not always use meta description as a apart of their algorithm, they still support them and use them as snippets in their search results.
18. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content as always been a controversial topic. Some may argue that duplicate content even if it’s slightly modified, can negatively affect your visibility on search engines, others say it will not. While it may be best to have original content, sometimes there will be instances where you will have duplicate content. You can agree that many blog sites on the internet have repost articles that have been published somewhere else. If you need more information about this, check out Google’s article on Avoid Creating Duplicate Content.
19. Content Length
Content length seems to be a topic that is always talked about. But does having a lengthy content means you will rank hire? I’m not saying that longer is not necessarily better, but it’s not what will get you ranking higher. The thing is anyone can write a 2000 words for an article. What you need to ask yourself, is if the content is relevant, is it informative and does it cover the focus topic? So if you are expecting to rank higher because of longer content, it doesn’t work that way. The point is that, writing long content does not mean you will rank higher. Instead, try to write better content since writing good content usually ends up being lengthy.
20. Content Freshness
We all want to boost our rankings on Google and other search engines but it’s extremely difficult for most of us to write fresh content everyday. The question is, what can we do to increase those rankings without trying to write new content everyday? Well you will be happy to know that you can update your existing content. This will take less time and less effort and will still get you good results.
Neil Patel gives some great reasons How Updating Your Old Content Can Help With Your Rankings. Updating your content can easily increase your search rankings. After your content is fresh again, you can start haring it again to the different social media platforms.
Just to summarize, I looked at 20 Important Ranking Factors You Should Know. Though we only touched on just a handful of the many ranking factors that Google uses in it’s algorithm, I hope it was beneficial to you. If there was any ranking factor in the list that was new to you, please leave a comment below. You can also check out my article on 10 Ways To Improve Your SEO Ranking.