Top 10 Google Ranking Factors and How To Optimize Them

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Have you ever wondered what were the most important factors that Google considered when ranking your site? And that made some websites rank higher than others?

Google’s ranking factors are as mysterious as they are conflicting.

One minute SEOs agree that social signals help you rank on Google, and the next minute someone is telling you that social media doesn’t make a difference to SEO.

So how do we decipher fact from fiction?

Ranking factors for Google is a hot topic. You can find thousands of opinions and articles on this subject. In this post, I’m going to sum up the things that I consider to be important while forgetting the peripheral ones. I believe there are only 10 main ranking factors.

Let’s get into it.

What are ranking factors?

These are the signals Google looks at before deciding on your website. If you don’t know them, then you’re not making the best out of your internet marketing plan, whether it is search engine optimization or pay per click.

Ranking factors are elements on your website that Google takes into consideration when considering your website for their organic rankings.

These include things like the speed of your site, meta tags, page load speed, content length, the number of links to your site, social media shares, SEO link building and beyond.

Think of ranking factors as the stuff you need to do to rank on Google’s first page.

So, here are the main possible Google ranking factors.

I say possible because Google never reveals what factors it takes into account for ranking a website, however we can still make our best assumption based on experiences and best practices.

Let’s see one by one.

1. Content quality is still more significant than any other ranking factor

Content Is The King. This is one of the well-known statement as far as SEO and content marketing is concerned. It might seem like just a slogan to many, but why don’t we try to understand what does it really mean?

Content is said to be the king because it’s not complete without substance. Content on your website can be written in various forms, such as blogs, reports, case studies, white papers, e-books and so on.

The quality of content plays an important role in ranking your website in Google.

No question about it, content quality is a very important ranking factor. Google is constantly testing its algorithm in order to provide the highest quality results to users, and this comes at a cost of time and effort for many SEOs.

In order to keep your rankings high, you need to deliver quality content via fresh material on a regular basis. This will mean dedicating some time and effort into writing original content for each piece of work you undertake.

Content quality isn’t strictly defined, but the best way to measure it is user engagement. Google uses user engagement as a ranking factor because it is a proxy for content quality.

It is possible to rank well with low-quality content, but this should not be your goal because if your content doesn’t engage users, you are not creating value for them.

It is important to write quality content, which should also be SEO-friendly.

Must read: How To Write an SEO-Friendly Blog Post for a Small Business

The 5 Characteristics of Great Content

  • Readable: Nothing is more essential than making text easy to grasp, which is mostly determined by whether the content is readable.
  • Engaging: In order to form relationships with your customers, your content must elicit the emotional connection that is required to generate engagement.
  • Consistent: Try to keep it coming consistent.
  • Findable: Make sure your important content is easily available on your website.
  • Translatable: Ensure that your writing is clear and readable to make translation as smooth and efficient as possible.

2. Backlinks of high quality are vital for SEO and are also considered as a ranking factor.

Building backlinks to your website is one of the most important things you can do to boost your search engine ranking. Quite simply, the more backlinks you have to your blog, the higher it’ll rank.

But finding high-quality backlink opportunities takes work (and more than a little of skill).

Moreover, backlinks are crucial in terms of search engine optimization.

In fact, they are the cornerstone. They appear when someone else mentions your site on their pages, or in a forum or comments section, or in a blog post or when they share a page from your website.

Backlinks add authority to your website and boost your search engine rankings.

How to earn quality backlinks?

  • Copy the finest backlinks from your competition.
  • Examine the mentions of your competition.
  • Infographics can help you build backlinks.
  • It’s a fantastic idea to use guest blogging to gain some backlinks.
  • Create a strong internal linking structure
  • Reach out to as many people as possible and promote your greatest material wherever you can.

3. Google RankBrain Algorithm

If you’ve been following search engine developments, you’ve probably heard about Google Rankbrain. This artificial intelligence (AI) system was introduced in July 2015 and is meant to help Google better understand the meaning behind a search query, in order to give users more relevant results.

Although Rankbrain doesn’t totally replace all traditional search algorithms, it does have a significant impact on organic ranking factors.

The ranking algorithm is made up of approximately 200 different ranking components, the functions of which are not completely specified in the Google algorithm.

RankBrain is the third most important indicator in determining Google search ranking, behind content and links.

Google’s Rankbrain has attempted to provide Google users with better results for searches. This meant that the overall search quality, based off organic keywords, has decreased. This has lead to better technology for rankbot creation and also better technology when it comes to overall SEO.

4. Google Freshness algorithm

The Google Freshness algorithm started a chain reaction in the SEO world. Some suggested that the update was targetting blog networks because many sites that were receiving high rankings took advantage of these networks to boost their search ranking.

Have you ever noticed that Google search results change all the time–even if you’re searching for a single item, like a hotel or a brand? That means that the websites listed in the search result keep changing as well. How does this happen? It has to do with a special algorithm called “Google Freshness.”

If you keep writing fresh blog posts for your website, you can have a lot of success to increase your website ranking in the search engines. If you want to improve your site ranking faster in major search engines, add new content to your site often.

The more information you add, the more often Google will check for changes and if there is a new article every week or two, this gives Google a reason to visit your page more frequently.

Updating your blog posts is important for both Google and your audience. You want to make sure that you keep your blog posts as fresh as possible.

This way you keep your audience coming back, and they stay engaged and interested in what you’re sharing.

It’s also important to update your blog posts to keep good SEO practices that will help you rank better in Google.

5. Mobile Friendliness of your website

Does your website fit in the palm of your hand? If not, then you just might be losing business to your competitors. Mobile friendliness is one of the most important considerations for ranking well in SERPs and making sure users enjoy your content.

With mobile use growing at such a high rate, it’s important to ensure that what we’re creating for search engines is also meeting our audience’s needs and expectations when they browse on their mobile devices.

Websites that aren’t mobile friendly look and perform miserable on Mobile. Thankfully, there is a new program by google, the Mobile-Friendly Test. This free tool is used to check your website and see if it’s mobile friendly or not.

6. Page speed of your website

Does your website load fast enough? Almost every website owner wishes their website loads quickly, especially on mobile devices. As mobile traffic continues to increase, slow websites are not appealing to visitors.

Having a slow website is one of the most common reasons to lose customers or even visitors. Google even gives preferential treatment to websites that are fast, and there are tools like Google PageSpeed Insights which will analyze your site, and tell if it’s fast enough.

Page speed is a very important Google ranking factor. It’s also one of the easiest on-page SEO factors to improve because it has such a large impact.

The main reason for this is that it’s such an easy fix. You can almost always decrease page load time, just by making small changes to your site files.

7. Core Web Vitals

Google is now using Core Web Vitals as a ranking factors, and it is playing an important role.

There are a few metrics that website owners and their marketers should be focusing on. These metrics can be used to determine the health of a website and provide early warnings of potential issues.

This ranking factor is intended to reward sites with good loading, interactivity, and visual stability as measured by the Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift metrics.

Previously announced as the May 2021 update, but postponed to mid-June with a full rollout in August 2021, this ranking factor is aimed to reward sites with good loading, interactivity, and visual stability as measured by the Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay & Commutative layout shift

Recommended read: What Is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) and How to Improve It for Better SEO

8. Schema markup of your website

Schema Markup is a not just a way to improve the visibility and ranking of your website and blog pages, but it can also help your customers. Although they might seem like a “small” detail, schema markup helps you with keyword usage and display of structured data in SERPs.

Schema markup is an often overlooked SEO technique. Schema markup helps search engines understand the content of your website pages.

This allows for better chances of ranking in the search engines, increases click-through rates through the search engine results pages (SERPs) and improves on-page experience on mobile devices.

If you want to build a strong online presence, adding schema markup on your new or existing WordPress site will make it more visible both in search results and sharing of content by other sites. Schema (search engine markup) is one of the many components of search ranking algorithms.

Top Benefits of Schema Markup

  • It aids in the better understanding of your site’s content by search engines.
  • With a full Knowledge Graph and Schema markup, you can improve your brand’s visibility.
  • It helps you get attention-grabbing rich results in SERP to increase CTR
  • Gain a CTA right in the Google Search Results
  • Position your site for voice search, Alexa, and Google Assistant

9. Branded Searches and Social Signals

Branded searches are an important factor when ranking in the organic SERPs. If you don’t know what branded searches are, they are queries where your business name or brand is mentioned in the search query itself.

If you haven’t heard of branded searches, you need to know how to leverage them. With so much competition online, it’s crucial for businesses to discover new channels to attract more traffic. One of the most effective ways to do this is with branded searches.

Social signals are a great way to measure the reach of your content and whether it is resonating with your target audience, especially when used along with other marketing tools such as social media monitoring. It can also tell you if something that you have said has been picked up by the media or bloggers in the industry.

Sites that combine brand power and social signals with efforts across all other SEO channels can achieve greater search visibility.

10. HTTPS

If you are launching your website or maybe your company is growing, you will probably feel the need to deploy HTTPS.

It’s a secure version of HTTP – a protocol for communicating over the internet – is now more important than ever. Google is always pushing for a secure connection – and switching your site to HTTPS can help you rank better – give you peace of mind – and even give you an extra ranking boost.

HTTPS is simply SSL (Secure Socket Layer) that provides end-to-end encryption. Here’s how to put that into simple terms: If your site loads over HTTPS instead of HTTP, it means that your data can’t be intercepted over the Internet. The information sent between your visitor and the website is secure

Final thoughts

In the search engine optimization field, the set of factors that Google uses to rank pages is collectively known as “Google ranking factors.”

While definitive rankings for how much a factor influences a page’s ranking have not been established, SEO experts have compiled a list of several hundred factors that Google uses to determine a page’s rank. The main focus of major search engines is to continuously examine and assess new sites, pages or any other information resource, including relevant external web-pages, according to their relevance to specific keywords. To accomplish this task most effectively, search engines use various ranking algorithms,

Which are based on mathematical processing and analysis of various sources.

If you need help with your SEO or overall digital marketing, then you can reach out to me here.

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