We all know that Google uses more than 200 factors to rank a site.
But the question is do you need to optimize all the 200 factors to rank well on search engines? Absolutely Not.
Google changes its ranking factors frequently and also updates their algorithm to combat spam.
There are a lot of posts out there which deals with all 200 factors but you do not need all of them.
Google revealed some of the factors which are very important and the ones that can help your site to rank better on search engines.
Now in this post, I share you the factors which can help you to rank well in search engine results.
Backlinks are hyperlinks which come from other websites to your website.
In the good olden days, people used to build backlinks aggressively in order to rank higher on search engines.
Over time, Google algorithm was able to figure out the sites that were trying to rank well with blackhat methods and penalized them.
Backlinks help to understand the reputation of the site and when they are linked from high authority sites they can help you to rank well on search engines in quick time.
If you Google a high competitive keyword and can get all the backlinks from the top 10 results you will find that all the sites which are ranking on the top 10 results must have high-quality backlinks from other influencers in the industry.
But why the influencer sites play a major role? It’s because of Link value which Google uses to find the quality of the link from which it is coming from.
A patent from Google also supports the statement,
This patent shows how Google generates Link Value based on linking webpage and destination webpage.
So if the linking website is authentic and from an influencer the link value score will be high which helps your webpage to rank well.
So the links which come from the authority sites holds more value but that does not mean that you should only try to get backlinks from authority sites only and close the door for all other sites.
Getting links from authority sites are hard so it’s always better to start with relevant websites which are easy to get a link.
Another patent from Google shows how they classify something as a low-quality site.
In order to classify a site as low-quality site, each of the incoming links to the site is analyzed and will pass through individual quality scores to find out the link value.
So if you have any backlinks which are from a very low-quality spam sites then you should disavow them from your webmaster’s account.
But if it’s from a legitimate site then you do not need to worry about it.
- Aim for high-quality backlinks by guest posting on other websites.
- Find your backlinks from Google webmaster tools and disavow the backlinks which come from spam sites.
- Do not disavow links coming from other relevant bloggers which have quality content but do not have high authority.
If you want to get traffic from Google then you need quality content.
Google Panda Update penalized all the low-quality articles and now for a majority of queries, you will get results that are extremely long and in-depth articles.
So focus on quality content and avoid blackhat methods to rank your articles.
Use semantically related keywords with natural language that can rank better than stuffing keywords.
- Focus on quality content that can solve a topic.
- Use references from other sites when you are trying to establish your point.
- Use semantic keywords and avoid keyword stuffing.
What Google wants is to show is the best possible content for the query.
A lot of case studies prove that longer content is dominating the SERP’s.
Content with more than 2000 words are the ones which are ranking on top 10 results and you should always focus on solving a problem completely instead of breaking the topic into multiple sub-topics.
If you can spend some time on Google you will find a majority of sites links to other sites when the topic is focused on a singular topic and extremely long in length.
- Focus on a single topic.
- Write in-depth articles.
Structured data helps search engine bots to identify the content of the website.
It becomes easier for the bot and the search engines can rank your site higher for specific keywords for which you are trying to rank.
Google webmasters revealed that they might consider structured data as a ranking factor in the next few years so that it will only show the relevant results to the users for a query which have different meanings.
Example: Jaguar can be an animal or a car.
- Check whether your theme is SEO friendly or not and mark structured data.
Visitors who use search engines don’t have the patience to wait for more than 4 seconds and abandon the site instantly.
A site which loads faster has fewer bounce rates and this will also help to increase the user experience which is a major ranking factor.
So if your site is slow then you must start focusing more on your site so that it can be loaded in less than 3 seconds.
Case studies from different websites prove that bounce rate will likely go high if your site speed is slow especially for e-commerce sites.
Speed is also a crucial ranking factor for mobile rankings and Google also agreed that it will affect your rankings.
- Keep your site as fast as possible.
Social shares from specific sites like Pinterest and Google plus will help you as they will be shown as backlinks in your Google webmaster tools.
Facebook and twitter links will not be shown in backlinks tab but this doesn’t mean that viral shares from Facebook and twitter are waste of time.
A case study done by Larry Kim shows that if the social engagement rate is high then you will rank well on search engines.
This also cuts blackhat ways to manipulate search engines from buying social shares because they will take an engagement as a metric but not shares alone.
- Use different social media sites like Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and twitter to increase user engagement.
CTR stands for clickthrough rate and the studies which are done by other SEO experts shows that for some queries they will help your page to move up in SERP’s. But it will not help to boost results for all queries.
The recent revelation from Google Webmaster also confirms that CTR is not a ranking factor anymore but the case studies prove that CTR is a ranking factor.
So if your CTR is low you can fix those things by changing your title and meta description of your blog post which can help you gain more clicks.
- Write headlines that are catchy.
- Use call to actions in your meta description.
Mobile Friendliness webpages
More than half of the web queries are from mobile searches. Google confirmed that mobile friendliness is a ranking factor.
So if your website is not mobile-friendly or if it takes time to load then your rankings will drop.
Google also announced that they are going to separate mobile index which means that you should make sure your website is optimized for mobile with responsive design and should load fast.
Further websites using Accelerated mobile pages also help you to increase user experience for those who want to load web pages instantly. So in the next few years, Google may use AMP as a signal.
Find out whether your page is mobile friendly or not.
Optimize your images so that they can load faster and you can use plugins like jetpack to enable mobile theme.
Once you enable jetpack mobile theme all the visitors who visits your page from mobile devices will get jetpack optimized mobile theme instead of your default mobile theme.
- Test your website whether it’s mobile friendly or not.
- Implement Google Amp on your website.
- Test your website is mobile friendly or not and optimize your website for mobile devices.
The recent patent from Google also shows that they want to know the user experience.
Based on the emotions of the user, they can change the results.
But this is not possible for every device and they do need to use all the sensors in the mobile and the camera to capture how the users are reacting to the result.
This shows how important is user satisfaction for Google and even though it may take some time they can use it in the near future to get better results for the user.
- Write for humans not for bots.
- Write content that connects your audience emotionally.
- Use exit popups to collect leads when a visitor is trying to leave your website.
- Implement a clear call to actions on your website with a clear layout.
Rankbrain is an artificial intelligence that was developed by Google to improve search results.
They also revealed that Rankbrain is the third most important ranking factor.
After testing, some of the SEO experts believe that Rankbrain collects some data so that they can filter the results.
This means that it will consider some factors like CTR, Dwell Time and pogo-sticking to filter queries and rank them accordingly but this was not confirmed by Google.
- Reduce your bounce rate and increase your CTR and Dwell time to stay ahead of your competitor.
If your blog is about multiple topics which are irrelevant then you might have to change your decision.
Search engines want to show the best content to the queries so most of the page 1 results are dominated by blogs that focus on a single topic and which are relevant to other posts.
Your content must be original and your blog must be relevant to the topic.
For example, for all SEO related queries, you will get the top 30 results from e-commerce sites and SEO blogs.
This is not just because of link building but also the relevant topics that are covered by the site.
Also, Wikipedia and Quora which are high authoritative sites also show on top 10 results because Google wants problem-solving content and both these sites aim to solve a problem with quality references which can help the visitor.
- Focus on a blog which deals with relevant topics.
- A niche blog performs well than a multi-topic site.
Google chrome has already declared that they are going to show a warning sign for all websites which do not have HTTPS.
Further, Google has announced that HTTPS is one of the ranking factors.
Some of the case studies also show that Google is leaning more towards HTTPS sites.
- Switch your site to HTTPS.
Link Anchor text
Anchor text is a text which is clickable.
The anchor text helps the search engine to understand the topic that was linked to.
Exact match anchor texts worked in the past but now Google started to penalize sites which were trying to take advantage of anchor texts.
So you must use semantically related words to avoid penalty from Google.
- Use diversified anchor texts to avoid penalty.
- Use co-citations and co-occurrences.
A page with rich content like videos or podcasts will rank much better than the content with only words.
If you have fewer backlinks then you can leverage this by adding videos or podcast to your site.
A lot of case studies on e-commerce sites show that people love to watch a video rather than text document which also lowered their website bounce rate and increased their dwell time.
- Use a video or podcast: Podcasts help to increase your returning visitors.
- Videos help your visitors to engage with your website thus by increasing sales and user experience.
On Page SEO factors
Keywords in Title 1
Title tags are the ones which are also called as H1 heading.
They will appear in SERP’s as your SEO titles unless you change it in your SEO plugin like Yoast. By default H1 and SEO titles are the same but with SEO plugins you can choose different ones.
These should not be longer than 60-70 characters.
Keywords in heading tag
Keywords in heading tags show relevancy and help to boost on page SEO.
You can use LSI keywords in other heading tags to avoid keyword stuffing which can penalize your site.
H1>H2>H3 >H4 – H1 is the most important tag that carries more weight and then comes the other headings.
Keywords in ALT text
The Alt text is used in images to tell search engines about the image.
Using ALT tags in images will help the search engines to identify what the image is all about and also improves the relevancy of the topic.
If your content is not updated for a long time then search engines will demote your site because other websites can provide a better solution for the query.
But in some cases, if you are able to generate authority backlinks then your rankings might not drop considerably.
Example – ‘The myths of Google ranking factors” – Search query result show result from moz which is published in 2014 and yet ranks on the first page even though there are other new posts.
Conclusion : These are the factors that Google takes into consideration while ranking a website.
The remaining ranking factors helps you in some cases but they are not the ones which can rank your page on the first page of google.