You have probably done some research to find out the most outstanding Google ranking factors. But, indeed, most lists out there are too long to be followed.
Today, however, we are going to focus our attention on only 9 Google ranking factors that we think are the best.
What Do Google Ranking Factors mean?
Before we dig deep down to shed light on 9 Google ranking factors, let’s know first what we mean by Google ranking factors.
Well, ranking factors are what Google takes into account when it comes to deciding the order of pages in organic research.
In other words, it is the process followed to make your website rank as high as possible in organic research. The latter is an unpaid result that is set by an algorithm. This can happen when taking into consideration some different characteristics and SEO metrics.
Nine Google Ranking Factors To Consider
Backlinks also have other names: “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one-way links”. They are considered to be the most essential ranking factor.
Simply, backlinks are responsible for linking your site to an external website. If you want search engines to consider your website, then bear in mind that these links are the key to achieving this.
Search engines look at backlinks as “votes” for a given page. Therefore, the more votes you have, the higher your site will rank. However, these links may either harm you or help you. If you want to boost your SEO, the backlinks should be related to what you do.
If you have to get quality links, you need first to make a list of potential websites that might link you. Make sure to find out sites that will have a positive impact on your site. Three different kinds can be found. There are Natural Links, Outreach Links, and Self-Created Links. To know more about how to build a link strategy, click here.
The freshness factor is one of the most crucial search engine algorithms that provide primacy to the recently published, updated, or rewritten content for some search queries.
It is an element that Google considers when deciding where to rank your content. For example, if you are looking for breaking news, you will find that those pages that have just posted content are the ones that rank first.
If you want to improve your ranking, start by following the below steps:
- Update Your Site Regularly
- Be Certain that Backlinks Are Related to Updated Sites
- Develop Your Dwell Time
- Increase Backlinks Over the Long-Term
Sometimes, though, you will find that some recommendations from last months or even years are still good recommendations today. That is why you may see some nine-year-old content can be as great as one published yesterday.
The importance of freshness may vary.
- If Freshness is Important
You need to stay active. You can frequently update the page or a new article about the topic.
- If Freshness Is Not Critical
Once you notice that ranking starts to decrease, you need to refresh and update your page regularly.
- If Freshness Is Less Important
Guide your attention to having a great guide on the topic.
3. Topical authority
Topical authority can help your site gain massive traffic. Google focuses on ranking pages from authoritative sources.
A topical authority is an SEO strategy. When your site contains content that highlights a specific area instead of concentrating on the whole topic, your website then becomes an authority for one or more topics. Try to search for “phoenix moving companies” for example, and see all the content people are writing about, to start with.
A topical authority is a ranking factor. This is plainly shown below:
- If you pay attention to Google’s search quality rater guidelines, you will find something called E-A-T. This symbolizes expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
- Focus on one specific topic if you want to have more internal links from pages about similar things. This will increase your authority.
- Quick tip
Try to focus your attention on a single area rather than writing about everything.
4. Search intent
Search intent, also user intent or audience intent is a term used to refer to the purpose behind an online search. Try searching for “Northern Mat“. You will discover that the intent of Mat is very varied.
You should know that Google does not rank similar content for every query. Instead, it provides users with results that align with search intent. For instance, someone who is looking for how to apply to a given university will find different results from the one who is searching for what to include while writing a personal statement.
Understanding the “four C’s of search intent” is the key to grasping how to optimize for a query.
Now let’s explore these four C’s.
- Content Style
Content style is highly important when it comes to search results. It can be either web pages or sometimes videos.
For instance, if you try the query “Tablet unboxing”, you will notice that it is impossible to rank a web page on the first page unless you create and optimize a video.
Content types are divided into four buckets: blog posts, products, categories, and landing pages.
- Content Format
Content format includes informational content. This contains tutorials, news articles, opinion pieces, etc.
- Content Angle
Content angle is thought to be the major selling point of the content. Remember, there is always a main angle in the search results.
5. Content Depth
Content depth plays a significant role in ranking effectiveness. To be exact, Google aims to rank the results that are useful for the query. In this sense, content depth is how comprehensive the coverage of a given content is within a piece of content.
You should not relate content depth with content length, as they are completely different from each other.
Content depth is about covering what is essential for the researcher and what they need to find.
Your content must meet readers’ needs and what they expect to find and read. If you want to rank for a certain query, you have to look for the top-ranking results to find out what is important for the searchers.
6. Page Speed
Page speed is the amount of time it takes and how fast the content on your page loads. You should be 100% that your site is fast and does not affect users negatively.
You may be wondering how fast it should be.
Well, in the year 2018, Google said that mobile pages present content to users in under three seconds, and the Time to First Byte (TTFB) has to be under 1.3 seconds.
The total size of a mobile web page is should be less than 500kb.
HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure offers users security and protects the transfer of data. It is responsible for data between browser and server.
Google will show a “Not secure” warning once you visit an unencrypted page.
- Quick tip
An SSL certificate will help you in making your site more secure. So, consider installing it soon.
Mobile-friendliness refers to how a website is designed and optimized on a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet.
Once Google moved to mobile-first indexing in July 2019, they added it as a ranking factor for desktop searches too.
If you want to know how mobile-friendly is your site, you need to check the “Mobile Usability” report found in Google Search Console.
9. User experience
A positive experience is an essential element that Google takes into account when ranking a given content.
In 2016, Google stated that pages with intrusive interstitial ads such as pop-ups would not rank highly as compared to the ones that provide a good experience for their users.
If you want to know what makes a good experience, let us read these suggestions from Google:
- Readable content
- An organized site
- Useful content
- Responsive design
- No intrusive ads
- Site that addresses users’ needs
You may find various Google ranking factors. But the above nine ones are the best that you should definitely not ignore.
Make sure to create the content that searchers are looking for, provide an excellent good user experience, and prove to Google that your content deserves to rank the results for the query.