If you’re an SEO professional, you’re bound to know the various ranking factors that Google considers to index sites. More than 200 factors contribute towards ranking a site on top of Google SERPs, and nobody knows them all.
Some ranking factors outweigh others in terms of rankings. So, while it’s not possible to know all the ranking factors that the search engine considers, you can still focus on the core metrics and improve your website rankings.
If you’re starting as an SEO specialist or looking to boost your content by yourself, some essential elements have to be fulfilled to rank high on the SERPs. We’ve compiled together this checklist of the basic SEO elements that Google considers to rank sites.
Most Essential Google Ranking Factors
Ask any two SEO professionals with considerable experience, and you’ll be surprised to find that both of them are driving results but with a different approach than the other. In the field of SEO, there’s no set formula for success. You can improve your rankings organically by tweaking the critical on-page and off-page factors. Yes, you don’t need to pay attention to all 200 ranking criteria of Google.
By just focussing on the main on-page and off-page elements, you can start to improve your site’s ranking soon enough. These factors are:
For those who have been in this field for some time now must’ve heard the phrase ‘content is king.’ Many industry experts would tell you that your only focus should be to create useful, relevant, and fresh content for your users as the most crucial ranking strategy. Regardless of how well your website is optimized, if your content is written poorly or is not helpful to users in any way, you’ll not rank high on Google SERP.
Right now, you must be wondering as to what constitutes high-quality content. For Google, high-quality content is all about the uniqueness, originality, and relevance to users.
Every time you’re creating content, ensure that it’s unique and not plagiarized from any other source on the internet. You should also look to churn out content regularly with the latest news and events surrounding your niche. Lastly, focus on keeping your content organized with proper headings and subheadings to improve its readability.
Search intent is another key aspect of your SEO strategy. Google outlined the importance of keeping the user’s search intent in mind while creating content with targeted keywords. The idea is to provide the user with relevant information based on the search query. You need to identify why the user is searching for a specific query to satisfy their needs with your content.
Once you identify why the user is searching for the specific keywords, your content should match their search intent. This could be either in the form of videos, infographics, listicles, etc. You need to provide the exact type of content that the user wants to digest.
Understanding your target audience’s search intent has benefits that go beyond ranking. When you know why and what your target audience is looking for, you can know the buyer’s journey and where they stand in terms of purchasing a product or service. Search intent will tell you whether they’re looking for basic information or if they want to compare similar products to make a purchasing decision.
With high-quality content, targeting the right set of keywords and including them in your site is vital for ranking your site on SERP.
Keywords are the search phrases or queries by which users access information online. Identify the relevant keywords for your niche and start including them in your site and content so that search engine crawlers index your site for those search phrases. It’s pertinent here to understand precisely which phrases your audience is searching for to optimize them on your website.
Ensure to include your primary keywords in the meta description, title tag, URL, and as the image alt text for Google to fetch whenever users type in your targeted phrases. Remember to use LSI keywords or the related phrases apart from your focus keywords and include them in your content as well for Google to easily understand what your content is about.
Most importantly, don’t do keyword stuffing or unnecessarily incorporate keywords throughout your content. Doing so will end up with Google penalizing your site.
Link building or backlinks are the most important off-page ranking factor considered by Google. Backlinking builds relevancy and trust in your content, something Google highly prefers in ranking sites.
Backlinking also helps you gain inbound organic traffic from other sources relevant to your niche. With incoming links from high authority websites that point towards your content, you can establish yourself as a trustworthy source and be ranked among the top 10 on Google SERP.
Page Load Speed
As part of its Core Web Vitals update in 2021, Google emphasized the need to improve the page speed of websites in order to rank them on SERP. Page speed refers to the responsiveness of your web page and how quickly the visuals and fonts load to be displayed to the user.
Page speed is a part of the overall user experience that your site offers to searchers. Thus, your web pages should completely load with all visual elements displayed to the user within 3-4 seconds after the user clicks on your site. Beyond this time window, there is a great chance that the visitor will leave your site due to poor user experience access information from your competitor’s site.
To improve page speed, you can use any of the various online tools that inform you of the page speed of your website pages and identify areas for improvement. Popular tools include Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Speed Test, MonsterInsights Site Speed Report, etc.
There are over 3.5 billion mobile phone users, with More than 70% of online searches globally made via mobile devices. Needless to say, Google considers mobile-friendliness as another critical ranking factor.
Due to the high number of mobile phone users who are searching for information every day from their hand-held devices, Google indexes and ranks the mobile version of your website for search phrases. Without making your website responsive to mobile phones, you can’t expect to rank high on the SERPs.
Domain authority is the next step in ensuring an SEO-friendly website. Domain authority is a Google ranking metric that dictates the ability of your site to rank on SERPs. It also establishes you as a trusted name in your niche.
The higher your domain authority is, the better your chances to rank favorably by Google. Improving your site authority can be done in a number of ways.
One way is to acquire quality backlinks for your site with niche relevancy, though a high number of backlinks don’t always guarantee higher rankings. The second way is to focus on creating high-quality content for your target audience to engage them.
You can check the domain authority of your web pages through online tools like Moz and MonsterInsights.
Site security is another important issue that you need to focus on. Google considers the safety of users and their data as a prime concern, so your site should have an HTTPS encryption and SSL certificate for SEO success.
These were some of the major ranking factors in Google’s algorithms that influences the indexing of sites online. Though there are a number of other elements in Google’s ranking algorithm, paying attention to these will surely see improvement on your website rankings with consistent efforts. As you gain experience in optimizing these vital factors, you can learn more about the other criteria measured by Google for ranking websites.
If you need SEO services or want to make your business visible to thousands of prospects online, contact SEO specialists at Brampton Web Design agency. We’ve gathered valuable experience by serving clients from diverse industries and bringing them online success and growth.