Which Google ranking factors are most important to your SEO strategy?Read what our Top 8 Google ranking factors matter most and why.
According to Google's John Mueller, you should focus on “awesomeness.” But with over 1.8 billion websites online, how do you make awesomeness?
Top 8 Google Ranking Factors
The following rankings are in no particular order, the most influential Google ranking factors are:
- high-quality content
- mobile first
- page experience
- page speed
- On-page optimization
- Inner chain
- External link
- local ranking
1. Publish high-quality content
No one ever said "I don't need high-quality content on my website to rank", the quality of website and blog content still matters.Content is still king.
Your content needs to provide valuable information.Thanks to Google's Panda and Fred algorithm updates, creating pages with no real value may come back to haunt you.
like thisFlying Cat ZhilianPortal such pages.
Even big companies like eBay and Apple don't deserve the content crown.Streamlining content has hurt both brands in the past.
High-quality content is about creating pages, increasing time on the page, reducing bounce rates, and providing users with useful content.
Blog pages and guides like these are the type of high-quality content search engines that users want.
High-quality content pagesFace has to do more for today's SEO than just well-written, long-form.They must also consider the following factors to gain greater impact in the SERPs.
Understanding users' search intent is critical to creating pages that drive organic traffic.That's where RankBrain comes in. RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps Google understand the intent of search queries.How important is this? CoSchedule saw a 594% increase in traffic by adjusting its SEO content strategy to be more aligned with searcher intent.
Through competitor research and data mining, you can discover keywords that have average search volume but high CTR.How Chris Hornack, founder of the blog Hands, saw an 80% increase in traffic after doing keyword research.
So, as the industry continues to whisper about the downsides of keyword research, you need to identify your main keywords and put them into topics that work for your searchers.For example, a Google study found that mobile search queries like [Brand like] and [Store Like] have increased by 60% over the past two years.This study explains the need to adjust your keyword strategy for mobile consumers.
Today, it's best to convert keyword topics into topics.Think about synonyms, long-tail keywords, and keywords related to the topic or similar topics.That's what your target keywords use.
New content is nothing new.When Google first announced the news in 2011, it sparked confusion about what "new content" was, and what was that?How does freshness work with evergreen content?
For evergreen content, don't simply update the date every year.You have to get to the bottom of the content to see what needs to be updated.For example, if you create a list of tools, you can update each tool with screenshots, pricing, and additional information.
That's why it's a good idea to do a quarterly content review to see what's worth updating, and what else can redirect to a similar page.Before making any changes to your content, review your data to help you make more informed decisions.
2. Make your website mobile-first
Remember when the mobile version of your website was hosted at m.URL.com was the recommended thing to do?While it's not always bad for you, more and more sites are moving away from this mobile approach to building responsive sites.
Although Google has stated that they do not publicly support any single way of making mobile sites (whether responsive, dynamic, or individual URLs) when it comes to rankings, responsive sites are their recommended format.
3. Improve the page experience
Improve user experience
User-eXperience has an impact on SEO, as we saw with recent updates to Page Experience.If you don't think about user experience, your website will end up being metaphorical garbage.
In fact, 38% of people would stop engaging with a website if its content and layout were unattractive.
Website architecture is a relevant part of the user experience and has a major impact on SEO. Credo's John Doherty claims, "One of the biggest changes I can make is to fix their site architecture."
He went on to discuss a website where he switched the URL from a tag page to a subcategory page to link higher up in the site architecture.He was able to increase organic courses by 74% and pages per issue by 41%.
Not only does website architecture help users find what they want through better website navigation, but it also helps search engine crawlers find more pages on a website.
Core Web Vitals
As Google's John Mueller has pointed out, the point of a core website is more than just breaking the ice.This metric affects many other SEO-related factors.
For example, important information on the core website can affect your usability.If a searcher goes to a page and converts, your user experience, page speed, and content all affect conversion rates.
Essentially, Core Web Vitals were created to help you provide a better experience for your users.
Create a secure website (HTTPS)
Dr. Pete J. Meyers writes that 30% of Google's first page search results use HTTPS.
While not switching to HTTPS won't necessarily hurt your site, a few things have changed since Google first announced HTTPS as a ranking signal in 2014.
The ad experience launched in 2017 for Chrome users.
Chrome can remove all ads from your site if you violate the Better Ads Standard. Chrome can now affect website owners for publishing offensive ads.
4. Optimize your page speed
The slower your website loads, the more visitors and revenue you lose.For Amazon, just one second could shave $16 billion off its annual sales.British publication The Daily Telegraph found that a four-second delay reduced page views by 11.02%.
Why take the risk?
5. Take control of your on-page optimization
Closely related to on-page experience is on-page optimization, which handles the "behind the scenes" components of content and SEO.These aspects have been around for years and still have a significant impact on a site's visibility and SERP placement for targeted keyword topics.
This information includes your title tags and page descriptions—the information users see about your website in the SERPs.
Pattern markup is another "hidden" component of a website that tells search engines more about your content.Created in 2011, you can now include nearly 600 different types of information.
Patterns make it easier for search engines to identify basic information on a website.
Featured snippets, sometimes referred to as coveted position 0, are snippets of content pulled from page copy and served directly in search results.If you want to find a featured snippet, you need to understand RankBrain and the search intent behind the query you want to rank for the featured snippet.
Google Discover is an emerging content-related SEO factor.
Google Discover is like opening a Taco Bell combo box full of burritos because it has the potential to get more organic traffic than standard search results.
6. Internal Linking Structure
An internal linking structure helps users and search engines find pages better.
Corey Morris, Voltage's VP of Marketing, talked about prioritizing internal linking structures in five different areas:
- help users
- Manage link flow (e.g. once traffic reaches your site, where does it go)
- Build a roadmap around specific content topics
- Prioritize the indexing of specific pages
This means that your strategy for linking to different pages on your site should be user-centric first and foremost.You can then focus on how to drive traffic to a basic set of pages.
Consider how an internal linking structure can help users transition from sign-up to fulfillment of a request.
7. Get relevant authoritative links
Links will continue to be one of the leading SEO components if you want to rank well.
Ignore those who say you can be successful without inbound links (aka backlinks).While some sites absolutely can and absolutely do, it would be foolish not to adopt any effective link building strategy.
Since each industry is unique, each industry has a variety of link-building opportunities.
Google says that local rankings are broken down into three factors.
Relevance is related to how close a business is to a searcher's query.When it comes to local search relevancy, you can see search queries like "best coffee".Relevance is the lifeblood of Google's native algorithm.
Business listings like Google My business, Bing Places, etc. are associated with your NAP (name, address, phone number) and other key attributes related to your business.Filling out all the detailed business information in these directories is key to helping search engines better understand your business and its relevance to searchers.
Distance refers to the physical distance between your business and the searcher.The closer your business is to searchers, the more likely that location will appear in local map results.
That's the point of using "near me" for a search query.
Awareness is related to how popular your business is offline.Google tells us exactly what they want when it comes to measuring salience:
“Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business' local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.”
Key takeaway: EAT affects all ranking factors
EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) refers to expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, and features prominently in Google's search rater guidelines.
While EAT may not be a ranking factor, it will indirectly affect your rankings.This helps us understand where Google is committed to improving the quality of its search results.
EAT is used to assess the authenticity of your content, which in turn affects your rankings.Use it wisely.