10 Essential SEO Ranking Factors
Why is it important to understand the different SEO ranking factors? Well, the answer is simple, if you know the ranking factors you can optimise your site to rank better within Google & other search engines. If you are new to the SEO world, the first step is to know some of the essential Google ranking factors that can help your site rank higher within the Google Search result pages, also known as Google SERPs.
Google makes hundreds of adjustments to their algorithm every year and understanding these ranking factors can really help you go a long way. There are currently over 200 ranking factors in Google algorithm, below are the most important factors you need to know about.
Page speed and Mobile Responsive
Having a slow-loading website will hurt your SEO, page speed is one of the most important factors that Google uses when ranking websites. It has a big impact on your site SEO and your website ranking.
Google announced mobile first indexing on the 4th November 2016, since then page speed has become more crucial than ever. A websites mobile compatibility is now directly affecting the search rankings. All website owners now should prioritise their mobile version to offer a greater user experience.
Pro tips: Always upload smaller files for images, you can use tools such as TinyPNG to compress your images without compromising your image quality, If you have a WordPress website, you can use a plugin called Smush to optimise all your images within your website.
Content is king, the quality of content without a doubt, it is still a vital ranking factor. The content on your site must be original, unique and offer value and relevant information to the readers, content that has a higher word count seems to work best, this is all dependant on the niche, campaign size etc.
let’s see how Google defines “Quality Content” –
“- Each page on your site must serve a clear purpose. Is it to inform? Collect information? Provide directions or company details? It should be apparent at first glance, or your bounce rate will soar.”
“- The content must be original, well-written, and researched. We called this a ‘comprehensive’ piece of content.”
User experience & search intent
Google stated back in 2015 that the user experience is one of the main SEO ranking factors, since then the leading search engine has been updating its algorithms to ensure users are provided with the best possible results. We have seen a lot of recent Google updates geared towards offering more user-focused results such as the featured snippets and knowledge panel, this is to show how crucial UX has become to Google.
A secure and accessible website with https connection
What is HTTPs? HTTPs stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol Security, sites that have an SSL certificate activates the padlock and allow secure connections from a web server to a browser. A secure website can protect user’s connection by encrypting user information from being tracked or stolen during the files transfer on the internet.
A secure site with https connection has been a confirmed Google ranking factor since 2014. So, get your site switched to https as soon as possible if you have done so.
Another important ranking factor is your website is easily accessible to search engine crawlers as well as human visitors. Make sure you are not blocking the search engine crawlers and create a clean and well-structured site architecture for easy navigation will increase your site dwell time can help with the site ranking.
Remember the golden rule – “let your site visitors find what they want within 3 clicks.”
Having a https secure connection for your website not only increase your chances to rank better, but it’s also required for GDPR compliance within the EU regions.
Switching to a https secure connection is a must, if you haven’t done so, we advise you to do it as soon as possible. John Mueller has tweeted that it’s a “lightweight ranking factor” and “having https is great for users”. So, don’t delay, switch now.
Direct Website Traffic and Brand Reputation
Direct traffic is traffic that comes from searchers that know your brand and are typing your exact website URL or perhaps, click through to your website from a bookmark. Don’t underestimate the power of direct traffic as it can highly influence the top 10 positions within Google SERPs.
Direct traffic is a strong signal of brand awareness and trust by searchers as they visit your site regularly to find products, services or useful information. As Google put a lot of weight on E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthy), what would happen if Google sees your site is having a lot of direct traffic ( brand awareness), and searchers keep coming back to your site (Trust develop for user engagement) or link to your site as a reference?(Expertise)
Google will trust your site and it will favour your site; your site will then be presented high up within the Google SERPs to fulfil the searcher’s intents.
The page title’s tag is still the most prominent on-page element in 2019 and it forms a crucial part of your SEO strategy. You may ask why the title tags are so important? As this is not only the first thing that searchers will see it in the SERPs, but it also helps the search engines to understand what your page is about.
Title tag provides the first impression to many searchers have on your site. A properly optimised title tag can encourage visitors to click on your site and increase your site CTR. More CTR = More traffic to your site.
Are heading tags a ranking factor? Well, heading tags may not be the most vital ranking factors but heading tags are an important element of on-page SEO. It plays a main role in structuring content for both search engines and user experience (UX).
Heading tags are important for SEO as it tells the search engines as well as your site visitors what the content of your page is about. By utilising the heading tags such as H1, H2, H3…. on your page, you are helping your site rank better by making it easy for search engines to interpret your content and index it to rank accordingly.
Domain authority is a very important ranking factor, without a doubt. Advance Search engines like Google will only want to display the best possible and most relevant search results in the SERPs to answer the searcher’s queries.
Domain authority is determined by a few factors:
– Domain age: Older domains generally rank better than new domains
– Domain status: For a domain to be qualified to rank, it must be clean and free of Google penalties.
– Domain reputation: A domain with good incoming links also represents the quality of your domain, the quality of the backlinks will have a high impact on the authority of your domain.
Backlinks and internal linking
Links from trusted websites are crucial to your SEO. Many SEOs believe backlinks are still one of the most critical ranking factors. Over recent years, Google has updated its algorithm frequently to adjust to how the backlinks are accounted for – quality over quantity.
links that can have an impact and help your site ranking come from high authority and trusted websites with a “follow attribute”. It is also known as a “Do Follow Link”.
Internal linking is also important ranking factors. A well-planned internal linking structure can help in building topic relevance as well as assist both search engines and your site visitors to discover other relevant pages within your website. Other benefits of internal linking such as letting the link juice flow through to other pages on your site to boost up the URLs power.
What is technical SEO? Technical SEO is work that you have done on optimising your site for crawling and indexing from a search engine crawler. Technical SEO plays a crucial part in your SEO success, it gives search engines easy access to your site, to crawl and index your site more effectively.
A website structure, URLs canonicalisation, redirection, speed optimisation, schema mark-up, robots.txt and xml sitemaps etc are the technical part of the search engine optimisation. These technical tasks must be done correctly in order to have a fast, healthy and better-ranking website.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog post and find it useful. If you have any questions on how to optimise your site for better ranking, please get in touch on 01604 806020 or by sending us a message via our online contact form.
Having recently joined Bright Design after working as an SEO freelancer for the past 2 years, I am pleased to have been welcomed into a close-knit family who share the same vision.