If you are wondering which factors have an impact on your site’s Google ranking, you’ve come to the right place. We will indicate the most important elements that Google crawlers take into account. Check what you should do to rank higher in the search results.
If you run your own blog, online store, or company website, you have probably heard more than once about SEO. This term refers to all practices that affect your website’s ranking in the search engine. It is thanks to them that potential customers or visitors will be able to reach your website by entering specific queries. That’s why it is worthwhile to take a closer look at what factors influence your website’s Google ranking.
Nowadays, creating a website when running your own business is as obvious as having paper business cards. No matter which industry you are in, what you sell, and what services you offer, the most important thing is that your company website is visible to users. Having a website doesn’t guarantee that you will win new customers at all. Quite often it happens that people who are not familiar with SEO focus strictly on the visual aspects of their websites or take a very economical approach to the topic. And there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are aware of SEO and the factors that have an impact on the site’s ranking.
Domain, Backlinks, or Content? What Are the Most Important SEO Ranking Factors?
There are at least 200 Google ranking factors that impact your site’s position in organic search results. However, Google doesn’t want us to discover all of them, so many SEO activities are based on experience and constant testing which optimized elements had a positive impact on keyword positions in the search results. Even the greatest SEO experts do not have access to this secret knowledge and rely on, among other things, the guidelines developed by Google, and most importantly on their own experience. It doesn’t change the fact that there are many well-known factors that may seem a bit overwhelming at first for someone who has never had anything to do with SEO. However, we will try to go through some of them and discuss them briefly. We divided them into three categories. The first refers to the initial activities related to the domain, the second to optimization on-page, and the third to the off-page process. Let’s begin!
Domain age. Generally, Google values domains that have existed for a long time. It doesn’t mean that the new one is a lost cause, however, it is recognized that domain age has a direct impact on the site’s position in the search results. Be aware that the expiration date is important as well. Registering a domain for a few years in advance will contribute to the website’s ranking.
History. In a nutshell, the good history of the domain (no spam, pornographic content in the past, etc.) is extremely important for Google robots. Keep that in mind when buying an existing domain. You can check your domain history, for example, with the Wayback Machine tool.
The domain name and TLD. If possible, include a keyword in your domain name. It’s good if done at the very beginning. In turn, TLD (top-level domain) should correspond to the country code top-level domain, e.g. in Poland – .pl, in Italy – .it.
WHOIS. Hiding information about the domain owner in WHOIS or a negative rating may lower your position in the search results.
2. On-Page Elements
Title tag. Remember to set correct title tags for each individual page. It is particularly important that they are unique, contain keywords with the greatest potential to increase web traffic, and have the appropriate length (around 50-60 characters).
Meta description. Similar to title tags, it is essential to use keywords strictly related to the content of a given page. What’s more, every page should have a unique meta description with a length of 140-160 characters.
Headings. Headings are extremely important as they indicate to users and Google crawlers which sections of your content are more or less relevant. Every page should contain at least one H1 heading and several H2 headings. Headings should contain natural keywords.
Content. Google loves high quality, valuable content that responds to users’ needs and expectations. Above all, your content must be unique, so both external (with other websites) and internal (within your website) duplication is forbidden and may result in Google penalties or ban. It is also important that your content is of the right length, as long-format content is valued by Google, and contains the most important keywords. It is recommended to include a keyword in the first paragraph and then repeats it several times in the text. Be aware, however, that the content of the website should be user-centered, so make sure that your blog posts, as well as a category or product descriptions, are clear, intelligible, and easily scannable. If you want to build trust in your target audience, then grammatically correct content is a must.
Images. Placing images or charts on your website brings great value, to your SEO as well. However, it is important that all the images are correctly optimized and have an alt attribute with the most important keywords. This element is relevant not only to Google crawlers but also to users with visual impairment who use screen readers.
Responsive design. Your website should easily adapt to different sizes of screen resolution, whether on desktops, mobile devices, or tablets.
Site architecture. Clear and well-organized site architecture makes it easier for both users and Google robots to navigate the site and get quick access to the entire content.
Sitemap. A sitemap is a file containing a list of your pages, intended to make the indexation easier. Remember to keep this file always updated and completed.
Page loading speed. It is one of the most important Google ranking factors. There are many elements that have a direct impact on page loading speed. Among the most significant ones, it is worth mentioning: too large size of images, uncompressed code, slow server response time, or long redirect chains.
Functionality and usability. Navigating the site should be intuitive and clear to users. It is very probable that irritated users will simply leave your site and choose your competitors instead of trying to find a solution. Too high bounce rate, i.e. the number of users who immediately left your website, may harm your Google ranking.
3. Off-Page Factors
A number of backlinks leading to the site. This is one of the most important factors contributing to your ranking. You have no idea where to get high-quality backlinks? Be sure to discover 42 effective methods of obtaining quality external links.
The quality of backlinks. It’s not enough to have thousands of links pointing to your website. Their quality is equally important. Domains that link to your site should have high SEO parameters, such as Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating (DR), and topical relevance. Of course, backlinks from domains such as .gov or .edu will be much valuable than from unpopular blogs that haven’t been updated for months. Remember that links from low-quality domains will not contribute to your site’s ranking in the search results, but will harm it instead.
Social media. The presence in various social media platforms also indirectly contributes to the position of the website. Remember to create a company profile on Facebook, Twitter and write some posts with links to your products or services on a regular basis.
SEO Ranking Factors – Should You Take Care of Them All?
Well, it would be just perfect to optimize your website once and then enjoy a high ranking in search engines and great online visibility for good. However, this is only a part of the factors that Google robots take into account, and, what’s more, the search engine updates its algorithms which means that Google ranking factors change with time. What’s more, during the SEO process you may face many challenges. Some of them, such as technical changes to the site, you will be able to eliminate, but some of them are beyond your control. It also happens quite often that beginners who have little experience in SEO over-optimize websites, which can result in Google penalties. There is no one google recipe for an effective SEO process. Remember to tailor your long-term SEO campaign to your competitors, website type, and current trends.