Google is the biggest search engine in the world with more than a billion searches happening every day. It has got more than 90% of market share in the search which makes them the most preferred choice of users looking for information on the internet.
It only helps users to find correct and accurate information for their query but also business in taking their business to the next level.
Websites that are ranking on the top page of Google get a good amount of increasing site traffic, clicks, sales and conversion as well.
The first listing on Google gets 30% of clicks and more than 90% of organic traffic for a particular keyword which it is ranking on top.
But have you ever wondered how does Google rank a website on SERP?
What parameters or factors it takes into consideration for ranking a web-page?
In this blog post, I am going to cover the top 10 ranking factors of Google that has the most impact on search engine rankings.
However, you can’t control how Google operates but there is still some scope which you can take into your hands and try getting a better ranking on Google SERP.
Do watch out for these 10 ranking factors and plan your SEO strategy accordingly.
What are the ranking factors?
SEO or search engine optimization is the practice of ranking a website a website on top of SERP. When we talk about the search we use a term called “organic listings” which are search results and occurs by doing SEO and without paying a penny to Google.
Organic results are a different form of paid results on Google.
Check out the image below to understand the organic and paid results on Google.
In the above image, the first two results are ranking on top because they have paid Google a certain amount to get on top of SERP. Below that, you’ll find two organic results which occur due to SEO and without paying a penny to Google.
In order to decide which is the best web-page to rank on top of organic listings, Google created new algorithms that take various factors and parameters while ranking a website.
While we’ll never come to know about the ranking factors of Google, but based on past experience and practice, we can determine what are the top factors that Google takes into consideration for ranking a web-page.
Different types of ranking factors?
Before we dive deep into the top 10 ranking factors of Google, let us first understand 3 different types of ranking factors.
On-page ranking factors:
These factors are generally related to keywords, your website structure, the look and feel of your site and the quality of content.
Off-page ranking factors:
Off-page ranking factors are those that determine the presence, visibility and credibility of your site on the internet.
Technical SEO ranking factors:
Technical SEO ranking factors determine how technically sound your website is.
You need to understand the fact that Google does not take anyone’s ranking factor into consideration for ranking a website. Hence, you need to plan your SEO strategy while keeping on-page, off-page and technical SEO in mind.
You cannot think of ranking your site just by focusing on off-page or on-page SEO solely.
Now let us consider each ranking factor in detail:
Technical SEO ranking factors:
Search engines work by crawling and indexing your website from top to bottom. So, in order to make your site more crawlable, you need to work on technical SEO factors.
Think of technical SEO factors as back-end-building blocks that determine the crawling and indexing status of your site.
Many webmasters and SEO experts think of technical SEO as a difficult and daunting task. Also, many of them ignore this factor and regret it later. Technical SEO is not that difficult, provided that you put some effort into it.
Here are the top technical SEO ranking factors:
- Site speed
Page speed determines how likely is a site visitor to take any action on your site. Hence, it is of utmost importance to have a good website loading speed for a better user experience, sales and conversion.
Several research and studies have indicated that Amazon increases its revenue by 1% for every millisecond of improvement in website speed.
Good website speed will not only help you in better sales and conversions, but it will also improve your rankings on SERP. Google has official announced that page speed is a ranking for mobile searches.
I personally believe that page speed will soon become a ranking factor for desktop search as well. Hence, it is important to focus on increasing website loading speed in order to get top rankings on Google.
You can check the current speed of your site by using tools like Gtmetrix.
Tips for optimizing website speed:
- Use powerful website hosting.
- Use CDN.
- Implement lazy loading for images.
- Compress CSS and JS files.
- Remove used CSS and HTML codes.
- Website security
Prior to 2014, only e-commerce sites were using SSL certificates or HTTPS status which create a safe and secure environment for users to process any monetary transaction.
Later on, Google came with an update and made website security a ranking factor with a 1% effect.
Since then, websites that are more secure and has SSL certificate have better chance or rank on Google as compared to sites with non HTTPS status. For any search query on Google, you’ll hardly find a website ranking on top with no HTTPS status.
So, if you want to rank on Google, then make sure to enable an SSL certificate for your site.
- Usability on mobile
The other technical SEO ranking factor is the responsiveness of your site on all devices. Google already knows the fact that the number of mobile internet users is increasing at a pacing rate.
So, in order to give the best search experiences to mobile users, Google ranks only those web-pages that are responsive and mobile friendly.
Even if your website is looking amazing on a desktop but not well optimized for mobile, you won’t get ranking preference from Google.
Google uses mobile-first indexing which makes it of the utmost importance for every web-master to have a responsive website.
You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test and check whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.
- Internal links
The next in this list of technical SEO ranking factors are internal links. Internal links are the links that point from one web-page to another web-page from the same website.
Using internal links one can get a good spike in search engine rankings but nobody uses it wisely. They help in passing on the link-juice from high-authority web-pages to low authority web-pages.
Yet none of the web-masters, bloggers and SEO expats uses internal links.
Apart from this, internal links also help Google in better crawling and indexing your site. It also provides good navigation to the users which gives them a smooth user experience.
Here is the best practice to use internal links:
- Link from high authority pages to low authority.
- Use keywords in your internal links.
- Make your internal links do-follow.
- Add internal links to orphan pages.
On-page SEO ranking factors:
Keywords are the foundation elements of any SEO strategy. Without proper targeting keywords, one cannot think of getting a good ranking on Google. Keywords also help search engine bots in determining the context of the content.
In the early 2000s, one could simply rank their website by stuffing keywords in the content.
Later on, Google came with the Panda update in 2011 and websites with keywords stuffed content were de-ranked form Google.
Hence, it is important to use proper keywords.
Apart from this, proper usage and targeting of keywords also help in increasing the search traffic. According to one research, 78% of marketers think keywords do have impact on increase search traffic.
Hence, target your keywords wisely. Focus more on long tail keywords. For example, you run a paddle board blog, then following can be the long tail keywords for you.
- Best body glove paddle board
- Bes serenelife paddle board reviews
- Best serenelife paddle board for fishing
- Title and heading tag
Once you have done your keyword research and created a bucket of keywords you want to rank, then you include those keywords in title and heading tags.
Title tags are the tags that appear on top of SERP in blue colour. Google crawls title tags to understand for which keywords a particular web-page is trying to rank and what is the context of a content.
Apart from title tags, you must also include your targeted keywords in heading tags.
- Meta tags
Next to title and headings tag, meta descriptions tag is another important on-page SEO ranking factor. Meta description are the HTML code that appears below title tag on the SERP.
Most of the web-masters and SEO experts feel that meta-description is not a major ranking factor. However, this is not the case. Including your primary and secondary keywords in meta tags can prove to be beneficial for you.
Google does crawl meta tags for analyzing the context of a web-page and mobile app development uk.
- Image alt tag
The next in this list of on-page SEO factors is image alt text. If you ever searcher any image on Google then you might have an SEO element that is also involved in image search as well.
Well optimized images rank well on Google and brings more organic traffic to a website.
Here’s how the HTML code for image alt text looks like:
Following are the benefits of image alt text:
- It helps search engine bots in identifying the context of your images.
- It also helps visually impared people to know what is the content of that image.
- When you use keywords in image alt text, you can also get better rankings on Google image search.
URLs are the most simple and basic on-page SEO ranking factor. Still it is overlooked by many SEO experts, web-masters and bloggers. A good and decent URL structure will help you in better rankings on SERP and will provide good navigational experience to users.
You can also track URLs in Google analytics and Adobe analytics to get important data points and KPIs related to your site.
A good URL structure contains targeted keywords so that Google bot can crawl and understand the content of a web-page.
Here’s the example of good looking url and bad url structure;
Bad URL structure: www.website.com/us.php?id=0736&edit=1
Good URL structure: www.website.com/e-commerce-seo/
Last in this list of on-page SEO factors is quality of content on your site.
Unless and until you have won’t create evergreen content, Google won’t consider your site for ranking. Apart from creating quality content, it is also important to update your old content regularly.
Article titled “Best SEO tips 2018” won’t satisfy the needs of your users as well as search engines. The content that your audience is looking for might have changed or upgraded with some other information.
Hence, it is utmost important for you to create quality content and update it on regular intervals.