More than 3.5 billion search queries are performed daily by Google, the company that owns over 85% of the market for Internet search engines.
Needless to say, Google is popular, which is why marketers need to know what factors Google takes into account when ranking sites on the search page to successfully work with organic search.
In terms of long-term inbound marketing strategies, white hat SEO techniques remain an important component of success.
You probably think that after all the research and written articles on SEO-optimization of content, we already know for sure what exactly the Google ranking algorithm takes into account when crawling web pages. But no - we don’t know and cannot yet know, but mainly because Google never made public all the factors that it takes into account when rating the distribution of content.
Google uses about 200 ranking indicators when sorting sites in a search engine. These are primarily factors related to the domain, the page itself, the site, as well as the numerous technical SEO factors that affect where your site will appear on the Google search results page (SERP) for various keywords in your industry.
Two hundred rating factors is a fairly large list. How to take them all into account? Fortunately, Single Grain and Backlinko scoured the entire Internet to find all known Google ranking factors, and created comprehensive infographics that classify factors by their role in the Google ranking algorithm.
But the question arises: are all ranking factors equal in importance? Not at all. Although all these factors influence what place you ultimately take in the Google ranking, there are several universal practices that you should pay attention to first.
To help your SEO advance next year, we highlighted the eight most important factors for this ranking.
GOOGLE RATING FACTORS
We know 200 Google ranking factors. The most important ones are related to the URL, inbound links, meta tags, keyword assignment, the structure of your content, page loading speed and the numerous technical specifications of SEO, the meaning of which varies depending on the topic.
1. SITE ARCHITECTURE
Although other factors also have a big impact on your ranking on Google, the site architecture is the first thing you need to pay special attention to from the very beginning, especially when starting (or restarting) your site.
By organizing your website into subdirectories and having clear text lines (slugs) at the end of each URL, you can help Google determine who you are and what topics are your priority. (We’ll talk more about this topic in a minute).
For example, if you want to start a gardening blog and plan to publish content on plants, watering and pests, it is in your interest to organize the website content into these three subdirectories. A good URL for such a blog might look like this:
2. DOMAIN SECURITY
Importance: very important
Check out “https” at the beginning of our sample URL. This is how Google distinguishes safe websites from insecure ones. Hint: Of course you want your site to be safe.
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and represents a virtual process of transferring information from a website to a visitor’s browser. HTTPS is a safe version of this protocol and guarantees Google that the information it indexes is safe for the search engine. “S,” you probably guessed, means “secure.”
To protect the domain of your site, you will need a so-called SSL certificate. Learn more about obtaining such a certificate in this blog post.
3. INCOMING LINKS
Importance: Super Important
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are all hyperlinks that lead to your page from other sources on the Internet. They significantly affect your place in the ranking, up to the page number on which you find yourself.
Why do these links matter to your Google ranking? You yourself don’t really count on external links regarding the volume of all your traffic, so why is Google so worried about who links to you? Incoming links from other websites tell Google that the information from your website gives people enough confidence to link to this information from their websites. It’s the trust factor that Google appreciates, and the more trust the source linking to you, the greater the impact of their incoming link on your rating.
But if you simply link to your post from another post of your own, such an inbound link will not work to increase the rating. To increase the trust factor, backlinks should primarily come from external domains.
For this reason, link building has become an important (and to some extent diplomatic) aspect in receiving inbound links from other sites. Some publishers of sites with equivalent rating status agree to exchange backlinks with each other. Others write comments on various sites to create a link to their site from there. Learn more about link building on this blog.
4. CHOICE OF THE TOPIC
Importance: very important
Themes are the foundation of your ranking on Google - they help lay the foundation for the credibility of the page, so necessary to stay in the top for as long as possible.
What do topics give? In fact, the more content you publish on a specific topic, the higher each element of such thematic content will be ranked by Google.
Remember our gardening example from the first ranking factor? Let's say there are 20 articles on garden pests on such a site. By now, Google knows that this website is the best in pest prevention. Because of this, such a website is much more likely to get a high ranking for a blog post on organic pesticides than for an article, say, about Google ranking factors, even if this article is keyword-optimized and well-written.
Learn more about creating themes in this post.
5. PURPOSE OF THE KEYWORD
Importance: Super Important
Although in the long run, topics play a greater role than individual keywords, this does not mean that keywords are no longer a ranking factor. In fact, if done correctly, keyword optimization is one of the most important factors to consider in your site’s SEO strategy.
The earliest version of Google simply searched for the most verbatim keyword matches on a web page or blog. This was called an “exact match.”
Today, “exact match” means something completely different, and the website that hosts the most keywords no longer receives the highest ranking for these keywords. Now the top displays not the site that just has the keyword, but the one that best matches the purpose behind this keyword.
Let's get back to our example of gardening from the first factor. If this website wants to get a good rating for the keyword “best organic pesticides”, it won’t go upstairs simply by inserting this three-word phrase throughout the article. In addition to the fact that the keyword should occur at least once, the article should present real examples of organic pesticides, their ingredients, where you can buy them, why they are so highly valued or what, for example, makes these pesticides organic.
Since it is this information that readers are looking for when entering their search query, websites that most fully disclose this topic will attract visitors. Google will perceive such an increase in traffic as a good response to a visitor’s request and will rank the URL of such a site higher than others.
6. STRUCTURED CONTENT
It’s not enough to simply provide visitors to your site with related information. The more websites appear that give visitors good answers, the more important the way the answer is structured. This can become the main determinant for ranking content by popular keywords.
A good structure of the content of the site includes various headings and subheadings, helping a person to quickly and easily see and understand the answer. It also includes markers, numbered lists, explanatory pictures, and well-cited studies — all of which help readers to get carried away with the information you provide.
The more the reader is interested in your content, the longer it will remain on your site, thereby increasing the so-called "session duration" - another important factor in Google’s ranking resulting from the creation of good content.
The meta tag sounds like it's best left to the programmer, in fact meta tags are simple and often underused aspects of your content management system (CMS). In addition, they are one of the main SEO tactics for high ranking in Google results.
Meta tags help Google determine the specific purpose of the page and whether each of its components matches the theme and purpose of the keyword. There are several types of meta tags that need to be populated with a target keyword or related phrases:
The title is usually the main topic of your article, placed in the Title tag in the page code. This helps Google create a blue clickable heading that appears in the display window itself.
Alternate Image Text
Google cannot read or crawl images in the same way that it crawls text (although every year they do it better and better). It's a pity, because images can help blog posts and web pages rank high in search results. To help Google read images, content creators are encouraged to accompany published pictures with explanatory text (the so-called “alternative tag”) that best describes the image in the context of the entire web page.
A URL meta description is a short line of text that appears under each blue link in a Google SERP, summing up the content of the link. A meta description does not have to include specific keywords, but its completion is an important point for Google in the distribution of ratings. Most content management systems (CMS) have a special field in which you can enter your meta description.
8. PAGE SPEED
Page speed is determined by how fast your web page loads when a user clicks on it from Google search results. Several factors affect the page loading speed, but in general: the faster the site, the higher its ranking on Google.
Pages that load in less than three seconds are considered fast enough. However, this may vary depending on the purpose of the site and the type of visitor. For example, Google encourages e-commerce websites to load a little faster — a full load in just two seconds.
Different types and sizes of fonts can slow down your site somewhat, but one of the main reasons for slow page speed is uncompressed images.
Websites with a lot of heavy and complex types of multimedia per page can lead to longer loading of the website and, consequently, lower page speed. This is not always easy to envision, but one thing you can control is the size of each image on the page. Compress all images before uploading them to your CMS, for this you can use sites such as compressor.io or tinypng.com for mass image compression.