Requirements for SEO ranking keeps changing, so it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the information. But if Google ranking means anything to you, then you need to get a constant update about it.
The importance of having a well-optimized site is enormous. You get real traffic which can translate to more leads and ultimately, more sales, especially for business owners.
Without SEO, your hard work may not count that much because people won’t be able to see your site. This literally defeats the aim of which it was created.
In today’s post, we will be talking about what SEO really means and also share some important SEO ranking factors that anyone can explore to dominate the search engine results. I believe that as you go through this article to the latter, you should be able to create an SEO-optimized site that will take your business to another level.
So, What Is SEO Ranking?
The term SEO means search engine optimization. It means making a site get highly ranked on search engines (mostly Google). You might want to know how this concept works, so let me simplify it.
In SEO, ranking means the position of your content on a search engine. It is popularly referred to as search engine result pages (SERPs).
When you have the #1 ranking, it means your web page will be the first to come up anytime people use the search engine to search for some specific terms.
Though a first-page ranking is very good and quite competitive, it is also not bad if your site happens to appear among the top 3 results. In fact, it is awesome because you will still get click-through rates that will be closer to any site occupying the #1 position.
95% of people do not go beyond the first page; so, if your site appears on the first page and is among the top 10 positions, it is still okay.
What Google Looks For in SEO
The aim of Google is to deliver relevant information on search results. It tries to organize diverse information in the world and make them universally accessible.
This is why Google gives preference to relevant information. You might be wondering about how Google is able to carry out all these functions. I’ll explain everything in a bit.
First, Google has search bots that crawl the web. Do not get this twisted; what I meant is that Google bots visit the web pages.
Second, the bots add all the pages that are well-optimized and crawlable to Google’s index and keep them in the catalog.
Third, as people use Google to search for a particular term, it displays what it thinks to be the most relevant result out of all the pages in Google index. Google has numerous and complex algorithms it uses to decide if the content is to be displayed and the order in which it will be displayed.
Let us look into some of the terms that are always associated with SEO, you would hear people talking about them in the marketing world.
On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
These two terms are frequently mentioned in virtually all discussions about SEO ranking factors.
On-page SEO explains those factors on your site such as the content and underlying codes that you need to optimize while off-page SEO means the actions that are taken (not on your site) to influence your site reliability and authority by creating the right inbound links as well as social signals.
How You Can Monitor Search Engine Rankings
The first step towards improving your search engine ranking is dependent on knowing your starting point. There are lots of ways to find this.
You can carry out a search on Google with some terms you believe searchers would likely use. When carrying out this exercise, set your browser to an incognito mode, so the result won’t be narrowed by Google’s personalization.
Also, bear in mind that there are tools that can be used to perform this function. A popular example is SEMrush. With this tool, you can just type into the search box your domain name and wait for the report to be populated.
You will be able to see the top keywords that you are ranking for. You can even decide to use the keyword position of the tool to track any keyword you are trying to rank for.
Now, let us discuss some of the top-ranking factors for Google ranking. Remember that there is a lot of competition for the first three positions of Google search results.
The list of Google ranking signals is always long. Most lists contain all the factors rather than just focus on the important ones. Sometimes, these lists contain a lot of myths, which is even the worst.
Thus, in this tutorial, we’ll take a different look. Instead of listing over 200 ranking factors, we’ll discuss only those that we believe most deserve our attention.
Here, we have the list of direct and indirect ranking signals. No discrimination is placed between the two, as it’s believed that most site owners just want a higher ranking on Google and are not bothered about the difference between them.
Top 11 Ranking Factors For SEO
1. Your Website Should Be Accessible
It is vital to have the right kind of URL that Google bots can effortlessly access and crawl. To put this differently, Google should be able to visit your site and look through the content to know what the content of the page is all about. To make it easier for the bots, you will need:
- A robots.txt file that will guide Google on where it can look into and where not to look into while obtaining information on your site
- A website that is created with a well-coded website developer
- A sitemap to list all your pages.
2. Page Speed
How fast your page loads is a contributing factor in SEO ranking. This is applicable to both mobile and desktop supported sites.
For mobile sites, you can use Google Testing Tool to see how your site loads. For WordPress sites, you can make use of Google Search Console. It has a full section that is dedicated to giving you updates on how a site performs, including the speed.
3. Mobile Friendliness
Your site should be able to work flawlessly on both desktop and mobile devices. Google takes the mobile-friendliness of your site into consideration for SEO rankings since lots of people use their mobile devices more than the desktop.
So, if your site is not mobile-optimized, then you are at risk of getting your site underrated. Your site should be responsive and be able to automatically resize to suit any device.
4. Domain Authority and Age
Nearly 60% of sites occupying the top ten positions on Google search results are over three years old. Although some sites that are less than a year old still make up the list, they are negligible.
Domain authority is important on the list of search engine ranking factors because it involves the combination of valuable content as well as off-page SEO signals. You can use Open Site Explorer to check the authority of your domain.
You can assess the relative power of a linking web page and domain by considering its URL and Domain Rating using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
Backlinks that come from authority pages tend to trigger the needle most. High-quality backlinks can help improve your rankings. These include links that come from niche-related sites, authority blogs within the same blogging industry, high PR niche-related forums, social media, and social bookmarking sites.
5. Optimized Content
Google search algorithm is dependent on keywords. Keywords are phrases and words that people use on search engines when searching for information.
These words or phrases should describe the topic that your site talked about. As people type the keyword into Google search box, it brings up the result that matches the searched keyword.
To create a keyword, you need to understand the search intent of people. You should imagine words or phrases that people could put in the search box while seeking information.
Still, on content optimization, your content should be original and detailed. This is because originality and detailed content are factors that are considered in SEO ranking.
6. Technical SEO
Let’s look at some of the technical areas you can work on even without any coding knowledge.
- Always add the keyword phrase in your page title. Google looks into this to determine the relevant content that suits a search
- Do ensure to use header tags to depict the hierarchy of your content
- Your images should have a keyword phrase to show how relevant your content is to your images
- You can use Schema Markup to tell Google about your content type
7. User Experience
For some time now, artificial intelligence has been used by Google to rank web pages better. There are some signals that can affect your SEO ranking. They include; click-through rate, bounce rate, and dwell time.
These indicators are used to judge a user’s experience on your site. For instance, the bounce rate signifies that a user left your site as soon as it opened and returned to the search results. This showed that the visitor is not satisfied with the content of the site.
Links are an important aspect of SEO ranking. These are the links that act as the door to your site. Below are the 3 types of links:
- Inbound links
- Outbound links
- Internal links
These three links form the descriptive anchor text. When links are added to a line of text in your content, the text should be able to tell what the link is all about.
Backlinks are possibly the most crucial ranking factor. How do I get to know? Backlinks constitute the basis of Google PageRank, which is the pillar of Google’s search algorithm. Though PageRank was still used about three years back, it’s now become old news.
Recent research also reveals the correlation between organic traffic and backlinks. But not all backlinks are generated equal.
A considerable number of factors constitute a backlink’s potentiality to trigger the needle, and the two most crucial are authority and relevance.
Links that you get from relevant pages, forums, and websites tend to hold the largest value.
Google delivers content from your web pages to its users based on relevancy. If you have some content on your pages that aren’t relevant to what the user is looking for, Google will never present such content lest people lose trust in its search potentiality to provide the right information at the needed time.
9. Social Signals
Though Google stated that social media sharing is not a factor for ranking, the truth is this; as people share your content on social media, it could go viral leading to more traffic. This indirectly favors your site for Google ranking.
10. Business Information
Information on a business type is one of the most significant factors in SEO ranking. Your business website should have information regarding name, address, and phone numbers.
Freshness is a search-dependent ranking signal – meaning, it is more crucial for certain search queries than the other ranking factors.
Google tends to be strict when it comes to delivering results and it gives preference to user intent more than anything else. It does this, realizing that people want recent and up-to-date information.
Google understands this, so it’s quite exciting to present results that are just a few weeks old.
There are queries that wouldn’t require freshness. An example includes queries like “how to start a WordPress.com blog”. In this case, freshness doesn’t matter in that the process of starting a WordPress.com blog remains unchanged. A 6-year-old tutorial can be as helpful as one published two days ago.
That clarifies why both new and old pages are ranked in the top seven on SERPs.
After going through this post, you will need to take action to see the result. Remember that, the ultimate aim of making your site rank higher on search engines is to convert your visitors to customers.
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