SEO ranking factors are generally kept secret by Google, as Google doesn’t want search engine optimization professionals to try and game the system. Instead, they publish guidelines for what they want to see on the site.
Using the information that Google themselves have published (and our experience as search engine optimization professionals), we’ve come up with 5 important ranking factors that you should consider when doing SEO for your site.
5 Important SEO Ranking Factors
Back in 2014, Google announced that site security would be a significant ranking factor. Google only wants to link to sites that have secure connections. Sites that use HTTPS, instead of HTTP, use secure connections and are preferred over sites that use HTTP.
If you’re still using HTTP, you should migrate to HTTPS as soon as possible. You also want to choose a web host that emphasizes security.
Google does not want to link to sites that people can’t access. For this reason, site speed has been (and still is) an important ranking factor for Google’s search engine.
Faster sites are easier for people to access, and faster sites also have lower bounce rates. That is, fewer people leave the site because they’re unable to use it.
Most web traffic comes from users on mobile devices, usually through Google’s Android or iOS app. Because of this, Google has decided that mobile friendly websites should take precedence over ones that aren’t mobile friendly.
Mobile friendliness website means that the site is accessible, navigable, and easy-to-use on mobile devices. Ideally, your site should be optimized for mobile and it should be fast for users on mobile devices.
Most websites are slower on mobile. If you can make your website just as fast on mobile as it is on desktop, you will be rewarded by Google.
Authority is a complex subject that Google’s engineers work hard to try and figure out. Back in 2018, Google rolled out an update aimed at promoting websites with high expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (or E-A-T).
Although it’s hard to say what factors for sure affect this metric, what we do know is that businesses should focus on the following:
- Backlink profiles: You want links that come from highly authoritative sources.
- Searcher intent: Optimize your keywords and content to what people are actually searching for.
- Social signals: Aim to have your content shared on social media. Also, you should respond to both positive and negative reviews placed on review sites.
- A detailed “About Us” section: This makes it easy for both readers and Google to figure out who you are and why you’re talking about those topics.
- Links to social profiles: Linking to your social profiles allows for Google to verify that you are who you say you are.
Google uses keywords to figure out for which search terms they should show your website. You need to optimize your content for these keywords, and there are several ways to do so.
Your keywords should appear in your content naturally. Pages should not have keywords “stuffed” in them, and keywords should not be hidden in order to try and game the search engine. These tactics do not work anymore.
Your keyword should appear in the title tag of your content, as well as in at least one heading content. This is less for ranking and more for how your website appears in the SERPs (search engine results pages). When people search for a term, they should see terms very similar to it when looking at the results page. That’s part of how they know it’s a relevant result.