Did you know there are a whopping 200 ranking factors for Google?! What’s more, these are only the ones we know about! It can seem like these ranking factors are constantly updated – you check one day, and your website is at the top of the SERP, while tomorrow, an algorithm update may knock it down to the second page. But thankfully, some ranking factors are more important than the rest and barely change. So there may be 200, but we’ll just be talking about the 10 most important Google ranking factors.
1. Your page’s loading speed via HTML
In 2021, Google told the world how core web vitals would be a ranking signal. This factor is forecast to launch in mid-June 2022, so it’s time to get ready! Core web vitals are a big part of PageSpeed. Page speed affects user experience; how often have you left a page that loaded slowly?
Suppose your website loads too slowly or is too slow to interact with. In that case, Google will probably reduce your rankings, particularly when your competitors have a faster speed and more responsive content. So, check your loading speeds.
2. Your page’s mobile usability
This is one of the newer ranking factors, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. More and more people are surfing the web on their phones. With the rise of responsive websites, this is usually no problem. However, you can expect Google to be relentless in Search Console when they notice that your site isn’t responsive. So, if you want to look good for Google and make things easier for your users, get to work on your mobile usability.
3. Amount of relevant backlinks
Using plenty of backlinks and referring domains is undoubtedly necessary. But what’s more important is making sure they are relevant. You can use as many backlinks as you want, but search engines will find them worthless if they are not relevant enough.
4. Your content length
The importance of content length is still up for debate after all these years. Of course, you could simply write enough words to give sound information on your chosen topic or add enough sentences to get those all-important backlinks in. But no search engine asks for a specific word count.
Some people swear by 1000-word blog posts, while others go for shorter articles and still seem to get results. But to get a better sense of how many words are needed, why not look at what your competitors are doing? For example, if your competitors write only 500 words but get their links in and still give good information, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same and rank just as well as they do.
5. Using keywords in your H1
We all know that the Heading 1 tag helps indicate what your content is about. So, many people presume it’s a good idea to use their keyword in their H1. But wait! Some search engine optimisers think using the same sentence in both your H1 and meta title can look like keyword stuffing.
So, make sure your keyword is still present. This is still important. Just jazz it up a bit. Do this alongside all other on-page optimisation, like URLs, metadata, and additional headings.
6. Your website domain authority
Okay, so this one isn’t a ranking factor, per se – Google didn’t create it. But it’s still good to keep domain authority in mind because it is similar to Google’s ranking factors.
Your domain authority increases when trusted sites link to yours and when you have content that ranks well. This increases your trustworthiness and boosts your rankings even more. So, though Google doesn’t yet use it, it may be a good idea to grow your DA.
7. Your organic click-through rate
What other factor could better show whether your content is what people want? The more people who click on your post in the SERP, the more Google will see your content as relevant to that keyword, thus giving you a higher ranking.
If you want to boost your click-through rate, you’ll need to draft a convincing description and meta title. Keep your meta title under 62 characters and your meta description at around 150 characters for best results. Make sure your keyword shows up in the meta title, and keep your meta description helpful for your readers – show them what they can gain from reading your content.
Your organic click-through rate isn’t the essential ranking factor, but it can help.
8. You give in-depth information
As we touched upon previously, informative content is the content that ranks best. So, if you want to make it onto that coveted first page, write in-depth content. No matter the word count, content that covers all bases and gives the needed information improves the search results.
Cover all the relevant areas and answer all your readers’ questions – you could even allow commenting for future ideas. Look at your competitors’ recent posts and use parts they missed for your content. Make your text readable by utilising images, jump links, and relevant calls to action. Finally, add a clickable table of contents.
9. Your content gives unique and valuable insights
Google has always emphasised quality content. Content with unique and valuable insights that you can’t get on any other website increases your ranking just because this is what people enjoy reading.
One way to build a website like this is to find your niche – look for a topic where you can be the in-depth subject expert. Then, give your audience factual information that educates them about the most critical questions, and never write fluff. You could even hire subject experts to write your content.
10. Don’t overdo it
Here’s a reminder that you’re ultimately optimising your site for humans, not algorithms. Google can spot it when your over-optimise your pages – they know you’re trying to take advantage of the system. Doing this will quickly result in penalisation.