Hello and welcome back to Sellpore Systems. As a webmaster it’s my job to know as much about websites as I possibly can. I’ll be honest with you there are so many Search Engine Ranking Factors that it’s impossible to know them all.
Everyday you learn something new about SEO. It sometimes seems as though the more you know, the more you realize how little you really know. I’m don’t mean to discourage you, this really is a fascinating subject. SEO is in high demand and can serve as a great career if you are willing to stick with it.
In this article I’m going to tell you everything I know, but let’s start at the beginning and build our way up.
What SEO stands for?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. When we talk about SEO, we’re referring to the actions that we take to ensure our web pages are ranked on search engines.
SEO helps search engines like Google understand what our web pages are all about. The more a search engine is able to understand what we’re trying to achieve, the more it can help us. It is then up to the search engine to work out how relevant a page is to a user’s query and rank a page accordingly.
SEO is about using certain strategies and tactics to get high ranking on search engines. The main goal is to achieve a first page ranking with our content on a search engine such as Google or Bing.
In turn this allows an increase in flow of traffic to our web site. The better we can achieve this the more organic traffic we’ll get and hopefully more sales as well.
Why is SEO important?
One of the most important things you can do with your digital marketing is SEO. By optimizing your website for search engines, you’ll gain visibility in the serps.
Marketing can be measured by the number of people who see something related to your brand. So in simple english, you can look at marketing as the number of eye balls that see your stuff.
If we consider the above, then SEO allows us to strategically place content in front of many people (Eyes). So then we want to create content that is helpful to as many people as possible. Then we want to optimize that content for SEO. If we do this well it increases your chances of more people seeing and engaging with your brand.
That’s pretty much what marketing is all about. We’ll take a deeper look at topics such as On-page SEO a little further down this page. For now please understand that SEO is very important and can make all the difference with your digital marketing efforts.
What is Organic Traffic?
Organic Traffic refers to visitors who land on your website naturally. In other words, they clicked on something other than a Paid Advert. An example is someone who types a query on Google, then clicks on the search results and lands on one of your web pages.
Another major driver of organic traffic is Social Media. In this example you might create a buzz around content that you uploaded. Thousands of people may share your content and click through to your site. This is an indicator to google that the page may be high quality. As a result search crawlers will index and rank the page.
Why is organic traffic important?
The reason that organic traffic is sought after is because it’s long term benefits. Once you’ve taken care of the SEO then the benefit is the large amounts of people coming to your site.
The more people visit your site, the higher your chances of conversion or making sales. The less your cost per sale, the higher your profits will be and so on. That’s why SEO strategies are an important part of your Digital Marketing.
What is SEO Ranking Factors?
When we say “seo ranking factors“, we’re talking about a set of criteria that we can apply to our SEO strategies in order rank better on search engines. The more we know about Google’s ranking factors, the more effective we can be at ranking pages.
If we can achieve more organic google ranking then the natural side effect is more traffic. The more traffic you get, the more brand awareness you create for your enterprise.
What is organic ranking?
There are two ways to rank your pages, you can either rank them organically or through paid ads.
Organic ranking is the result of applying SEO strategies and tactics to your web pages. These are considered natural search results and is what seo is all about. The strategy is to match a user’s natural search query by producing content that is relevant to that topic.
Paid ranking is similar in that you still produce the content. But this time we’re paying Google to display the ad at the top of the search results. This is considered “pay per click” advertising or PPC.
PPC is a very good strategy to get traffic to your site quickly. As soon as you pay google to display the ads, shortly afterwards traffic to your site begins to take place.
So the take away here is that paids ads will get you traffic very quickly, whilst SEO is more of the long game. Kind of like the rabbit and the tortoise story.
So why would you even consider going the seo route, when you can get instant traffic? The answer might surprise you.
The power behind SEO is two fold. Achieving a good position with organic ranking is going to get you that consistent long term traffic. More importantly, SEO is going to give you way more traffic than paid ads. As much as ten times more traffic if done well.
What are the Google ranking factors?
Nobody really knows how Google determines what is relevant in ranking a page. It’s all speculation. You see if you and I were aware of how Google determines a factor, then we’d all be gaming the system. That’s how “Black Hat SEO” came about.
In the old days people used to use tactics to manipulate results on search engines. Unfortunately, these tactics were not user focused and so people got no value out of them.
Google has caught on to all these tactics and has done away with them. In fact, you can get penalized for using these tactics. Getting a manual penalty from Google is no joke and getting that penalty undone is a task.
Google is in the business of providing value to it’s users. So if you can imagine landing on a page which you thought answered your query but ended up being garbage, then how did Google do it’s job? Not very well. Enough of these results and you’ll soon be using another search engine that can provide real answers. So Google has cracked down on these pages and created a system of penalties.
What Google wants and you should too, is to provide high quality relevant content to your visitors. That way, you get better rankings, Google provides a better service and your visitors get awesome content. Win – win all round, and it’s good for your enterprise.
Top 10 Google Ranking Factors
As we mentioned before, this is a bit speculative, but there is enough consensus to assume this to be true. Nevertheless, doing these things well will be a good start to your SEO Marketing.
- Quality Content
- Quality Natural Backlinks
- Internal Links
- Mobile First
- Page Speed
- Schema Markup
- Social Signals
- Domain Age
- User Security
- User Experience
Having said that let’s look a little deeper into each of these topics.
1. Quality Content
This is very important because the higher the quality of your content the more likely it will get read and shared. You see basic content is likely to get read. Quality content is likely to get engagement through likes, shares and backlinks.
Content Marketing is a great strategy that attracts an audience and leads to conversions. It builds trust, it’s educating and entertaining and this leads to engagement. This is a signal to google that it’s high quality, and in return Google will rank the page higher in the serps.
Improving your content is a building block to the success of a business. Content can lead to brand recognition, good user experience and ultimately to more sales.
2. Quality Natural Backlinks
Quality backlinks are links to your web page from a similar or related website or page. A natural or organic link occurs when someone creates a link to your page because they feel it might be useful to their users. It’s organic in the sense that they weren’t asked to place the link, they simply did so because you created great content.
Backlinks signal to Google that your content is of high quality but they also direct new traffic to your site. So you’ll get more people following the links to your site, which increases engagement. This further signals the search engine and so the cycle continues.
3. Internal Links
Internal links are links that connect one page to another on the same site. These links are used to navigate the website and connect related pages to form a sort of hierarchy.
You use internal links to help Google understand the structure of your website and to boost important pages. You do this by adding links inside each page that connects to more important pages. You can use as many links as you would like provided they make sense to your users.
Internal linking makes up an important part of your overall SEO strategy and can also improve user experience.
4. Mobile First
Mobile First Indexing has become an important Google ranking factor. As the name suggests, this refers to mainly to responsive website design. According to Google, mobile first indexing will take priority as from July 1, 2019.
The mobile first strategy has been gaining momentum ever since responsive design was introduced. Basically, it refers to web pages being able to respond and render correctly on mobile phones and tablets. In 2019 mobile searches made up 48.91%, it is something worth considering as part of your seo marketing.
5. Page Speed
How long does your website take to load? Did you know that slow loading pages impacts your user experience? Up to 53% of users will bounce if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load. If your visitors are bouncing due to page speed issues, then your site will rank poorly on a search engine.
You can check out your page loading speeds on Google Page Speed Insights and see how well your site is loading. If you’d like to know more you can check out my article on Page Speed. In this article, I also give some tips and plugins I use to maintain a decent page speed score. Hope you enjoy.
6. Schema Markup
Schema markup is small snippets of code that tells search engines what your page is all about. It has the added benefit of indirectly influencing your seo ranking. Some say it also improves your domain authority, however, I cannot confirm this.
Schema.org came about as a joint venture by search engine companies to improve the web by using structured data markup on websites. It helps overall with search engine rankings.
7. Social Signals
Social signals is another seo ranking factor and google has confirmed it. Social signals refers to a website’s collective shares, likes and comments. User engagement is seen as another form of citation, similar to backlinks.
As mentioned earlier Google has confirmed that social signals play a role in organic seo.
8. Domain Age
Domain age refers to how long a domain has existed. When you first register a domain, don’t expect a search engine to have much faith in it. So many domains are registered on a daily basis and many used for spam. So keep in mind that it takes a little while to build trust and to be able to be competitive for SEO.
It is quite common for a domain to take as much time as 6 months to a year. Infact an SEO pro won’t work with new domains because of this. Now domain age and domain authority are two very different things.
Domain authority is a term coined by moz.com. Here they are referring to the strength of the domain based on a multitude of factors. Google has clearly stated that it doesn’t use any form of site or domain authority as a ranking factor.
So please keep that in mind. Concern yourself more with domain age instead.
9. Website Security
Implementing SSL encryption (https) is one of the easiest tasks that a site owner can perform to help SEO ranking. But that’s not all, your users can rest assured that there’ll be no snooping going on.
SSL certificates have been known to increase trust and visitors will spend more time on the site. At least, to rephrase, visitors spend less time on a site that doesn’t have an SSL Certificate. So the lack of an SSL Certificate reduces user experience and weakens your brand.
This also applies to sites that don’t directly sell their products online, so please take note of this. You can get SSL Certificates now for free, so there is no longer any excuse not to use them.
Besides that, it does look more professional having the lock symbol on your website, which ever way you look at it.
10. User Experience
User experience (UX) is about considering the needs of your visitors and creating a great experience on your site. Structuring your pages in a way that is easy to find relevant content. Creating great content that is informative and educational adds to user experience.
The more you can build your pages and your site structure around your visitors needs, the better the experience they’ll have. The better the user experience, the more time visitors will spend on your site.
User Experience also promotes engagement on your site and with your posts. These are all signals to Google that the site is relevant and of high quality. One of the best seo ranking factors is engagement, so the better the user experience the better the results.
Here are some of the things that you can do on your pages to improve your Google ranking.
1. Keyword Research
The first thing you want to do before creating a new post is to do your keyword research. What is your main keyword and other supporting keywords and key phrases around the topic of your content. This is critical as you’ll be attempting to rank for these words and phrases.
2. Have your keyword in the Title
Most people create content on a word document before posting it to their site. This gives you plenty of time to work out the title of your page. Also try to place the keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
3. Have the keyword in the url
Again the title of your post and the url are normally exactly the same, bar the domain name prior. But in some cases when you update your content, you might be tempted to place a new title on the page. Be careful to make sure the new title and the url work together.
4. Have the Keyword in the Title Meta Tag
The Title Meta Tag is another signal to a search engine on the topic of the content. This is used by search engines to display in the serps. So displaying the keyword here indicates what keyword you’re trying to rank for.
5. Place the Keyword in the Meta Description
Although the meta description may not be as important as it used to be, you should still have the keyword placed here. One way or the other the description will show up in the serps and may encourage or discourage clicks. So it is better to have the keyword here to help with click through.
6. Using the keyword in the content body
Be careful not to use keyword stuffing in your copy as it can hurt your ranking. Apart from that you need to use the keyword in the body of the content. Also apply italics to one and bold to another to emphasize to Google that this keyword is important.
7. Optimize Your Images
Your images have titles and alt tags. You’ll want to make sure these are filled out with a relevant keyword around the topic of the page.
8. Updating Your Content
It’s good practice to update your content with new and fresh information. This triggers the crawlers to re-index your page and offer up new keywords in the serps. Old and outdated content can quickly start to drop ranking and negatively affects your user experience.
Off Page Factors
There are also several google ranking factors outside or off your website to consider.
1. The Number of Backlinks from other domains
The number of links pointing to your site from the referring domains is also a ranking factor.
2. The Strength of the Backlinks
If a well respected site links to your site, that is a clear signal to Google that the page has quality content on it.
3. The number of backlinks from referring pages
When several links are created from several foreign pages to your page. The actual number of links is an excellent signal as well.
4. The Relevancy of the Backlinks
When a link is coming from a page that is related to your page topic, that’s also a great ranking signal.
5. Incoming Backlinks from a Homepage
These are believed to be very valuable links as they are coming from the prime page on a website.
6. The Number of do follow backlinks
Google has officially said that they do not count nofollow links from other sites. Although, it is believed that some link juice still passes from nofollow links.
7. The Types of Backlinks
The types of links coming from other sites are also a ranking factor. The more important links you want to receive are contextual links, or links from within the content of the page.
8. Anchor Text
The text within which the link is placed can go either way but as long as it’s a natural link you should be good to go.
Well as you can see there are several SEO ranking factors to consider. I’m sure there are far more than what I have placed in this article, but if at all this post helps you, then the effort has been worth while.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I hope you check back in soon. If you like what you see and you think to yourself that you’d like some to take care of these kinds of issues for you. Then please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help you out.
Have a great week ahead and stay safe.