When you create content that’s high-quality, relevant to what a user is looking for, and is helpful, then Google is likely going to favor it by ranking it higher in their search engine. While that sounds simple enough, in reality, there are more than 200 factors considered in Google’s algorithm.
Ranking factors are what helps your site show up in an organic search. There are off- and on-page ranking factors and also technical ranking factors.
Knowing what to focus on as part of your overall digital marketing strategy can be tough as a result, but some of the key ranking factors are highlighted below.
These, of course, aren’t all of them, but they are some of the bigger and more important ones.
Domain authority or DA is like a measure of your sites’ overall reputation. Your website should have content that fills the needs of your audience, solves their problems, and can increase your DA.
There is a platform called Moz that has a rating system that will predict how likely you are to rank on search engines. The higher your score on Moz, the more ability you’ll have to rank.
There are a lot of technical factors that play a role in your Google ranking, including:
- Site and page speed: A top-ranking website is going to be one that is fast and loads quickly. That’s one of the most important factors of technical SEO. If your pages are taking a long time to load, it’s going to increase your bounce rate, which will, in turn, lower your rankings. Regularly check your site and page speed.
- Mobile-friendly: Google uses what’s called mobile-first indexing when crawling sites. That means that Google primarily uses your site’s mobile version to evaluate it. If you aren’t sure where your site stands, Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test that will give you insights on this.
- Internal links: Search engines will index your content, and they use internal links as one of their signals. Internal links mean any link that you include in your content that directs to one of your own internal pages.
On-Page Ranking Factors
The above ranking factors are more focused on your entire website, and then there are on-page factors that are relevant in a Google search as well, which are more specific to your page.
This is where the use of keywords becomes important.
Keyword research is one of the biggest things you can learn more about to drive traffic to your site.
When you do keyword research, you want to find the options that are going to have enough interest to ensure people are actually searching for them. At the same time, they need to be low-competition enough that you have a chance to rank.
When you’re researching keywords, it’s valuable for other areas of your marketing too, because you can start to learn more about what your customers could be looking for in general as it relates to your business.
Once you’ve identified keywords, you can start to add them naturally to your content. Of course, you never want to unnaturally repeat a keyword over and over because Google will view this as spammy rather than being quality content.
Another on-page ranking factor is your title and header tags and then your meta description. Using title and header tags throughout your content helps make it more readable and gives it flow and organization, while a meta description is what’s displayed about a page in the search results.
Off-Page Ranking Factors
Off-page factors are things that the name implies, happen off your site but play a role in your rankings.
For example, backlinks to your site are a big one. Backlinks are hyperlinks that come from other sites, directing to yours.
It’s a strong indicator to Google of how high-quality your site is. The idea behind this is that if other sites want to link to your content, it must be good. The more backlinks you can build, the more high-quality Google is likely to see your site as being.
Guest posting is a good way to build up your off-page ranking factors. You write for other sites, and you can build links back to your own, plus you can grow your audience and establish yourself as an authority.
The big takeaway about Google ranking factors is that there’s not one quick thing you can do to improve how your site shows up in a search. Rather, you have to be consistent and strategic in creating quality content.