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Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

Written by Ritwik Ruia Tuesday, 20 September 2022 15:12

Ever wondered how many SEO factors do search engines like Google take into account while ranking websites?

There are an astounding 200+ Google ranking factors under the sun that can be optimized for improving the visibility and utility of a website. But tweaking all of them is futile as many of them only marginally affect your website’s Google ranking over a long period of time.

However, there is no denying that tweaking the most important factors among them will certainly give your website a better standing in the search engine rankings which is, after all, great for increasing website traffic, attracting leads and effecting conversions.

Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

Without further ado, we delve into the top 15 Google ranking factors that you must optimize for your business website in 2022:

  1. Content’s length and depth



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Many studies claim that the average Google first page result contains 1447 words. However, remember that your web page’s copy should help users and not the search bots.

    Your content must complete users’ goals which could be getting detailed information on a topic (e.g. ‘art history of Renaissance’), getting quick answers to a question (e.g. ‘Nasdaq-100 index today’), or merely looking up a product’s description (e.g. ‘Tesla Model X features and specs’).

    If the copy is relevant to what users’ are looking for, the web page will do better in Google search ranking. In fact, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, emphasized on a copy’s quality in his tweet few years ago.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Although long-form content can capture more information, eventually it must be relevant to what the online users are looking for in terms of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (or E-A-T).

    Furthermore, the Quality Raters Guidelines published by Google lays criteria for, and instructs, Quality Raters to rate a page as ‘Low’ if it is of substandard quality and ‘Lowest’ if it’s untrustworthy, misleading & harmful. So, a balance between content’s volume and value is crucial to fare well in Google search ranking.

  2. Backlinks: relevance and authority



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Arguably the most important among the Google ranking factors, backlinks link one website to another. If there are many websites with backlinks to your business website, Google sees those links as votes of confidence for your site. It sees your website as relevant and credible.

    By checking for new links, search engines look up new content by revisiting the other popular pages they’ve already ‘recognized’ earlier. It helps the engines to discover your website’s content faster if those popular pages have backlinks to your website.

    When users click a backlink, your website garners referral traffic. Further, if you own a website that sells electronic gadgets, a backlink about ‘wireless headphone discount offers’ has more relevance for your website than a backlink ‘food joints in my area’ has. In other words, relevant backlinks matter for your website.

    Backlinks transfer authority to your website. However, a web page with many outbound links (one of which is a link to your website) transfers lesser authority as compared to a web page that has only two outbound links, one of them being a link to your website.

    Furthermore, here’s what Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page described about PageRank in their original paper:

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

  3. Page speed: UX perspective



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    In 2018, Google published the findings of a neural network it had modeled to study bounce rates and conversions relative to mobile pages.
    With a 90% prediction accuracy, the neural net found that the bounce rate probability rose to 123% as the TTL (time to load) rose from 1 second to 10 seconds.
    Similarly, probability of conversion drops by 95% if the number of elements on the page (like images, text, etc.) increase from 400 to 6000.

    Valuing the user experience above all else, Google has invested in thousands of data centers globally to serve results as quickly as possible.
    As a website owner, you can understand visitors pogosticking if your site’s pages don’t load quickly. Quick load times (1-2 seconds for very fast pages and <1 second for super-fast pages) coupled with relevant content encourages visitors to return in future and trust your site.

  4. Mobile friendliness



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Unlike the earlier desktop-first indexing used by Google to determine the relevance of a web page to user’s search query, it’s predominantly using mobile-first indexing officially since March 2021.

    Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic. Over 54% of the online traffic came from mobile devices in the first quarter of 2021. It is crucial that your mobile site’s primary content be same as your desktop version.

    Make sure Google’s smartphone agent, Googlebot, can access and render your mobile page content & resources just as it would do for your website’s desktop version. You can go through the technical know-how here.

  5. Image optimization



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    According to Google Search Central, adding more context around the images (through image captions, alt text having keywords, and badges) increases their usefulness, which can lead to higher quality traffic to your site. You can aid in the discovery process by making sure that your images and your site are optimized for Google Images by including structured data for product, video, and recipe.

    Here are the differences in results for the same search query. The right-hand side results have image captions highlighted in red boxes.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Captions describe the picture and users find it helpful. If your website has pics well optimized for Google Images, more traffic will head your way.
    You can learn in-depth about more image optimization tweaks here.

  6. On-page SEO and keywords



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Patching missing metadata, mending/redirecting broken links, updating the actual content as well as the HTML source code for overall website effectiveness – all this and more such tweaks comprise on-page SEO.

    It helps in information indexation by the crawlers which in turn boosts page’s SEO ranking. It is common in on-page SEO to choose one primary keyword (and 3-4 related keywords), placing it in the URL & embedding the related keywords in the first paragraph (or first 150-200 words) of the content. Organizing the overall content in lists & bullet points is a good practice.

    Improve the meta-descriptions and meta-title tags by embedding well-researched keywords and including relevant images in the content.

  7. Freshness of content



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Search engines like Google know that sometimes people prefer the latest results for their search queries. As for other queries, freshness might not play a vital role.

    For instance, the image below shows results for two searches, ‘best restaurants in London’ and ‘ukraine’ both highlighted in red boxes.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Glancing at the search results and their freshness (as highlighted in green boxes), one can realize that Google knows when to push a particular result to a user’s query even if the user has not specified in the search string how latest a result he/she is expecting.

    It is good to keep updating your content so that it stays relevant to the digital populace for a long time. Besides, keywords keep evolving as per users’ searches, making it imperative to upgrade your website to the latest high-quality keywords.

  8. Search intent



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Search intent is the intangible ‘expectation’ behind a user’s search. Google sifts through enormous volume of data and coupled with its AI powered algorithms (like RankBrain), it understands user’s search intent fairly well to provide the precise results.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    For instance, the above image shows results for two different queries. The search string ‘phd research papers’ fetches links to universities and educational resources. On the other hand, the search string ‘buy laptop in new york’results in links to a laptop manufacturing company and even a retail outlet.

    You can optimize your website content for informational intent by using ‘what is/are/was’, ‘how to’, ‘where is/was/are’ etc. in your keywords. Use ‘buy’, ‘best offer’, ‘discount on’ etc. in your keywords to address transactional intent of the user.
    The keywords in the URL, headings & metadata determine how accurately your content will map to audience’s intent.
    Implementing schema markup in your website’s pages helps the search engines serve more visual results (e.g. star ratings, location, address, designation, PIN code, contact number etc.) to the users.

  9. Original content



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Google loves originality in content. Keep the content on your page original & simple to understand by all user types.
    Duplicate content or content copied from (or scraped) from an indexed page prompts Google to penalize your web page and may not index it at all.

    That’s the least of worries. A DMCA strike may take down your website if copied/plagiarized content on your website gets flagged. So keep it legitimate and simple.

    If possible, provide supplementary content (like currency, distance and temperature scale converters) as Google Rater Guidelines consider it indicative of a page’s quality and thus Google ranking.

  10. Internal links: hub and spokes



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Hubs are 3 to 4 broad keywords defining the broad categories on site pages. These hubs make up almost all the services, products and knowledge being offered by a business through the website.

    Google places much emphasis on internal linking of pages having same keywords in their title tags. The pages rank well so far as they are connected by internal links through a hub page which is a high-level, descriptive page offering links to the other interlinked web pages of your website.

    These other interlinked web pages contain long-tail keywords – known as ‘spokes’ – derived from the hubs as mentioned above.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    The user search comprising of your hubs (the broad keywords) confers significant authority on your business whereas the long-tail keywords in the ‘spokes’ are largely transactional (i.e. they aid in lead generation).

    For instance, ‘SEO marketing’ can be a hub keyword and ‘Hong Kong SEO marketing’, ‘SEO marketing company’, ‘best SEO marketing firm’ etc. are the spokes of the hub.

  11. HTTPS security



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    In 2014, Google recommended that all websites switch from HTTP to HTTPS to enable secure, encrypted communications between browsers and servers. Simply stated, HTTPS offers a secure connection to the website a user is visiting. It also secures users’ private information (e.g. passwords, card details etc.) during web browsing.

    With the launch of Chrome version 68 in 2018, Google started flagging all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’. This prompted other browsers to follow suit.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Seeing ‘not secure’ alert promptly drives the users away and as business website owner, you don’t want that. To avoid this precarious scenario, and as an example, WordPress 5.7 makes moving to HTTPS a lot easier through its Site Health feature.
    Site Health checks if your WordPress site is running on a hosting account ready for SSL. Once you’ve got an SSL certificate from a hosting provider and your site has moved from HTTP to HTTPS, WordPress updates the URLs in your database.

  12. Website architecture & accessibility



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    This one involves providing the user with easy, smooth navigation throughout your website by ensuring a well-thought out site architecture, with proper breadcrumbs and navigation menus, logical internal links and emphasizing on any web page’s accessibility on your website within 2 or 3 clicks.

    Overly complicated menus put off the users which ultimately affects your website’s Google ranking.

    On the other hand, if your website is not just easy to navigate but also optimized for especially abled users (shift key navigation, images with descriptive alt text, content with alterable font-size, suitable website color theme for color blinds etc.), it will climb only higher in Google search ranking over time.

  13. Business listings



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    An optimized Google My Business Profile (GBP) goes a long way in boosting SEO ranking and instils trust in the potential customers.
    Add every relevant information about your business in the GBP, keep the profile active and accurate, add your business to local directories – all this adds to the ranking.
    With a GBP, your business pops up in the search results of all those third-party apps that use Google Maps to serve their own set of users.

  14. Table of contents



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Adding a linked table of contents at the beginning of your page helps Google ‘feel’ your page better. It understands the structure of your web page. Also, table of contents can result in sitelinks as well.

    Ensure that the text in your page title and sub-headings is informative & compact, and focus on creating a logical site structure that is easy to navigate for users.

    According to Google, its systems analyze the link structure of your website to find shortcuts that can save users’ time by allowing them to quickly find the information they are looking for.

    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Someone who is interested only in the cultural traditions of dancing will go straightaway for the relevant sitelink highlighted in the image above and needn’t peruse the entire Wiki article on dancing.

    When users are able to quickly find what they are looking for on your website, they are bound to come back in future and may even initiate a transaction.

  15. User experience



    Guide to Top 15 Google Ranking Factors To Optimize For Best SEO Results

    Google’s SEO starter guide emphasizes that all website optimizations should be done to provide the users with the best search experience. Absence of intrusive ads, responsiveness, relevance to users’ search requirements, proper navigation, organized & easily readable content etc. are some of the factors your website must be optimized for.

    Signals like clickthrough rate (CTR), dwell time, time on page etc. are taken into consideration by Google to determine your website’s SEO ranking.

So those were the top 15 Google ranking factors you can optimize to improve your website ranking. Our team of experts at Gdata, the Mumbai digital marketing company specializing in SEO, is adept at optimizing websites for the Google ranking factors you went through above just now.
We have an established history of performing on-page and off-page SEO activities that improve websites’ search engine results within 6 months of beginning the SEO. To know how we accomplish that feat, feel free to reach out to us.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 September 2022 08:05

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