What are the most important Google SEO Ranking Factors?
Google has over 200 Search Ranking Factors. In this blog, I am going to share the top 12 factors that will help improve rankings and boost website traffic.
Google Ranking Factors  - (Distribution)
Google evaluates your site based on EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). 6-10 years back, it used to be all about the backlinks.
Domain authority has been a factor from the get-go but recently Google has been emphasizing more and more and can be found in Last year’s Google Quality Rater Guidelines. Google cites E-A-T as a key ranking signal.
The majority of Google’s evaluation of E-A-T happens off of your website. The Authority in E-A-T. which derives from external sources.
How is Domain Authority Calculated?
- Domain Name
- Content Optimization
- Mobile Friendliness
- Loading Speed
- Social Media
- Blog Posts
- Guest Posting
How is Page Authority Calculated?
- External Links
- Target Keywords
- Uniquely Valuable
- Build to be Shared
- Multi-device Ready
Optimize for Featured Snippets
- Featured Snippets are stealing a lot of clicks from the #1 position. As they say, #0 is the new #1.
- In order to rank for featured snippets, your landing page needs to rank on page 1 Google SERPs. 99.58% of all Featured Snippets are from pages that rank on page one.
- Add “Snippet Bait” to your page. Snippet Bait is a 40-60 word block of content specifically designed to rank in the featured snippet spot.
- According to a report published by SEMRush found that most Featured Snippets are 40-60 words long.
- Paragraph Snippets total of 81.95% of SERPs Featured Snippets. List and Table Snippet only 10.77% and 7.28% respectively.
- Use H2 or H3 subheaders for every item on your list. Google will pull those subheaders from your content and include it in the Featured Snippet.
User Experience UI/UX
What is User Experience
“User experience (UX) focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.” defined by Usability.gov
Optimizing for the best user experience is the best content and SEO strategy. Content Strategy & SEO are interdependent. We know from RankBrain, Google’s AI Algorithm that ranks websites based on user engagement.
What are the KPIs for the best user engagement?
In my opinion its the CTR & Bounce rate. If you think I am missing anything, please comment below.
Even though backlinks continue to be the cornerstone of Google’s Algorithm, it’s clear that user experience (UX) signals to influence search engine rankings results.
In 2015 Google announced a machine learning algorithm called RankBrain, which measures how users interact with a website on SERPs.
Here are tips on how to drastically improve website user experience
- Use White Space
- Page Loading Speed
- Call to Actions
- Use Bullets
- Use Images
- Headings and Titles
- 404 Errors
- Mobile Friendliness
Website Loading Speed
Google has publicly confirmed your website speed as a significant ranking factor. Have a fast loading website does not mean you will rank higher but you won’t get penalized for slow loading site.
With the introduction of core web vitals and becoming one of the ranking factors in 2021, it has become crucial to measure and optimize your website. There are 6 ways to measure core web vitals.
In addition, I recommend using Google Page speed insights & GTMetrix. GTMetrix shows server response or hosting issues.
You can also visit Google Analytics by going to Behavior > Site Speed and check for yourself the changes you make to your pages whether turn out to be practical.
Dwell Time or Bounce Rate
In my opinion, the bounce rate is one of the most critical factors. Reminds me of Google RankBrain Algorithm that works based on User experience. We know key KPI for measuring user experience is Bounce Rate, which tells Google if the user found your content helpful and relevant. I strongly advise deleting pages with a higher bounce rate to reduce the overall website rate. Below from @Baclinko, you will see the correlation between bounce rate and Google Rankings.
Content Marketing Strategy
- Outdated blogs posts or Press releases
- Category and tag pages
- Search result pages
- E-commerce Product Pages with Zero sales
- Thin content
- Provide value, obsolete Blogs, press releases, & products,
- Pages with duplicate content
- Table of Contents
Backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content, also known as “Vote of Confidence” which are highly valuable for SEO.
Backlinks are not as relevant as it used to be in the beginning years of SEO and SEM.
- Optimize title and Description for Higher CTR
- Short URLs for On-page SEO Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Optimized Website Blog Post
Fix Website Technical SEO Issues
Most common Technical Issues:
- Duplicate or Missing title tags
- Duplicate description Tags
- Broken Links
- Images with Missing AlT Text
- Pages Blocked by Robots.txt
- 302 Redirects That’s should be 301 Redirects.
Bonus SEO tips
RankBrain & UX Signals
Google announced that RankBrain was their third most popular ranking factor.
RankBrain is AI in search results. RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps Google sort their results and rank accordingly.
RankBrain focuses on two things:
- Dwell Time or Amount of time spent
- CTR – Click-through rate
The average dwell time for a top 10 Google search result is 3:10 according to SearchMetrics
Rank Content In The Featured Snippet
Find keywords that you already rank for via Google Search Console or Ahrefs “Organic Report” and have snippets.
Create your own snippet code and add to your website to ensure you keep ranking for the keywords.
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