What does the quote signify? It signifies the importance of attaining a first-page rank on the most famous search engine of all, Google. Achieving a first page rank on Google is not easy. Maintaining the position is much more difficult in comparison. A lot of factors have to fall in place at the right time. Let us look at the factors that affect your ranking on Google.
Factors that affect ranking on Google
Search Engine Optimization is a continually improving field. One has to keep up with the changes in Google Search ranking algorithm. However, specific factors retain their importance. The following aspects play a stellar role in helping you secure the top rank on Google.
1. Content is always the King
You might have the best-looking website in the world, but it is of no use if it has crap content in it. Your content must provide real value to the user. If you can supplement the written content with excellent visual content, you are on your way towards acing the search engine ranking pages.
There are various types of web content. Though there is no thumb rule regarding the length of the content, it is always better to have an optimum word count. Naturally, it depends on the subject. Statistics show that longer and comprehensive content achieves a higher ranking. Nevertheless, do not compromise on the quality aspect at any time. Quality beats quantity every time.
Keywords play a significant role in determining the winning quotient of any web content. The use of semantic keywords is one of the vital Google ranking factors.
2. Backlinks matter a lot
Backlinks play a vital role in ranking your website on Google. There was a time when the quality of links did not matter. The number of backlinks did. However, the Penguin algorithm changed everything. Today, the focus is more on the quality of backlinks. The more backlinks you get from authority sites like the .gov and the .edu domains, the higher is your ranking on the SERP. The Google algorithm penalizes websites that seek backlinks from cheap websites.
3. A mobile-friendly website is vital
People no longer rely on computers and laptops to browse the internet. They have better devices in the form of tablets and smartphones. Therefore, it becomes imperative for your website to be compatible with the small screens of these appliances. Having a mobile-friendly website is necessary. In fact, you can go one step further and have a separate web application for mobiles. Given a choice, people will always prefer to use a mobile-friendly website rather than the regular one. Having a mobile-friendly website guarantees higher visibility resulting in a better ranking on the SERPs. Google gives preference to websites that have mobile-friendly features.
4. Loading Speed
We are living in a jet age where people expect to do things as quickly as possible. Under such circumstances, you cannot expect your customers to wait for an eternity for your page to load on the internet. The attention span of customers is going down day by day. Therefore, your loading speed becomes a vital factor in determining your ranking on Google.
5. Schema Code
You cannot expect a person residing in Florida to look for products and services in Texas. It implies that SEO is going local in a big way. Under such circumstances, Schema markup code can help search engines get a better understanding of aspects like address, phone numbers, customer reviews, and so on. Local businesses benefit significantly by implementing a site-wide schema code. It helps to tell Google the exact location of your business. Schema code is indeed one of the top Google ranking factors.
6. Brand value and social signals
Branded searches play a significant role in determining your Google rankings. The more traffic you generate from branded searches, the higher are the chances of recognition by the Google algorithms. Similarly, social signals from powerful social media channels like Facebook, Quora, and Pinterest, and so on correlate with the search rankings. Sites that combine branded searches with social signals exhibit higher chances of achieving greater search visibility.
7. Domain Power
Exact-match domains still wield a lot of influence. One of the best examples of domain influence is as follows. When you search for the word ‘cars’ on the internet search engine, you expect the top brands of cars to show up on Google. However, you get a website by the name of cars.com. It shows how exact-match domains are dominant Google ranking factors.
8. HTTPS encryption
When you have people all over the world browsing the net continuously and using the internet to carry out sensitive tasks like banking and so on, it becomes imperative to access secure websites. Hackers are waiting for silly mistakes from the internet users to wreak havoc. Therefore, it becomes vital for websites to have robust security features. HTTPS encryption is one such factor that affects Google rankings.
9. User Experience
Providing a user-friendly experience to your customers is the need of the hour. Customers love to access sites they are comfortable with as compared to sites that are difficult to navigate. Hence, websites providing a better user experience tend to rank high on the Google search engine in comparison.
We have seen the critical factors that can affect your ranking on Google. Now, we proceed with discussing ways how to rank higher on Google. We shall touch upon a variety of subjects that can show how to improve Google search ranking. Let us begin with the use of keywords.
How to identify important keywords for your business
The best way to identify the right keywords for your content is to imagine yourself in the shoes of your customer and look at things from the customer’s angle. Do what the customer would do under the circumstances. Let us suppose you are looking for popular restaurants in your vicinity. What will you type on the search bar of Google? The most obvious answer would be ‘popular restaurants near me’ or ‘best restaurants in my area,’ and so on. If you want to go deeper into your search, you might add the name of your location, or the type of food you are looking for. In short, you will use keywords to locate the best restaurant near you.
Therefore, you should have such keywords in your content that would make it easy for Google to search for your website among the thousands of similar ones. As you type out your search and look at the results displayed on the first page of Google, you will find some suggestions at the bottom of the same page. These are semantic keywords that people popularly use to search for the particular product or services.
Using generic keywords will generate general searches. However, if you want people to search for your business particularly, you should employ long-tailed keywords in your content. It is always better to have a couple of long-tailed keywords such as “restaurants serving vegetarian food near me for lunch.” We agree that the web traffic for such a long keyword would be less. Nevertheless, they provide specific results.
You notice that the search has become a localized one now. It signifies that using the right keywords is vital to narrow down your search.
You have to note some essential points while using keywords.
- Put your target keyword in the URL – When you do so, you ensure that Google considers your website or article as more relevant for a particular phrase. It also legitimizes your business.
- Add keywords to your post strategically – Never try to force keywords into your content. It affects the quality of the content. The flow of keywords should be natural and blend grammatically with your content. Strategic placement of your keyword in your content is critical to your success as it can bring in refined traffic.
- Include your keywords in the title and Meta description – The title and Meta descriptions are the first things your customer notices when they search for your product. Therefore, it is critical to include the primary keyword in the title and Meta description. Your customer will proceed to the website only after going through the Meta description and finding it valuable enough to access the site.
- Keywords should be present in the first 100 words – Your content is vital to ensure a high rank on Google. Do not forget to drop your primary keyword in the first 100 words of your content. It improves the relevance of the search. It makes it easy for Google to search for your site.
Use keyword research tools to determine the right keywords for your content. There are thousands of such tools available on the internet. Understand the customer’s preference. Using “How to” keywords is beneficial to improve your site’s ranking because inquisitiveness is an integral part of human nature. Even a child will search for “How to play Beyblades.”
One more important point is that customers usually do not type out the exact spelling of the product they search. Hence, it is better to use synonyms and alternatives for your primary keywords in your articles. You do not know the preference of your customers. Accordingly, it pays to cover all your bases.
Improve the page according to the keywords and their relevance
You endeavor to make it easier for the customer to search for your product. See to it that the keyword you choose is relevant to your product or services. Understand how Google searches your content for ranking purposes. As soon as the customer types in a keyword, Google uses bots or crawlers to scan a website for relevant information. The information can be in the form of text or even images. Remember there will be millions of such indexed websites. The Google bots do a thorough search and come up with the most relevant results. If your content matches the requirement of your client, your site stands a decent chance of ranking on the first page of Google. A first-page rank is vital because not many people search for information on the second page of Google. They would instead prefer to change the search keyword.
Relevancy of your keywords is a critical factor, but it is not the only one. The popularity of the website is also crucial for it to appear on the first page of Google. Google places great emphasis on user interaction with your website. Google uses tools like “RankBrain” and other data streams to determine whether people like to stay for long on your webpage or bounce out quickly. A high bounce rate indicates that your content is not up to the mark. Hence, it might not outrank your competitor’s website. Thus, the popularity of your site is also one of the critical Google ranking factors.
When the customer searches for ‘Sports news India,’ the web search engine provides various websites to search for the information you seek. Of these websites, ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Indian Express’ occupy the top ranks. It signifies that these two newspapers provide credible, genuine information regarding sports news in India.
We have discussed the relevance and popularity of your content. However, does your content provide genuine information that people can use? It is an essential factor because people browse websites that offer authentic and valid information. The following example will prove our point better.
Add CTA and pictures to make the page better
An interactive website is automatically more popular than the regular ones. People love to voice their opinion on various topics. Having a CTA option on every page of your website allows your customers to interact with you and provide necessary feedback. You can use this feedback to improve your products and services.
You can ask, “What has customer feedback to do with improving your ranking on Google?” Yes, there is a deep connection between the two. When you provide a CTA option to your customers to share their feedback, you give a lot of importance to your customers and their opinions. It makes your website popular. A popular website has a lower bounce rate thereby ensuring you end up with a higher rank on Google.
Pictures can say it better than words. You notice that the top websites in your niche have relevant pictures to complement their content. One image can convey what a thousand words cannot. Therefore, it is vital for you to include relevant images that can catch the eye of the customer and ensure his attention.
What are SEO title and Meta description and how to improve it?
When you type out a search on Google, you get millions of results matching your search keywords.
You have submitted the search for ‘current political news.’ Notice that the search results include the top websites where you can get the current political news. Do you observe that the title of the search results has a more prominent display than the name of the website? It signifies the importance of having a proper SEO title tag. There is a brief description of the information the site contains. Users invariable read this description before proceeding to click on the site to procure detailed information. It is the Meta description. The contents of this paragraph decide whether the user advances further or not. If the user does not like the content, it will not take time for the user to change the search keywords. Hence, your Meta description is the single most deciding Google ranking factor.
Let us see how to improve your SEO title and Meta description. One of the best ways to do so is to have relevant and crisp content in the Meta description. It should provide a synopsis of the actual content inside the website. The SEO title and Meta description should be such that it should arouse an eager want in the customer to venture deep into your site to learn more.
Use your primary and secondary keywords to describe the content. You can see in the example provided that the websites using the keywords intelligently rank high on the SERP. Ensure that the Meta descriptions are short and crisp. Though there is no hard and fast rule about the maximum number of words and characters in the SEO title and Meta description, try to keep it as short as possible without diluting the content. The ideal length for a title should be between 50 and 60 characters. Similarly, your Meta description should not exceed 160 characters for it to be effective.
On Page optimization techniques
The two significant Google ranking factors are On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. We shall look at how on-page SEO affects your Google ranking and see the techniques that can improve it.
1. Start your title tags with your target keyword
We have seen the importance of using the right keywords. The proper use of keywords makes it easy for the Google bots to search for your website among the millions of others in your niche. A keyword rich title has great weight because it helps Google rank your site better. Ensure that the keyword is as close as possible to the beginning of the title tag. It makes the search more relevant.
2. Use your keywords in the first 100 words of your content
Your content should contain the right proportion of keywords. The ideal percentage is around 2% to 3% of the total content. While doing so, ensure that the first 100 words of your content contain the primary keyword. It will enable Google to search for your content faster as compared to other websites in your niche. Placing your primary keyword in the first paragraph increases the relevancy of the content.
3. External links play an active role
Your content can be good enough to merit a first-page rank on Google. However, if it does not contain external links, people might not be able to verify specific facts mentioned in the content. Hence, it is better to add external links at vantage points in your content. Ensure that the links are relevant to your content. Secondly, your external links should be authentic and high-quality sources.
4. Meta Descriptions hold the key
We have already seen the importance of Meta descriptions earlier in the article. A well-drafted Meta description can attract a higher volume of traffic because of the value it provides to the content. You do not have a lot of words to play with while drafting your Meta description. You need to provide concise but relevant information to arouse the viewer’s curiosity.
What are backlinks, their importance, and how to get more backlinks?
It is essential to include external links in your content for customers to verify the source and genuineness of the information. Similarly, other websites can also link up to your site as a source of information. Such links are inbound links. You also call them as backlinks in SEO parlance.
You can acquire backlinks in many ways. When other websites link to your content without your knowledge, it becomes a backlink for you. At the same time, you can also seek backlinks from websites. However, you should be careful while seeking backlinks from unknown or cheap quality websites. The Google algorithm is quick to identify such backlinks and does not hesitate to penalize your site. Hence, it is imperative to have quality backlinks. The right place to acquire them is the authority websites.
Seeking a backlink from an authority website is not an easy job. You have to post valuable content on its website. It should be useful for the organization to consider providing you with a backlink. There was a time when you could buy backlinks. However, the Penguin update classifies such attempts as Black Hat SEO. These are prohibitive practices that attract huge penalties. Refrain from indulging in any Black Hat SEO tactics.
Another way of securing backlinks is to use the services of influencers. Influencers are persons or websites that people trust provide genuine information. Posting valuable content on such influencer websites and seeking a backlink or two in return is a smart thing to do. You will notice that the top ranked sites on Google are those having a high volume of backlinks.
The graph clearly shows an increase in the number of backlinks a website has as you move up on page 1 of Google.
What is interlinking, its importance
Interlinking is an excellent way to sustain the attention of your customer. You have various contents on your website. Each of this content can have supplementary information on a different page. The customer can find it challenging to locate the different pages and seek further information. One way of making things easy for your customer is to include internal links. The customer can directly access the supplementary information without exiting from the present page. It is also easy for the customer to return to the main page. Naturally, it provides a better user experience to the customer. In SEO parlance, you call it as interlinking. Just as external links connect to different websites, interlinking connects you to different pages on the same website.
In this age of the internet, the only thing that the customer does not have is ‘Time.’ The attention span of the customers today is drastically going down. The internet speeds are also improving with 4G and 5G networks coming into existence. Hence, a fast-loading website is always a better proposition than a slow-loading one. Invest in the right machinery and have a fast site that loads quickly. A slow-loading site can cause disinterest in the customer and make them search for alternative websites. It, therefore, brings down the popularity of your website thereby affecting the overall Google ranking.
We have seen various factors that affect your Google ranking. At the same time, we have also discussed ways to improve your Google ranking. Remember that it is a continuous process. You cannot afford to rest for a minute because it will not take much time for your competitor to zoom ahead of you. They say in sporting parlance, “Reaching the top of the rankings is easy, maintaining it is the toughest job.” The same logic holds true in SEO. You can reach the top rank in Google. Maintaining the high ranking takes a lot of doing.
Mobile friendly website
We are living in an age of the smartphone. People no longer look up to computers and laptops to access the internet. They can do so by using their smartphones. Under such circumstances, it becomes essential for your website to be available for display on the mobiles and tablets. Hence, you should go for a responsive web design that can automatically deliver the necessary result depending on the device your customer uses to access the internet.
Accessing the internet using a mobile phone has its benefits. You can do so from anywhere and at any time. Having a mobile-friendly website is therefore of utmost importance. In fact, Google places great emphasis on websites having an active mobile presence. It gives preference to such mobile-friendly websites and ranks them consistently higher than the websites that do not have mobile compatibility.
Therefore, a mobile-friendly website is one of the significant Google ranking factors.