If you are an SEO service provider, a brand website owner or a web blogger, then I know you want to rank high on SERP and you’ve landed just in the right place. Here we will discuss what you have to focus more on to rank higher on Google by informing you about Google’s Top 10 ranking factors.
But why only Google?
Because Google is the most used search engine. According to a study, the number of Google users worldwide is nearly four billion and from which there are 1.5 Billion active users.
So, How does the Google search engine work?
Inclusion in Google’s search results is free and easy. You don’t even need to submit your site to Google. In fact, the majority of sites listed in Google’s results aren’t manually submitted for inclusion but are found and added automatically.
Google search mainly works in 3 stages.
A web crawler also known as a web spider is an automated program that is used by Google and other search engines to search the web. When Google sends a crawler to a webpage or web post to read them, then that process is called crawling. Crawling is the first part of having a search engine recognize your page and show it in search results.
Indexing is a process in which Google organizes the information of your webpage and web post and stores it in Google Index. Google indexes a page after it crawls (if it seems worthy). This does not mean that every site that gets crawled gets indexed, but every site indexed has to be crawled.
- Serving Search Result
Google tries to show a high-quality result to its users. Google algorithm works while showing a Google search result. Before showing the result Google sees the user’s location, language, devices (Mobile, Desktop, Tablet, etc.), and previous queries. For example, if a user searches for “best shoe shop near me” then Google would show different answers to a user in India than it would to a user in America.
What are Google ranking factors?
There are billions of results for the same query on Google, but to show the best result to its user Google uses ranking factors to decide the best ordering of relevant, indexed results returned for a search query.
Types of ranking factors-
There are mainly three types of ranking factors.
- On-page ranking factors
- Off-page ranking factors
- Technical ranking factors
On-page ranking factors: These factors determine whether your website content is optimized or not. They are mainly related to keyword targeting, Image alt text, titles and headers, and quality of the page content.
Off-page ranking factors: It refers to anything done outside of your website with the potential to affect search engine ranking. They are mainly related to the external backlinks which build the authority of a site or a web page.
Technical ranking factors: These factors determine whether your website is crawler-friendly or not. They are mainly related to the internal linking site speed and usability of the site on different devices.
How to Monitor your website rankings on Google?
Monitoring your Google ranking is very easy, However, there are a number of tools that can show you how you rank. But you can check your website or webpage ranking in just some easy steps.
Step 1: Open Incognito mode and search for the keyword which you are targeting.
Step 2: Press “Ctrl + F” and enter your website or webpage domine then click ENTER.
Now you can see where your website ranks on SERP, but if your website is not ranking on the first page then you can change the search setting from showing 10 results per page to 100 results per page. You can also use Google chrome plugins like SERP counter to get the exact ranking position of your site or web page.
Why is it important?
Implementation of Google’s Ranking factors is very important for every site or web page to get organic traffic from search results. To get traffic a site has to rank higher on the search engine result page (SERPs) and Google ranking factors played a major role to get a higher ranking on SERP.
Top 10 Most important Google ranking factors
Google uses around 200+ ranking factors to show the best and quality results to its users but here on Digital marketing recipes, we are showing the top 10 Google ranking factors.
- Core web vitals
- Link Building
- Schema markup
- URL Structure
- Content Quality
- Social Signals
- User experience
- Keywords targeting
On February 26, 2015, Google announced this update which was fully rolled out on April 21st, 2015 in which Google says “We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results”. Mobile Friendliness is a technical ranking factor of Google. A site is called mobile-friendly if the website is set to perform well on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. However, you may also hear different terminology floating around like mobile-friendly, mobile-first, responsive design, adaptive design, separate mobile website (or m dot site), and mobile apps.
But, why is Mobile-friendliness is Important?
According to a study Over 80% of internet users use mobile devices to surf the web and in Google, 96% of search traffic is coming from mobile, and according to mobile internet statistics, 61% of mobile users will never return to a website if it is not mobile adaptive.
As seen in the image above you can see the strong growing tendency of mobile traffic. There is almost 10x growth in Global mobile traffic between 2011 and 2021. Therefore, now Google wants to build its platform to be used easily on mobile devices.
You have often seen that sometimes Google shows different results for the same query to a mobile user than a desktop user. It happens because the most detailed information about something tends to be available on large websites that are not mobile-friendly. This means they could be either slow to load (because of their detailed contents and some other things), not having a mobile-friendly layout (bad design, not friendly UX for smaller screens, etc.) and these things can harm Google’s reputation in user’s eyes. Therefore, a mobile-friendly website can get a high ranking on Google mobile SERP which helps the site to get high organic traffic.
How do I find out if my website is mobile-friendly or not?
You don’t have to vary about it. Many website owners find it difficult to check their website’s mobile-friendliness score. But, there are many free tools on Google that make it easy to check your website’s mobile adaptability. Google also provides a tool named Google Mobile Friendliness Test tool, this tool helps you to find your website or webpage mobile adaptability score and give suggestions on how to improve it.
2. Core web vitals
This ranking factor was introduced by Google on May 28, 2020, through a blog and it started to roll out from mid-June 2021. Therefore, it is the latest Google ranking factor. Google brings us hundreds of updates each year of which some are more impactful than others and Core Web Vital update is one of those. That’s why core web vitals come in the top Google ranking factors 2021.
Core Web Vitals are the user experience needs that all websites should be striving to meet. Google says site owners can measure their site’s core web vitals by measuring three metrics.
- Large contentful paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
a. Large Contentful Paint: It refers to the loading time which a page takes to load its main content. According to Google, the ideal loading time is less than or equal to 2.5 seconds.
b. First Input Delay: It refers to the time which a page takes to become interactive. According to Google, the page has to become interactive within 100 milliseconds(ms).
c. Cumulative layout Shift: It refers to the unexpected shifting of web elements while the page is being rendered. An ideal measurement is less than or equal to 0.1.
So, How do I measure core web vitals?
You can measure the core web vitals using the web vitals open-source library or they can use the Chrome web vitals browser extension which requires no coding from your side. Also, Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help you to measure core web vitals metrics in a detailed form.
3. Links Building
Links building is a very important process for every website for search engine optimization, that’s why it comes in the Google top 10 SEO ranking factors. Linking is important for both on-page and off-page ranking factors. A link or a hyperlink refers to a reference to data that the user can follow by clicking or tapping. A hyperlink can point to a whole webpage or to a specific element within a webpage. The text which got a hyperlink is called Anchor Text. A web page gives hyperlinks to another webpage to make its content reliable and understandable to the user or the web crawler.
Types of links
There are mainly 3 types of links that help websites or a webpage to rank high in SERP.
- Internal Link
- Outbound Link
- External Link
A. Internal Link: Internal links connect pages within a single website. It refers to giving the link from one page to another page within a site. Both Search engines and users use links to navigate through your site and to find the content they want to find and they both will not find a page if there were no Internal links to it.
B. Outbound Link: Outbound links are hyperlinks that go to any domain other than your own domain in which the link exists (source), which means if you are giving a hyperlink to the other website from your own website then that link is called an Outbound link.
C. External Link: External Links are also known as “Inbound Links”. When a link from another website is pointing towards your owned website then it is called an External or Inbound link. External Links are considered the most important ranking factor by SEOs.
How Would They Help ?
It helps search engines to navigate a site and helps to discover new web pages. A good link from a highly-visited website not only earns you a high ranking in SERP but also can lead to an increase in traffic because the traffic from that website is also diverting toward your website which helps your website to build authority within your industry.
4. Schema Markup
Schema Markup is a semantic vocabulary of tags that you can add to your HTML, it helps Google to understand, read and represent your website in SERP. Schema.org (Schema) is an initiative launched on June 2, 2011, by Bing, Google, and Yahoo! (operators of the world’s largest search engines at that time) to create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages. Schema.org is a website that publishes documentation and guidelines for using structured data mark-up (Schema Markup) on web pages.
Let’s keep it simple and learn from an example, “imagine you go to a restaurant and really like the food. You would like to meet the chef but all the staff is looking the same as in the image below!
Now, you can’t understand who is the chef. But imagine, if every staff member gets a batch or tag of what is their position in the restaurant then you would find the chef easily. Exactly in the same way when a web crawler comes to your site which doesn’t have schema markup then the web crawler faces some difficulties to understand what is the site owner’s name? What is the site’s mobile number, what is a comment and what is a review? etc. among all the content present on your site.
Here, schema markup gives a particular tag to every content on the site to make it understandable and usable for search engines to add rich snippets and other features to your search result.
How do I test my Schema Markup?
If you’ve already implemented structured data, you’re halfway there. The next crucial step is testing your data. Here are the best free schema markup testing tools for you,
- Structured Data Testing Tool (Schema.org)
- Structured Data Report (Google search console)
- Structured Data Validator (Yandex)
- Microdata Schema Test (SEO SiteCheckup)
The key to the successful implementation of your structured data is to check it with multiple tools. These 4 schema markup testers will help you Cross-check your structured data.
5. URL Structure
A URL is an address on the internet that we enter in a browser to open a web page. Every webpage has a different URL. A URL is also called a link which has to be well designed and should be easy to understand.
So, How much does it matter to Google that makes it one of Google’s top-ranking factors?
A well-designed URL provides an easy-to-understand indication of what the destination page will be about. As you know, Google cares about its users and its reputation. Let’s take an example. Look at the image below.
As you can see Digital Marketing Recipes URL above is a perfect example of a well-crafted URL because it accurately describes its destination. If the title tag of this page were hidden even then one can understand and get an idea of what the page is about and get a piece of clear information about what they will read or see by clicking on this link.
A URL is made up of 3 things: Protocol, Domain Name and a Path.
There are two types of protocol HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol which helps in transferring and receiving information on the web. HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure which helps in transferring and receiving information on the web securely. HTTPS is just a secure version of HTTP and they both follow the same protocol for transferring and receiving data on the web. If your site transfers data using a secure protocol then Google will rank it higher on SERP because Google considers HTTPS websites to rank higher in SERP as user’s data security is one of the major priorities of Google.
6. Content Quality
If Google ranking factors are a forest then Content is definitely a lion and that makes it come in the top-ranking factor of Google.
Google mainly sees 3 things in content uniqueness, freshness, and provides value to the user. We do notice that if the length of the content is long then it has more chances to achieve higher rankings in SERP. However, if your content is short but is up to date and has the quality to provide values to the reader then it can beat long content.
But why does it matter for Google?
Look, there were millions of results for the same query on Google but Google’s first priority is to provide a result that is helpful for the user. That’s why it is necessary for Google to see the quality of the content to provide the best out of it.
Now, Google doesn’t just care about delivering the most relevant information but it also cares about whether the information that it is providing is correct or not. This happened after google’s Algorithm Update in August 2018. Search engine marketing journalist Barry Schwartz declared it “the medic update”. To know, why does he call it Medic Update? you have to see the pie chart below.
The chart above shows how much this update impacts sites according to their categories. Now you can understand why he calls it “the medic update” because from all the sites which are impacted by this update there was 41.5% of sites come in the medical, health, fitness, healthy lifestyle category. This update impacts these sites because their content does not rely on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness).
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T is three-factor of Google’s algorithm update of August 2018. It helps Google to evaluate the quality of websites that have the potential to impact a user’s future, health, happiness, or wealth whom Google Calls YMYL (Your Money Or Your Life) Sites. Google wants to give its users the best experience possible, so it only wants to promote websites that it fully trusts.
7. Social Signals
When a social media account of a website performs great and gets people’s attention, then Google takes it as a Social signal. If you have a brand and want to make your brand website rank higher on SERP then social signals will definitely help you and that’s why it comes in the top Google ranking factors for brands.
But, How would they help?
A brand needs to be well known in its niche because it shows how authoritative and trustworthy the brand is and this is what Google wants. Here social media works very well, because of social media Google can evaluate how much the brand is known by the people who are interested in the same niche as the brand. But how does Google evaluate that? Google uses many factors to evaluate, Google sees.
I. how many backlinks the website is getting from social media?
Ii. how many shares/reposts the website’s account’s posts are getting from people.
Iii. who is sharing and reposting the website’s account’s posts.
Iv. how much engagement the account’s posts are getting.
How do I check if my website is getting social signals or not?
If you want to find out how many social media shares, comments, likes your website has then here are some free tools that can help you to check.
- Social Signal Checker Tool
8. User experience
I don’t think that I need to tell you why user experience is one of the most important ranking factors of Google. As you know users are the first priority of Google and with the core web vitals update in June, Google cleared that it can do anything to make its platform user-friendly.
How would Google know that their user is getting values from your site or not?
Google uses many factors to evaluate user experience, here are some.
I. Bounce Rate: It represents the percentage of traffic that enters your website and then leaves rather than continuing to view other pages within your site. If the bounce rate of your website is high, then Google thinks that your page is not fulfilling the user’s expectations which makes it rank lower in the SERP.
II. Session Duration: It means how much time a visitor spends on your web page. Google calculates the time spent by the user on each page so that it can know which pages are helpful for the user and which are not.
Iii. Conversion rate: conversion rate means conversion per number of visitors. If you have an e-commerce website then a high conversion rate is a must for you and Google also. But seeing conversion rate Google can evaluate how much your product is useful for users.
9. CTR (Click Through Rate)
CTR stands for click-through rate. It measures the number of people who click on your page result against the total number of people who see your page result. Let’s take an example if 10 users enter a query like “best sports shoes in India” and your page appears every time in the SERP then Google will count it as an impression and 4 out of 10 of those people click to your Page result then Google will count it as click and in that case, your CTR will be 40%.
If your page gets High CTR then Google will rank your page high in SERP because it thinks your page is capable of that query which means High CTR = High traffic = High page Ranking and that’s why CTR comes in the Top 10 most important Google ranking factors.
So, How can I improve my CTR?
Your meta title and meta description play a major role in it. These are the first information that users interact with and get the information about your page and choose whether it is helpful for them or not. Here are some suggestions to Optimize your meta title and description.
- Make it unique and avoid duplication
- Convey what your page is about
- Include call-to-action
- Use eye catchy Copy
These are some suggestions that help you to Improve your meta title and description but also remember that the maximum length of your meta title and meta description are 70 and 155 respectively So don’t overlap it.
Also, use your targeting keyword in the meta title and meta description. It helps Google to understand what your page is about.
10. Keyword Targeting
Keyword targeting is using keywords that are relevant to your website content to achieve a top listing in the search engines. Keywords help search engines to understand what your site is about and for which query your website is relevant. That’s why it comes in the top 10 Google ranking factors. Proper keyword research is vital to determine which keywords your website should be targeting.
So how do I do proper keyword research for my Website?
Here are some points which can help you to do keywords research.
- Make a list of categories according to your niche, for example your website is selling shoes online then your list might have different categories for casual shoes, sport shoes, etc.
- Find different keywords for every category.
- Always choose a long tail keyword.
- Use keywords which are low in competition and high in search.
- Use tools like ahref and SEM rush to find what keywords your competitors are targeting.
See Google’s ‘people also search’ section to get more related keywords and you can also use Keywords.io for the same. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you to find out how many times people search for that keyword in a month.
But Keyword search is not enough, using them in the correct way is also very important. To optimize your keywords you have to use keywords in…
- The URL.
- Image ALT text and caption.
- Anchor text for internal linking and on external links.
Now you are all set to make a website rank on the 1st page of SERP.
Why does Google use so many ranking factors ?
Google has billions of users and Google has to provide correct and valuable information to every single user. If a user searches for a query like “what is digital marketing” then Google doesn’t show that website that has used “what is digital marketing” keywords many times on their meta title and meta description. Here, Google has to use many other ranking factors because one ranking factor like keyword targeting doesn’t show how much the information is correct and useful for the user.
But, what are the benefits of ranking factors for Google ?
There are many websites that pay Google to rank their website on SERP by using Google Ads. So if Google provides users what they want by organic results it helps Google to build the trust of users towards it which helps Google when Google shows a paid result to the user, at that time users will trust Google and click on the paid results. (here Google also takes care that the paid result which Google is providing to the user is also providing some value to the user).
Hence, this is it. I hope this blog also provides some value to you and can help you to rank your website or webpage on SERP to get high traffic and conversions.
If you have any questions about Google Ranking Factors, then please feel free to get in touch.