Every site owner needs to know the importance of SEO and Google’s ranking system. The higher your site is ranked on Google, the more people will click on it. Site ranking is directly proportional to site success, so if you want to get as many visitors and potential customers as possible, it’s vital to be aware of Google’s ranking factors and adapt your site to push it up the list. The world’s most famous search engine actually uses a couple of hundred different factors when ranking a site, but some are much more important than others. Here, we’ll look through some of the most important ones, so that you can make the necessary changes to help your website become more popular than ever before.
Let’s start with the factors that involve the ways in which individual webpages are optimized:
Title Tag Keyword – The title tag is supposed to give a concise overview of the content of the page. By including a keyword in the title, Google will be able to take that keyword and use it to rank the page accordingly. The position of the keyword is of great importance; keywords at the start of the title will rank better than those near the end.
Description Tag Keyword – Description tags might not be quite as important as title tags, but they still have some bearing on your page’s ranking. Try to keep keywords included in your descriptions. Not only will this rank your pages higher, it will also help to encourage users to start clicking on your site.
URL Keyword – Add a keyword to your page URL to increase its ranking with Google.
Keywords in the Copy – Most people are familiar with this one. Countless sites out there are built on the premise of “put as many keywords into your copy as possible”. It’s true that, in the past, this was a good way to boost your site’s ranking. However, it is now important to know that Google has reduced the importance of this factor, so it won’t help you reach the top of the list anymore.
Length of Text – Simply put, the longer your posts and articles, the higher they’ll be ranked. Google prioritizes longer pieces of text under the assumption that these pages will be more educative and thorough than shorter ones.
Header Tag Keyword - Keywords in the header, or H1, tag will also affect the page’s ranking.
Repeated Content – Repeating the same thing over and over again might have once seemed like a reliable way to boost your site’s ranking, but not anymore. In fact, it can actually have the opposite effect, so be sure to avoid duplicating any copy. If you simply have to have two different pages with very similar content, be sure to use canonical tags to prevent this from becoming a hindrance to your site.
Optimized Images – The captions and descriptions of images can also have some influence on your site’s ranking, so be sure to use keywords and keep this text relevant.
Regular Updates – If your page is continuously updated and fresh, Google will rank it higher. Naturally, this works on a page-by-page basis, as not all pages need constant updating.
Use of Links – This is a great way to build up your site’s trust level. Provide links to reputable sites on your pages. This way, Google can see that your page isn’t just about making money or drawing people in, it’s actually been designed to educate them. Don’t go overboard though, too many links can disrupt the ranking of your page, as well as its usefulness. You can also use internal links to encourage visitors to see more of your site.
Having look at the page-based factors, let’s now take a broader view and look at certain site-wide aspects you can change to improve your site’s visibility.
Trust – Trust is the term used by Google to define how well your page should be ranked based on how genuine your site is believed to be. We already talked about linking to other sites to build trust, and there are many other methods you can use to boost this value.
Use a Sitemap – This helps Google catalog each of your individual webpages.
Server – The location of your server could also have an effect on your site’s ranking, especially in the country where your server is situated.
Responsive Design – Having a site that will work on mobile devices is a big plus for Google. More and more people are using tablets and phones to access the internet, so it only makes sense for optimized sites to find themselves higher in the rankings.
Use Google Webmasters Tools – These tools offer statistics and analytical data to help you improve the quality of your site. They can also contribute to site ranking, so it’s worth having them.
Now let’s move onto the factors that occur outside of your site.
Linking Domains and Pages – If other sites link to your site, you’ll have a higher ranking with Google. Links from different domains are more valuable than links from individual pages on the same domain, but every link helps so it’s good to get as many as you can.
Ranking of Linking Pages – If the pages that link to your site are high-ranked and trustworthy, those links will be more valuable for you than those from low-ranked pages. It’s also helpful to have links from pages that cover the same subject matter as your site.
Homepage Links – If another site links to your site directly from their homepage, that link will also hold a higher value than others.
Anchor Text – This text is attached to a link and was previously used to boost site ranking, but Google has since made some chances and anchor text can now actually lower your rank, so be sure not to abuse this tool.
Location of Link – A link that appears at the base of a page or in a sidebar is allegedly less valuable than one which is found right in the middle of a page’s text.
The final set of factors we’ll look at are related to your site’s domain name.
How Long the Domain Has Existed – Domains that have been around for several years are considered more genuine and therefore have higher trust ratings.
The History of a Domain – If a domain has had problems in years gone by, this can negatively impact your site’s ranking, even if you had nothing to do with the domain at the time.
TLD Extensions – The TLD extension of your domain (.fr, .de, .com) can boost your site’s ranking in the relevant country.