To rank all websites in search results, Google needs to use a combination of numerous factors. It is only fair that there are some criteria. But what makes the competition more challenging is the fact that these factors are the algorithms’ mystery.
Experts revealed that there are more than 200 of them. And they might keep changing every few months or years. Some factors, however, got discovered. Here are the most crucial ones in the ranking competition.
What are the ranking factors?
The idea of ranking factors itself is simple. They are the criteria used by Google to determine which websites should appear in the top position in the search results.
Every search engine has its criteria to follow, but as Google is the most popular option for the majority of Internet users, the focus of this article will be on its factors.
Algorithms evaluate all the web pages to put them in the order that would suit best the needs and requirements of Internet users.
It is not an easy task, as the number of websites matching a given search phrase is often close to astronomical. As a result, it is not surprising that the criteria used by Google are equally diverse.
There are debates, sometimes heated ones, when it comes to the actual number of ranking factors, as the biggest search engine is nothing but a mystery in this matter.
Many claims that there are about 200 of them, probably more. But since the creation of the first algorithms, they have undergone major alterations countless times.
As ranking factors are kept hidden from the common users, is there a sense in putting in the hours to understand them? These elements are vital in terms of SEO, as they strongly affect the website’s position in search engines.
As a result, every SEO specialist, marketer, content creator, or anyone who works in website optimization needs to understand as much as possible about the ranking factors to improve the page performance on the Net.
Every day, millions of individual search phrases are googled around the world, and winning the top positions is a true challenge.
The number might be a mystery, but one thing is sure.
All ranking factors are widely diversified, and they comprise both on-site and off-site elements, as well as some domain-related factors. They include content, technical aspects of the webpage, UX (User Experience), and many more.
Crucial ranking factors to know
It is not possible to cover all the known ranking factors in one article, as long as it is not a simple list with no explanations involved.
However, the basic essential elements influencing the ranking positions are the key to being visible on Google at all. And it’s worth understanding them.
In general, these factors can be divided based on whether they concern off-site or on-site elements.
On-site ranking factors: content
On-site ranking factors
The content of any website plays a major role. Not only in its position in search results but also in attracting visitors and engaging potential customers.
However, as the focus of this article is on ranking factors, let’s take a closer look at the ones connected with the webpage’s content.
Engaging and expert-level content is a requirement for a website to succeed in search results. If the quality of the text is low, Google would probably rather ignore it.
Algorithms pay much attention to the originality of the content. A content creator should avoid duplicating it, even within the subpages, and under no circumstances should they plagiarize the texts.
Google promotes only those websites that include their unique, engaging content that is frequently refreshed and updated.
Among the numerous factors that influence the position of a website in search results are targeted keywords and phrases. Only if used properly, of course.
Google algorithms appreciate and promote those websites that have keywords included not only in the content but also in a title tag visible in the HTML code, as well as in an H1 tag or even meta description (although it is not sure whether this element is one of the ranking factors).
In the case of keywords, it’s vital to keep balance. The density of phrases does matter. Too many of them and the site becomes unattractive both for users and algorithms. Too few and they won’t be enough to work properly.
In terms of content, not only written word counts for Google. If a website is rich in diverse graphic elements, multimedia, texts, and pictures, it is considered more attractive for users and better promoted.
Yet another thing that matters in this regard is the use of alt descriptions. The text should also include internal linking, as it, too, is considered beneficial in positioning.
UX and technical aspects: on-site factors
As the total number of Google ranking factors is unknown, SEO experts and marketers, and all content creators can safely assume that it’s better to take care of every aspect of a website because it might play a vital role in positioning.
Besides content, the on-site factors include elements concerning the user’s experience and technical aspects.
Google algorithm pays attention to such details as URL length or keywords included in it.
A website should have robots.txt files optimized, sitemaps in the XML format, an SSL certificate that keeps the data safe, or canonical links to enable Google to determine which of the similar subpages is the original one.
User experience matters not only for the visitors themselves but also for the algorithms that, on its basis, determine the website’s position in the ranking.
UX elements that influence the positioning include responsiveness, site speed, intuitive menu, or one of the newest factors called Core Web Vitals that evaluate the experience of using a site.
Off-site ranking factors on Google
Track visits on your website and update its content to improve the SEO
Positioning requires a lot of effort put into the website, but it is also based on working off-site. This includes external linking directly to the page, company’s and website’s image as an expert, or brand awareness among Internet users.
All of these factors require promoting the site through different methods, from sponsored articles on other pages to ads, preferably Google Ads, integrated with the search engine requirements.
Such activities help to improve a website’s position in search results but are also additional support to positioning itself.
A well-promoted website, which is, at the same time, ranked high, is sure to succeed on the Internet. Taking care of it all is no less than a challenge, and that’s what experienced agencies are for – to guide and help in the process.
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