What does Google really want from a website? A question that’s in every marketer’s, SEO specialist’s, and business owner’s mind. Well, that isn’t easy to know as SEO requirements keep on changing, but certain fundamental principles have remained unchanged. This article explores the seven crucial SEO ranking factors every business should know:
Have you heard about Google’s 200 ranking factors before? If not, let us tell you more. These 200 ranking factors are literally the factors that Google reports taking into consideration for search engine optimization.
Well, now, it doesn’t even matter how accurate this number is. The bare magnitude of it can be really intimidating, especially if you’re not an SEO specialist and you’re only someone starting to rank their site.
But here’s the thing: not all factors listed by Google are equally important. Some have even changed over time, proving that they don’t really matter that much for the giant search engine. For many, you may don’t even have that much direct influence. However, some of these factors are indeed must-haves for your website to rank.
If you’re just launching your website and trying to help it rank, buckle up because you’re in for a ride. Start by using a website ranking checker to see where your site stands and read the seven most crucial SEO ranking factors that your business should consider:
A secure and accessible website
First things first, what Google wants from your website is for it to be secure and accessible. More precisely, the search engine giant wants your website to have the right kind of URL, specifically a URL that’s easy for its bots to reach and crawl.
Simply put, Google has to be able to visit your page’s URL and check your content to see what the page is about. What do you need for that?
- To work with a well-coded website builder.
- To have robots.txt files that let Google know where it can or can’t find your site info.
- A site map that lists all your website’s pages.
- Enabled SSL security on your website.
Website pages that load fast
Page loading speed is a buzzword when it comes to SEO because it has been listed as one of the leading SEO ranking factors for a very long time now. To improve users’ experience on the web, Google places huge importance on how fast web pages to load.
What’s more, in 2018, the search engine giant has officially announced a search engine algorithm update focused on mobile page speed that started to affect sites’ ranking from that moment on. In other words, if a site didn’t load fast on mobile devices, it was penalized, affecting its ranking.
To check and optimize tour site’s overall performance, including speed, you can start using Google Search Console, a free tool from Google that helps you measure a site’s traffic and performance. There are also many other SEO tools to check and improve your site’s ranking. Do your research and see which tool is the right one for you.
A mobile-friendly website
Mobile-friendliness is another must-have in SEO ranking. Today, most online searches are done using mobile devices. In fact, 2019 data shows that 80% of users used a mobile device to search on the web. What’s more, data shows that over 72,6% of Internet users will only access the Internet solely using their smartphones by 2025. So, it’s only natural that Google wants websites on the web to be optimized for mobile devices.
How do you know that Google considers your website as mobile-friendly? Easy, Google has its own mobile testing tool that allows you to check that.
What should a website have for Google to consider it mobile-friendly?
- It should have a design that automatically resizes to fit a smaller device screen.
- Good readability on smaller screens.
- Accessible menus.
- Make sure that ads don’t hide the essential content on the page.
Domain age, URL, and authority
Yes, for Google, your domain’s age matters. So do your website’s URL and authority.
Here’s a fact: approximately 60% of the sites that rank in Google search’s top ten results have been on the web for three years or more. So, yes, if you’ve been around on the web for at least three years, and you’ve considered all the other SEO ranking factors we’re mentioning in this article, you likely already have a major advantage.
The domain name also matters sometimes. More precisely, in the past, Google has penalized exact-match domains. In other words, the search engine has penalized websites that had the target keyword in their URL. However, this is generally a problem for spammy websites that have thin content.
As for domain authority, it is also an important factor for ranking.
Content is a key part of SEO. It is, in fact, one of the most important search ranking factors. But you likely know that already. What “optimized content” means is likely the real question here.
Well, optimized content means for your content to include industry-relevant words and phrases, known as keywords, to make it easier for users to find the piece of information they are looking for. What’s more, these keywords let Google know easier what topics users can find on your site. So, it’s essential to use keywords in your content.
We also recommend using a website ranking checker to check your websites search engine rankings for various keywords.
Does content length matter?
In short: yes, content length matters! Research suggests that 2000+ word content usually ranks better. However, it’s never a good idea to stretch out an article or blog if the content isn’t relevant or really helpful.
Google’s main focus is to make the web better for users. So, it’s only normal that it focuses on user experience as an important SEO ranking factor.
The more often your site is visited, the more time users spend on it, and the more people who click on your site and stay there, the better it ranks your site.
The entire digital world is built on links. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that links are a key SEO ranking factor. There are three kinds of relevant links in SEO: inbound, outbound, and internal links. Your site needs them all to rank better in Google.