Understanding Google’s decision making process behind website rankings in search results, is an obvious aid when it comes to building your digital presence.
However, when the internet is flooded with discerning theories and debate over Google’s ranking factors, how can you determine what is misinformation and what is accurate? Search Engine Journal recently published an article with focus on only showcasing the factors that have been confirmed by Google themselves.
Keep reading to find out!
Google analyses web pages content for two main things – quality and relevance. To appear high in search ranking it’s important to have informative copy that answers a specific need or provides values to searchers. Additionally this copy must be grammatically correct and free from any spelling mistakes.
Usability (User Experience)
The overall usability of your website assists in guiding Google’s decision on your ranking. The core web vitals, such as loading time for main images/text and balanced page elements, need to be regularly maintained to ensure you are offering website visitors an enjoyable experience.
When users click the link to visit your web page Google will take into account the speed at which your website loads. It is usually recommended to aim for a site speed of 2-5 seconds, with anything going past this resulting in higher bounce rates.
The world has adapted to mobile-friendly devices and Google has followed suit. If your webpage is not formatted to be accessed via mobile phones or similar technology, this will negatively affect you in the rankings.
It’s a long known fact that web pages need H1 or title tags, to assist in users and Google to identify what your content is about. Whether this be a blog post, home page or service list, every page on your website must have a title tag to be easily identifiable.
Google values sites that share external high value links, and arguably even more importantly, are linked by credible and relevant pages. However, It’s important to monitor your links as these can devalue overtime if not maintained and will cause detrimental effects to your search ranking.
Google SEO’s Starter Guide, makes a direct mention to anchor text, making it quite obvious this is a factor that should be considered. Anchor text is the copy that directs visitors to a link and must be done strategically. Generic phrases like ‘click here’ aren’t valued by Google.
This factor is associated with the signals that Google uses to interpret a search query and provide results. Resultantly, if your website responds to questions, provides value or solutions, users will be more likely to click and engage with the content, encouraging Google to add you to page 1!
Google search results may appear based on location dependent on the query. Therefore it’s important to always have contact information and/or location keywords integrated in your site.
This factor may not be as crucial, but if your website is encrypted with HTTPS while performing at a high standard, this is a recipe for ranking success.
Finally, domain authority. Google rewards websites that have a history of valuable content and credible links. They want to offer quality results to searchers, and if you are able to be consistent in the content that is displayed across each web page you will be deemed as high-value.