More than 5 billion online searches are processed each day by Google, meaning more than 85,000 requests per second. That makes Google by far the most popular search engine worldwide. If your business website does not appear on the first page of a Google search result, you are losing out big time. Only 5% of all Google users make it past the first page of results. So, the higher your ranking, the better your chances of growing your audience, attracting potential new customers or clients and ultimately making more sales, thus increasing your revenue.
But how does Google determine which websites rank higher than others? By analysing more than 200 factors including content, compatibility and keywords. Every day, Google search bots crawl the web visiting trillions of pages. Whenever they find correctly optimized pages, they add them to their index and catalogue them. Every time someone places a search request on Google, they are presented with the best results based on their search terms.
The process of upgrading your website according to these ranking factors is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which, looking at the number of factors Google is using, can be extremely complex. Companies such as Energise Web provide high quality services to improve your website SEO, but every website owner should know at least the 10 most important Google ranking factors to keep up with the competition.
Whatever you put on your website needs to be of high quality, meaning it is original, unique and valuable to users. Posting regular updates, for example by blogging, will further ensure that you provide fresh content which sends a positive signal to Google. Try keeping up with the latest news or trends of your industry and write detailed articles that look at a topic from every angle. Research has shown that content over 2000 words is more likely to show up in the top ten search results. Keep in mind that readability, structure and overall user experience are also important.
Google loves backlinks. Any external website that links back to yours resembles a vote of confidence. The more votes you get, the more likely Google will place you in the trustworthy category and share your site with others. While backlinks are important, poor quality backlinks may do more harm than good. Links from websites that are relevant to your industry are more valuable than links that are from other websites.
If your page takes too long to load, you may put off your audience. It sends a signal to Google that you are not able to provide a great user experience and you will drop rapidly in the ranking. If you are unsure of your website’s loading speed, Google provides a free tool where you can check exactly that. On top of that, the service makes suggestions on how to make your website faster. Having said that, it may be beneficial for your website to load slightly slower if it allows you to provide a better user experience.
You want your website to be displayed properly on a range of devices, above all on smartphones. Being mobile-friendly is one of the major factors Google looks at to determine your ranking. The shift from desktop to mobile was completed in 2019 with Google now using your website’s mobile version for indexing and ranking as a priority.
The better your content and the more backlinks you have, the higher your domain authority will be. It tells Google how much of an expert you are on a particular topic or within an industry. Every website has a domain authority value ranking anywhere between 1 and 100 which is also based on website speed, URL name and domain age. The higher your score, the better you will do in search rankings.
The words and phrases your audience use to search the internet are called keywords. The more of those keywords your website contains, the more likely Google will direct them to you. To optimize your keywords, think about what online users would want to know that you can give them, or which of their questions you can answer best. Part of keyword optimization is including them in your website’s meta description, in image alt texts as well as headlines and subheadings. Note that you can’t simply add in more keywords than your competition to rank higher. This is called “keyword stuffing”. It worked 20 years ago but now, it could negatively impact your rankings.
Along with well-structured content, you will also need a well structured website. One way of improving that structure is to create a sitemap which will help Google find and navigate through your website, new content and the most relevant pages. We’d also suggest not making your website too “deep”, where users have to go through multiple levels of the site to get to where they want to do. Nothing should be more than 2-3 clicks away.
Google is taking security very seriously. Though a relatively new ranking factor, your site’s security is one of the key factors that will determine your success in search results. Since 2014, Google is checking whether your website is running on the old HTTP system or whether it is using the safer HTTPS version which encrypts data between websites and browsers. We advised our clients to move to secure connections years ago. If your website still isn’t using one, please ask us about it.
Google’s aim is to provide the best possible experience for its users which means providing them with search results that are relevant, safe and operational. If your website does not meet these standards, it impacts directly on Google’s reputation, hence you are less likely to show up in the top results. Google measures overall user experience of a website with a program called RankBrain.
Among others, it analyses your click-through-rate, bounce rate and dwell time. How many people click on the link to your website if it does show up in search results? How many people actually interact with your website or straight away hit the return button? And how long do visitors stay on your website after being sent there?
Allowing and inviting people to share your content on social media is another way to boost your Google rankings. After all, people will only share what they deem valuable or relevant. According to Google, the number of links directed to your website from platforms such as Twitter or Facebook is not an official ranking factor. However, every social media share creates more traffic for your page and increases the likelihood of backlinks, thus indirectly improving your rankings.
If you have any questions about SEO or would like to improve your Google ranking, contact the experienced team at Energise Web today.