Global SEO ranking factors keep changing and it can be hard to keep up with the latest developments, but if you want your site to get traffic, you need to stay informed.
Therefore, in this guide we will share with you the essential SEO ranking factors you need to dominate the first position in search engines.
SEO, the answer to how do I rank higher in Google?
Before going into the search engine ranking factors, we must clarify what SEO ranking is and how is the process that Google performs to evaluate whether or not a website has an SEO value to give it a better position.
As you may already know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization (search engine optimization), as its name implies, it is about improving web pages so that they have a better position in the search engine. The ranking refers to the position of the content in the results pages (SERP).
A No. 1 ranking means that when people search for a particular term, your web page is the first organic result to appear. Being in the top 3 places is great because almost half of the clicks on any search results page go to those positions. Also, according to a Google study, 95% of people never get past the first page.
To rank websites, Google’s search robots (pieces of automated software called “spiders”) first visit different pages, thus identifying those that have been correctly optimized and cataloging them so that when a person does a search, get the most appropriate results based on the terms you use (keywords).
Through this process and with the factors that we will see in detail later, Google shows the most relevant and high quality results related to the keywords first in search engines , and the rest are shown on successive pages.
A secure and accessible website
The first SEO ranking factor has to do with having the right type of URL , something that Google bots can easily crawl. In other words, the URL is the gateway for them to identify the content of the page and begin to understand what the site is about.
To help the bots , you will need:
- A site built with a well coded website builder.
- A robots.txt file that tells Google where it can and cannot search for information on your site.
- A sitemap that lists all of your pages. If you are building your WordPress site, you can set up a sitemap through Yoast SEO, otherwise you can use an online sitemap generator .
Although HTTPS is not a confirmed factor in deciding whether or not to index a page, Google’s own John Mueller has tweeted that it is a “minor ranking factor” and that “having HTTPS is great for users.”
Page speed (including mobile page speed)
Page speed has been cited as one of the top SEO ranking factors for years. Google wants to improve the user experience on the web , and fast-loading web pages will definitely do that.
Since July 2018, Google announced a search engine algorithm update focused on mobile page speed, so if your site doesn’t load quickly on mobile devices, it could be penalized.
Adaptability to mobile devices
Most people now use mobile devices more than desktops to access the web, which has led to changes in the way Google ranks search results and has made adaptability to mobile or tablet another important factor. SEO ranking.
Google’s mobile-first index is a reality, meaning it gets its results from mobile-optimized sites first, rather than desktop-oriented sites. If your site is not mobile optimized, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity in terms of SEO.
Some aspects that will help you take care of the user experience when people arrive at your site are:
- Have a responsive site that automatically resizes to fit the device.
- Use large fonts to make it easier to read on a small screen.
- Accessibility and navigability, including the ease of accessing menus.
- Ensuring content is not hidden by ads.
Domain age, URL and authority
Did you know that almost 60% of the sites that occupy one of the top ten search positions in Google are three years old or older ? Data from a study conducted by Ahrefs , where two million web pages were analyzed, suggests that very few sites less than a year old achieve that ranking. So if your site has been around for some time and you decide to optimize it, you will have a huge advantage.
In many cases that the domain name is related to certain keywords is important; however, Google has gone so far as to penalize exact match websites (where the target keyword is on the domain) as it considers that they use that exact match to artificially inflate their ranking.
If you already have an established brand or website, you don’t need to search for an exact match domain, instead focus on a URL that reflects what your business is about and optimize it.
Google’s search algorithm is based on keywords, terms, and phrases that people use when searching for information. Ideally, the content of your website should consider search intent , which means understanding what people are really looking for when they type in keywords.
For example, let’s say you’ve identified “Merida real estate” as a keyword you want to rank for. You may think that writing content for people searching for Merida real estate is a good idea, but if the people searching for that term are also real estate agents looking to sell, then your content will not meet their needs and your page will not rank.
Sometimes the search intent is clearer, for example, if they use the word “compare” they are probably trying to make a decision between one product and another, and if they use the word “buy” then they are looking to purchase a product.
The keywords will change depending on whether people want:
- Finding a particular website (browsing).
- Get the answer to a question (informational).
- Obtain information before making a purchase (research).
- Make a purchase (transactional).
Well-optimized sites should include content for each of those search types.
Finally, another factor to improve the ranking of your site in terms of content is the use of video. According to Cisco , video content will account for 80% of online traffic by 2021.
Part of the optimization of the content also has to do with technical aspects, some visible and others not so much, but that you should consider:
- Using phrases or keywords in page titles – this is where Google looks first to determine what content is relevant, as it will see the page title as the first line of a search result.
- Use header tags to display content hierarchy. When the title is formatted as H1, and H2 or H3 is used for subtitles.
- Create a meta description that draws in readers and includes keywords. Keep meta descriptions short and catchy – you have around 160 characters to convince search engines that your post is the one they want to rank for.
- Use keywords in the Alt tags of images to show that they are relevant to the main content. Google also has image search, which is another way for people to find your content.
- Where appropriate, use schema structured data to tell Google what type of content you’re producing, eg data tables, events, local businesses, etc. This can also help your content appear in rich card posts ( snippets ).
User experience (RankBrain)
For some time now, Google has been using artificial intelligence to better rank web pages; This algorithm is known as RankBrain and some indicators that it takes into account for ranking in the search engine are:
- Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of people who clicked to visit your site after it appeared in search results for them.
- Bounce Rate: The number of people who left your site after viewing a single page, within a few seconds.
- Dwell Time: The amount of time they spend on your site after arriving.
If people come to your site, don’t like it, and leave, Google will think it’s not relevant to their needs. If enough people do this, then it might be more difficult for you to rank higher in search results. Conversely, if people click through to your web page and stay longer, that tells Google that your content is relevant to their search.
As we said at the beginning, the web is built on links, so naturally links are a crucial SEO ranking signal . There are three main types of links:
- incoming links
- outgoing links
- internal links
Google uses inbound links as a way to determine how authoritative and relevant your content is. The best case scenario is when an authoritative site includes a relevant link to your site; For example, if the Content Marketing Institute includes a link to the content marketing section of your website, that will be better perceived as it shows that you are creating quality content for your visitors.
On the other hand, linking to your own content can help tie pages together for both Google and your visitors, making each page more valuable. If you have a higher authority page and link to another page on your site, it helps visitors find the other page and transfers some of that authority to it, which will cause that second page to increase your search engine ranking. search.
Dissemination in social networks
Google’s official statement is that social media shares are not a direct ranking factor. Links from Twitter or Facebook are not counted the same as links from other authorized websites.
However, there is no denying that the pages with the highest ranking in Google search results tend to have more shares , probably because the more the content is shared, the more people will see it and decide to link to it. That means getting more social media shares helps your search engine ranking indirectly.
Not only is it enough to have a presence on social networks, but you must make it easy to share your content and amplify those social signals.
Actual business information
This tip is important for businesses that offer their services or products in particular local areas. The presence or absence of business information is one of the most important local SEO ranking factors.
Therefore, it is important to take care of factors such as:
- Name, address and telephone number.
- Have a business profile on Google My Business and Facebook.
- Facilitate and take care of the reviews/opinions on those sites and on relevant directories like Yelp, to mention an example.
- Correct local search terms.