There are 200 Google ranking factors and they all have different weights in the Google ranking scale. Some are more important than others and some are a must have. Here is a quick list of things to get you started. You should know at least the top 10 Google ranking factors so you are well armed and not blind folded.
Thanks to Your Escape From 9 to 5 reader Manidipa for her excellent question which gave me the idea for this post.
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- 1 – Keywords in URL and URL Structure
This is the basic starting point for search engines. They look at keywords in URL and URL structure first when ranking the pages.
The default URL structure for a blog in WordPress looks like: https://yourescapefrom9to5.com/?p=123
and you would want to change this to something like:
The latter makes it easier for search engines to read and evaluate the URL.
- 2 – Keywords in Title and 1st Paragraph
It goes without saying that your title and URL should match and by default it does in WordPress. But if you change the title after sometime then make sure you change the URL as well. If your post has been shared in multiple places then please be careful when changing the URL. You don’t want a broken link.
Your keyword should also appear in the 1st paragraph of your article. Try to incorporate the keyword naturally otherwise it may sound odd to the reader.
- 3 – Page Rank
Your page rank matters when Google ranks web pages for a particular search. Google updates its page rank on a quarterly basis. Hopefully, you are on the right side of Google and have been slowly doing things like accumulating backlinks to improve your rankings.
- 4 – Domain Age
This is a tough one for new websites and blogs. It does take time before Google starts trusting a new domain. You just have to be patient and keep working to see improvements in ranking results.
- 5 – Number of Quality Backlinks to your Domain
Number of Sites linking to your page and domain matters. Other things that Google takes into consideration are Quality of the pages or domains linking to your site and their relevance to your sites topic. There is no great impact of getting a few awesome links from friends who run different sites to your niche.
- 6 – Social Signals
Number of times your articles are shared in Facebook, Google+, Twitter & so on. If your content is share worthy then it gives a hint that it must be of good quality. Again search engines don’t just look at this in isolation and it is one of the many factors. If you find a funny image and it goes viral in social media does it mean it’s of great quality?
- 7 – Site Speed
Your site speed matters. Google doesn’t want to recommend slow sites to its user base as it makes Google look bad. If your site load time is greater than 4 seconds then start looking under the hood now before the car breaks down. Here is an Infographic that can help with improving your website speed.
- 8 – Mobile Friendliness
Your site’s mobile responsiveness is now considered as part of the Google ranking factors. The number of mobile devices in the cyberspace is only going to increase and it is not that hard to ensure your theme is mobile friendly. If not, it may be time to switch to another theme. Be aware of WordPress featured Image as this functions differently for various themes but that is a different story and topic altogether.
- 9 – Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords
This is a tricky one and got me in the start. When I find a keyword with the lowest competition according to my keyword research tool; I get excited. The competing pages according to the tool for a particular keyword was 5 and I thought I had hit the jackpot. Google may rank a higher authority site even if it doesn’t have the exact keywords in its URL or title. This is because Google looks for similar words in the content to see if the page is relevant. For example, when you search for ‘Financial Freedom’ – Google will also bring back pages with ‘Financial Independence’ as they are similar. You can sprinkle some synonyms in the body of your content to tilt the scale slightly in your favour. Here is a guest post by Manidipa that explains how to use LSI Keywords in detail.
- 10 – Competition
This is not a genuine ranking factor but it is important to understand to get ranked. Regardless of how good your content is or how well you have used the keyword in the title and URL, if there are big boys targeting those keywords and have higher authority sites then you may never rank for those keywords. So always assess the keyword competitiveness before trying to rank for a keyword in Google. If a particular keyword is too competitive then use a longer keyword or long tail keyword.
Focus on building backlinks, providing quality content & be smart with content marketing then slowly you will start ranking in Google. This also gives time for the Domain to age which is a big hurdle for new sites. Take care of your blog, be confident and be patient. Good luck.
- If you want to know all the 200 Google ranking factors then Brian Dean has it covered.
- You can also check out this Infographic for 40 SEO Tricks from the Best SEO Minds.