The image shows a mobile phone with search engine and a smartseo4you query in it
For many years a lot of us are trying to understand how Google rankings work. There are lots of speculations related to this topic. One thing we know for sure – Google has never publicly listed all the factors it takes into account when ranking the website’s content. But at the same time Google suggested that it uses more than 200 ranking signals to determine where to position a content page in organic SERPs, such as: domain-related factors, website architecture, the website URLs’ structure, the quality of the on-page SEO as well as off-page SEO, site-level factors, the number of technical SEO factors that contribute to where the website falls in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) for the various keywords related to the specific industry & more. That is why SmartSEO4you are going to share with you the most essential SEO ranking factors everyone needs to be aware of to be able to dominate search. It doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of the factors.

Let’s get started!

In SEO, the term ‘ranking’ refers to the content page’s position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). A #1 ranking means that the web page appears first in SERP (apart from the Ads results, featured snippets, knowledge graphs & answer boxes), when people search for a particular query related to the company’s products or services. Appearing in the top three results is a dream, because almost half of the clicks on any search results page go to those first 3 positions.

Website Architecture

There are factors that might have a greater impact on where the website appears in SERPs, but the website’s architecture, in our opinion, is the first thing the company should get right upfront as it plays a critical role in SEO effectiveness. A good website architecture makes content easier for search engines and users to access and navigate. Google and other search engines must understand and evaluate the site to be able to rank it.

Domain security – users prefer secure websites

HTTPS is a must for every website nowadays. Users are looking for the padlock when providing their personal details. Both Chrome and Firefox explicitly mark websites that provide forms on pages without HTTPS as being non-secure. And in SEO – it is a ranking factor. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol – a virtual process that transfers information from a website to the user’s browser. HTTPS is the secure version of this protocol, where the letter ’S’ stands for secure.

Page Speed

There is no secret that both Google, Yahoo and Bing use page speed as a ‘ranking factor’. Search engine crawlers can estimate the site’s speed fairly accurately based on the page’s HTML code. Plus, Google uses Chrome user’s data to get a better idea on a page’s loading time – to measure how quickly a page actually loads for users. In general, pages that load in less than three seconds are considered fast enough for their user experience.

Backlinks profile

Linking to authority sites is a trust signal. The more trusted domains in the backlink profile, the higher the website ranks and the stronger it becomes, because search engines consider backlinks as ‘quality & uniqueness votes’ for a specific page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings. Despite the fact that Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm on a regular basis, backlinks remain a key ranking signal.

Internal linking

One of the biggest mistake people still make is that they tend to forget to use internal linking, in which you link one of the web pages to another. These type of links are super useful for a few reasons:
  • They allow site visitors to navigate a website.
  • They help establish information hierarchy for the website.
  • They help spread link equity (linking juice) around the website
  • They help Search Engines to access, crawl and list the pages more effectively
Google crawls websites by following both internal and external links, using a bot called Google bot. This bot starts crawling the site from the homepage, it starts to render the page and follows the links. By following links Google can work out the relationship between the various content pages. This way Google finds out which pages on the site cover similar subject matter.

Here’s what Google says:

‘Google must constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page.’ Internal links also aid the flow of PageRank around the site. That’s a huge deal. Therefore, the more internal links the page has, the higher its PageRank. But remember, it’s not all about quantity – the quality of the link plays a vital role here.

Content quality

Nowadays, Google is able to understand content quality of the website. It can easily determine whether the site is too thin or has duplicate content, performing a much better analysis of content quality than ever before. In the end of the day, the main goal of Google is very simple: To give the user the best search engine experience in the least amount of time. Google can look at the content on one website and compare it to others within that space. So if one site has a higher quality content than all of the competitors in the same niche, then its much more likely to outrank them in the long run.

Good content structure is an important part of any content strategy. It includes a variety of headers and sub-headers to make an answer easier for a site visitor to process and understand the information provided. It might also include bullet points, numbered lists, supporting images, and clearly cited research, all of which help keep users engaged with the page content. The more engaged the site user is with the content, the longer they’ll stay on the website, that’s increasing what is known as their ‘session duration’, another relevant Google ranking factor that comes as a result of creating good quality & unique content.

Content Length has a direct impact on ranking Google wants content to be a good quality one and have some length to it.

The research suggests that content with more than 2000 words gets more top ten positions in Google SERPs. The reason for it is obvious – content rich pages/sites get more links. Users find content is so valuable that they are willing to link to in-depth content more than they are willing to link to content that is short. One more thing to bear in mind – Google’s RankBrain algorithm. It is a component of Google’s core algorithm which uses machine learning to better understand the site’s content & determine the most relevant results (from the billions of pages) to search engine queries.

On page SEO

Content pages are the main reason visitors come to any site. A good content page should be very specific to a given topic. Please remember – you can have the most beautifully written piece of content by the best editor or PR writer, but i f you don’t describe it well enough via specifically designed for this tags, no one finds it, because Search Engines won’t be able to understand it well enough to list it. The purpose of the given web page should be directly stated in all of the following areas:
  • A web page URL: It is important for users and search engines to understand what is on each page just by looking at the URL. URLs are also the building blocks of an effective site hierarchy, passing equity through the domain and directing users to their desired destinations. So it is important to have them done right.
  • Title tag is usually the title of the page, represented in the HTML of that page. This helps Google create the blue, clickable headline you see on the SERP itself. Title tags are super important to all types of webpages. The title tag of the page should bebe an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. Meta title tags are a major factor in helping search engines understand what the page is about, plus, they are the first impression people have of your page. Ideally it should be about 60 characters or 600 pixels in length to be fully displayed in Google Search Results Pages.
  • Meta description tag is an HTML tag that describes and summaries the contents of the page. Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, but they influence users to click through to a page and click through rate(CTR) impacts ranking. Make sure that the length of the Meta description is no longer than 165 characters.
  • Content of the page is any content created with the goal of delivering a great source of information about any given topic for users. Longer your site visitors stay on the page reading your content, higher ranking it might get as Search Engines will be indicated that this content provides users with something useful.
  • Image alt text attributes are used within an HTML code to describe both the appearance and function of all images used on a page. They are more importantly than sometimes people think of them.
    1. They provide better image context/descriptions to search engines, helping them to index images properly.
    2. Visually impaired users using screen readers will be read an alt attribute to better understand on-page images.
    3. They will be displayed in place of images if the images files cannot be loaded.
An ideal web page should do all of the following:
  1. Be hyper-relevant to a specific topic (usually a product or single object):
    • Include subject in title tag
    • Include subject in URL
    • Include subject in image alt text
    • Specify subject several times throughout text content
  2. Provide unique content about a given subject
  3. Link back to its category page
  4. Link back to its subcategory page (If applicable)
  5. Link back to its homepage (normally accomplished with an image link showing the website logo on the top left of a page)

Dwell Time

What is ‘Dwell time’ and how it impacts ranking? Dwell time is the amount of time a site visitor spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on a SERP page, but before clicking away from the page back to the SERP results. The value of this metric to a search engine should be self-explanatory – the more time users spend on the page, the higher the probability that page has a good quality information to satisfy users’ needs. But what if you ask for the time or weather, a quick glance at the answer on the page may be just enough. In situations like this – a metric built around dwell time( average time spent on the page) would have to account for that: short time = satisfaction. It is not an easy metric, must be considered in a mix of many factors. But it is a metric that’s used and would hold a value applied to rankings at some level.
To be continued…

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3 Responses

  1. whoah this blog is fantastic i like reading your articles.

    Keep up a good work! Do you realise how many people are looking for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  2. Appreciate this post. Great content! Very useful information. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  3. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this article really useful & it helped me a lot to understand a few SEO things. Thanks again for that.

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