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An SEO’s Guide to Google’s Major Ranking Factors

September 26, 2020 - Fifteen

There’s a huge list of Google ranking factors with the SEO community discovering over two hundred as of yet. However, most of these factors hold little weight and are used more as tie-breakers.

Knowing which ranking factors are going to push your SEO strategy to the top and improve visibility is crucial. Therefore we’ve put together a list of the eight major Google ranking factors to help you focus your strategy and push to that next level.

Google My Business Listing

Boost your local search performance by claiming, maintaining and optimizing your Google My Business Listing which is pivotal for Local SEO. Not only does it help establish your company, but it also opens up the opportunity to be on the local business panel and Google maps. This is important as it increases your visibility to nearby searchers. 

Structured Data

Structured data can work wonders for your SEO and is a strategy that’s accessible to all of us, technically inclined or not. It allows you to inform Google of every detail about your content within a page and there’s thousands of tags to choose from. Including tagging locations, authors, product features and ratings to name a few. It’s also a great way to enhance your search snippets, get your location pinned and link entities.

Backlinks

Backlinks are without a doubt one of the most important Google ranking factors and as Google’s algorithm has evolved, so has our technique for gaining these links. Google now looks at the authority of the incoming link which means black hat SEO strategies can now have more of a bad effect than good to your website rankings. 

There’s a number of tools that allow you to see what sites link to your competitors this then highlights your prime outreach targets. Websites that link to areas within your niche will be more included to host your links also. 

Mobile Optimization

From September 2020 Google will be judging all websites based on their mobile version. Therefore it’s crucial that your site is designed for mobile users in order to have any chance of ranking. 

Google provides a mobile-friendly test where you can submit a URL and receive either a green light or feedback on how to mobile-optimize the page. However, this could become an extremely long process when testing your whole site. Google Search Console allows you to check all your pages at once, providing a list of suggested improvements. 

HTML Tags

Optimizing HTML tags is important and with most site auditors this can be made fairy simple. As they can highlight issues such as missing title tags and meta description or multiple H1’s in a page etc. HTML tags direct Google and shows which bits of the copy is more important. Heading tags not only split your copy into sections but also helps Google know what the page is about and a great opportunity for keywords use. Alt text is also important to optimise as it tells the search engine what the image is about and will help it appear in the image search result. This can drive more traffic to your site. 

Semantic Saturation

Content is also a huge ranking element. It has to be well proportioned with entities, relevant keywords, images and copy length. As SEO has evolved so has techniques such as keyword stuffing, which can now be detrimental to your ranking. Instead, content should be informative and written for the user in a natural style. 

User Behaviour

The SEO community is often divided when it comes to the decision on whether Google uses behaviour metrics to rank pages. These metrics include the likes of bounce rate, session duration, session depth and click-through-rate. Regardless, it’s extremely important to monitor these metrics. Monitoring allows you to produce the type of content your user wants to see.

Core Web Vitals

Soon to become a Google ranking factor, core web vitals are the newest user experience metric. Understanding what this metric will measure is important when trying to get ahead of the game with your strategy. Simply, the metric measures the first impression users get when landing on a page. Broken down this includes load speed, the stability of the layout and how soon it becomes interactive. 

To maintain an effective and complete SEO strategy it’s important to always keep up to date with the ever-evolving Google Algorithm. SEO is a constant whirlwind of new ranking factors, new tools, new technologies and methods. Therefore it’s important to follow the trends and switch up your strategies when necessary.

At Fifteen, we keep on top of the latest Google search adaptations to offer cutting-edge digital strategies. If you’re interested in how we can improve your visibility and conversion rate contact us today.

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