Google’s Ranking Factors Guide 2021
There are over 200 Google ranking factors, and it’s common knowledge that Google is the most popular search engine across the globe. Over 5.14 billion searches are conducted on Google each day, which of course, means you should want your business to rank higher on Google search results.
However, with SEO (search engine optimization) changing all the time, it can be a significant challenge to keep up and implement all of those changes. You’re probably wondering which ranking factors are the most important for your website. Keep reading as we take a closer look at ten of Google’s ranking factors so that you can be more prepared for 2021.
Google Ranking Factors – Everything You Need To Know For 2021
If you want a higher search engine ranking and have goals to be number one or two for your chosen keywords, then you might be scrambling to find out everything you need to know about Google’s ranking factors. However, we think that you might just want to focus on a select few.
This guide will give you a shortlist of some of the most critical factors you should consider with your online presence.
1. High-Quality Content
We are sure you’ve heard the phrase “content is king,” and it is definitely true when it comes to Google ranking factors. When you create content that is unique, helpful, and up to date for users, Google is much more likely to rank it higher on search engine page results (SERPs).
Google is constantly scanning your content quality. Even if your website is well optimized, it means nothing if your content is not valuable. So, what does Google consider quality content?
They will give preference to content that is new and unique. You’ll want to create a blog and social media posts that answer your reader’s questions, are original and provide value. However, if your content is duplicate or extremely similar to other webpages, it could cause you to lose rankings if Google decides not to index and rank your page.
Typically, if you regularly post duplicate content, Google will slow down your website’s crawling rate, so you want to make sure it’s different and better than other websites ranking for similar search terms.
Up to Date and Fresh Content
You can also boost your content quality by keeping it fresh and updated. When you regularly update your posts and consistently add new information, you’re sending positive results to search engines. Fresh content is critical when you cover topics that involve news or trends, as Google prefers pages that provide the latest information.
Length of Content
SEO experts also get asked a lot about whether the content length is a significant part of Google ranking factors. YES. Though the data on this is always changing, content length impacts where you rank on search results. On average, posts with over 1800 words rank on the first page.
However, there is no hard and fast rule to stick to when writing new content. You should create content that covers a topic in great detail. Google prefers content that answers a user’s questions and provides solutions.
Content Structure and Organization
In addition to creating excellent quality content, you should also make sure the content is organized and structured. It makes it easier for your clients to read and find solutions to their problems. Try using multiple headings and subheadings like (H2, H3, H4, etc.) to group your content.
You can also use HTML tags for bullet points and number lists to organize your content, which benefits you as Google picks up these lists and shows them as featured snippets for different keywords.
When you work on your content’s structure and organization, you increase its readability and improve your site’s user experience, which improves your chances of ranking higher on Google.
2. Search Intent
One crucial ranking factor for Google is making sure your content matches the search intent. Search intent is simply what a user is looking for. Every keyword is different, and it’s essential to understand the why behind that search query. You want the content that comes up to match the intent of the search.
Search intent could vary based on content format and style, like infographics and videos. It also shows where your clients are in the “buyer journey.” Are they looking for necessary information about your products? Do they want a how-to article or tutorial? Are they ready to make a purchase? The keywords they search for will give you a clue.
When you match the search’s intent, you can answer their questions and create content that people are looking for.
The second most important Google ranking factor after content is probably backlinks. They are an important part of Google’s ranking algorithm, and it is a way for Google to find your website for indexing.
Content and backlinks often go hand in hand as web pages without any backlinks don’t get much organic traffic. Backlinks or inbound links act as a vote of confidence for your website. Google adds all those votes together and decides if your website deserves to rank in the top 10 results.
If you can get backlinks from websites that already have high authority, you can boost your chances of higher rankings. When you get these links, you send a signal to Google that your content is trustworthy as other websites are vouching for your content.
4. Website Loading Speed
There are roughly 200 different Google ranking factors, but you should for sure focus on your page speeds. Starting May 2021, Google makes website loading speed a part of its Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals are a set of factors that Google considers are important for user experience. It looks at speed, how quickly your web elements load, and responsiveness. The goal isn’t to be the fastest, but you should pay attention to how fast your page loads for your users. Google pays attention to page speeds because slow speeds are not a great user experience for your audience.
Your SEO expert will help you analyze your website and use tools to show your page load times and highlight suggestions to make your site faster.
5. Domain Authority
You should also work on your website’s domain authority if you want your site to rank well. Domain authority is a ranking metric that shows your site’s expertise about a particular topic and whether it should rank on search engines. Domain authority assigns a score between 1 and 100: the higher your DA, the higher your chances of ranking on Google. There are different ways you can boost your site’s authority, like high-quality backlinks. Content is the primary way to increase your authority. The more people who turn to your content as a resource, the higher your authority, as Google starts to recognize your site as an expert and then ranks your page higher.
6. Mobile Friendliness
Along with what we mentioned above, another thing to look at is whether your site is mobile-friendly. Your website must be mobile responsive, allowing Google to use your website’s mobile version for ranking and indexing.
Though previously Google would use your desktop as the primary version for indexing, Google has made the shift as more than 3.7 million people use their mobile devices to search the web.
If you really want to boost your rankings, now is the time to make your website mobile-friendly.
7. Keyword Optimization
Besides creating content and getting backlinks, the most obvious ranking factor is using keywords on your website. Keywords are the search terms users use to search for things on Google, so your website must contain what your audience is searching for.
You can ensure that your website is keyword optimized by including your target keyword at the start of your posts’ SEO title tags. It’s also important to have meta descriptions with your focus keyword, so users know what your page is about and click on it. Since Google cannot read images, you should add a description and your keywords in the image alt text section so that Google knows what the visual is about.
Additionally, Google uses anchor text to find out what’s the page about, so you can use your keywords for anchor text when linking your pages. One thing we should mention is to avoid “keyword stuffing” – using your primary search term over and over and over. Mix things up with different keyword variations to help search engines learn what your content is about. You should include keywords in H2 and H3 so that you can further improve your content’s SEO organization.
8. Website Structure
Keyword optimization is essential, without a doubt, but you should also make sure that your website structure is well organized. If you are about to launch a website, you should check your website’s architecture, as it is important from a crawling and indexing perspective. A well-organized structure allows Google crawlers to find your website and its pages easily.
Start by creating a sitemap, which contains all of the important pages you want search engines to know about. Sitemaps help Google navigate through your site and discover new content, and index each important page.
You can also help Google index your website by optimizing your robots.txt file. This file provides a pathway for Google bots and tells them how to crawl and index your website. Optimizing a robots.txt file points out which pages should be crawled and which ones shouldn’t.
9. Website Security
Another Google ranking factor is your site’s security, which is a newer factor. In today’s digital age, you need to ensure your website is now on HTTPS, which encrypts the data between your website and your user’s browser.
If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate and is on HTTPS, you should update this immediately. Ask your SEO expert how to correct this.
10. User Experience
The last on our list of Google ranking factors is the overall user experience of your website. Several things contribute to a good user experience, and Google measures this by using artificial intelligence programs. It measures ranking systems like CTR ( click-through-rate). CTR is the percentage of users that click on your website link in the search results. When more people click on your link, your rankings get a boost.
Google also measures bounce rates. If a large number of people click on your site and then hit the back button without interacting on your website at all, Google thinks that your page is not relevant and it will not rank.
Lastly, it measures dwell time – how long a visitor stays on your site after searching for results. The longer people spend on your site, the better it is.
Contact An SEO Specialist If You Have Questions
Keep in mind that these are not the only things Google looks at when ranking websites; there are plenty more things that should be considered. Reach out to me today, and let’s discuss how your current strategy is working. As an SEO specialist, I have experience helping various sized businesses increase their rankings and attract more visitors.