There are over 200 Google ranking factors that have been identified in SEO, but which ones will get you to the first page? Here is the complete guide to help you on your way.
In SEO we are always looking for the most up-to-date information about ranking factors to get websites to the first page of the SERPS effectively. Through many years of research into Google’s behaviour, about 200 have been discovered overall. Google has also hinted that there are many other factors that are used that is outside of the human domain and comea down to machine learning and AI.
For SEO agencies and SEO consultants however, we don’t have to work on all of them as they bear a very low amount of weight and are only used if 2 pages are very similar as a “tie-breaker”. From what we know so far here are is the 8 most important Google factors, that can be leveraged in an SEO campaign.
Eventually, Google is actually planning on moving away from backlinks. This is because most people are on the first page these days are because of paid links or pbn links. Both of these Google Dislikes. At the moment though backlinks are VIP. Links have to come from niche-relevant high-authority sites. You always see sites appear on the first page for a short time and this is because most have used PBNS or Shady black hat SEO techniques to get there quickly, They normally fall from the front page just as fast however so a good strategy with lasting results should take time. When choosing backlinks, some Google patents say that freshness and traffic may also be important backlink metrics.
How To Get More Backlinks (Strategy)
Finding niche relevant backlinks can be hard if you don’t know where to start. But consider this, type into google the word that you want to rank for and get link lists from your search competitors. If you have some understanding of SEO you can use tools such as SEO SpyGlass or Ahrefs to analyse your competitors’ backlinks and find the backlink gaps that exist.
This should always be the first port of call in building links as it’s likely that sites that link to your competitors will also link to you.
On-page Semantic Saturation (Word Use)
SEO Content or on-page SEO is far the trickiest part of any campaign. You need to match your words used with the users intent, always answer a simple question first what is the person looking for when they come to your site – ANSWER THAT FIRST. Your content must contain an appropriate amount of relevant keywords, entities and images for the length of the copy. The content should not be “Keyword stuffed” like in the old days of SEO, it should rather be a natural-sounding copy written in an informative style.
Writing Niche Relevant Copy (Strategy)
There are many tools that can help you figure out which keywords to use and how many times to mention them. We like using a few different tools for this including SEO surfers and Website Auditor. Both tools have there positives and negatives, ultimately though both will give you a list of writing instructions so you can include the right amount of main and secondary keywords, their placement, and the recommended length of the copy.
HTML Title & Meta Tags
The Title and meta tag are part of EVERY SINGLE SEO strategy. Essentially Title tags are a type of meta tag (an HTML element). The other part of the meta tag is the meta description. You’ll be familiar with these: you see them every time you search for something on Google. Here’s one of our pages for SEO in Perth.
How to optimise your website Title Tags for SEO (strategy)
There are 7 main points that need to be covered to make a google title tag.
- Consider your website structure – Each page needs to have different tags in order to land in as many searches as possible in Google.
- Be topical – Title tags need to be relevant to the topic your page content is about. This one seems quite obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do it. Think about it from a user’s point of view. If you have a mislabelled title tag a user inst going to be happy.
- Keywords use – Keyword research is the most important step in title tag optimisation in improving your search engine rankings overall. Try to figure out what search you want to find for and match your content and title tag to match. It’s impossible to target every keyword but try to target the ones with the biggest traffic. Try and put the main keywords in the first part of the title tag. Just make sure that when you’re using keywords avoid keyword stuffing.
- Be Unique – Think about it if you have identical title tags you are essentially creating a situation whereby you have 2 pages competing against each other.
- Be Engaging – You might wonder how long should a title tag be? Google limits them to 600 px, which translates to roughly 50-60 characters long. overall this isn’t a lot of text, so you need to get to the point and stay on topic. Ideally use “active language” and calls to action rather than passive language. Every title tag you write should be done around getting an emotional response as a sales tactic as this is what invites clicks. Don’t get too complicated; your title tag should roll off the tongue easily. Whatever you do, make sure your title tag is focused on what your audience is searching for.
- Be Human – Don’t get to sales orientated when writing a catchy tag, this will turn potential clickers off.
Core Website Vitals (page speed and load times)
Website Vitals are the newest user experience metrics that Google is now looking at as a ranking factor. The metrics will measure the first impression the user gets when visiting a page. Specifically, how fast it loads, how soon it becomes interactive, and how stable the layout is. Now, it’s important to note that the vitals are not yet official Google ranking factors. But they definitely will be, so it’s best to use the remaining time to get them sorted on your site. If you need help with this we can help you – reach out to us today.
Speed Optimisation (strategy)
This is really the job of the development team that built your site. Google has been kind enough to equip each vital with a detailed set of optimisation guidelines. For faster loading, Google recommends better server response times, less render-blocking JS and CSS, and faster resource loading. For improved interactivity, Google recommends code splitting and using less JS. Finally, for better visual stability, Google recommends using size attributes for images and videos and loading content from the top.
The User’s Onsite Behaviour
Google is yet to confirm or deny if this is something that the search engine bots look at. Overall Google and Jon Muller have stated that it isn’t. However but there’s been some pretty convincing evidence that it might be. The metrics we are talking about are the click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, session depth, and session duration. To check your performance on user behavior metrics, use your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.
Users Onsite Behaviour (strategy)
Improving user behaviour and click-through rate is a skill of its own and ultimately comes down to creating good quality, highly engaging content. Click-through rate (CTR) is all about having good titles and meta (we have discussed this already). The other factors including bounce rate, session duration and session depth are all about if the user likes what they see on-page. Keep users engaged, make sure to produce high-quality copy with plenty of visuals and internal links. The goal is to catch the visitors and send them down your sales funnel.
Structured Data (Schema)
There are alot of different tags you can use for your site and this tells google every little detail about your site’s content. Structured data can be used to tag authors, ratings, product features, locations, and so much more. And it can do wonders for your SEO overall.
Structured Data (strategy)
The best way to do this is to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Choose the type of Schema markup (article, local business, and product come highly recommended) and submit a link to the page you want to enhance. Now highlight bits of text and choose corresponding tags. When done, save the HTML file and upload it to your website. Extra step — check whether your structured data actually works with the help of Google’s Rich Result Test.
The Google My Business listing
The GMB listing is the cornerstone to every single Local SEO strategy. Optimising and updating your Google My Business Listing is paramount in ranking in your local area, it helps establish your company as a trusted organisation. This can also skyrocket your local search performance as it’s essentially the first port of call for all customer interactions. Once you create a listing, it becomes eligible for the local business panel as well as Google maps, opening your business to nearby searchers.
GMB Optimisation (strategy)
Once you have set up a Google My Business listing you will be asked to fill out details about your business, the trick is to be very thorough and complete every field with great depth. There are also a lot of other cool features that you can discover in the GMB dashboard where you will find many additional ways to enhance your listing. The least you can do is add a description, business hours, and photos, but there are many more cool features to explore. Google is constantly adding new Google My Business features and it’s gotten so advanced that it’s almost like a website of its own.
Originally Google announced that mobile-first indexing would be in September 2020, however, they changed Google Deadline For Mobile-First Indexing Now March 2021 , Not September as first thought. When this happens all websites without exception will be judged on their mobile version, not the desktop version. So, if you want your website to have any chance of ranking in search results, you have to make sure that it is designed for mobile users.
Mobile Optimisation (strategy)
The very first thing you need to know is if your page is mobile-friendly or not. To do this visit Google’s mobile-friendly test , and submit a URL. If the page is OK, you will get a green light, and if it’s not, you’ll get some suggestions on what to improve.
However doing this for every single page on your site would take hours, so you can use the Google search console to check over all the pages of your site at one time. Once in the tool go to Enhancements > Mobile Usability, and view a report along with a list of suggested improvements.
SEO is an ever-changing game because the Google algorithm continues to evolve. Some ranking factors, like keywords and backlinks, are gradually losing importance. Other ranking factors, like user experience and semantic saturation, are taking their place. For now, though, the list above is a pretty solid selection of tactics to add to your SEO strategy.
Want to learn more? Contact the team at Perth Digital Edge to elevate your brand and stay ahead of the competition. Find your digital edge today.