Each day, thousands of pages are published on Google. However, only 9 percent of these pages get traffic. Web crawlers crawl across the web every second to determine which content is searched most all over the world. Google is the best website to acquire organic traffic because it has more visitors as compared with other browsers. You should aim towards obtaining organic traffic that is free and does not involve a lot of work so long as you optimize your content well. Everyone would want to have their site acquire many Google visitors. Google makes use of algorithms to determine which page ranks where. Previously, the page rank tool was public, and it was possible to know where your site ranks. Currently, the page ranking tool is not public, and there exist a lot of theories on what Google uses to determine to rank on its site. Here are some of the factors considered so that your content can rank on Google. The elements are categorized into two;
- In-site SEO Factors
These are factors associated with how well you have optimized your site as well as the content.
- Off-site SEO Factors
These are factors you consider outside the site to drive more traffic and authority through the creation of links and linking your pages to social sites such as Facebook.
In-site SEO Factors
- Speed – your site should load fast enough for Google web crawlers to recognize it. The site should also be optimized for easier access. It is therefore essential that you keep updating your site to gain more traffic that will in return enable your site to rank highly on Google.
- Encryption- your site should be well encrypted to enhance the security of anyone who accesses it. Otherwise, Google is likely not to rank your content since they value their users and would not want to subject them to insecurity by referring them to your site.
- Sitemap – Google ranks sites that have maps to enable them to check through the pages you have posted. If using sites such as WordPress, make sure to include plugins that will help you generate a sitemap. Yoast SEO is the best tool to use on WordPress. Alternatively, you can apply online sitemap generators that will serve the same purpose.
- Accessibility – your site should be easily accessible even by use of mobile devices. A site should be mobile friendly because it an undeniable fact that most people browse using their mobile devices.
- In addition to being mobile friendly, your site should be optimized in such a way that it has fast mobile speeds. To do this, you have to minimize your images and video clips to enhance speed. There are tools available to help you check your sites’ mobile speed and they also tell you how you compare against competitors and even suggest how you can improve.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – mostly affect ranking on mobile devices as opposed to ranking on desktop. Once you install AMP, it is possible to receive a lightning bolt symbol that usually appears on search results and your content will load faster. The ability of content to load faster on mobile device makes your page user friendly as mentioned above. Hence, it will rank better on Google.
- Meta descriptions- every post and page should have a Meta description that appears as grey text whenever you search for content on Google. The Meta description should also include some keywords that users are likely to look for. Meta descriptions make your content unique and easily noticeable on Google for ranking.
- Use microdata tags on your site so that Google can easily understand your content. Microdata tags are commonly known as Schema, and you can use schema.organd to help you know how you can use data tags to improve your content and therefore the ranking.
- Make use of internal links to connect pages within your site. Internal links ensure ease of navigation and helps Google determine the relevancy of pages on the site hence ranking them accordingly.
- Activity on your site can either inhibit or improve your ranking on Google. Regularly updating the content of your pages shows you are active. Also making sure that the content you update is up to date maintains your sites relevancy hence more traffic and Google will rank your content.
- Your URL should be easily accessible by Google bots. Google bots crawl to find information on your site to determine whether it’s relevant or not. To aid the bots, your URL links should guide them on what to access and what not to obtain. Make use of robot.txt file because it exposes the links you want to be seen and conceals those you do not wish the bots to access.
- Domain age also matters a lot for Google to rank your content. In most cases, users trust sites that are more than three years old. A site whose domain is three years or older and that has been optimized is likely to gain authority on Google search and hence may rank higher than the newer sites. The domain name should also be trustworthy because users may decide to use this as a determining factor on whether to visit your site. Research has shown that most people prefer to search content on sites that have an exact domain name. However, this does not mean that if your site name does not match your domain name you will not gain traffic. You can still rank on Google if your content is optimized.
A domain that has a keyword on its name is likely to give a high ranking. A domain name whose first letter is a keyword is also expected to gain recognition. A domain that has been paid for many years beforehand is preferred by Google because it may be more legitimate than one paid for just a year or a few months. Some domains do not last long, and Google wants to rank domains that are credible for its users. You should also check on the history of your domain to ensure the previous owner had not accumulated penalties which will be transferred to you as the new user. To rank high on Google, you can also come up with an exact match of the domain name with the targeted keywords.
A country TLD extension can also be used as a factor to rank high on Google. If you use a domain with the code of your country may enable your content to rank high in your particular location, but then it may limit you from global ranking.
- Authority of your site as well as the domain can also be a determining factor for Google ranking. Onsite Explorer can help you determine the authority of your website and domain. You have to plug in your URL into the search box, and it will evaluate the scores ranging from 1-100. Using the same tool you can know the established links and the once added recently. After checking for authority, it is now possible to know the likelihood of your content ranking on Google.
- Content optimization- it is essential that you optimize your content such that Google can easily tell which information is relevant for searchers. To maximize content, you have to make use of keywords and in the right density. Keyword stuffing often leads to poor quality work that will not attract readers. Ensure that your content is unique because readers thirst for new information every day. The titles you use on your content should also answer questions like how, when, why and who. Titles that begin with a question are easily accessible for users who utilize voice search. Also make use of H1, H2, and H3 tags and ensure they contain the relevant keywords to make them more visible to Google web crawlers. TF-IDF should also be used to ensure that a keyword appears in text as many times as possible without overdoing it. Google uses a sophisticated TF-IDF to select keywords that determine whether a document is relevant for the users.
Your site should also make use of latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords. Use of LSI enables Google to deduce meaning from words that have different meanings in different contexts. For instance, the word ‘top’ could imply a level, and in another context, it could mean a type of clothing.
The length of your content also determines your ranking in the sense that Google observes use behavior and therefore the more time users spend on your page, the higher the chances of ranking. Some of the highest ranking pages have about 1800-2000 words. Other than the length, the content should be easily skimmable by separating it using subtitles. Addition of a table of contents also enables Google to rank your content because it makes it easier to have a glimpse of what your page is about and its relevance to a users search. The table of contents should be linked to enable Google to understand it better, and at the same time, it improves on use of internal links. Your content should also have URL extensions commonly known as slugs. The slugs should be user-friendly and not too long to enable Google to access your page easily.
Your content should also have meta-tags that have a keyword you would want to be ranked. Google keeps changing the policy for meta-tag use, and you should, therefore, remain updated as well. In addition to meta-tags, ensure to vary your content such that it contains images, videos, and written text. Variation of content is likely to engage your visitors prompting them to stay on your site longer. If you are using images on your site, optimize them such that they include alt text tags which act as anchors to the pictures. You should add a keyword on the alt tag to give you a high ranking.
Use trustworthy links on your page. Be sure to do away with broken links or links to sites that no longer exist. Solid links to high ranking sites may give your site more traffic. You can use BrokenLinkCheck to ensure links on your page are up to date and relevant. Your page should also be well organized to include numberings or bullets whenever you are listing items. Numbered items make it easier for Google users.
Most importantly, your content should be free from grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Poorly structured sentences and paragraphs are also likely to turn off readers hence deterring traffic to your page. Google bots may also not recognize poorly spelled words and may not lead to ranking on its search results.
- User behavior is also a factor used to determine which page ranks high on Google Search. Several metrics are used to determine user behavior.
As earlier mentioned, the time spent on your site is relevant to Google ranking. Use of videos and images can help you achieve this. Google checks on bounce rates which mean you should aim towards making your content to be of good quality and also direct users to other sites. Your site should also attract direct visits which will indicate to Google that your quality is great. Also, to be ranked high, you should aim towards directing your visitors to other pages on the same site. The more pages your readers visit on your site, the higher the chances of getting ranked.
Off-site Google Ranking Factors
As much as Google mainly considers in site factors about your site, some external reasons may make your page be ranked high on search platforms.
- Link to social platforms- Google is likely to consider a site more relevant if more people like or comment of posts on sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Ensure that you add information regarding contacts, the location of your office if it is a business, opening hours and if possible an online chat with customers. These factors are likely to create an impression of transparency about your page to Google prompting high ranking.
- Strive towards getting your site some referrals from other websites. External links are useful because they drive traffic to your content making it easier for Google to recognize traffic and to rank you high.
- Also, make sure the BackLinks you get are from trusted websites. For a website to be trusted, it should have domain authority. If your page gets a referral from sites with domain authority, Google will get an impression that your quality is worth reading hence the reference from other sites. Chances are, you will get more traffic to your site and therefore, get ranked high.
- Google also considers the click-through rate of its users. For instance, if your page is displayed to users when they search for content with keywords that you have used, yet none clicks through, it means your content is irrelevant. However, if people click onto your site when it appears on Google Search, there is a chance you will rank well if many people click on it.
It is every site owner desire to see their content ranking highly on Google search results. However, to achieve good ranking, you have to ensure that you meet the requirements of search engine optimization (SEO). Firstly, your content should be of high quality and free from errors. Also, include solid BackLinks in your pages. Internal links to your pages can also lead to Google recognizing your content. Optimize images and videos on the site to engage the users more because Google considers time searchers spend on your site. Having a link to a social platform could also help in ranking your page.