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The 8 most important Google ranking factors - SEO guide

The 8 most important Google ranking factors - SEO guide

There are over two hundred Google Ranking Factors known, but which are the most important? Here is a list for you.

The SEO community is always on the lookout for new ranking factors, and has discovered over two hundred of them so far. But there may be hundreds more that Google is actually using. Fortunately, we don't have to work on all of them. Most carry very little weight in SEO and are often used as tie-breakers rather than ranking signals. Instead, here's a list of Google ranking factors, each of which can be crucial to your search optimization strategy.

1. backlinks

Even though Google plans to do away with backlinks in the future, they remain the most important ranking factor for your pages. Only now it's too risky to use black-hat SEO strategies - your links must come from a variety of high-ranking sites that are similar to yours. In addition, some Google patents state that freshness and traffic can also be important backlink metrics.

SEO optimization strategy

The most efficient way to grow your backlink profile is to borrow backlink ideas from your search competitors. All you need to do is, SEO SpyGlass to start, go to Domain Comparison > Link Crossing and add a few of your top competitors. The tool will analyze your competitors' backlinks and find the backlink gap - websites that link to your competitors but not to you. These websites are your main targets for outreach. If you see them already linking to other websites in your niche, it's very likely they're hosting your links as well.

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2. semantic saturation

Your SEO content must contain an appropriate amount of relevant keywords, elements and images for the length of the text. The content should not be stuffed like in the old SEO days. It should rather be a natural sounding text written in an informative style.

SEO optimization strategy

It might be a little difficult to figure out exactly which keywords to use, where to put them, and how many are needed. For WordPress users there are tools like RankMath or Yoast. These plugins analyze your content and show you the right amount of main and secondary keywords, their placement, the recommended length of the text and much more. 

SEO optimization

3. HTML tags for SEO optimization

HTML tags tell Google which parts of your text are most important. The title and meta description tags are what users see in search results - write them like a keyword-rich promo. Heading tags (H1-H6) divide your copy into sections - they should also contain keywords and be written in an informative style. Finally, alt text is used to describe images for search engines and should be filled in if you want to appear in search results for images.

SEO optimization strategy

If you haven't taken care of HTML tags, then there are probably hundreds of pages on your site that are not properly optimized for search. A thorough approach would be to use the website auditor from Link Assistant and check your pages en masse. First, go to Site Structure > Pages > On-Page and sort the pages by their search optimization score. If you spot pages with a low score, click on them to get a detailed report. It will tell you exactly which HTML tags need to be optimized and what's wrong with them.

4. core web vitals

Core Web Vitals are the latest user experience metrics that will soon become Google ranking factors. The metrics measure the first impression the user gets when visiting a page. Specifically, they measure how quickly the page loads, how quickly it becomes interactive, and how stable the layout is. Now, it's important to note that vital signs are not yet official Google ranking factors. However, they definitely will be, so it's best to use the time remaining to get them in proper shape.The 8 most important Google ranking factors - SEO guide 2

SEO optimization strategy

Google has been kind enough to provide every important point with a detailed set of optimization guidelines Equip. For faster loading, Google recommends better server response times, less rendering-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.

5. user behaviour

There is a lot of uncertainty in the SEO community as to whether Google actually uses behavioral metrics to rank pages. Google says it doesn't, but there is some pretty compelling evidence that it might.

The metrics we're talking about are click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, session depth, and session duration. To check your performance on the user behavior metrics, use your Google Analytics- and Google Search Console accounts.

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SEO optimization strategy

Improving user behavior metrics has a lot to do with creating engaging content. CTR, for example, depends on having an attractive snippet in the search results. At the same time, bounce rate, session duration, and session depth all depend on having something fun to do on your site. To keep users engaged, make sure you create quality copy with lots of visuals and internal links. The goal is to catch visitors and send them through your sales funnel.

6 Structured data

There are thousands of tags to choose from, and they can tell Google every little detail about your content. Structured data can be used to tag authors, reviews, product features, locations, and much more. And they can do wonders for your search engine optimization (SEO): you can create links between businesses, set your location, and add rich elements to your search snippets:

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SEO optimization strategy

If you are not a tech-savvy person, it is best to use the Structured Data Markup Helper From Google. Choose the type of markup (article, local business and product are highly recommended) and submit a link to the page you want to improve. Now mark up parts of the text and select the appropriate tags. When you are done, save the HTML file and upload it to your website. Extra step - check with the help of Google's Rich Result Testwhether your structured data actually works.The 8 most important Google ranking factors - SEO Guide 5

7. entry at Google My Business

Claiming, optimizing and maintaining your Google My Business listing is the most important thing you can do for your local SEO. It helps establish your business as an entity, which in itself is a big win for your SEO. More importantly, it will skyrocket your local search performance. Once you create a listing, it becomes eligible for the local business panel as well as Google Maps, opening up your business to searchers nearby:The 8 most important Google ranking factors - SEO Guide 6

SEO optimization strategy

First you need to Google My Business visit and either create or claim your profile. You will be asked to provide some basic information and verify your property. You will then be taken to your Google My Business dashboard where you will find many additional ways to improve 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 features to Google My Business and it has become so advanced that it almost looks like its own website.

8. mobile optimization

Mobile-first indexing is fully implemented. Google announced that from September 2020, all websites without exception will be judged on their mobile version rather than the desktop version. So if you want your website to stand a chance of ranking in search results, you need to make sure it's designed for mobile users.

SEO optimization strategy

To check if your site is mobile friendly, visit Google's mobile friendliness test and submit a URL. If the page is okay, you'll get a green light; if it's not, you'll get some suggestions for improvement.The 8 most important Google ranking factors - SEO guide 7

Checking your website page by page is hardly practical, so you can use Google Search Console to check all your pages at once. Launch the tool, go to Improvements > Mobile Usability and view a report along with a list of suggested improvements.

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Final thoughts

It's important to keep an eye on Google's ever-evolving algorithm. Some ranking factors, like keywords and backlinks, are gradually becoming less important. 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 you can add to your SEO strategy.


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