The Top 10 Google Ranking Factors (+Optimization Tips)

Where ’ s the first place people go when they need an answer, mind, product, or service ? not to the Yellow Pages. not into town. not flush to kin and friends at this target. They go to the Goog. And most of them do not go past the beginning foliate of results .
And it is for this reason that SEO, or search engine optimization, is a multi-billion dollar diligence. SEO is the exercise of getting a web site to align with Google ’ s ranking factors. So what are those rate factors and how can you optimize your site for them ? Read on to find out .
search engine optimization - google ranking factors

Table of contents

What are Google ranking factors?

SEO is the serve of optimizing your web site to rank a high as possible in organic search engine results ( and yes, you can aim for the first page ). When talking about search, we use the term “ organic ” to refer to search results that are amateur. This is different from paid results, which come from PPC advertising .
organic rankings on Google are determined by an algorithm that takes into bill versatile characteristics and SEO metrics —and these are your rank factors .
There are over 200 Google ranking factors, and while we will never know all of them, we do know many. We besides know that while ranking factors and algorithm may shift, the characteristics Google is trying to parse out through them are expertness, authority, and reliance ( E-A-T ) .
google ranking factors - meaning of E-A-T
E-A-T is not a ranking factor ; rather, ranking factors are a way for Google to measure of E-A-T .

Types of Google ranking factors

Before we get into the top 10 Google ranking factors around which you can optimize your web site pages, let ’ s first go over the unlike types .

  • On-page ranking factors refer to the quality of the content on the page and the keywords its targeting.
  • Off-page ranking factors are like endorsements from other pages on your site or other websites, and primarily involve backlinks.
  • Technical ranking factors measure your site’s ability to be crawled, indexed, and render content quickly and safely for searchers.
  • Local ranking factors involve all three of the above, with a special focus on reviews, reputation, and listings.

There international relations and security network ’ metric ton one unmarried ranking factor that will make or break your SEO. It ’ s the combination of all your technical, on-page, and off-page efforts that work together to help you rank higher on Google, get more dealings, and build trust .
⚡️   Free guide >> 25 Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Website  The top Google ranking factors according to First Page Sage are as follows :

On-page Google ranking factors

The above technical search engine ranking factors have to do with your web site as a whole, while these following rank factors are more page-specific—hence the condition on-page SEO .

1. Relevant, high-quality content

The single most important Google ranking factor is the quality of your content. This correlates to the reproducible publication of high gear choice content, user engagement, and recess expertness in the chart above. So what makes relevant, quality content ?

  • It’s trustworthy. The information is in-depth, accurate, useful, and free of spammy links and/or comments.
  • It’s readable. That means organized logically, written conversationally, and not stuffed with keywords (Google will actually penalize you for this). Incorporate it naturally into your page and use it interchangeably with related keywords.
  • It’s fresh. Even the most evergreen content loses relevancy over time. So in addition to writing net new content, you should also be updating outdated pages with new information and new keywords that are relevant to today. This is the key to maintaining a good freshness score.
  • It matches the intent of the keyword. In addition to using keyword research tools to find out what your ideal audience is searching online, make sure to search the keyword on Google itself to make sure you understand what users are seeking when they perform that search.

In a recent survey conducted by Directive, 78 % of marketers identified keyword research as a high-impact practice for driving raw traffic. The research process allows you to better understand what your audience is searching for and create contented that immediately addresses these search queries.
google ranking factors - impact of keyword research on driving new traffic

2. Keyword placement

once you know which keywords you want to rank for, it ’ south crucial to insert them into specific places on your foliate. This includes :

  • Title tag: aka meta title; the title that appears on the SERP
  • H1 title: title that appears on the page
  • H2 headings: aim for at least two
  • URL: keep your URL short and clean as well.
  • Naturally in the body: and also in the first 100 words
  • Meta description: the blurb that appears below the title tag/meta title. Make sure it accurately sums up your page and gives searchers a reason to click. Google doesn’t always use the meta description you provide, but it’s still important to include.

keyword placement checklist for on-page seo
Keywords in the championship chase are, by far, the most crucial, followed by H2s and URL .

3. Image optimization

This is an crucial one—not lone because of Google effigy search but besides because even search results are getting more and more visual—especially on mobile. here ’ s how to optimize your images for SEO :

  • Assign alt text: This is the text alternative of an image, and the only way that Google can “see” them. Be short but descriptive and include the keyword. This also makes your website accessible to visually-impaired readers who rely on screen readers to browse the internet, and will show if the image fails to load.
  • Compress and resize: Use an image compressor (tinypng is my favorite) to keep your image file sizes to 70-100KB or less if you can. Often, saving as JPG instead of PNG helps. Also, images rarely need to be more than 1,000px wide. Though a responsive website will resize the images automatically, the less requests your site needs to make to the server, the better for page speed.
  • Add value: If you can, avoid using empty stock images and graphics in your blog posts and instead use screenshots, examples, charts, and illustrations that depict concepts. This improves the quality of the content and keeps users engaged longer.
  • Include the keyword: Not just in the alt text, but the file name. And replace spaces with dashes in the file name, otherwise your CMS will replace them with “%20” which creates an untrustworthy-looking image link.

google ranking factors - a properly saved, tagged, and compressed image in wordpress
A by rights saved, tagged, sized, and compressed double .

4. Niche expertise

It ’ mho not just the quality of your contented that indicates expertness in your niche, but besides the measure of that choice content. For example, WordStream has been publishing high-quality content about PPC for a long time nowadays, so Google has come to see us as a hope source in this recess. But if we were to publish a ace high-quality post about, say, robotic serve automation, our chances of ranking for that keyword are reduce .
To build out your niche expertness, you can use the hub and spoke method acting ( besides known as column page and cluster contented ). With this method acting, you create a hub/pillar page on a finical subject, normally a across-the-board, high-volume keyword. This serves as the independent resource for that topic, and your assorted H2s blanket different child keywords within that subject .
then you have your spokes, or bunch content, which are the extra pages that dive deeper into each of the aspects ( child keywords ) covered in the column page .
google ranking factors - hub and spoke content clusters
In summation to demonstrating your expertness within this niche, this method besides helps with your locate structure, which we ’ ll talk about late. Since the bunch pages link to and from the pillar contentedness, a well as to each other, this keeps all of your links tightly organized around the same subject.

✅ Is your web site optimized to rank on Google ? Get an instant SEO audit with our absolve web site grader. ✅

Technical Google ranking factors

Since it involves cognition of web site structure and message management systems, technical SEO is normally a joint effort between marketing and development teams. But although this may seem complicated, once your web site is in full work order, there ’ s not a fortune of ongoing care required in terms of SEO. hera are the technical strategies for improving your rank :

5. Page speed

Users expect a pain-free crop experience, which is why page focal ratio is an crucial ranking factor. If your pages take excessively farseeing to load, your leap rate will increase and your ranking will decrease. You can check yours with GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights .
google ranking factors - gtmetrix homepage

6. Mobile-friendliness

second in 2019, Google told us it would be using mobile-first indexing on all new sites. This means that it makes its ranking assessment based on the mobile translation of a locate quite than the desktop. then, in 2020 it told us plans for this to be the case for all sites, and as of 2021, all sites are now topic to mobile-first index .
In other words, flush if the background version of your locate is flawless, your search locomotive rate could take a major hit if it isn ’ t optimized for mobile. Most contentedness management systems allow you to make preview and adjustments for mobile/smaller screens. You can besides use Google ’ s Mobile-Friendly Test .
google ranking factors - google's mobile friendly test homepage
In addition to these tests, you should still constantly preview and test your web pages on an actual mobile device because there are some things that code good can ’ thymine peck up .

7. Core Web Vitals

While SEO trends ebb and stream, rate factors don ’ metric ton much change. But in 2021, Google did introduce a raw ranking factor—Core Web Vitals—as a separate of the page know update. Core Web Vitals quantify a person ’ s experience on your page, which dictates whether and how they engage with it. They include :

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): how long it takes for the visible elements on a page to load.
  • FID (First Input Delay): How long it takes for your page to register the first click or tap on the page.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): whether there are unexpected movements or disruptive popups

You can improve your Core Web Vitals with lazy load, code minification, trope compression, and more .
core web vitals

8. Website architecture

As mentioned earlier, search engines work by crawling and indexing different pieces of content on your web site. inner links refer to any hyperlink that points to another page on your same web site. The more form and tightly-knit your inner yoke structure is, the more points of entree you create to any given page, and the easier it is for search engines ( and users ) to find what they ’ re looking for .
ideally, any given page on your web site should be accessible in three clicks or less .

google ranking factors - internal linking structure
To do this, you must be mindful of what pages you ’ re linking to each time you create a new foliate or a new piece of message .
It makes it so that search engines can easily understand and index the content. subject clusters are besides beneficial from a user experience perspective. It makes your content easier to navigate and readers will realize that they don ’ t have to go to multiple sites to find what they ’ re looking for .
It ’ s probably that your web site already undergo regular alimony to check for things like bugs or server errors. For SEO purposes, it ’ s a full idea to do a technical SEO audited account of your locate every couple of months to check for things such as 404 errors, redirect loops, and break links.

9. Site security

always wonder what the s stands for in hypertext transfer protocol ( as opposed to equitable plain honest-to-god hypertext transfer protocol ) ? Well it stands for plug. And the manner you get your site to be an hypertext transfer protocol locate rather than an hypertext transfer protocol site is to get an SSL ( secure sockets layer ) certificate. There are a few different routes to getting an SSL, and the cost depends on the flush of security you need adenine well as your hosting setup. HubSpot, for example offers free SSL through its CMS .

Off-page Google ranking factors

Off-page rank factors have to do with entities outside of your web site, such as social media platforms, influencers, and early websites, but there is one focal point to any off-page SEO scheme :

10. Backlinks

last but most decidedly not least, we have backlinks. A backlink is a connection to your page that comes from another web site. A page with a lot of links pointing back to it indicates to Google that the detail page is providing exceeding value, and is coming from a credible web site. But one connection from one timbre world is a lot better than multiple links from several low-authority websites .
google ranking factors - how backlinking link juice is transferred
From our page on connect build
sol how do you get backlinks ? hera are four link-building strategies .

  • Original, quality content: If your content is high-quality, unique, and provides value to your audience, it will generate backlinks on its own. Go for the irreplicable content like thought leadership content and original data-driven pieces.
  • Cold outreach: It takes years to build this kind of authority, so you’ll also want to build backlinks by finding related content and pitching your pieces to the author for a link.
  • Guest posts: Another method for building backlinks is by guest blogging. Rather than just asking for a link, offer to write a post for that site. You can include a backlink to your site in the post or in yoru author bio.

The top 10 Google ranking factors [recap]

With a potent presence in both paid and organic search engine results, you can increase your visibility —and no matter what kind of business you run, having visibility on research engines is critical if you want to earn believe, build brand awareness, increase traffic to your site, attract customers, and drive gross. The top 10 Google Ranking factors include :

Read more : Smoked Pork Shoulder

  1. Quality content
  2. Keyword placement
  3. Image optimization
  4. URL structure
  5. Page speed
  6. Mobile-friendliness
  7. Core Web Vitals
  8. Site architecture
  9. Site security
  10. Backlinks

just remember, when it comes to veridical SEO, there ’ s no such thing as a silver bullet. The most significant note to keep in mind is that climbing the search results pages takes time. If you optimize your web site for several rank factors today, it ’ s not going to magically appear in the number one spot tomorrow .
The optimization march requires ongoing campaign to keep your web site as fresh and relevant for your audience as possible. angstrom hanker as your web site is functional and optimize with your target buyer in thinker, you ’ ll start to see constituent emergence .
For more opportunities to optimize for Google ’ s rank factors, follow our easy 10-step SEO audit, or you can use our free Website Grader tool to do it for you.

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