If you’re new to blogging or content writing, there are many things you must know about search engines, especially Google. Gone are the days of glutting keywords into titles, descriptions and posts. The main specialty of Google is that it always change the search algorithm over the time. So, mind it that Google has become more clever than ever before and only ranks the websites that are worth ranking due to their great content.
Undoubtedly, the content is KING but without the power of king’s armed forces it’s likely impossible to win the battle. I mean to say, along with content there are many other factors too that must be considered to rank your website higher in search engines.
Here I’ve listed the most powerful factors that will tell you how does Google rank your website. Google uses almost 200+ different factors to rank a website but doesn’t let people know what those factors are. However, through a combination of research, testing and experience, a good Google SEO consultant can understand what the most important factors are.
According to the some SEO experts and my self experience, I found the following ranking signals very powerful to decide how your website to be ranked by search engines.
Let’s see, what are these factors:
There are several factors about your domain Google sometimes considers for ranking your website. Such as age of your domain. However, Matt Cutts stated “The difference between a domain that’s six months old verses one year old is really not that big at all”. In other words, they do use domain age, but it’s not very important.
Another important domain factor frequently coming in my mind is country extension with your domain. Having a country code top level domain (.in, .uk, .ca) helps the site rank in that particular country but it also limits the site to rank globally.
Title & description tags
I already told you that gone are the days of glutting lots of keywords into titles, descriptions and posts because search engines are now more clever than ever before. Now, most of the search engines like Google and Yahoo consider that how descriptive your titles and meta descriptions are according to your blog or website niche.
Content length means the number of words in your blog article. I think it is also one of the factor for Google to rank a blog post. The content with more words is more likely to be preferred first than a blog post having little amount of words. But be careful about not to wander from your main topic or keyword in the article.
Although not as important as it once was, keyword density is still something Google uses to determine the topic of a webpage. But going overboard can hurt you.
Page loading speed
Both Google and Bing use page loading speed as a ranking factor. So, be careful about your site speed and always keep try to improve your website loading speed.
Quality & quantity of outbound links
It’s really true that giving too many do follow links to low or zero PR websites can hurt your rankings. But many SEOs think that linking out to authority sites helps sending authority signals to Google.
Grammar & spelling
Proper grammar and spelling is also an important factor that Google may sometimes consider to rank a site.
Search Engine Journal notes that excessively long URLs may hurt search visibility.
Keyword in URL
It sometimes helpful but not always. But if keyword is present in the URL, it may send a good relevancy signal to Google for ranking your website.
Age of page
Although Google always prefers the fresh content, an older page that’s regularly updated may outperform a newer page. But admit it, the page should be regularly updated and quality of page must be maintained!
Contact us & privacy page
The Google Quality Document states that they prefer sites with an appropriate amount of contact information. It will be a bonus if you contact information matches your whois info. Moreover, the privacy page tell Google that the site is trustworthy member of Internet.
Site trust is measured by how many links away your site is from highly trusted sites. It is also a massively important factor to rank your site.
How often the site is updated
How often your site is updated or in other words how frequently you add new content to your website. It is also a site wide freshness factor.
Presence of sitemap
A sitemap helps search engines index your pages easier and more thoroughly. So, it may help your site to improve search visibility.
Don’t underestimate site downtime
If your website is getting lots of downtime from maintenance or server, it may hurt your rankings and even result in deindexing your site from search engines if not corrected.
Links from .EDU or .GOV domains
Matt Cutts stated that TLD (Top Level Domain) doesn’t factor into a site’s importance. However, that doesn’t stop SEOs from thinking that there is special place in the algo for top level domains like .EDU or .GOV etc.
No follow links
It is one of the most controversial topics in the SEO. However, Google stated on this matter “In general we don’t follow them”. It suggests that they follow, at least in certain cases. Having a certain percent of no follow links may indicate a natural vs. unnatural link profile.
Sponsored vs. contextual links
Words like sponsored, link partners or sponsored links may decrease the link’s value where as links embedded in the page’s content is considered more powerful.
DMOZ & Yahoo! listing
Many SEOs think that Google gives the DMOZ listed websites a little extra trust. So, today submit your website to be listed in DMOZ directory. Learn, how can you list your site into DMOZ directory. The algorithm might also have a special place for Yahoo! directory.
Organic CTR for a keyword
Pages that get clicked more for a keyword may get the SEO boost for that particular keyword. Many SEO specialists think that Google takes this fact into account too.
Bounce rate & time on site
Not everybody in SEO agrees bounce rate matters but it may be a way of Google to use their users as quality testers. It means the pages where people quickly bounce are not probably very good. So, may also be a good factor of Google that how much time people stays on your site and accordingly they would rank your site.
Google may also look at whether or not visitors go back to a page or site after visiting. Sites with repeat visitors may get a SERP boost.
Number of comments matters
A page with lots of comments may be signal of user interaction and quality.
Influence of social media
Google may have a separate section for social media influence in their search algorithm. Number of tweets, number of Facebook likes, shares, Pinterest pins, Google Plus followers and the all social integration is very important factor to rank a site higher in search results.
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So, these are the most powerful factors that Google might be taking into account to rank your website. I’m sure these points will help you know that how Google ranks your website in search results.