Google’s Top 6 SEO Ranking Factors

It’s a well-known fact that Google’s algorithm is almost impossible to figure out completely, even for SEO specialists. With a resolute company motto like, “Don’t be evil,” Google has been pretty unbiased with their algorithmic penalties thus far.  They’ve even penalized their own website—not once, but five times!

Needless to say, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to rank the first page for the largest search engine on the internet. Fortunately, years of trial-and-error have supplied us with a handful of SEO strategies that are both compliant and effective. Here are the key findings you need to know to establish yourself on the first page of Google. Let’s get straight to it!

1. Domain Authority

By “domain authority,” we mean two things: domain age and keyword relevance. Google’s own Matt Cutts revealed that domain age actually plays a small role in ranking authority. This means that new websites could be doing everything right in terms of SEO optimization, but could still take a few months longer before they’re on the same authority level as older domains. To combat this slight disadvantage, submit your sitemaps to Google to speed up the indexing process. To do this, simply search “Google Webmaster Tools” and submit your website to get indexed.

As for keywords within the domain name, nothing has been confirmed by Google itself, but this important factor still shouldn’t be ignored. When you search up a key phrase, you can see that the searched words are bolded even in the domain name. From this and a few more hints, we know that Google takes domain keywords into account—even if it’s not the weightiest SEO tactic. A domain name that’s relevant to your niche also helps to establish a sense of credibility and legitimacy for your website.

2. Quality Backlinks

High-quality backlinks are, arguably, one of the essential SEO factors for all websites. Think of a link as a pathway and the landing page as the destination. Whenever an authority domain links to your website, Google bots are able to crawl through the links and index your landing page. The more high-quality websites you have linking to you, the more credibility and findability you will establish.

The only difficulty is learning how to get credible, high-traffic websites to link to you. It all comes down to mutual benefits. What can you provide the website in return for their recommendation? Some blogs grow naturally by creating high-quality, researched content that benefits their readers (who will then share their content on their own platforms). Other strategies run along the gray areas of Google’s compliance policy but are still widely used among businesses of all levels. Our suggestion? Pick a pitching method that is both compliant and fitting for your industry.

 3. Valuable Content

Your website might climb onto the first page of Google’s search results through various SEO methods, but it’s the content quality that will determine whether or not your visitors will return. Valuable content includes well-written, informative articles with relevant hyperlinks and a healthy keyword density. Don’t try to overstuff keywords into your pages. Keyword stuffing can result in your website getting penalized, which will make it significantly tougher for you to start ranking again.

The point of creating irresistible content is to earn a loyal audience, not to bait new readers into clicking your blog posts. Click-bait articles might bring in a spike of traffic in the short run, but this method won’t be sustainable once your content becomes known for having articles that don’t live up to its titles. I’m sure we can think of a few blogs that have dug themselves into this hole. You can avoid it altogether by making your content high quality from day one!

 4. Relevant Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions have been the topic of debate for quite some time, but after observing the trends of top ranking websites and getting down to the root of what Google’s algorithm is all about, we’ve concluded that meta descriptions are absolutely fantastic for improving click-throughs. Meta descriptions might not have the same SEO value as backlinks or domain authority, but they are incredibly important for getting potential visitors to click on your website. High ranking websites often optimize their meta descriptions to include important keywords within a concise, 150-160 character summary.

When you’re searching for a service or product, wouldn’t you want to know more about it before you commit to clicking on the website? Meta descriptions do just that. They essentially provide an extra line of information you can use to convince passersby to click on your site. Take full advantage of this opportunity to pitch your website to your potential visitors!

 5. Page Loading Speed

Google’s own Gary Illyes confirmed that page loading speed plays a great part in determining your website rankings. It makes sense that page speed would be taken into consideration because Google wants people to keep using its search engine. If its top websites are always lagging, it might prompt users to switch to Bing, Yahoo, or another top search site. To keep delivering the fastest and most relevant search results for its users, Google designed its algorithm to favor faster-loading pages.

To determine whether or not your pages are loading at a healthy speed, simply use free speed test tools, like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, to evaluate which page content takes the longest to load. A great way to immediately improve your page speed is by using smaller images, reducing the number of plugins on your website, and reducing redirects. When your site speed is up to par with the top ranking websites, your page views and visitor satisfaction will most likely increase.

 6. Mobile Friendliness

Part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is known as Mobile Friendly, which, if you can guess, was designed to bump up websites that have mobile-friendly pages. Mobile is now the modern computer. A recent report from Search Engine Land revealed that almost 60% of searches are from mobile devices. To cater to its users (and perhaps to capitalize on this modern platform), Google expects its top SERPs to have mobile-friendly designs.

This means that if your layout is responsive and helpful to mobile viewers, you will have a much better time landing on the first page for your desired keywords. An immediate change that you can implement is to get a mobile friendly layout. The easier it is for your mobile audience to read and engage with your content, the better their user experience will be. In the end, mobile optimization will only benefit your website, so don’t hold back!

If you apply all six of these top SEO strategies, your website will most likely see the light of day much quicker than otherwise. Google might not be the easiest platform to start ranking on, but if you play your cards right, the amount of traffic you can earn is exponential. We wish you all the best!

About the Author

Anh LuuAnh Luu is a Copywriter for the cloud call platform, Phonexa. She specializes in writing about SEO marketing strategies, business trends, and other up-and-coming topics in digital marketing and technology.

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