One of the unresolved questions in the SEO world is, what are the Google ranking factors to appear in top results of SERP and what exactly goes into Google’s ranking algorithm.
No one can answer it correctly, Although Google keeps its official list of ranking factors a secret, the key to getting your business to rank higher on Google is not as mysterious as it may seem.
If you are not on the first page of Google, it means you are losing sales to your competitors. Understandably, business owners are determined to get their business to rank higher on Google, ideally in the first three organic listings.
To do this, it’s important that you understand the uncovered Google ranking signals, and optimize your pages for the best chance of being displayed to potential customers.
Image Source: Blue Carona
How Does the Google Ranking Work?
Google’s algorithm is smart.
In Google algorithm, it considers a variety of factors to determine what results will be the most helpful for the user.
It is constantly changing and adapting to give users the best experience and to prevent black hat SEO tactics from manipulating search results. Part of the mystery of Google’s search algorithm is that it takes a more than 200 ranking signals into account before displaying results.
The reason for this is because one search term can have hundreds of meanings. For example, if we conduct a search for the word “SEO,” Google has no idea of what we’re really looking for. Possible results could range wildly, including:
What is SEO
What Google is trying to do here is guess user’s intent and then tailor the results to what it thinks will be the most helpful result. Over time, Google’s algorithms have identified and adapted to the user’s search intent, and identified four main types:
Google’s smart search algorithm—both for mobile and desktop results—has adapted to produce results based on historical data as well as its ranking signals to match the most common intent, and then provide the user with the most “helpful” answer.
Knowing this can help you tailor your SEO strategy by matching your content to the most common intent people have when searching for that keyword.
As SEO experts, adapting content to users’ search intent and Google’s other ranking factors can help you win big time in the first-page real estate game.
How Many Ranking Signals are There?
Although nobody but Google knows the exact answer, SEO experts have been guessing and testing them for some time now, and have arrived at a list of over 200 factors used by Google’s search algorithm to rank websites and pages.
But don’t let that list overwhelm you! Not all 200 Google ranking factors hold equal weight
Most Important Google Search Ranking Factors for 2018
Some of the major search engine ranking factors impacting with Google’s algorithm updates in 2018:
1. Easy accessible and crawlable URLs
First major and crucial thing is to make sure that Googlebot’s are able to come to the website which should be in a text readable format, to understand content, images, visuals, videos or anything else that we’ve got on the page in a way that they are going to be able to put into their web index. Without it, none of the ranking factors even matters.
2. Keyword research
We need to identify the user needs and problems and do the research to find quality phrases they use in Search engines to solve them, which our organization, a website is actually dealing to solve, add them relatively in our content and make users think it will help them to solve. We can have a primary and a set of secondary keywords that we can target in our optimization efforts.
We should use the related keywords wisely in the page’s text content as Google can’t understand visuals, videos or some other embeddable format. We should use purposeful keywords carefully.
A recent Google algorithm update called the Google Maccabee Update was aimed to improve the user experience. It did this by penalizing keyword permutations, which are multiple phrases or long tail keywords that basically mean the same thing.
3. Investigate the SERP
When we perform a search query, that is investigating SERP (Search Engine Results Page) results, we can identify what Google prefers and believes to be relevant to the keyword searches. We can know the user’s intent, the type of content that’s required and whatever missing there and if we are able to fill them, they can take over that ranking position
4. Quality content
Content is the king of the SEO world. User experience is Google’s big priority. But the basic idea is that Google will recognize and reward quality content that serves users to find the information they were searching for.
Quality content means is not falling for the most common SEO mistakes, such as keyword stuffing, scraping content, or writing thin content that has little or no value to users. Google’s overall priority is user experience, so if your content doesn’t deliver on this, it won’t rank well.
5. Publish Fascinating title tags and Meta descriptions in snippets
The snippet is something that is crucial to our SEO efforts because that determines how it displays in the search result and let users to click on your listing. The snippet is our opportunity to say, “Come click me instead of those other guys.”
If you can optimize this, both from a keyword perspective using the words and phrases that people want, as well as from a relevancy and a pure drawing the click perspective, you can really win.
6. Use rich snippets and schema markup to enhance content
Schema markup is a type of structured data added to websites that make it easier for users and search engines to interpret content. In most of the cases you can use visuals and ratings to feature the snippet richer hence attracts the users to click on it.
Structured data can improve click-through-rate (CTR) by 30% and Adding schema markup with the help of sites like schema.org can help the leads roll in!
7. Optimize for page speed
Along with visual appearance, Page speed has a massive impact on user experience perspective. Search engine users want answers fast.
Increasing your page’s loading speed not only helps your bottom line, but it has been confirmed by Google to be a ranking signal. Try to aim for your entire pages load in two seconds or less.
Image Source: Thinkwithgoogle
8. Optimized Images
We need to optimize images on our websites as it is tough to read only images for search engines. Reduce the picture file size, so it can load faster, Make sure to add descriptive keywords in the title for a better user experience.
Add an alt tag for the pictures, which helps search engines understand what the image is about
9. Authoritative Backlinks
Along with content, backlinks are the bread and butter of SEO. When your website is associated with a trustworthy site via a backlink, it also makes your site look more trustworthy to search engines. Google keeps score of what sites have quality backlinks through Page Rank.
10. Page Rank
Page rank is essentially your “link score.” One of the algorithms that skyrocketed Google to fame, it evaluates both the quality and the number of links to your site, giving it an authority score of 0 to 10. You can’t afford to have spammed, low-quality links in 2018!
11. Social shares and signals
Such as Facebook “likes” and shares, tweets, Pinterest pins, etc. most likely influence your Google rankings. Besides just promoting your company, social media has a positive impact on your company’s SEO efforts.
When a person finds something they love on social media, they may share that link with others. This increase in inbound links to your site can both improve your credibility and tell Google your content is popular, which can boost your company’s social profiles to the top of branded searches.
13. Mobile Usability is a Must
In today’s world mobile has become an integral part of our life. Prioritizing website’s mobile experience, only sites with quality, helpful mobile content will be rewarded with top ranking spots.
This is especially important as Google gets closer and closer to prioritizing mobile-friendly content—aka the mobile first index, based on how it crawls a site’s mobile version instead of its desktop version.
Google revealed that 40 percent of mobile searches have local intent, making it an important area of opportunity for businesses in the home services industry. There’s a chance of improving rank by making our site mobile friendly.
14. Voice Search & Digital Assistants
Another big thing to adapt your SEO strategies for in 2018 is voice search and digital assets. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries, and we’re expecting a bigger shift towards that in the coming years.
Because of this, focusing your SEO efforts on long-tailed keywords will benefit you. In fact, we’re seeing it already with Google’s RankBrain.
RankBrain is the name of Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence (AI) system that helps Google sort through the billions of pages it has indexed in order to decide which pages will be the most relevant for search queries.
Specifically, RankBrain helps Google interpret long tail queries to bring the searcher results. Using long tail keywords in 2018 can help increase your conversion rate and adapt to voice search!
15. Encryption or Search security
Encryption has also been confirmed by Google to be a strong ranking factor. Encryption means that your website is secure, which can be seen by the addition of an “s” at the end of the “HTTP” part of a URL.
With the increase in technology from hackers and identity thieves, Google is making an effort to ensure its users are protected from these malicious intruders by making website security a key search ranking factor.
Secured sites protect a user’s connection and ensure a user’s activity cannot be tracked or have their information stolen. If your site isn’t secured in 2018, you’re going to have a huge wake-up call; finally adding that “s” to your site will prevent your site from sinking in the rankings.
These are some of Google’s ranking factors by doing this; we can improve our rank. Looking forward to your comments, your additions and feedback.