Over the past 18 years of existence, Google has grown from utilizing just text matching to machine learning and semantic markup to rank webpages. And because of their huge user base, improving ranking on Google has turned out to the focus of all web-based enterprises, products, applications, blogs and more.
This post will brief you through 39 of those factors which are important for your webpage.
Improving Ranking On Google
1. Content quality
Even in 2016, it’s the content that you provide makes the cut. Google, known for it’s technological advancement, uses machine learning algorithms incorporated with natural language processing techniques to rate your content’s quality and originality. The better your content is, more the chances to get to the first page of search results
2. Words in the domain name(if any)
Your domain name must be friendly and readable. If your a fashion blogger, and your domain name contains the work trendy, then it is easier for the search giant to classify your page rather than providing more keywords and content for the same. Remember to choose a meaningful domain name if our are yet to start. If you already have a domain name, try to include one or keywords in your title tag itself.
3. Age of the domain and expiry date
If you have a 5 year old domain with some great content, it means that you have served your readers and will continue to do the same. Your domain’s authority also increases over time. This is something you cannot do much on. Just be patient and let it happen.
4. Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster tools play a huge role in crawling and indexing your site. Adding your site to webmaster tools will increase the priority of crawling your site for changes, thus improving ranking on Google search results page.
Make sure you fix the issues reported in the dashboard as well.
5. Backlinks from other websites
This factor tells the algorithm that our content is referred from some other sources as it is trust worthy. Getting more links to point to your website will make your webpage go up in search results. One thing to note here is that if the link is from a spammy webpage, then it would do bad than good.
6. Domain extension
Domain extensions were originally created to identify the type of business. But when Google started to prioritize ‘.com‘ over other extensions, it became common to buy it. Other preferred extensions include ‘.net‘, ‘.io‘ and country-specific domains.
7. Content length
This plays a major role in helping Google identify the proper sources. A content that is copied from other sources are often penalized. But at the same time, if there is content that adds value to readers, it is ranked higher also. For example, if a post/page describes all possible questions and answers related to a product, then it becomes an authoritative source for that product. Even though few parts of the page are same as some other pages, it is ignored.
Thus, longer the content, better the results would be. It is often advised to write 1500+ word posts as it would be covering most of the detail about the topic.
With the recent updates, the emphasis on content length has been drastically reduces. So, it is not required to have long-form content in order to be authoritative.
8. Long tail keywords
Ever heard about long tail keywords? They are just a collection of keywords that go together. When a user makes a Google search with the keyword “television”, the number results would be so large that it would contain all types of links from buying a television to setting it up and repairing or even selling it. But instead if we search as “buy televisions with WiFi”, the results would be restricted to links that only relate to making a purchase. Thus, you get more distinct set of users to visit your website.
So, the next time you are writing a blog post or a page, make sure you have two or three long tail keywords in it.
9. Originality of content
Never copy content. Because the page from where you copy will already be crawled by Google and when it finds your page to have same content, it ignores your page. Make sure you write original content. Rephrased content will also work to an extent.
10. Webpage loading speed
Your page visitors do not wait more than 3 seconds for the page to load. It it takes more time, it is likely that they abandon the page and move away. So, it is important for you to serve your page to them as soon as possible.
Use sufficient caching mechanisms and CDN’s to ensure faster delivery of website content.
And since it affects the user experience, Google also monitors the page load speed. Faster pages are also given top spots in mobile searches.
11. Posting schedule
Post your articles on a weekly schedule. This makes your readers to wait for your articles on specific days. Also the search engine would start crawling your page based on your schedule. Intelligent, isn’t it? A consistent blog will have higher chances of improving ranking on Google.
As said in the beginning, due to the use of machine learning algorithms, it is easy for Google to rank the quality of your writing. Make sure you get your grammar right, at least from your next blog post. Also use tools like Grammarly to help you avoid mistakes.
13. Image quality
With image sharing networks like Pinterest, the potential reach of your post increase with the inclusion of images. At the same time, images should not increase your page loading time. Make your own images with tools like Canva for uniqueness.
You can also optimize images for loading. Take a look at Why we love Image optimization and why you should love too!
14. Inbound and broken links
Ever imagined how Google or any other search engine finds your website? The main source to your website is the links present in other existing websites. When you drop a comment or place a link in forums, and as Google spider crawls it, it visits your webpage and starts to index.
So it is important to get links to your site from other websites. It also depends on the quality of the other websites that link to you. Also make sure you have no links that returns 404 error as it would affect your search visibility.
Will any read your posts if it is not readable? Not even Google web spider does. It is important to make sure your sentences are not very long and is readable. The font of your webpage also matters in this aspect.
Use tools like Hemingway App to check your readability grade and make modifications accordingly. Also limit the use of difficult words in your post.
16. Page errors(HTML/CSS)
Ah! This is why you need to buy themes rather than using free or nulled ones. Maybe initially free themes are fine. But not on a long run.
If there are errors in your page, then it is a sign of hindering user experience. Fix it as soon as possible if you do have them.
If you really need your readers to save data, you can even switch to using AMP also.
18. URL friendliness
The URL of your blog post or sub-pages of your website should be easy to remember to your readers as well as easy for search bot to understand.
” bytekid.com/contact-me is much better than bytekid.com/?p=1245
For pages like about, contact, privacy policies, login pages etc, using such readable words would also help search engines to categorize them as sub-links to the main page.
19. Tags and Categories(WordPress)
First and foremost, do not overload with tags and categories. I would recommend you to add a maximum of two categories and three tags for a single blog post.
Remember that a post/page cannot be spread over a wide range of categories. Even if you decide to add more categories, you are making it harder for people to find your post.
20. Responsive design
Heard of Google’s Mobile-first search index? If not, you have to start working immediately.
Mobile first index is aimed at providing better results for mobile users. When a search is being done from a mobile device, and the user is shows pages that will only look good on a desktop machine, then definitely the user will have a bad experience.
So, its high time that you make your website responsive as the new index roll-out is happening early next year.
Sitemaps help search engines to understand the structure of your website. It is not mandatory to update the entire sitemap on a frequent basis but certain things need to. A page on your website might be updated only once in a moth where a post might get updated every week. Thus, its a great factor for improving ranking on Google as well as other search engines as well.
Use a good sitemap builder or plugins like Google XML sitemap for wordpress to generate the sitemap automatically.
22. Trustability (About and Contact links)
You have a website and don’t have an about and contact pages? That’s too bad. It is important to tell your readers what you are doing, where you are from and provide a way for them to contact you.
Search engines consider these elements when they check if the website is a scam or not. Once blacklisted, its very hard to get back on track.
HTTPS is another factor of trust and security. Google is already giving preference to websites with SSL encryption enabled over the HTTP ones. But it is not necessary for all websites to do so.
If you are dealing with sensitive information such as logins, registrations, payments etc, then you would need one.
Another thing to note is that, when you are moving to HTTPS, each single link in your page should also transfer through HTTPS only. If there is any HTTP link, then things would go against you and Google would penalize you for the same.
24. Keywords used
Use keywords to tell the search bot that your webpage is related to those keywords. But do not over use it as it would turn out to be a bane. Also use only keywords relevant to your content.
As per the recent updates, Google is moving away from keywords in to a fully context-based engine.
25. Website downtime
A website that is down at times, is one that is not reliable. And only reliable sites appear in the top on the search page. So, choose a reliable host for your blog/website. Don’t compromise for the price. You can also set up CDN service in order to server content even when your site is down.
26. Alternate text for images (ALT.)
You might have see the “alt text” option some where. It is the text that is displayed when the image is not loaded. Not providing an alt text will not hinder the user experience but the search engines use them to understand the content of the image. So, explicitly mentioning it would help to better rank your page.
If you use HTML, this is how you can add an alt text.
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”content of image” />
27. Guest posts
Guest post is not dead. It is just that the content for guest post should be of much better quality. And include only one or two links back to your website. More the links, increases the spam counter.
Guest post might not be a direct factor for improving ranking on Google but can be favorable to help get readers of other blogs to search for your content. And so by searching, Google is forced to display our content on top of searches.
28 .Location specific content
Sometimes it is also good to geo tag our content. When you are writing about some event happening at a place, geo tagging with the place adds more detail to your post.
Plugins like Geolocation will be helpful for the same.
29. Schema.org tags
Schema.org is an open community working towards structuring data on the Internet. Many search engines are a part of the community and so is Google. They have schemas for posts, events, organizations, places, products etc.
If your site is html, visit their website to understand how to add them to your site as well. WordPress users have plugins and themes that already have the schemas incorporated in to them.
30. Social shares
Yes, Google is watching our social profiles too. The higher the number of shares on social media, the more readable the content is. Use services like buffer and hootsuite to schedule reposting old posts.
31. Authority over topic
Consider you have around 4 blog posts in 4 different topics. When a user visits one of the link through search, he/she has only that particular post to read on your blog. Other posts may not interest him/her. But if you have all the posts on the same topic, he would think of taking a look at other posts too. Thus, you are building an authority over that topic since you have many related content.
This factor is important and it influences the bounce rate on your blog too.
32. Traffic and bounce rate
I just mentioned about bounce rate in the previous point. It tells how many percent of users who visit your page jump back to some other pages. Higher bounce rate means that your visitors are not finding any valuable content on your blog/website.
33. Google+ discussions
Google still values Google+ and the interactions that happen in communities. Make sure you don’t avoid the social network completely. Although only few people sue it compared to twitter and facebook, some great discussions happen there also. Many android app beta versions are released only to community members in Google+ since the users there are mostly developers.
This one is old but is still a factor in Google’s algorithm. While crawling the web, the comments are also found as an inbound link to your website. Although the link does not provide you will lot of juice, it is one that can add a little value. Spam comments and links associated with it are penalized as well.
35. Pinterest Pins and LinkedIn Page
You might have ignored this till now. One of the less known facts is that Pinterest can be a great source of traffic and inbound links. So is LinkedIn. And since both are used by many people out there, Google spider does track them to provide a better experience to their search users.
36. Syndicated or Auto-generated content
Say no to syndication. If you show syndicated content on your page, then you are showing duplicate content only. Already Google would have crawled the source of the post and so your post is a result of plagiarisation.
If you are having such a type of blog, then forget your search traffic and focus only on social media traffic.
37. Web host
Being an Internet company, it is not hard for Google to map your website IP address to the web host. If you are on a shared server, they you are under high risk. If a single site on your server is hosting spam or illicit content, then the entire host is affected.
Make sure you use a trusted host if its a shared server to improve ranking on Google as well as the visibility. You can even switch to cloud hosting providers for the same.
38. Niche authority
Keep your writing niche as specific as possible. The more wider your audience is, the less reach you will have. Post on your own niche. And don’t deviate from it. The search giant is good enough to understand that and tailor users for your site.
39. Excess links and redirects
When writing a post, do not add more than 4 links to the post. More the links, you are sending out higher percent of your traffic. If you don’t know what is a dofollow link, understand that they are precious. It means that your are telling the crawler that reaches your website to go to that link and index that also.
It’s your time now.
Summing up, all these factors does affect the search result but if you stay firm on maintaining the quality of content on your blog and follow basic things like adding alt text, using images, social sharing etc, you can top the search results in no time.
You can check out tools SEO Powersuite to help you optimize your post/page for a better search visibility as well.
I would love to hear your opinion as well. Feel free to drop a message in the comments section below.