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Did you know that Google uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine where your site ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? While some of the ranking factors are backed by hard data and years of research, others are more speculative, based on experiments, and some even based on guesswork by SEO people.
Some ranking factors you can easily control, such as the content of your site (known as content) or the keywords you rank for. Others, on the other hand, you have little or only indirect influence. We’re talking about parameters such as, for example, the age of a domain, user behavior on a search page or the number of links leading to your site. Ok, maybe the last point is not the best example in the case of SEO, but I hope the general sense is clear.
Following the principle of essentialism, let’s focus on seven ranking factors that can realistically boost a website’s search engine position. Those that you can control and optimize.
We will talk about topic authority (aka Topical Authority), search intent (aka Search Intent), Content Depth, content timeliness (Content Freshness), inbound links (Backlinks), Page Experience (Mobile-friendliness, HTTPS and Page Speed). The last point will be Social Signals (Social Signals). These are quite controversial in SEO, but we won’t dwell on that here.
Understanding search engine intent is key to ranking highly on Google. After all, if you’re not providing the user with what they’re looking for, why would they want to visit your site? There are four main types of search intent:
- Know and Know Simple Queries
- Do Queries (Do Queries)
- Site Queries (Website Queries)
- Location Queries (Visit-in-Person Queries and User Location)
Know and Know Simple
The Know query is used to search for information about a specific topic. Users want to learn more about something. A Know Simple query is a type of Know query that looks for a very precise answer, such as a fact or graph. This answer must be correct and complete, and able to be displayed in a small space.
The purpose of a Do query is to achieve something or participate in some activity. The manifestation of the Do intention will be, for example, downloading, purchasing a selected product, gaining access, booking. Users have a desire to achieve something.
Search aims to discover a specific site or page that users have requested. The target of the query in this case is a single website.
Visit-in-Person / User Location
Users use search engines to get more information about personal visits. The user’s intention may be, for example, to find nearby coffee shops, gas stations, ATMs, restaurants and so on.
If you want to rank high in Google, you need to make sure that your site (or a selected subpage) meets the intent of the searcher. This means creating content that is relevant and useful to the type of query.
If you want to rank high for a certain keyword, you need to show Google that your site is the best source of information on that topic. In other words, you need to build Topical Authority. You’ll do this by creating comprehensive, in-depth content that covers all aspects of a topic.
E-A-T is a key part of Google’s search quality guidelines. It stands for: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Websites that want to rank high in Google must demonstrate these three things.
However, it is difficult for one site to be an expert in every subject. That’s why Google, in its SEO guide, advises website owners to focus on cultivating a reputation as an expert and credibility in a particular field.
That’s why Google is advising website owners to focus on cultivating a reputation as an expert and credibility in a particular field.
Focusing on a niche can establish you as an expert in that field and build trust among your audience. Doing so will significantly increase the likelihood of attracting organic traffic from Google, as well as other search engines.
The following is a good way to do this.
Another ranking factor that is often overlooked is content depth. There is a strong relationship between the degree of content detail, different aspects of the same topic, Topical Authority and semantic SEO.
Content detail refers to the amount of information your website provides on a given topic. In general, sites with more credible and in-depth content tend to rank higher than those with vague content.
This happens because Google’s algorithms are designed to favor sites that provide comprehensive and relevant information on a given topic. When you create in-depth content, you effectively signal to Google that your site is a credible source of information on a topic. This includes using features, listing things and providing facts.
Want to achieve better rankings, create information that other sites don’t provide.
The number and quality of inbound links to your website is still one of the most important ranking factors. A backlink (an inbound link or otherwise a leading link) is a link from another website to yours. Google views backlinks as votes of confidence in the quality of a website and its content.
The more high-quality backlinks a website has, the higher its ranking in Google’s search engine. Note, however, that not all inbound links are equal. Google gives more weight to those coming from websites that are relevant to the niche and have a high level of the aforementioned Topical Authority.
Content timeliness is another ranking factor. The timeliness of published information is a ranking element that depends on the query. This means that its importance varies and depends on the specific keyword. For some phrases, the timeliness of information is crucial. For others it is less important (Evergreen content).
Google generally favors sites that regularly publish new content over those that do not. This is because fresh content is generally perceived as more credible and useful.
The reason is that fresh content is generally perceived as more credible and useful.
There are several ways to keep your content current. One is to regularly publish new blog posts and articles. The other is to regularly update and refresh existing content.
Page Experience (user experience on a page) consists of signals that evaluate how people feel about a website. It is a factor unrelated to information value.
There are many components that Google lists as contributing to a good user experience.
Here are some resources and tips that can help you measure, monitor and optimize your website’s user experience:
- Check out our article on optimizing Core Web Vitals to learn about the many tools and methods that can help you analyze and report on LCP, FID, and CLS metrics.
- Use the Mobile-Friendly (mobile optimization) test to see if your site is mobile-friendly.
- Learn how to launch and configure an SSL certificate if your site does not yet support HTTPS.
- Make sure you do not use pop-ups in a way that makes information less accessible. This does not apply to legally required consents from users.
- Use a custom 404 page that invites visitors back to a designated site location.
Google has claimed in the past that social signals are not a ranking factor. However, in 2011, a study, published in MOZ, found the highest correlation between Facebook address shares and page ranking in Google’s results. The study was conducted in the United States.
According to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Internet spam team, Google is not indexing Facebook’s so-called wallahs (boards). He also suggests that Google does not take into account the number of Facebook likes to determine a page’s search engine ranking.
The study also suggests that Google does not take into account the number of Facebook likes to determine a page’s search engine ranking.
Facebook is Google’s main competitor. Even if your Google rankings aren’t directly improved by Facebook activities, those activities will help boost your brand.
Facebook is a major competitor to Google.
The impact of other social channels, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, on Search Engine Result Position results is unknown. For sure, having an active presence on Twitter or LinkedIn helps build brand credibility.
The impact of Facebook on Search Engine Result Position is unknown.
Page positioning, or SEO, is a strategic process used to improve a website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). By optimizing a website for relevant content, keywords and phrases, and outreach efforts, companies can increase their chances of ranking higher in the SERPs and attract more qualified traffic.
There are many factors that go into a website’s SEO, including the quality of content, website structure and number of inbound links. When all of these elements are combined, they can create a powerful SEO strategy that can help a site achieve long-term success in the SERPs.
Positioning, however, is a complex and ever-changing field, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest SEO trends. To learn more about how to rank higher in Google results, read our in-depth article on website positioning
Google’s ranking factors are constantly changing. The influence of one factor grows, at the expense of another. What worked last year may not work as effectively in the current year.
However, by focusing on the ranking factors mentioned in this article, you can be sure that your site is well positioned for success in the ever-changing world of SEO.
Hello! My name is Piotr Starzynski and it's a pleasure to meet you in the SEO industry. I have been officially working in SEO since 2006, while I have been working in analytics for several years. I have about 400 analytics implementations for client websites, hundreds of SEO projects and dozens of analytics projects for mobile applications. At Up&More, I am responsible for the Search Engine Optimization and Web Analytics team. If you feel like working with me, I invite you to contact me!