Five Top Google Ranking Factors to Impact Your Website Placement Online
Use Google Ranking Factors to Increase Visibility for Your Business
Every business wants its website to appear on the first page of search. Only .63 person of people click through to the second page of Google search results. Just as important is Google’s domination of the search engine market. Of all the online queries conducted every day 91.9 percent use Google. Only 2.88 percent of searches occur on Bing and Yahoo has even less with 1.51 percent market share. There are paid and free ways to help ensure your website ranks high on Google. In this blog, I am going to cover five top Google ranking factors to help you to achieve this goal.
Defining Google Ranking Factors
There are over 200 ranking factors that Google includes in its algorithm. Every year Google makes hundreds of minor algorithm updates that are often unnoticed by users. However, major algorithm updates, such as mobile usability in 2015 and subsequent updates in 2018 and 2020, impact the importance of certain Google ranking factors.
So what exactly are Google ranking factors? Ranking factors are variables that a search engine, such as Google, uses to determine how well a webpage answers a specific online query. If a person types into the search engine “best running shoes for women” Google will use a combination of many ranking factors to determine the optimal results for that query. Google is not only concerned about providing content that most closely matches the goal of an online search, but it also wants to create an overall positive user experience.
Five Top Google Ranking Factors
As mentioned previously, Google is constantly updating its algorithm, which in turn impacts the importance of ranking factors. Below are five ranking factors to consider when building or updating your website. Some have been around for years, while one is brand new in 2023.
Trustworthiness is a newbie ranking factor Google introduced in 2023. This factor comprises 5 percent of Google’s search algorithm. This addition is a result of Google filing an artificial intelligence (AI) patent regarding the factual nature of content that relates to a person’s current or future well-being (i.e. health, financial, safety, etc.). The algorithm update that addresses this new ranking factor is called “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL). According to Google a few examples of website pages that are affected by it are:
- Pages that offer medical or behavioral health information that could impact a person’s well-being.
- Pages that provide advice about major purchases, such as buying a home or car.
- Pages that address legal or financial investment advice.
These types of pages are held to a much higher standard than those on entertainment or humor websites. YMYL pages should include content that is created with a high level of expertise and authority. For example, according to Google, medical pages content should be written by people or organizations with professional expertise. Also, these pages should be edited, reviewed and updated on a regular basis by these experts.
2. Page Speed
As mentioned previously, Google uses ranking factors to ensure an overall positive experience for the user. Page speed is a key factor that affects a user’s experience; therefore, Google has invested in thousands of data centers around the globe to help ensure search results occur in milliseconds. Website pages should be developed to load as quickly as possible. For example, when building a website that includes a video, the file should not be directly loaded on the page. Instead the webpage should link to a video hosted on a You Tube or Vimeo account. The webpage will look the same, but it will load much quicker. Each additional second it takes for a page to load, not only affects your website’s ranking, but it can also impact your bottom line. Over 80 percent of online users who experience slow performance never return to the website ever again. Slow page speed will ultimately affect your sales and conversions. If you want to test the page speed of your website, Google offers a free tool – PageSpeed Insights. It reports the page speed of users on desktops vs. mobile devices.
3. Mobile Responsiveness
Speaking of mobile, let’s move onto the next Google ranking factor, mobile responsiveness. As of February 2023, website visits conducted on mobile devices are leading. Of all searches, 52.08 percent are conducted on mobile versus 47.92 percent being completed on desktops. Google has shifted to a mobile-first paradigm, meaning that websites should be developed with mobile users being the primary target. If a website is mobile responsive it will look the same on a mobile device as on a desktop. To help ensure a website looks good on a mobile device too, its layout should not be overly complex. If possible, build your website with a flatter hierarchy, no more than three navigation levels. Another free tool, Mobile Usability Report, located in the Google Search Console, will show you any website pages that have usability issues when viewed on a mobile device. These usability issues should be corrected, ensuring your page ranking is not negatively impacted.
Backlinks are clickable links from one website to another one. They have been a key Google ranking factor for years. In 2023 they are still important, accounting for 15 percent of the Google algorithm. However, not all backlinks are considered equal. Backlinks from highly trusted or quality websites are much more valuable. Also, webpages with fewer backlinks will receive much less organic traffic. By analyzing these backlinks, Google can determine how reputable your website is.
5. High-Quality Content
The final and most important Google ranking factor is content. In 2023 it declined slightly from 26 percent to 24 percent because the new Trustworthiness ranking factor garnered some share from it as well as from others.
New content should be posted regularly on a website. Google favors this newer content. It can be a new recently published piece or an update to existing content. Either way, the content must be original, engaging, and valuable in order for the webpage to rank high. Also, Google favors content that covers trends or recent news. Again, Google has a free tool that helps you to determine trending topics to cover. It is called Google Trends. It will help you to explore popular topics that are being searched for currently. Finally, writing more content increases the opportunity for backlinks, which was previously mentioned as another major Google ranking factor.
Ranking Higher on Google
There are definitely many important Google ranking factors. However, these five ranking factors can help ensure your website is on its way to showing up on the first page of search. If you would like to discuss how these Google ranking factors and others can impact your website’s visibility, please feel free to contact the diamonddog Marketing team.
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