As far as the number of websites keep increasing, there will always be a change in SEO ranking factors.
Currently, there are over 200+ SEO ranking factors that search engines use to evaluate websites. If you want your sites to rank well, you must optimize your online presence to cover these factors.
However, you may not necessarily imbibe all the 200+ ranking factors. Some are more important than the rest, and those are the ones you must go for.
In this article, we will discuss the most important SEO ranking factors that will help your site rank well on search engines. Remember that these factors aren’t permanent. They can change anytime. You must stay up-to-date on the latest SEO ranking factors. You can also learn to use an SEO audit tool to scan your site regularly to make sure that you are still on track.
TOP 12 SEO RANKING FACTORS
Although these factors are not ranked in at particular order, they are the top 12 SEO ranking factors. They include:
- Site security
- Mobile friendliness
- Page load speed
- User engagement
- Quality content
- Focus keywords
- Optimized content
- Structured data
- Consistent Business listings
- Backlink profile
- Domain Age
Before now, “site security” has been one of the foremost SEO ranking factors, and it is still like that. Site security will determine your ranking on any search engine. Site security has to do with the usage of HTTPS encryption.
Any site with HTTPS encryption have SSL certificates. These certificates help to build a secure connection between a website and its users. No search engine will want to drive users to a site that lacks maximum security. This is because their top priority is the safety and satisfaction of users. Any website URL that starts with HTTP lacks security. If your site is one that begins with HTTP, it is advisable that you add an SSL certificate immediately.
This determines the visibility of your website as search engines cannot rank a site that is not visible. This factor is one amongst the most important SEO ranking factors. It allows search engines to review or scan your website and its content. They use this factor to ascertain what your website is about and how it should rank.
You must allow search engine to crawl your website properly if you want it to rank well. You can do the following to increase your chances of being crawled:
- Submit a sitemap to top search engines.
- Check your Index status in Google Search Console to view the number of pages Google has crawled on your site.
- Effectively use robots.txt to know which pages search engines should access and pages they should not.
This refers to the outlook and overall performance of your website. A mobile-friendly website ensures top-notch user experience. This is done by making use of responsive designs that increases the content visibility on any screen size.
Reports have it that 52.2% (number keeps rising) of internet traffic is generated by mobile devices, this means that users conduct searches more on mobile devices than desktops.
Also, this factor is among the best SEO ranking factors as it is both important to search engines and users. To check the responsiveness of your website, you can submit your site to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. It will give you results immediately, and identify issues with the mobile version of your website.
Page load speed
The list of SEO ranking factors cannot be complete without this particular factor. As the name implies, it describes the user experience as regards page load speed. A website that loads slowly affects user experience negatively. And search engines will not recognize such website because they know that the speed of the website determines its functionality. They also know that users want quick answers, so they readily rank sites that loads quickly.
Google even disclosed that its Speed Update will be the basis for ranking sites for mobile searches. Furthermore, you should take deliberate steps to increase the speed of your site if it is slow. You can implement website caching, reduce the number of redirects, compress files, and more to increase the speed.
As we earlier said, search engines are very concerned about the satisfaction of users. In this case, they expect users to go them ascertain which pages they should promote in search rankings. They also consider users interaction level with results to know pages that are better and relevant to users. Google search engine does this via an artificial intelligence tool called RankBrain.
There are some user engagement factors too, they include:
- Click-through Rate (CTR): This is the percentage of total clicks on a search engine result when it is given to them.
- Time on site: Refers to the duration one spends on a page after discovering it through search.
- Bounce Rate: This is also the percentage of users who readily exit the site after going through one page or less on a site.
However, these metrics also helps search engines to conclude if a search outcome is necessary to users. So, it is wise that you optimize both your site content and search snippets to increase user engagement. You can do so by:
- Using top-notch quality website design and graphics.
- Making use of a siloed site architecture that is simple and less difficult to follow.
- Using internal links to help users navigate through your site and enjoy their search time.
- Also using meta tag SEO to make intriguing titles and descriptions for your search results snippets.
- Optimizing your content for snippets that are featured in search.
This is another top SEO ranking factor that enables you increase user engagement on your site. Amongst other SEO ranking factors, this factor appeals to search engines. Consistency is the key here to win the heart of search engines. Content is the game for search engines. By consistently publishing quality content your website, you will not only attract users but will also engage search engines on your site. They provide the best results, so they rank websites that have top-notch, well-written content.
Most times, fresh contents draw the attention of search crawlers and in turn, boosts search visibility. To help you, write a plan for your website by using content mapping. This plan will include the creation of blog content and landing pages.
Content creation requires a lot. For better optimization of your website, you must have contents that targets the right keywords. Thoroughly perform keyword research to help you know the right keywords to use and topics to write on. The keyword research will also help you identify popular keywords that can drive traffic to your website. The keyword ranking criteria may differ for search engines but here is how Google helps you choose high-ranking keywords:
- Focus on long tail keywords: Due to the growth in voice search, people now use long phrases while searching for a particular subject matter. Long keywords can include three or more words.
- Understand keyword search intent: This has to do with the reason behind a search. Someone may want to buy, learn, build, or navigate to something. Make sure your content fits keyword intent. Also, know the different types of keywords map to different types of content.
- Focus on terms within your competitive range: Most keywords are very competitive and difficult to rank for. To save you the stress, pay more attention to keywords that are within the competitive range of your website. This will help you maintain your site authority and help you highlight keywords for your site.
The growth of every website is determined by how attractive the site is to search engines. This is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. It draws the attention of search engines to your content. You should also consider on-page SEO. It enables the optimization of individual pages on your site for a definite keyword. The optimization of your content for a specific keyword further tells search engines all the page is about and what is should rank for.
You can assign a specific keyword to each page on your website. Do not use a keyword twice or more on your site as this can cause keyword confusion. After doing that, optimize the content for on-page SEO.
Also, you can use on-page SEO checklist to optimize your page.
This is another option if you want to tell search engines what your site is about. Remember that the intent of your site determines its ranking. By using structured data, you can help your site rank well. However, you can call it structured data or Schema Markup. It is in form of a microdata that is added to the backend of your web page. It informs search engines of the best way to categorize and understand your content (it could be a business address, recipe, book title, or my other kind of information).
Structured data is one of the top SEO ranking factors because it offers search engines clarity on the important parts of your page. It also checks featured snippets in search, which increases rankings, click-through-rates (CTR) and more.
Consistent Business listings
Search engines are fond of ranking brands with better credibility, authority, and trust. Consistency in business listings are very important. The more a brand appears online, the only way search engines will increase its visibility. You can also refer to Business listings as citation. It is a primary SEO ranking factors. But it is expected of all brands to perform basic citation setup and management by:
- Creating a “Google My Business” page.
- Setting up business profiles on industry-related directory sites.
- Ensuring that their NAP (Business name, address, and phone number) is used consistently throughout other business profiles.
The use of backlinks helps search engines to locate websites with credibility and authority. The total amount and quality of links directed to your site is an off-page SEO factor. It has an obvious impact on your search rankings. After your content, backlinks are mostly suggested as priority and one of the best SEO ranking factors. You need to create a strong backlinks plan to enable your site rank well in search engines. You can also practice guest posting, digital PR, link acquisition, and other backlinks strategies to helps your site’s ranking.
Amongst other SEO ranking factors, this one is beyond your control, but it is worthy of mention. Domain age refers to the age of your website i.e how long it has been functioning. It is also seen as a ranking factor. Websites that are just starting out have little chances of ranking high on search engines. Older domains do rank better even though it is not specifically stated as one of Google’s SEO ranking factors.
Meanwhile, if you just launched your site, know that it will take time for your SEO efforts to produce results. Consistent SEO work and time will increase your ranking in search engines. Just know, growth doesn’t occur overnight.
Is Your Site Optimized for All SEO Ranking Factors?
This is a question you must also yourself and provide answer to now that you are aware of the most important SEO ranking factors. If it doesn’t, then it is time to optimize your site. Whether you are focusing on the creation of new content or you choose to optimize old ones, make sure you take all SEO ranking factors into consideration.
In conclusion, treat your site like your baby. Yes, pamper, nurture and feed it continuously with quality contents. Endeavor to always run a routine check on your site regularly, so you can identify problems and offer solutions immediately. Be mindful of your audience as much as you want to please search engine. You can as well draft out an SEO plan that will help you touch every area. Also, use Google SEO tools when you are having any form of difficulty.
With all these, you can increase your chances of ranking well on search engines.
If you know other factors that weren’t mentioned, you can use the comment section. You can also drop your questions, contributions or recommendations.