There are over 200 factors that Google takes into account during ranking. These factors have different weightage in Google’s algorithm. As such, a good search engine optimised website cannot depend on one particular ranking factor. However, for simplicity and better understanding of business owners, we have highlighted the 10 mportant ranking factors (not in any order), which if implemented properly can help in giving the much required SEO boost to your website.
We have implemented these 10 factors on most of our projects and they have yielded great results.
10 SEO Ranking Factors Every Business Owner Must Know
1. Performance Faster websites use lesser resources of Google. Also it reduces bounce rate, which is a positive indicator of a good site to Google.
Ideal time for website to load is <=1.5 seconds. If you see sites such as Facebook, it loads under 1 second. Use GTMetrix, Google Page Speed to analyse the issues with the website.
The size of the page should ideally be <= 500 KB. Number of http requests should be less than 100.
How to enhance website performance:
– Lossless Compress Images
– Cookie free domain
– If asset size is more, call from CDN
– Leverage browser cache
– If your application has lots of real time concurrent users, get a dedicated hosting server
– If using WordPress, use W3 Total Cache
Note: Most sites cannot be optimised to 1.5 seconds. This is because of multiple reasons – such as WordPress site cannot be improved beyond a level because of WordPress’s own limitations, or shared hosting which does not have enough bandwidth, or the codebase that doesn’t support minifying beyond a level or the platform on which a website has been developed. So, a good ballpark figure is to bring the website load time down to as close to 2 seconds as possible.
2. Technical – A website’s architecture, HTML codes, its URL structure, hierarchy all play a part in the way Google analyses a website. That’s why you will see listing sites like Yelp always ranking high. Use tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider to analyse broken links. HTML errors (W3C) also have effect on the SEO. W3C Link Validator can help in validating whether your code adheres to the latest coding guidelines.
3. On-Page – This is where keyword placement, meta tags, LSI keywords, come into picture. Keyword Research is very the most important step for on-page SEO.. Find low competition, high volume targeted keywords. The content should not only use exact keywords but also LSI keywords throughout. The content should be fragmented in parts such as Title Tags, Header Tags, Paragraphs etc. Pages with original and thick content is preferred over duplicate content or thin content.
4. Off-Page – Off-Page has 2 bits
4.1 Backlinking – Here the focus is on high quality backlinks and not quantity. Backlinks should come from sites with high DA, PA and relevant niches. Blog Commenting, Blogger Outreach, Guest Blogging, link building from broken link sources are all various types of Backlinking activities.
4.2 Social Bookmarking – Focus on sharing pages on various social bookmarking sites. They help in increasing the Domain authority of the website
Social Bookmarking (sites such as Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Digg, Reddit etc) has definitely proven to be an important factor in SEO (they have an impact on increasing Domain Authority).
5. Domain Authority and Page Authority – This is the most underrated and possibly the most important factor in Google’s ranking. Every website is given an authority (or trust score) by Google. Therefore you will see bigger well established websites always ranking better than smaller newer ones. Domain age also play a part. Older the website, better it is. One can improve DA and PA using a combination of all other 9 factors.
6. Social Signals – Over the last 1-2 years, Google search engine has stated that it has started to give increasing importance to Social signals. The number of Facebook Shares, Likes, Google +1s and Tweets are a strong signal to Google of content quality. Although no one really knows how social signals impact Google’s algorithm as most of them are “no-follow”. However social media engagement helps in spreading the content, which engages more users to the website and in turn more people link to the content organically.
7. SSL/HTTPS Protocol – Google has recently announced SSL as an important ranking factor. Therefore https sites are preferred over http, if everything else is equal. This is probably the least important ranking factor in this list.
8. Mobile Responsive Site – Google is giving increasing importance to mobile responsive sites. As there is an increasing trend of mobile searches on Google, sites which are responsive will get a ranking boost over non-responsive sites.
9. Hosting Server – A good trusted hosting server is an important factor in SEO. They have increased uptime which ensures Google can always crawl the site. A dedicated hosting server is better than shared hosting.
10. Top Level Domain – If you are targeting Indian customers, a .in domain will get preference over a .com domain, if everything else is equal. If you have a .com, you will need to use hreflang, and International geo-targeting in Google webmasters to target India.
Every business owner, even though not an SEO expert, must have basic understanding of SEO fundamentals. If a website follows most of these points listed above, it will definitely get a ranking boost which can help in getting more visitors online.