Search engine and Google ranking algorithms are constantly on the move. Recent times have shown that even the most traditional businesses shifting to a thought process that they needed to accelerate the shift to digital as consumers shifted en masse to the internet. This is where SEO becomes an integral part of branding and ranking your website appropriately. The most viable and cost-effective method of comprehending and reaching customers at critical times is through SEO. Many brands and businesses are aware (or believe they are aware) of the importance of SEO for their digital properties, as well as the benefits of outsourcing SEO. It’s critical to stay current on the latest ranking factors and to run an SEO audit tool on your site on a regular basis to ensure that you’re following the most current SEO best practices.
There are over 200 SEO ranking factors that assist search engines in determining which sites should appear in search results and how they should rank. You must optimise your online presence to cater to these factors if you want to claim the top spots on SERPs (search engine results pages).
The good news is that not all of the ranking factors, which number in the hundreds, are created equal. While some ranking factors are more important than others, pay special attention to these 10 factors that have the greatest impact on rankings as you plan your SEO strategy.
- Site Security
HTTPS encryption shows search engines that a site is secure, which helps them direct users to the most trustworthy sites. If your website’s URL starts with HTTP rather than HTTPS, it is not secure and requires an SSL certificate.
Search engines can’t rank a site if they can’t find it. That’s why site crawlability is such a crucial ranking factor in SEO. Crawlability is the ability for search engines to crawl a website and review its content in order to determine what the page is about and how it should rank.
The term “mobile-friendliness” refers to how a website appears and functions when viewed on a mobile device. Mobile-friendly websites offer a positive user experience by employing a responsive design that adjusts the content to fit any screen size. Mobile-friendliness is important to both search engines and users because more searches are conducted on mobile devices than on desktops (52.2 percent of internet traffic comes from mobile devices, and the number is growing).
- Page Load Speed
Page load speed is another SEO ranking factor that has to do with user experience. Sites that take a long time to load provide a poor user experience. Because search engines understand that people want answers as soon as possible, they prefer to display sites that load quickly. This is especially true for mobile sites, as Google recently announced that load speed would be a ranking factor for mobile searches as part of its Speed Update.
- High-Quality Content
Fresh content attracts search crawlers and improves search visibility while also providing you with something useful to share with your audience, making it a win-win situation for your marketing efforts.
- The Right Target Keywords
Perform keyword research to determine which keywords to target and topics to cover when creating content. The process of identifying popular keywords that can drive traffic to your website is known as keyword research.
- Structured Data
Because it clearly tells search engines what is important about a page, structured data is a top SEO ranking factor. Structured data is also important because it can lead to featured snippets in search, which can increase click-through rates and rankings even more.
- Domain Factors
The age of your domain, or how old your website is, is frequently used as a ranking factor. While Google does not explicitly state that age is a ranking factor, research has shown that older domains rank higher. This clearly indicates that new websites with new domains take time to rank higher in the search engines. Your site’s search ranking will improve over time with consistent SEO work, but it won’t happen overnight.
- Page-Level Factors
While this is a much-discussed topic when it comes to On-Page SEO, the major portion of its attributes goes to the famous Google Hummingbird update. The update has grown to such an extent that, Google is equipped enough to understand a topic of the content and crawl accordingly. Furthermore, the Google Caffeine update also comes in alignment with this particular notion of SEO and helps in effectively favouring updated content, particularly for time-sensitive searches.
- Backlink Factors
Backlinks are another signal that a website is credible and authoritative to search engines. Off-page SEO factors such as the number and quality of links pointing to your site have a significant impact on your search rankings.
Backlinks are frequently regarded as the second most important SEO ranking factor after content. If you want your site to rank, you’ll need a strategy for acquiring high-quality backlinks, such as guest posting, link acquisition, digital PR, and other link-building tactics.