In the ever-evolving world of SEO, getting prospects to find your website should always be a priority. That's why mastering Google's SEO organic ranking factors is important. Understanding how this works helps your website rise above your competitors' websites in Google's search results page.
Of course, it's easy to say you want your website to rank well, but making it happen is fairly complex. Especially since there are 200 ranking factors, and the details of Google's algorithms are well-guarded secrets. However, people who seemingly spend their lives deciphering those algorithms have compiled a list of Google's ranking factors here.
We think we can all agree that staying on top of the latest ranking factors is essential for businesses who count on their website for getting new clients. So grab a Mocha Latte, relax, and let's get into the world of SEO ranking factors. (Can you think of anything more fun?!)
First, be aware that some SEO ranking factors are more important than others. That's why we're going to focus on the factors that are generally understood to be the more important ones. Not that this is an exhaustive list, but it's a start.
A few of the most important SEO ranking factors are:
quality content remains the top factor.
Google's algorithms have become even more adept at understanding and evaluating the quality of your website's content. They reward sites that provide valuable, informative, and engaging content to their users.
So you need to focus on creating content that is well-researched, answers users' questions, and provides unique insights into your industry. High-quality content not only keeps users on your site longer, but might even encourage them to share it. And that can improve your rankings because more people will visit your website.
We like to think this article is an example of offering good information. As an example, we researched questions our prospects are asking about working with web design companies, and we've written blogs based on those specific questions. For example, a question occasionally asked is "What is the process of working with a web designer in Columbus?" so we wrote a blog about that.
User Experience (UX) Matters
Over the years, search engines have been placing more importance on user experience, and this trend will no doubt continue. Sites with slow loading times, confusing navigation, or poor mobile optimization are likely to see their rankings suffer. This is why Google has made page load time a ranking factor.
Remember, a happy, engaged user is more likely to stay on your site and spend time with your content. And the more people are on your website, and the longer they're on it, the more Google gives it high marks.
Backlinks Remain a Key Factor
Backlinks, or links from other reputable websites to yours, continue to be a significant ranking factor. The theory being, the more other websites link to yours, the better content you have. See #1: quality content is the strongest indicator of a good website.
However, not all backlinks are created equal. Google values high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative sources to ones you might buy from a linking service.
Mobile-First Indexing is Standard
Google primarily uses the mobile version of a website for ranking and indexing your website. This means that your website must be responsive and optimized for mobile devices. This is true whether or not most of your prospects are looking at your website on their phone, iPad, laptop, or desktop. No matter what your prospects use to view your website, Google is basing your website's health on the mobile version.
Keywords that appear in H1 Tags
H1 tags are subheads that Google uses as a guide for how relevant an article is to a search query. For example, the H1 Tag in this blog is the subhead "A few of the most important SEO ranking factors are," above.
It's a relevant H1 tag, because the article is titled "SEO ranking factors that help your Google listing come out on top." So the keyword phrase "SEO ranking factors" is used in both the article's title AND the main subhead. The blog gets bonus points for that.
The overall health of your websitE
Google knows everything about your website. (They also know everything about your personal life, but that's a blog for another day.)
Their "Core Web Vitals" are a set of specific user-focused metrics that measure the loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a web page. Your website's health is a crucial ranking factor in 2024. Not that it wasn't before, but it's definitely something worth mentioning again.
This is especially true if your website has been around for a while. Read on...
Like a home or car, you don't just get a website and not worry about it anymore.
You'd be surprised how many things can go bad on a website over time. It's like a house or car: the older your website gets, the more things happen that could affect it's functionality. And these are behind-the-scenes things that you wouldn't know about just by looking at your website. Unless of course, some pages start looking weird, or just aren't showing up at all.
But there's a ton of behind-the-scenes things that relate to your website's health that you can't see unless you do a deep dive with analytics.
So either check your website's health using SEMRush, or consider hiring an SEO professional to do an audit on your website. This would be true even if your websites 3 - 4 years old, especially if you update it often. And if you need a referral for a good SEO professional, we know just the ones you could ask!