Google ranking factors

We’ve shared a lot about SEO on the Hammersmith Support blog: what it is, how to boost SEO organically, and how to use images for good SEO. Now we’re bringing you a few of the actual factors that Google uses to rank a site. As of 2019, there are 210 individual factors that Google uses to evaluate a website. Some are things we can all do for our websites, and we’ll detail those below. Others are best left to the website professionals! Here are 10(ish) of the Google Ranking Factors to consider for your business website:

Content Content Content

Content is evaluated in several ways, but we’re going to group a few topics together:

A. Freshness: how recently your website has been updated is HUGE. In fact, Google even puts the date of the most recent update in the search results. If that doesn’t tell you how much Google values fresh content, we don’t know what would. At minimum, content should be updated 1-2 times a month.

B. Update Magnitude: This goes hand in hand with freshness. Changing a few words here and there isn’t going to cut it. Making significant updates to content, like adding new testimonials, images, blogs, or multimedia, will help the most.

C. Quality: Grammar, Spelling: This one is a *little* contested. While some reports say Google doesn’t rank quality, others include quality as part of End User Experience. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to have good grammar.

Links

There’s a fine line between not enough links in a post and too many. The baseline is 1 internal (linking to another part of your site) and 1 external (linking to an outside website) link per post. BUT, if you have the opportunity to link to more than one internal page or external site because they’re related to the topic of your post, then there should be more than 1-2 links. Linking to reputable and authoritative sites (news outlets, educational institutions, established businesses) increases the rank as well.

Security

Obviously security is important for your end user safety and your website’s lifespan, but Google also ranks secure sites higher. All the more reason to make sure your URL has that important “s” in the http.

Page Speed

Having a website that loads quickly is usually targeted at end users to keep them from bouncing. But Google also ranks the page speed. If your site has a lot of images or other multimedia, software downloads, or is targeting buyers from around the world, using a CDN can speed up the loading process, not only making potential customers happy, but improving your rank at the same time.

Mobile Friendliness

This is one of the more recent additions to Google Rankings. Having a site that is optimized for mobile users is vital. In addition, priority is given to sites that build mobile framework first, then desktop user framework. Something to keep in mind when evaluating how your end user will likely access your website.

Keywords

Keeping your website’s keywords quality is a must. In addition, be sure that a keyword appears in the first 100 words of a page’s content. At Hammersmith Support, we utilize the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure that our meta data, keywords, and post descriptions are optimized.

Headers, Numbered Lists, Bullet Points

Big, bulky blocks of words are a no-no from an end user’s perspective and for Google Ranking as well. Be sure to break up content and organize it so that readers – and web crawlers – can scan the information easily.

Site Architecture

A well-designed / organized website makes it easier to be evaluated by Google, resulting in a higher ranking. Being able to quickly and easily index site pages is a must. This includes a well-designed site map.

Usability

This is another factor that initially appears to be relevant for the end user, but doubles by impacting rankings as well. An easy-to-navigate site will keep users longer and reduce the bounce rate. This low bounce rate and satisfied user translates into higher rankings.

Image Optimization

We’ve shared how ensuring that your image information is on point is a great way to organically boost a website’s SEO. The same is true for ranking. Making sure that image captions are accurate and informative, while the “behind the curtain” items like title, Alt Text, and description are all completed as well are all considered for rankings. Be sure not to have spammy Alt Text or descriptions. They may work for a short time but will hurt the rank in the long run.

Hungry for more? Click over to the Hammersmith Support Blog for more topics about SEO. 

According to CNBC, nearly 51% of 3.9 billion Internet users worldwide access websites exclusively from their smart phones. That number is expected to increase to 71% by 2025. Those are some incredible stats! These numbers are based on search engine information alone and don’t account for users who may come to your site via social media. Knowing this information, is your website optimized for mobile viewing?

Google Ranking: Mobile First Infrastructure

In 2016, Google added Mobile First Infrastructure to their 200+ ranking system for SEO. This means that websites that are built with the mobile version of their site first are given a higher ranking. Sites that have any mobile infrastructure are given a higher ranking, but those for smart phone first are the highest.

Types of Business / Clients

Some businesses may be saying “our customers don’t use their smart phones to buy” and for some, that’s true. B2B business is more than likely not being handled on mobile devices. However, B2C business has a much higher probability of being accessed on a smart phone. Not sure how your customers are accessing your site? Enroll your website in Google Analytics and use the Audience report to see how your customers are accessing and engaging with your site.

Testing End User Experience

Lastly, if your site is optimized for mobile view, be sure to test it! Ensuring that every part of your site, from the layout to the overall look, is accessible through the mobile version is critical. In addition, the functionality of a mobile site needs to be quick to load and easy to use – in fact, the majority of smart phone users expect the mobile version of a site to load faster than on a desktop computer, and they will turn to a competitor’s site if unsatisfied with loading times or functionality.

We hear the acronym SEO all the time, but Search Engine Optimization really is vital to a great business website. And even more important is to boost SEO organically, meaning without having to pay for clicks. Why is that? Because organic boosts are A. good for your budget and B. better for your potential clients because the information on your website is authentic to what they are looking for. So, how exactly do you boost your SEO naturally?

Fresh and Consistent Content

Search engines are always looking for new information to analyze. Web crawlers love to look over new pages to rank and categorize them. If your content is stale, the web crawlers don’t have anything new to analyze and your page gets left behind other sites that have fresh information. But what if your product information doesn’t change often, or even ever? Enter blogging, video blogs and social media feeds.

Creating useful and informative content for your potential customers is key for not only SEO, but it also creates value for potential clients. Really, it’s a win win. Your product, demographic, and your personal style will determine what form of content you use on your site, just make sure the posts aren’t spammy, but offers real value for visitors.

Meta Data

Meta data is sort of like the behind-the-scenes description on your website. It’s embedded in your content and your pictures. This includes Alt Text on all your site images. Meta Data is a great way to tell a search engine in nonfancy language, exactly what your content is about. Your Alt Text on images is important not only for visually impaired readers, but also is a good way to get some additional descriptive information about your post for crawlers to analyze. Utilizing a plug in like Yoast or other SEO tools can help ensure that your Meta Data is on point.

Social Media

Social media is great way to get micro content out to your potential customers. Micro content is little bites of information; 15 second or less videos or quick blurbs of information. These snip-its can feed bigger topics that can be linked and then detailed on your website’s blog. Social media, website content, videos – these are all incestuous, meaning they should all feel the same and share topics. Each one feeds the other.

Analyze Your Site

Enrolling in Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a free and detailed way to analyze what is happening on your website. The reports that are generated by these two applications will point you to what is going right and what possibly needs improvement with your website. Knowing what your potential clients are looking for and whether or not they are finding it can help shape your content strategy.

Link It

Don’t forget about links! Be sure that all your blog and or video posts include both internal and external links. Internal links are important because it can drive traffic to specific areas or products of your site that visitors may not have otherwise found. External links are important for helping people find your site. For example, if you post about the importance of your new product and link to a company with a symbiotic product (for example: you make peanut butter, they make jelly), a potential customer is more likely to visit your site to find that product.

One key take away is that organic SEO is not fast, in fact it can feel very (very) slow. BUT, that slow pace is accompanied by consistent growth in traffic and conversions, which is the best statistic of all. So don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing lightning quick growth – it’s much better to be the tortoise than the hare when it comes to your SEO.

We’re Here to Help

At Hammersmith Support, we’re here to help make your site as amazing as possible. We can build your site from scratch, redesign your existing site, and update and maintain your site once it’s in tip-top shape so that it’s sure to stay that way. Contact us to talk through what we can do for you.