What Goes Into Your Website’s Google Ranking?

Google is the most popular search engine by far, dominating around 85% of the market share of search engines on desktop. As a business, it’s clear that you want to rank well on a platform that gets over 3.5 billion searches every day. So, what exactly goes into your website’s organic Google ranking? Google has said that there are over 200 factors that they take into account when determining website rank, but we’ve put together the top 5 factors that impact your website’s ranking the most.

#1 Content

The actual content on your website is the most important factor in your Google ranking. High-quality content can be difficult to write because "quality" is subjective, but there are a few things that Google takes into account when crawling your site and reading the content.

  • Write for the people you want to read it – Don’t go crazy on the keyword optimization with keywords stuffed into each paragraph. Write in a conversational way that makes it easy for real people to read, not for a machine to analyze.
  • Get in-depth – Google tends to rank pages higher when they have 1000 words or more. This is because it’s kind of hard to get your point across and provide quality information in a few short paragraphs. So when in doubt, add some more content!
  • Quality first, keywords second – Your main goal in creating any content should be providing value to your audience. Adding a bunch of keywords to each paragraph will negatively impact your site’s performance. So focus on writing high-quality content with valuable information and the keywords will naturally work their way in.
  • Keep it fresh – Google loves new content, so try and be consistent. Posting often will increase your relevancy in the eyes of Google, so make sure your website is up to date and continue to provide new content to your audience on a regular basis.

The world wide web is built on links, so they are a major consideration in your website’s Google ranking. There are three main types of links and you’ll want to have a healthy mix of them.

  • Inbound links – Also known as backlinks, these are the hardest links to get, but the most important in ranking. Google uses inbound links to determine how authoritative and relevant your website is. The key here is that those inbound links need to come from other authoritative sites in your niche. For example, if you’re a food blogger, getting a backlink from The Food Network will be a lot more beneficial to your ranking than a backlink from a small fashion boutique.
  • Outbound links – The opposite of inbound links, these are when you link to other sites besides your own. While this may seem counterproductive, linking to authoritative, high-quality sites can boost your website’s credibility. If you’re an electrical company, linking to the government’s Energy Star website in a relevant context can show Google that you use reputable sources for your own website. Just make sure when adding outbound links that you make them open in a new tab so that users aren’t completely directed off your site.
  • Internal links – These are the easiest links because it’s just bringing users to other parts of your site. Internal links help tie pages together for both Google and your visitors, making each page more valuable. If you have an authoritative page and link to another page on your site, that helps visitors find the other page and passes on some of that authority to help that second-page rank better.

#3 Site Function & Quality

The actual quality and function of your website are another important factor in your site’s overall Google ranking. This encompasses many things, but there are four important things that Google considers when determining whether your website is high-quality or spammy.

  • Mobile friendly – In the age of mobile, your website’s ranking will decrease significantly if it’s not compatible with mobile search. Some factors that make your site mobile friendly include automatically resizing to fit the device, using large fonts that are easy to read on small screens and easy accessibility through the menu and clickable sections.
  • Page speed – Google prioritizes user experience, so you’ll want to make sure that your website is hosted on a server that delivers fast loading times for all navigation.
  • A secure site – Look at our URL right now. Notice the https:// at the beginning? This tells Google that our website is secure and that the information it's indexing is safe for the user. To secure your website’s domain, you’ll need an SSL certificate.

#4 Technical SEO

There are a lot of ways to optimize your website’s SEO, but some of the basic factors include using keywords in page titles, incorporating header and title tags to show hierarchy, writing a meta description that entices readers, and adding keywords to your image alt tags. At Big Marlin Group, all of the websites we manage are built on WordPress and we use the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure we’re hitting all those SEO points.

#5 User Experience

User experience is an important component of a good website and there are a few key signals that indicate the quality of user experience. Google uses an artificial intelligence program called RankBrain to help rank webpages and signal how relevant pages are. Clickthrough rate, which is how often a user clicks your link after it comes up in search results, is another signal used to indicate a good user experience. Bounce rate and dwell time are the other signals that indicate how well a user is liking the website. When a user clicks into your site from their search, they’ll either leave quickly because it’s not relevant to what they were looking for, leading to a high bounce rate, or they’ll stay because it is what they were searching for, creating a longer dwell time.

Again, there are over 200 different factors that Google takes into consideration when determining your website’s ranking, but those are the top 5. Want to improve your business’s ranking and g make your brand shine even brighter? Check out Big Marlin Group’s web services to ensure that your website has all the technical factors nailed down and let us take over your content creation and management to ensure your website stays up to date with new content and blog posts.

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