8 Confirmed Factors Affect your Google Ranking
Google has been a leader in the SEO industry for a number of years, but it has always been challenging to know precisely what factors are used to rank a website. Everyone has their own opinions and theories about what Google is looking for, but the reality is that Google has never confirmed most of them. This lack of clarity leads to a lot of misinformation and bad advice being circulated.
In this guide, we’ll explore 8 ranking factors that we know Google uses for sure. This way, you can focus on the things that will actually help your website rank higher in search results.
Let’s dive in!
8 Confirmed Google Ranking Factors
There are many ranking factors that Google considers when determining where to rank a website. However, 8 confirmed ranking factors have been identified. These are:
Backlinks are one of the strongest ranking factors for Google, as confirmed by Andrey Lipattsev in 2016.
However, it’s important to note that not all backlinks are created equal – some will have a stronger impact on your website’s ranking than others. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to what makes the perfect backlink. Google suggests that backlinks should come from other well-known and respected websites that are related to the subject matter of your own website.
Google uses a complex system of algorithms to determine what searchers are looking for when they use the search engine. As a website owner, you need to understand this system if you want your website to appear as one of the top results when someone searches for keywords related to your site.
There is no guaranteed way to achieve this, but you can get clues by looking at the top-ranking results for similar keywords.
For example, if you search for the keyword “air fryer,” most of the top results are blog posts with lists of recommended products. This indicates that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.
As a result, it would probably be more effective to target this keyword with a blog post rather than an e-commerce category page.
You can see their common keyword rankings by plugging these pages into Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool. These rankings usually reveal important subtopics.
The freshness of a result is a ranking factor that depends on the query. It has more influence on queries that need fresh results. That’s why the top results for “Netflix new shows” are pretty new, but the results for “how to solve a Rubik’s cube” are old.
So, if you want to rank for a keyword that’s all about freshness, you need to make sure your content is also fresh. That means publishing new articles or updating your page on a regular basis to meet the needs of searchers.
HTTPS improves security for your website’s visitors by encrypting communication between their browser and your web server. This has been a lightweight Google ranking factor since 2014, so if your website doesn’t use HTTPS, you’ll see a “Not Secure” warning in your browser.
Not only is this great for your website’s visitors, but it’s also good for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Besides, HTTPS is a must for any website that wants to rank highly in Google search results.
Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor on mobile devices since 2015. When Google moved to mobile-first indexing in 2019, it became a ranking factor on desktop computers too.
If a webpage doesn’t display the same amount of information on mobile as it does on desktop, it will be harder for Google to use that page for rankings.
There’s the potential to adversely impact search rankings if your site provides less experience on mobile than on desktop. As a result, it’s essential to make sure that your website is just as user-friendly on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers.
- Page speed
Page speed is a factor that affects both your ranking in search engines and how users perceive your site. A slow site can be frustrating for users and lead to a higher bounce rate, which tells search engines that your site isn’t providing a good experience.
You can check your site’s page speed with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. Just crawl your site using Site Audit and then go to the Performance report. There you’ll see the “Time to first byte” and “Load time” distributions.
- Core Web Vitals
When it comes to website performance, Google uses three metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
You can check your site’s performance in the Ahrefs Site Audit Performance report.
- Intrusive interstitials
Interstitials are page overlays that can be intrusive to users and obstruct their view of the content. This is because they interrupt and frustrate users, leading to a poor experience. Google views interstitials as intrusive and has said it will start penalizing sites that use them.
In 2017, Google made intrusive interstitials a negative ranking factor. Now they’re part of the Page Experience signals.
Here’s what Google has to say about interstitials:
- Instead of using interstitials, try banners.
- Don’t use interstitials that cover the entire page.
- Don’t redirect the user to a different page to get their consent or input.
There you have it! There are 8 confirmed factors that affect your Google ranking. A lot of these factors are relatively well-known, but some of them may surprise you.
By keeping these 8 ranking factors in mind, you can help improve your website’s ranking in Google search results.
There are a variety of factors that impact how your website ranks on Google. For example, the quality of your content and how well it answers the user’s query will have a significant impact on your ranking. However, there are some lesser-known factors that can also impact your ranking, such as the time of year that you publish your content. These are just some of the factors that you should consider when creating content, but there are many others that do not directly impact your ranking.
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