Top 10 Google Ranking Factors You Must Know

seo ranking factors

If you want to rank high on google, you need to follow google ranking factors.

And there are 200+ SEO google ranking factors that help the search engines define which site should show in which order and rank on the search results.

But all the ranking factors are not equal. Some ranking factors are more crucial than others.

And today, I’ll share with you Top Google Ranking Factors, which helps the site rank high on search engine results.

But first, let’s understand the SEO Ranking System?

As you all know, seo is a process to promote the website in front of search engines to rank on top of the search results to attract more visitors and traffic.

And as Google has developed a ranking system in its algorithm. They build the ranking system from a series of algorithms and not with one.

The search engine algorithm analyzes your website first as per their ranking factors and then ranks the website in search results.

Google sees every site as per their ranking algorithm, and based on this ranking system, it starts ranking the website and shows them in the search results.

And as these ranking factors (algorithm changes) are not permanent, these can be changed anytime.

Because google ranking algorithm is steadily changing to provide better results, thus keep up to date yourself with the latest algorithm changes to rank on top in SEO.

Understand How Google Ranking Algorithm Work

The intent of the query

While looking for information, users enter the search term or query in the search engine.

And based on your query, its algorithm analyzes the billions of pages in its index, and then it shows the best possible matches results in SERP.

At first search engine needs to understand the exact intent of the query, and based on that, it shows the results.

Google algorithm has a synonym system that helps the algorithm to understand multiple words that also have the same meaning.

Besides synonyms, google algorithms also try to figure out what category of or specific information you are looking for through a search.

Google Algorithm categorizes your query and based on your query intent; it decides what type of results it should show.

If you are searching for trending keywords, google freshness algorithm will show you the new pages then older pages.

Relevancy of the webpage content

After understanding the search intent, the google algorithm tries to analyze the webpage content. How relevant is the webpage content with the searched query?

Based on the web content, the search algorithm sends the signal about the webpage relevancy to Google.

The search algorithm gives more weight to the pages where your main keywords include in the heading tags & the body of the content.

It gives signals to the search algorithm that page is possibly relevant to the searcher query.

Beyond keyword matching, search algorithms also use in-depth natural aggregates data to determine whether these webpages are relevant to queries.

And these all signals help google search algorithms to provide and evaluate better web page relevancy.

Quality of the Content

One of the significant challenges to the search algorithm is to give priority to the most reliable sources.

And the only webpages with high-quality content should rank on top of the search results.

And this is an arduous task for the search algorithm.

Because as per the stats, around 2.75 million posts published each day.

Out of so many posts, to decide which posts to rank at the top is always a challenging task for the search algorithm.

Because Google wants to deliver relevant information, but it should be correct.

In August 2018, Google rolled out a significant algorithm update (medic update), and this update affected the ranking of health & medical sites.

This medic update hit the medical websites, but it also hit the YMYL sites.

YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) is a quality rating for content.

Sites that affect user health, wealth, and happiness, those site’s content should be a high level of E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).

E-A-T is used by human search evaluators when they analyze the search results in google.

While judging the value of the webpage, google quality raters analyze the webpage keeping E-A-T in mind. You can also check the Quality Raters Guidelines here.

The high E-A-T score means your webpage content is high quality, engaging & useful.

Thus if your website is under the YMYL category to achieve a higher E-A-T score, your content should reflect that an expert writes the content and has authority and expertise in this field.

Therefore, by creating useful and high-quality content will be benefited by google E-A-T. Write well researched and quality content to rank high on google.

User Friendliness of the Webpage

While ranking the site in search results, google algorithm also looks into the usability of the webpages.

Search ranking algorithm analyzes the webpages are easy to access in all devices; the pages appear correctly in different browsers, page loading time is good even on slow internet connection.

These all the factors search engines running systems take into account while ranking the site in search results.

The algorithm checks the usability of your website and optimizes accordingly search for algorithm ranking factors.

Keep up to date with the latest algorithm changes and stay ahead of your competitions.

As both on-page and off-page seo ranking factors play a significant role in ranking the site high in SERP.

Now let’s look at the Google ranking factors and learn how to optimize the site according to the Google ranking factors and rank high in google Top search results.

Top 10 Current Ranking Factors for Google

1) Page Speed
2) Mobile Friendliness
3) User Experience (UX)
4) Page Experience
5) Backlinks
6) Secure Website (HTTPS)
7) Technical SEO
8) Social Signals
9) Content Freshness
10) Anchor Text

Let’s get started

Page Speed (Both Desktop and Mobile Devices)

Page speed matters a lot, and also page speed is a ranking factor since 2010. And google algorithms down rank slow-loading pages, and fast one gets a positive effect in search results.

In 2018, google released a speed update that designed specially to serve fast loading pages for mobile searchers.

Hence optimize your website speed on both desktops and mobile devices.

Slow loading pages provide lousy user experience, and that Google doesn’t want because Google wants to give the best user experience for their users to keep them happy.

Test your website speed included’s the google speed testing tool.

Google Speed Test

Now, look at the opportunity section to see the way to improve the page speed.

Opportunities to Improve Page Speed

Fix all the issues and see the improvements in search ranking and CTR in SERP.

Speed is the key to attract and land more visitors to your website.

The longer your website takes the time to load the webpage, the higher the bounce rate will be.

The higher the bounce rate, the faster the ranking will slip for that web page google.

Because high-speed loading sites get more visitors, conversion & it affects overall user experience.

And if you found a less speed score on any device, optimize it to improve website speed.

Even if you want to test the actual loading time, use the Gtmetrix website speed test tool.

Gtmetrix page Speed Test

If you see high loading time, fix the website speed loading time under 3 seconds.

According to 1-second stats

  • 1 second delay reduces page views by 11%.
  • Annually, a 1-second delay can lead to $2.5 million in missed revenue if your shop generates $100,000 per day.
  • 1-3 seconds in loading time see a very low bounce rate probability–only 32%.

Thus focus on website speed optimization as much as possible.

Website speed affects both search engine ranking and sales.

Slow loading time means bad and dissatisfying user experience.

And Google wants to rank sites high only who provide pleasant user experience with fast loading time.

Want to learn morePage Speed SEO Best Practices

Mobile Friendliness

To increase your business reach to mobile visitors, you should make your website mobile-friendly.

According to stats –

  • There are 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide.
  • On average, smartphone users spend at least over 4 hours a day.
  • Two-thirds of internet users use shopping apps on their mobile devices.
  • 9 out of 10 customers bounce back due to a lower mobile-friendly experience
  • 46% of all searches now on Google are for local information.

Thus for local seo, or if you have an e-commerce store, give priority to the mobile optimization strategy.

Test Your Website Mobile Friendliness –

Enter your site here to test your mobile-friendliness –

Mobile Friendly Test

If your website is mobile-friendly, then it’s okay, but if it’s not, then optimize your website for mobile devices.

How to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly:

Make your site responsiveness.

.Make your site responsive so that the layout and display of the page images could adjust automatically according to the device screen.

Make the Font/Content/Buttons Easily Accessible

Optimize the content for mobile devices. Keep the font size large to read it on a smaller screen. Optimize CTA buttons to take the desired action by the user.

Optimize the Speed

On mobile devices, speed is the key to attract and land more customers on your website. Make sure the website loading time on mobile devices should be fast enough.

User Experience (UX)

user experience means how the user feels and experiences while accessing your website.

User experience matters in seo because if your website has a poor user experience, your site will not rank high in search results.

Your all seo efforts will be in vain if your potential visitors are not getting a quality browsing experience.

How to improve user experience on a website?

Quality Content

Write quality content and provide value to the user. Write thoroughly researched content that relates to the problem your visitors are having.

Use proper headings and make them easier to read. As a result, more time spent on the site, more repeated visits, and finally, better ranking.

Attractive Design

Provide your user with beautiful user experience and make sure the web design should be consistent all over the pages. Images, navigation, headers & content should be attractive, which entices the user and improve your website experience.

Mobile Friendly

Optimize your website for mobile devices to make it easy to navigate to your user. Your website design should be responsive so it can adjust for different screen sizes and browsers’ windows easily.

Website Speed

Slow-loading websites often create frustration for users, and they don’t want to wait and will bounce back to search results. Slow loading sites provide the terrible user experience signals to the search algorithm, and your website will start falling from the search results.

Website speed creates a tremendous impact on ranking your website high in SERP. Therefore, optimize your website speed so it can load under 3 seconds.

Page Experience

Recently Google announced page experience algorithm update new ranking factors which they will roll out in 2021.

But let us understand first what is page experience.

According to Google –

“The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces and helps sites strengthen towards user expectations on the mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.”

While interacting with a web page, how users are engaging & interacting counted in-page experience, thus you need to optimize the website for these factors to make the page experience better for users.

A web experience does not just depend on a single metric like relevance, multiple factors that influence the users, and affects the browsing.

Here is the video by google describing what they don’t want on the site –

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web vitals a google tool that can help you identify the opportunities to improve user experience. Google uses core web vitals to catch the real experience of users.

They evaluate the web page qualitative feel and notify the ranking algorithm. Google will get all the signals from core web vitals and will combine with existing search signals for page experience, (mobile-friendliness, HTTPS-security) to provide a comprehensive picture of page experience.

As the web experience gets better, user engagement will automatically be improved.

That’s why to focus on improving page experience, making sure your website should be Mobile friendly, HTTPS secure, and no unnecessary, intrusive interstitials (pop-ups) will be there.

Backlinks are the topmost Google ranking factors. There are three types of links internal, inbound and outbound. Each kind of link has its benefits & value in search ranking.

Where internal links used to distribute link equity within the web pages, inbound links used to get links with other sites, and outbound links are the links that used to show the relevance of the written content.

Backlinks are the game changer tactic in off-page seo for any website. Building quality links can improve your ranking in search results.

But this is not the case. Google algorithm sees every link differently. It depends on the site authority and relevancy where you are getting the links.

Rather than taking 100 links from unrelated sites is bad practice instead of taking ten links from relevant and authority sites will be more effective.

There are two way that search engines use links –

  • Links help search engines to discover new web pages.
  • Search engines evaluate the site based on the links and rank the website in search results accordingly.

Links Attributes

  • Nofollow
  • Dofollow

Nofollow links tell Google that it does not pass any page rank to this link.
Dofollow links tell Google that pass the page rank to these links.

The more do-follow links you will build, the more link juice and link equity will pass to your linked pages and follow links help your pages rank higher in search results.

No-follow links will not move the needle of the ranking in search results, but if they are coming from high authority sites, they will help you send more referral traffic to your website.

Build no-follow links as well no-follow links are also useful for seo and help you improve the ranking. Read this no-follow links case study.

Secure Website (HTTPS)

Half of the top 1 million visited sites have been redirected from HTTP to https. HTTPS is a protocol that helps protect the data between the user and the website.

Thus you should adopt the HTTPS to protect your user from personal information. Even if you don’t handle sensitive communication, you should move your site from HTTP to HTTPS.

Install the SSL certificates and user server-side 301 redirections on all the HTTP pages.

And also, verify that your HTTPS pages have crawled and indexed by google.

If you added your site property with HTTP after the site migration HTTP to HTTPS, add the separate property with HTTPS.

Use the URL inspection tool in the google search console to test your HTTPS URLs can access by Googlebot.

As Google gives HTTPS secured sites a little bit of priority and HTTPS sites can get a slight ranking advantage in search results.

But don’t install the SSL certificates only for the sake of SEO to make your site secure, and for the privacy of your users, you must nitrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS.

Technical SEO

Clean codes errors free site is also a part of technical seo, and this is also a ranking factor in Google.

If your website is having technical seo issues, all your efforts will not help produce the results that you would expect.

Thus it is crucial to clear all your technical seo problems to allow search engines to crawl and index your website without a hitch.

By optimizing your site technical seo, it gives the search engines the right signals to understand your site structure and content.

Once you fix all the technical seo issues, your website will become SEO friendly, and it will become easy for your site to rank on top of the search results.

While doing technical seo, optimize site main technical seo factors first like – robots.txt file, sitemap, URL structure, Website Speed, etc.

These are some essential technical seo issues lists for more follow this seo checklist and start optimizing your site for better crawling, indexing, and ultimately ranking.

Social Signals

Nowadays, the digital world’s social media is powerful and inescapable. The uses of social media all over the world are growing day by day.

If you look at social media stats, there are 3.5 billion daily active social media users.

Facebook is the most widely used, with over 2.32 billion active monthly users. And if I talk about time, it spends an average of 3 hours per day on social networks.

It starts. Thus, more brands engaging with their customers on social channels to reach more targeted audiences.

Social Signals for SEO

What are the social signals?

Social signals are people’s actions on any social media platform for any content. Example – likes, comments, votes, shares all are part of social signals. But as per google, they don’t consider links from social media sites as a ranking factor.

But a case study reveals that the strong presence of social channels correlates with better rankings.

As your brand on social media is not to boost ranking but to building up your brand and drive qualified traffic to your website

There make sure to set up on top social networks your Business pages optimize it for better organic search and to reach more potential users.

And get the indirect impact of social signals on your brand and see the effect on your seo in ranking and search results.

Content Freshness

Content freshness means updating or publishing the content frequently. And content freshness becomes more critical if you are in an industry where users want to see relevant and update results.

Google algorithm understands the query, and based on that; it decides that it should show a freshly updated page or the page that was updated long ago.

Content freshness is also a ranking factor, but it depends on the type of query. I mean, to say content freshness does not work for every query. Take, for example, “Cricket News And Pizza Recipe.”

cricket news Google Search

For cricket news, Google is showing the recent news results which have updated around 6 minutes ago.

The reason is to show updated and fresh content is because of that search query. Google algorithm understands the intent very well that cricket is an evergreen game and played all year.

Now, if we see the results for query pizza recipe, you will see the results for a one-year-old published article, but not recently as we saw for the “cricket news” query.

pizza recipes Google Search

Because the recipe would be the same after years, there would be minor changes; The algorithm tries to understand the intent and deliver the results only which satisfying the users.

Thus it means freshness matters in some industries than others. If your website is millions of pages, then first you need to understand that updating the content is worth your industry or not.

Analyze the search results for your targeted keywords, and based on that, update your content. If content freshness is less critical for you, create lengthy & epic content on that topic, which will help you rank higher and help generate more traffic.

Anchor Text

anchor text is a crucial ranking factor in seo. Google follows the links to discover the new pages, but if we add anchor inside the link, this helps them identify the linked page very well, which topic is related to that page.

Anchor text is also better because both users and search engines easily understand the content.

Anchor text helps the algorithm to understand the content. Therefore, it is helpful to you because, based on this search engine, show your webpage to the relevant search queries in the search results.

As google use anchor text to help understand what the page is about and based on anchor, it ranks the keywords.

Thus use various types of anchor text variations to optimize your essential keywords. Use mix up of anchor text (exact, phrase, branded, broad), which will help your site rank high on specific keywords on top of the search results.

Follow these ranking factors to rank on top of search results, there are also many ranking factors, but these are the ones that play significant roles in search engines while ranking the site.

Now I would like to hear your thoughts and your experiences on ranking a site. Which ranking factors do you follow to rank the website in search engines?

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Pankaj Sharma is a digital marketer, a blogger who loves to write on SEO and digital marketing. He helps small businesses to grow their business and revenues.


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