SEO experts are always eager to identify the most crucial Google ranking factors so as to adopt the best practices for optimizing websites. As user behaviour and Google algorithms transform, ranking factors change simultaneously. Here are some of the crucial Google ranking factors you must know in 2021.
Starting May 2021, Google is including website loading speed into the Core Web Vitals. A few seconds of load time may keep a site ahead or behind the competitors.
A page with a long loading time will increase bounce rate and affect website ranking. There are several tools available in the market to check website speed. The experts of digital marketing services mainly use Google PageSpeed Insights to get an authentic report. The tool provides valuable insights to improve site speed.
With more than 50% of people visiting a website from mobile devices, mobile-friendliness has become a significant factor in obtaining a high rank on Google search results.
In fact, Google has adopted mobile-first indexing which ranks mobile-optimized websites first. From selecting a mobile-friendly theme to using various plugins that enhance a site’s mobile-friendliness – there are a lot of things you can do to optimize a site for mobile devices.
Also, make sure that essential content doesn’t get hidden by ads, include accessible menus and buttons, keep the site easily navigable, use a larger font to improve readability, and integrate the click-to-call button on the site.
But first, run Google Mobile-Friendly Test to check the site’s mobile-friendliness and fix the loopholes. That way, your efforts will be optimally utilized. If you are not sure how to resolve these issues, consider engaging a professional website development company.
Keywords and Valuable Content
Keywords are and will be a crucial ranking factor for years to come. However, the usage of keywords has changed. This is where valuable content dives in.
Content needs to be more intent-driven than keyword-stuffed. Long-tail keywords are more useful as they reflect the specific demand of the users.
You can also use LSI keywords to make Google understand the context of your content. These are the terms related to the main keyword you target. For example, the word “fall” may denote Autumn as well as falling. If a content revolves around the former meaning the word, it’s better to sprinkle some words like Autumn, season, year, Spring, etc. in your content.
When it comes to valuable content, topic clusters have emerged as a powerful method. You can decide on a broad topic and create multiple subtopics (rich with diverse keywords) around the main topic. It will positively impact your ranking and pose you as an authority.
Links are vital Google ranking signals. You need to pay attention to three types of links:
Inbound Links – Aim at obtaining backlinks from highly authoritative sites. It will inform Google that the website in concern is reliable and informative.
Outbound Links – Justthe opposite of inbound links, here the website in concern links to different authoritative sites. Make sure that the sites you link to belong to the business niche and are highly relevant to the topic.
Internal Links – Create a tightly-knit internal linking structure. Here, multiple web pages on your site are connected. It helps Google to better crawl your site.
Domain Authority, Age, and URL
A study by Ahrefs finds that almost 60% of the sites that occupies a rank on the top 10 search results are three years old or more. As you can understand, domain age is a determining factor for Google ranking. We believe, it has a direct connection with the authority a domain acquires over time.
Domain authority depends on multiple on-page and off-page SEO signals and Moz’s Domain SEO Analysis Tool scores a domain from 0 to 100 to reflect on its authority.
Finally, website URL is yet another important ranking factor. For instance, keyword-stuffed URLs (especially of a site with thin content) are penalized by Google. Moz analyzes exact-match URLs (where a target keyword is present in the URL) can be valuable and relevant if the website adheres to the SEO best practices. Pay attention to creating a clean URL without unnecessary symbols.
Search engine optimization applies to images as well. As a part of that, every image on your website should have an alt-text.
Here are two benefits of image alt-text in improving a website rank:
It makes a site accessible to visually impaired users. The screen readers will read the alt-text to give them an understanding of the image. And website accessibility is an important element in Google ranking factors.
The alt-text will allow Google to crawl the image and index it properly – a step of how search engine ranking works.
The freshness of information is an important ranking factor. Google knows that people want to see updated news.
Here comes the niche of the business or content into play. For instance, a journalism-based website needs to update information every moment. On the other hand, the content of a website that talks about coffee is relevant for several years.
Nevertheless, it’s an ideal practise to revisit old content from time to time and modify them with the latest practices and updated business information.
This is the final point. A website that offers a superb user experience will ace the ranking race. It is not only about loading speed, on-page content, or site features – it is an accumulation of all the elements. Therefore, an improved rank on the SERP has a lot to do with website design.
Engaging professional website design services to optimize every element on the site is a wise decision as the overall User Experience (UX) will influence the site rank.
You can get an idea of your website’s UX by paying attention to various metrics like dwell-time, bounce rate, and conversion rate.
We hope that you found the blog useful. Implement these tips while optimizing a website and let us know how it turned out!