4 Factors that Influence Website Ranking on Search Engines
Posted on 22-01-2023
Picture this: you’ve just launched your brand new website and you’re excited to see it climb the ranks of the search engines. But as the days and weeks go by, your website remains buried on page 10 of the search results.
What went wrong? You poured your heart and soul into creating the perfect website, but it seems that the search engines just aren’t interested.
The truth is, there are many factors at play when it comes to website ranking on search engines, and understanding them is crucial if you want to see your website succeed. It gets more complicated because while Google, which is the foremost search engine, regularly explains to webmasters and site owners how it indexes and ranks content via its all-powerful algorithm, it has never disclosed how exactly its algorithm works.
However, in this article, we discuss the four most crucial factors that influence website ranking according to common knowledge in the SEO space and insights retrieved from Google.
1. Content Quality
Search engines exist for one purpose: to answer questions. Therefore, the most important aspect of SEO ranking is the quality of the content provided. In turn, as a site owner optimizing your webpages for SEO ranking, your primary purpose should be helpfulness.
Say you have a blog that talks about gardening in Texas, optimizing your posts means discovering the most common things people search about gardening in Texas. It also includes finding information about the kind of people who are most likely to want to know about gardening in texas, their demography, and personality, as well as their needs and challenges.
Sometimes, the questions are not framed as questions, since most people prefer to use a selection of keywords to elicit results relating to their intent. This is where keyword optimization comes in. A search engine is a computer program, so does not understand questions in the way humans do.
A piece of content may be a great answer to a certain question, but without using the right keywords, and in the right ways (position, density, visibility, etc.), it is unlikely to gain meaningful search engine ranking. So, it’s not just a matter of how well-written your content is or the length of your posts, you must also discover the right keywords for your niche.
If there are already keywords for which you optimize your website, you can generate more keyword ideas and suggestions and compare them with your competitors via Eye10 Keyword Planner.
2. Website Authoritativeness
As you probably already know, simply writing the best article you have ever put down does not guarantee a top search engine ranking. Another hurdle to cross is proving that your website is reliable and Google assesses this via backlinks.
Here is how it works. Search engine bots crawl and index new web pages by following the links from existing web pages. Therefore, if a domain with a high authority links to your webpage, it signals to the algorithm that your content is relevant. The reverse is the case if you fetch links from spammy websites.
The more authoritative links your website gets from backlinks, the higher Google rates your website and ranks your content.
Note that website authoritativeness should not be confused with Domain Authority (DA), which is a metric developed by Moz to calculate the ranking potential of a website. Ahrefs has a similar score, referred to as Domain Rating. Neither DA nor DR is an official ranking factor used by Google.
However, they are important signals in the SEO community. The domain authority of a website is calculated using multiple factors, the chief of which is the backlink profile of the website. Therefore, if you want to know if you are doing link building the right way, a higher domain rating would likely correlate to higher SERP rankings.
Gone are the days when the primary device for accessing the internet in most homes was a desktop PC. Today, there are laptops, tablets, and smartphones; even smart home devices can access the web and pull search results.
Clearly, this creates a need for site owners and businesses to optimize their websites and content for multiple devices. As such, even Google favors a responsive approach to designing websites, which ensures that the website’s layout automatically adjusts to fit the screen size of whatever device a user has.
Since then, site owners have prioritized the content of the mobile versions of their web pages, as that is the one Google indexes first since most people are likely to access the web through a smartphone. Ensuring that your website layout and content are well-optimized for mobile users is an important step towards enhancing the user experience and performance.
Other important performance metrics are those covered under the Core Web Vitals – page loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. To check the loading speed of your page, both on desktop and mobile, the Eye10 Pagespeed tool comes in handy, pulling website performance data from Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix.
4. Structured Data Markup
In addition to the factors explained above, there is a lot more that goes on underneath optimizing a website for better rankings on search engines. Ranking well requires that you, as the site owner, work in tandem with the search engine, providing critical data on how the crawler bots should interpret information from your website.
Google uses the metadata to understand the content on a page and its relevance to any search query. It also displays some of this information in the SERPs. The most prominent meta tags are the title tag and meta description tag, which are the first items that appear for each entry in SERPs.
Other meta tags that are important for ranking are heading tags, robots meta tags (such as nofollow and noindex tags), and image alt attributes (particularly important for the product pages of eCommerce websites.
All this information is included in the content analysis section of the Eye10 On-Page SEO tool, which highlights whatever issues that may need fixing in your content.
SEO is serious work and it is made up of many parts. Not all of those parts have been discussed in this article, but these four critical aspects form the foundation for ranking any website on the first page of Google. The most important lesson is that SEO is not a one-time deal. It is a continuous process of optimizing your content and monitoring changes in traffic.
Can social media signals affect website rankings on search engines?
Social media signals are not official ranking factors for search engines. However, Google prioritizes social media and even, depending on the query, could display results from social media platforms in its SERPs. More so, establishing a strong presence on social media is an excellent way to direct traffic to your site. Overall, just because social media signals are not ranking factors does not mean you should ignore them in your SEO strategy.
Can the use of multimedia such as videos and images improve website rankings on search engines?
This is another factor that is not a ranking signal for Google and other search engines. However, multimedia content increase interaction and engagement on your website and so can increase the traffic to your web pages. When the videos and images are properly optimized with the right structured data markup and the content is relevant to the users, this is how you reap the most benefits.
How can I improve my website's content quality?
To improve your website's content quality, focus on providing detailed, informative, and accurate content that is well-written and easy to understand. It should also take into consideration the search intent of years. Also, to avoid penalties from search engines, stay away from keyword stuffing or other manipulative tactics that can negatively impact the user experience and lower your rankings.
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