SEO for Beginners: 6 Google Ranking Factors You Must KnowJun 24, 2019
Want to get traffic from Google? Learning SEO is important for any website owner. In this post, we'll share 6 google ranking factors every beginner must know.
It's nearly impossible for any website to survive without search engine optimization.
SEO makes your website discoverable. If you don't optimize your websites for search engines to understand, you will never appear in the search results, and your site will be basically invisible.
It's also important to understand that SEO constantly changes. What might have worked a decade ago may be outdated today.
So, if you're a bit rusty on your SEO, this is a good opportunity to brush up on your skills.
In this guide, we've highlighted some basic but critical SEO strategies that anyone can use to get found in Google search results.
But quickly before we get into that, let's talk about how search engines work...
How Google's Search Algorithm Works
The reason why we focus mainly on Google is that it is the most popular search engine today, with over 70% of searches taking place on the platform.
Google has specific algorithms that help it rank sites based on two main factors:
To determine the relevance of content, Google has “crawl-bots” or “spiders” that are constantly crawling all over the internet and analyzing website. These bots go through the content of each and every site online and give it a score for particular keywords that are used. When those keywords are searched, the site that scores the highest for that particular keyword will appear.
(This is why keyword optimization is vital for any SEO strategy.)
When searching for a query like, “top real estate agency,” Google will provide you with real estate agencies that are well-known and close in your proximity. This is because the search engine assumes that you want the best option that is also nearby.
2. User Experience
Google also takes user experience into account when ranking sites. As the search engine aims to give users the best experience, it focuses on elements that impact experience on the site such as:
- Load speed of the site, Google suggests that the site should load within 3 seconds.
- The uniqueness of content, Google penalizes sites that have plagiarized content.
- How visitors engage with your site and the time they spend on it.
- The responsiveness of the site to mobile devices, Google understands that more users are using mobile devices to use its platform and therefore ranks mobile responsive sites higher.
How to Get Started with SEO as a Beginner
Ask any marketer and they will tell you that SEO starts with keyword research.
After all, you need to know what search terms you are optimizing for before you can do it!
So to start off, you need to identify keywords and terms that users use to search for the products, services, or content that you offer.
Identifying keywords may seem like an easy task. After all, if you are a software development firm, you would think that users just type “software development companies” or something basic along those lines to try to find you. Therefore, it makes sense to optimize accordingly.
Well, it isn’t that simple.
When it comes to determining which keywords to target, you need to consider the following:
- Search volume: You need to identify which keywords within your industry have the highest search volume. More volume means more people are searching for it.
- Relevance: How relevant are the keywords you have identified to your solutions and the prospects you aim to attract? This will help you narrow your keywords list down to select those that are relevant and also help you prioritize keywords that are more competitive.
- Competition: SEO is very competitive and at times you are better off not optimizing for “premium” keywords since your competition has already put in a lot of effort for them and will likely rank higher than you. Instead, put more effort towards keywords that are related to the premium ones and rank higher in those.
Google Keyword Planner is a tool you can use to help with your keyword search. It can give you all the insights you need to build your list of target keywords.
While you perform your keyword search, you may want to put some emphasis on long-tail keywords, those with four or more words. Searchers have started to use long tail keywords in searches and these keywords tend to be easier to optimize.
6 Google Ranking Factors You Must Know
Now that you know the keywords you want to target, you can start employing SEO techniques to rank higher in search engines.
We talked briefly about relevance and user experience. Now we are going to go into more depth and share 6 Google ranking factors that will increase your relevance and user experience.
By the way, as you start implementing these strategies, understand that ranking improves gradually and takes time. Don’t expect overnight results with SEO. However, the long-term rewards are well worth the effort!
1. Your Title
Any post you create should have the keyword in the title.
To make the keyword even more effective, you should use it at the very start of your title. That's because search engines give more weight to the keyword the closer it is to the start of the title tag.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to use this technique for every post. We recommend using it on keywords that you feel are important to rank highest.
In the example above, we searched for “off-page optimization.” In the result, you can see that all three of the top results have used the keyword in the title. The top result even starts their title off with the keyword.
On its own, this technique won’t get you to the top, but it does help you stand above the rest when you have all your other SEO tactics in order.
2. Length of Content
SEO and blogging go hand-in-hand today. You can’t expect to rank high on search engines without a strong content marketing strategy.
For such a strategy, you need to establish a blog. A blog gives you the opportunity to continuously target your keywords and employ other forms of SEO tactics such as link building.
While blogs of 200-300 words can be read within a minute or so, they won’t be that informative or in-depth.
Google wants visitors to be able to go to a site and learn about topics. Therefore, you need to aim for content that is between 1,000- 2,000 words at minimum.
The results in a graph are from research conducted by Backlinko. They analyzed search results of content on Google and showed that average content with a word count of 1,890 appeared on the first page of Google.
While the exact science behind this hasn’t been discovered, the belief is that long-form content allows you to go into more detail. This makes the content more informative, and gets you more social shares, all of which help boost your SEO.
3. URL Structure
For improved on-page SEO, you need to customize and make your page URL keyword optimized and concise.
In an interview, Matt Cutts from Google stated that the algorithms employed by Google focus on the first 5 words of a URL and any words after that don’t get much weight. At the same time, shorter URLs are easier to remember and type.
Backlinko’s research proves that on average the top search results on Google have roughly 50 characters. If the number of characters in the URL goes up, the position on Google decreases.
Shortening your URL is simple if you use WordPress. When you make a post on the platform, you can go into the setting of the post and change the post name.
We recommend you incorporate the keyword used in the title of the post here. This will ensure the URL remains short and helps to increase the odds of ranking higher.
It is easier for individuals to learn and understand complex information when you attach a visual aid.
But don’t just use any images with the information you have, create infographics. Infographics are a great way to show data in the form of graphics that make them easier to understand.
Not only are infographics helpful for your audience but they can also help you gain visitors and backlinks.
In order to do this, you first need to collect your stats. Look for studies within your industry that would be of interest to your audience. Collect as much statistics as you can.
You can then use free platforms such as Venngage to create your infographics.
Once you have your infographic created, write an in-depth post around it. The post should go into detail explaining the infographic and how it can relate to your audience.
5. Internal Links
Internal links are links on your website that point to other pages on your website. These are very important for SEO because they help search engines discover the various pages and posts on your site.
Deep linking is a form of internal linking that shows the depth of your site to Google. For this technique, you use keyword-optimized anchor text in your post to link to other pages of your website. Anchor text is the word or words you use for the hyperlink.
Google will index the pages that are mentioned in the content. Then, when the crawl bots read the content you have posted, they will also gain access to the links provided within. This will prompt them to index all of the pages mentioned and also assess how well they link to each other.
6. External Links
While internal links show Google how well organized your website is, the use of external links will help you build authority.
External links are links going from your website to another website. Using high authority domains as the sources for your information shows Google that your content is reliable and adds an element of trust in your work.
High authority domains are any site that is known as a reliable source for information. For example, in the realm of SEO there are various high authority domains such as Moz, Search Engine Land, Neil Patel, and so on.
To make the search for authority for various topics easy, there is Alltop. It is a wonderful tool to search for certain topics and access whether they are trusted by high authority domains.
You can find links for just about any topic here. You can even approach the writer you have linked to by writing them an e-mail and letting them know you have linked to their article.
In the e-mail be sure to let them know that they are free to link to your site in any of their posts– this will help you to get backlinks, a more advanced strategy which you can learn about here: Backlink Tutorial: How to Get 50+ Quality Backlinks Every Month.
Your website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. You need to make sure you employ all the right SEO tactics, giving it the chance to stand above your competition.
By integrating a blog and using these basic SEO techniques, you not only boost your search engine rankings but also establish yourself as an authority of information.
After all, blogs are considered to be one of the most trusted sources of information. You can only achieve such heights with a blog if you have an SEO strategy that allows it to be found and rank higher.
The 6 techniques mentioned above will help your website climb the ranks of Google and other search engines. Be sure you also employ the right SEO tools to help you analyze and adapt your SEO strategy so it remains effective with the evolving digital world.
If you enjoyed this post and you'd like to learn even more about SEO, check out our guide: 11 Fast & Easy Ways to Get Your Website on Page of Google.
Karen Evans is a former college student who, after making some money learning how to build and scale niche blogs, decided to go full time and hasn't looked back since. After seeing so many people waste their time and money trying to learn how to create websites that make money, Karen created the ever-popular Startbloggingonline.com. So far over 9,500 new blogs have been created with her guidance. When Karen isn’t blogging, she enjoys spending time with her family, which usually involves finding some water to cool off in!