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2023 Google Ranking Factors

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Did you know that Google uses more than 200 factors to rank websites? Google uses ranking factors to figure out how well the content of your website fits a certain online search.

And Google is by far the most famous search tool in the world.

It has more than 8.5 billion searches every day, which is way more than Bing and Yahoo. Google is used to do more than 90% of all online searches.

So, if your business ranks better in Google search results, it stands to gain a lot. But with so many different factors, which Google search factors should you pay the most attention to?

In this blog, we'll look at 10 things that will definitely help your results. If you haven't taken care of all of these things yet, try to do so as soon as you can.

Let's get started...

What Does Google Mean by a Ranking Factor?

A Google ranking factor is one of the many small pieces of information that Google uses to decide how well a page answers a particular search question.

In other words, if someone puts "best Wix theme" into their search engine, Google will use ranking factors to show them the content that is most likely to help them.

The amount of words on a page or how long it takes for pictures to load can both be used as ranking factors. Google's goal is to give people the best material that answers their questions and gives them a good experience online.

What are Google's most important factors for ranking?

Some website owners may be tempted to improve for every ranking factor in order to get their sites to rank higher.

But from Google's point of view, it's not possible to be perfect. So, give the most weight to the ranking factors that will help you the most.

We've put together a list of the most important ranking factors to help you improve your site's position in search engine results.

  • Backlinks to High-Quality Content

  • Search Intent and the Relevancy of Content

  • Website Loading Speed Mobile Friendliness

  • Optimization of Domain Authority and Keywords

  • Structure of the website Security of the website Experience of the page

  • Our top Google ranking factors for increasing page ranks

1. Content of good quality

You may have heard the SEO saying "content is king." And the quality of your content has a big effect on how Google ranks your site.

Google will put your material higher on its search engine results page (SERPs) if it is unique, new, and useful to users.

Google cares a lot about how good your information is. No matter how well your page is designed, if the content isn't good, you can't expect to rank better.

So, how does Google figure out how good something is?

Original, Unique, and Valuable Content

Google gives more weight to unique material. You want to make web pages that meet the needs of your audience, offer something special, and aren't copied from somewhere else.

If your content is already on other pages or is too close to other sites, it will hurt your SEO. Google might not even find a duplicate page in the worst event. This is called Keyword Cannibalism.

Not only that, but if you post similar content often, Google may slow down the rate at which it crawls your site.

So, when you make content, make sure it's different and better than other websites that rank for your chosen search term. Your focus keywords should match the search terms you want to rank for.

New and up-to-date content

Keeping your information new and up-to-date is another way to make it better. Google likes content that is fresh, whether it was just released or has been updated a lot.

When you change posts often and add new information, you send search engines good ranking signs.

Even more important is how fresh your content is if you write about news or trends. For these kinds of subjects, Google likes pages that have the most up-to-date information.

For example, if you're writing about different types of homes, you want to share information that is up-to-date and based on recent study. And one easy way to find new information to keep your content up-to-date is to use – we suggest Google Trends

Google Trends Screenshot

Just type your search term into the tool and look at the list of Related Topics. These are popular search terms that you can use to add more worth to your posts.

Content Length

Length is easy to measure and understand as a scoring factor. Also, a simple rule of thumb is that longer is usually better.

Several studies show that the length of your content has a big effect on where you rank in the search results. On average, there are 1,890 words in the first 10 posts on Google search.

Even with that average, there is no way to write the "perfect" number of words. The best amount for any piece of content depends on what the reader wants to get out of it and what it's about.

A better way to do things is to make material that goes into detail and covers a topic in full. Google gives more weight to material that fully answers users' questions and gives thorough answers.

Structure and Organization of Content

Your blog posts and pages should be well organized and arranged as part of the quality of their material. This makes it easy for people to read the information on your site and find answers to their questions and needs.

Use multiple titles and subheadings (H2, H3, H4, and so on) to organize your ideas and topics. This will help your stories have a better structure and flow.

You can also make lists easier to read by using bullet points or numbers. If your buzzwords match a search query, Google might even pick these lists and show them as featured snippets.

So, working on the framework and organization of your writing can help make it easier to read. As a result, you'll also get more people to interact with your site, which is good for many Google ranking factors.

2. Backlinks

Backlinks wording with chain links

Backlinks are the next most important Google ranking factor after the quality of our content. Google's rating system is heavily affected by links from other sites that point to a page.

In fact, pages with fewer backlinks get much less direct traffic because they are hidden deep in the search results.

So, how do backlinks help the SEO of your site?

Backlinks, also called direct links, are like a vote of trust for your website. Google looks at how many votes you get and how good your links are.

Overall, backlinks from sites with high authority are more useful and will help your results more than links from sites with lower authority. When you get these links, Google knows that your content is reliable because other high-quality sites are vouching for it.

3. Search intent and how relevant the content is

How well your content fits a user's search purpose is another important ranking factor for Google. Search purpose is just a term for what a person is trying to do when they do a search.

Will they buy something to solve a problem or meet a need? Want to learn how to do something? Or are they just looking for information to help them learn more about a subject?

Every searcher is different, and you need to know why a search question was made so you can make sure your content is relevant.

For example, if someone looks for the best Wix Templates most of the top results are listicles. Both the writers and Google think that these users want to compare Wix Templates and probably install a new one.

Screenshot of Google Search for Wix Templates

Here's another illustration. If you look for the keyword "make chocolate cake," you'll find recipes, stories on how to do it, and videos.

screenshot of google search for make chocolate cake

So, if you were to write about either of these examples, it would be important to meet the search purpose and write the right kind of content.

For example, sometimes the top results on Google are mostly movies and images. This means that the best way to rank for those terms is to make a movie or an infographic.

When it comes to eCommerce sites, search intent also tells you where a customer is in the buying process.

Are they looking for general information about your business, a tutorial or how-to article, or are they ready to buy your product and in the last part of their research?

You can answer these questions and make content that people are looking for by matching your content to what they are looking for when they search.

4. Website Loading Speed

Page speed is one of the hundreds of things that Google uses to decide how to rank a website. Google added the speed at which a website loads to its Core Web Vitals in May 2021.

Google thinks that certain measures about your site's speed are very important to how users enjoy your site. It checks the general speed and functionality of your website, as well as how fast different parts like fonts and images load.

Now, the goal here isn't to beat your competitors and cut milliseconds off your load time. It's more about making sure the page loads in a certain amount of time.

Google wants your website to load fast and give your visitors a great experience.

The Pingdom Website Speed Test makes it easy to check how fast your website loads.

Picture of Pingdom website speed test

It will look at your website, give you a score for both mobile and desktop, show you important data about how long your pages take to load, and suggest ways to make your website even faster.

5. Mobile Friendliness

Along with speed, you should also think about how well your site works on smaller computers.

Since Google gave mobile search more weight in 2019, it's important that your website works well on any size screen. Mobile-first means that Google will now search and rank your site based on its mobile form.

Google used to index your website based on how it looked on a desktop computer. But Google made this change because there are more than 4.2 billion mobile internet users in the world.

So, if you want your website to rank as high as possible, it needs to be mobile-friendly.

6. Name of the website

The next thing you need to work on is the domain authority (DA) of your website. It's a number that tells how knowledgeable your site is about a certain topic and how well it can rank on search engines.

Moz, an SEO company, came up with domain authority, which gives a score between 1 and 100. The higher your site authority, the more likely it is that you will rank on Google for keywords related to your areas of knowledge.

There are, of course, many ways to make your site more trustworthy. Getting good backlinks is one way to do this. But just because you have a lot of backlinks doesn't mean you'll get a better score.

This is why you need to make great content about your business or major topic. And try to stick to one main topic for your website and blog.

Use a tool like SEMRUSH, to find out what kinds of things your site users are most interested in. This shows you real information about the pages on your website that people visit the most.

screenshot picture of SEMRUSH home page

Then, you can make more high-quality material about related topics to grow your topical authority.

Google will eventually see your site as an expert in your area, which will boost your domain popularity and should move you up in the search results.

7. Optimization of Keywords

One of the most well-known ranking factors is the use of keywords on websites. Other well-known ranking factors are sharing original content and getting backlinks.

Keywords should match what people put into search engines when they want to find something. So, it's important that your pages have the keywords that your audience is looking for and match their search purpose, and that you keep an eye on your keyword ranks. So, Google will be able to find your page when people look.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your website is keyword-optimized:

  • Title Tags: Start your SEO title tags with the term you want to rank for.

  • Meta Description: Write meta descriptions that are hard to ignore and include your focus term so that people can understand what your page is about and click on it.

  • Image Alt Text: Since Google can't read pictures, you can tell it what the picture is about by putting keywords in the image alt text box.

  • Anchor Text: Google uses anchor text to figure out what a page is about, so when you link your pages, you can use your keywords as anchor text.

  • Use LSI keywords. Even if your page is focused on one main keyword, you'll find that people look for many similar terms. LSI (latent semantic indexing) terms are the name for these extra words. Google can figure out what your content is about even better with the help of LSI terms. These words also show Google that you have a lot to say about a subject.

  • Don't use too many keywords. Keyword optimization doesn't mean using your main search term over and over again. This is called "keyword stuffing," and it's not a good SEO strategy. Try to use your focus term a few times and mix things up with variations and additional keywords.

  • Include keywords in H2 and H3 headings. You can improve your content even more by using different versions of keywords and LSI keywords in the H2 and H3 headers of your post.

  • Add term to URL: Ideally, your main term should be in the URL of your site. So, if your key word for a tutorial piece is "how to peel an orange" the URL could be something like

Even though term optimization is important, you should also think about how your site is set up, especially if it's a new site.

8. Website Structure

From a search and ranking point of view, your website's structure is important. Google crawlers will find it easier to index your website and its pages if it has a simple layout and not too many folders.

And you can start by making a sitemap to speed up the search of new and changed material. A guide shows the search engine all the important pages you want it to find.

Sitemaps help the Google crawler find its way around your website, find new content, and put your pages in the Google index. SEOptimer gives you a free XML Sitemap Generator .

SiteMap Generator

There can be more than one index on your site This can help you move up in Google's search results for those kinds of material.

Optimizing your website robots.txt file is one more thing you can do to help Google find your site.

A robots.txt file gives Google bots a map of your website and tells them how to crawl and analyze it. It tells search engine bots which pages to crawl and which ones to avoid.

So, you'll save crawl quota and the bots won't go through pages like the login page that aren't needed.

9. Security for websites

Along with how your site is built, security is now a major factor in how Google ranks it. One of the most important things you need to do is make sure your site uses HTTPS protocol, which protects the data sent between your site and a user's computer.

In 2014, Google said that HTTPS is used as a rating signal. So, now would be a good time to update your site if it doesn't have an SSL certificate and still has http://... in its URL.

https with arrow

10. On-page Experience

The user's experience on the page will be the last Google ranking factor we'll talk about. These measurements tell Google more about how your site's guests use it.

But how does Google measure the experience of being on a page?

It uses different ranking signs like:

  • CTR, which stands for "click-through rate," is the number of people who click on the link to your website in the search results. When you use better names and meta descriptions to increase your CTR, your results are sure to go up.

  • Bounce Rate – If a lot of people leave your site right away, that's not good for it. If a lot of people click on your site and then leave without doing anything, Google thinks that page is not useful to searches and lowers its rank.

  • Dwell Time: This shows how long someone stays on your site after finding it through a Google search. The more time people spend on your site, the more engaged they are. Google thinks that if a user stays on your site for a long time, it means that your information is very important to them.

We tried to list the most common and important scoring signs, but there are likely many more. But if you learn these basics first, we can promise that your Google results and organic search traffic will improve a lot.

We hope you liked our post about the most important factors that Google uses to rank websites. If you want to know more about how your site ranks on Google, read this post about the best tools to check Google results.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for more helpful reviews, lessons, and Google Analytics tips.

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