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15 Factors that Affect your Site’s Ranking in Google

January 7, 2016

Every business owner dreams of having its website appear as one of the first results in Google’s search engine for a variety of search words. Getting high ranking with keywords which have substantial search volumes means a high number of entrances to the website, meaning more revenue and profit to the business owner.

So how does Google’s algorithm rank sites? It seems no one can give you a complete answer for that, just as no one can show you the recipe for Coca-Cola. However, Google has given hints more than once about quite a few of the factors that affect the ranking, and many site promoters are experimenting with promotion methods to see what works and what doesn’t. Google’s algorithm is constructed from over 200 factors and out of these I will elaborate about 15 important ones:


Which factors affect the site’s ranking in Google?

Title – the Title tag has an important part in understanding the topic of your site in Google’s algorithm. It is important to incorporate in this tag the most important keywords, but certainly also phrase the title (the title of the page which will appear as a blue link in the search results) in the most compelling and attractive way.

H tags – tags H1, H2, H3 and so on… are tags which mark the page headings and the hierarchy between them. Basically H1 is the main heading and should appear once. Other headings can appear more than once. It is recommended that the headings under these tags will contain the keywords in which you want to advance.

Content length, number of pages and added value – content is king, also in the eyes of Google. Of course, high-quality content has better chances to advance in Google, but other than that, its length holds significance as well. The more the site will have indexed pages with quality content and added value (such content that is not commonly found on many other sites and is phrased differently), the stronger the site will be in its niche.

Using keywords – do a research regarding keywords and try to figure out which words are the most relevant and valuable for you. After you have made a list and categorized the keywords for each page, integrate these expressions in the site’s content in the most natural and non-cumbersome way possible.

Site Hierarchy – a site should be built in a clear schematic way. If for example your website is an online store, the Home Page will be at the top, underneath it pages of categories and services, and under each category page – the relevant products. The links’ structure should be like this: www.store.com/category-X/product-y. A site which is built right gets indexed better and will get better ranking. You could help Google reach all of the site’s pages with a site map.

Responsiveness – it is important for Google that the user will have a good browsing experience on the sites recommended by their search engine. About 50% of all traffic currently is from mobile devices; therefore it is very important that your site will be responsive and suitable for browsing from mobile devices. Want to take a step forward? Adapt it to an AMP that will enable much faster loading of your site’s pages.

Site loading speed – no one wants to wait 10 seconds to see your site, especially with mobile devices (where users expect the site to load in 3 seconds). Slow loading of a site may harm browsing experience and naturally increase the bounce rate.

Secure Site and SSL CertificateGoogle has already stated that there is a preference to sites with HTTPS / SSL. A secure site appears more safe and reliable to its search engine and to its visitors, especially when it comes to e-commerce sites.

Assuming that your site has multiple subdomains with a number of respective first-level subdomains, we would suggest using a Wildcard SSL certificate that will fit the bill perfectly.

Frequency of contents update – some say that updating contents on a website is not essential for Google ranking. From our experience, of course sites can be advanced, also to first results by using competitive phrases, without updating contents regularly. Nevertheless, consistently publishing content on the site or blog, especially on sites that deal with dynamic topics (like technology, politics, medicine, etc.) may give it a boost and an advantage over competitors who don’t do it. Besides, since Google sees that there is someone maintaining the site, there is potential for increasing the number of entries from “long tail” phrases which are in the content that you publish.

The age of the site, its domain history and extension – a site that exists for a relatively long time has an advantage over a new domain which is purchased and has a new site built on it. In addition, if you decide to buy an aged domain which previously had a site, it is important to check on archive.org which sites were on there, for which topics and what kind of promotion (legitimate or black SEO) was done on them. Regarding domain extension, I would advise to choose an extension according to your country. If it is Israel, then in principle it is better to choose a domain with a extension “co.il”; if it is a site which targets users in Canada, then the extension “.ca” is preferable and so on.

Contact Information – noting a telephone number, exact address, e-mail and other contact information on the site will show Google that there is someone real behind the site and that it is not a worthless satellite site. Would you buy any product online if there was no one to talk to (by phone / e-mail / chat) and find out where the shipment is?

CTR – high click-through rate could help with the ranking and the search results. A high CTR indicates to Google that your site is intriguing and relevant to the keyword the users are searching. Google measures the percentage of click-through every search. You can click on a certain result and see that there is a quick redirect to a special Google link and from there to the site; that is actually how the measurement is done. Furthermore, you can see the CTR for your site by using different keywords in the search console. CTR can be improved with a good meta title tag and a well-phrased meta description tag. (Meta description tag in itself has no effect on the ranking.)

Brand – true, it is easier for brand names to make their way into the highest search results (of their niche). Google can recognize brands and mentions of brand names, and knows to associate keyword searches containing the brand’s name with the brand’s website. The more searches with the brand name, the stronger the brand name appears to Google.

Social signals – if in the past social media presence was hardly necessary for website owners, today the ‘social’ factors in Google’s algorithm probably take up a larger part in what affects ranking. Links and shares from of social networks increase the traffic volume on the site and of course the natural link profile. Social profiles, as well as contact information, show that the site has real and accountable people behind it.

Links – on the subject of links I could write a whole separate post (or even a few posts), but I will touch on the most important points:

One of the most important factors (arguably the most influential one) is a strong high-quality link profile. Building an array of links to your site should be done gradually and in a way that would appear as natural as possible. Building this array of links is not a one-time action (like many of the items above), but it is work on a daily or weekly basis which requires time and resources.

When planning the construction of an array of links, it is important to pay attention to the following:

1. Anchor text (the words with which the links to your site are created);
2. The authority of the linking site;
3. The location of the link on the page (generally, the higher up the link appears, the stronger it is);
4. The number of links created on the same linking page (and also on the site itself);
5. That it is not a reciprocal link;
6. That it is a link from a different C-Class;
7. Diversity in the types of links (articles, blogs, forums, social networks, etc.), diversity in the anchor text and also follow / nofollow.
As mentioned there are a lot of additional points that affect the value of links, but that’s for another time 🙂

In conclusion, in order to get good ranking on Google there are quite a few activities that you can do even without site promotion companies. In this post I pointed out 15 factors that affect the ranking of search results, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, of additional factors that need to be taken into account. In almost every action you do, always keep in mind that Google puts the surfers in the center and is interested in the surfer receiving added value and a good experience.

Highly dedicated entrepreneur, co-founder of Poptin and Ecpm Digital Marketing. Nine years of experience in the digital marketing field and internet project management. Graduated with an Economics degree from Tel Aviv University. A big fan of A/B testing, SEO and PPC campaigns' optimization, CRO, growth hacking and numbers. Always loves testing new advertising strategies and tools, and analyzing the latest start-up companies.