Did you know there are over 200 factors Google takes into account to rank your webpage? These all have their place in the complex algorithm that the search engine uses to decide if your page is both relevant to a search query, and has meaningful info.
We will be here for a while if we analyse each of these factors, so we’re narrowing down the essential package. If you’ve ticked these 5 boxes, then you’ll be on the right path toward that sweet spot on the top results.
- Loading speed
Google understands that in the modern world we need information, and we need it fast. This is why one of the search engine’s biggest pet peeves is a laggy page. If your site takes more than 2 seconds to load on computers or mobile devices, the chance of bounce increases, and the chance of a top spot significantly drops.
- Content length
Another basic feature of your page with a surprisingly big impact on rank is article length. This is one is a little ambiguous. Google doesn’t prescribe a specific article length to make the cut, but one can’t help but notice that longer articles tend to fill the higher-ranking spots.
SEO sources analysing the top listings suggest that 700 words is the sweet spot. But broadly speaking, it’s suggested that the ideal article for organic traffic is between 600 and 2,000 words. Research will continue in this area to find out how to best optimize content length.
- Quality of content
Quality over quantity. As important as we know content length to be, it’s equally important, if not more, to ensure this is refined content of high value to readers. 2,000 words of fluff will not get you a top spot just on the basis of hitting a higher word count.
But what is ‘quality’ in Google’s eyes? Content that is easy to find and to understand. This is content optimized for user experience. This means careful, purposeful use of keywords, delivered with clear readability. Keyword stuffing is so 2016. Today, you must offer something that users can genuinely learn about the topic.
- Optimize for semantic search
Tying in with the above, Google algorithms no longer scan for articles that simply have phrases that match search queries. It now looks for content that is conceptually relevant.
How does it know this? By analyzing for user intention as well as context. Semantic memory theory (for humans) proposes that we store a framework of concepts, whereby the more related concepts bunch closer together. Google creates a web, or data space, operating in the same way.
It figures that concepts are relatable to an individual based off their location, search history, and other user data. It also takes into account the relationship between words based on meaning, and tries to assess the context of search queries.
This means more personalized results. Today, SEO like SEO Shark needs to work with the semantic system. You can do this by creating content that concisely and clearly answers a common search query, elaborating with specific details.
- Optimize for mobile
Today, there are more people using portable devices than desktop computers to access the internet. With information always at our fingertips, it’s revolutionary. Google understands the growing necessity for pages to be mobile friendly, classing this as another major SEO ranking factor.
This includes sites that seamlessly resize to the dimensions of the device, adaptive readability (larger fonts on smaller screens), easy navigation, and content not hidden by ads or other site features.