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Ranking factors are criteria that search engines use to determine a website’s positioning on a search engine results page.

Understanding Google ranking factors or, at least, knowing how they influence your website’s ranking, can help you formulate and implement your SEO strategy more effectively.

If you want to increase your traffic and grow your business, you have to make sure that you rank well on search engines.

Unfortunately, many businesses solely rely on social media as a source of traffic. This is because they may struggle to understand SEO and see it as a daunting or challenging aspect of marketing. This means that they are losing out on a lot of traffic and, ultimately, income.

Luckily, by considering updated ranking factors and learning SEO for beginners, you will be able to conduct a complete SEO audit of your website to ensure that your ranking on search engine results pages is as high as possible.

There is a very definite correlation between a website’s search engine ranking and the traffic that the website gets.

Below is a list of ranking factor categories that you can use as an SEO checklist.

User Interaction Factors

User interaction criteria play a secondary role in determining your website’s search ranking. It comes down to how the users interact with the results on the SERP as well as every result’s organic click-through rate.

RankBrain, Google’s algorithm takes SEO ranking factors like your website’s bounce-rate and repeat traffic into account. It will also rank your website better if users tend to bookmark your page on Google Chrome. To maximize ranking from user interaction factors, make sure that your website loading time is fast, that your on-site navigation is user-friendly, and appealing design.

Page-level Factors

To optimize your website in terms of page-level factors, include a keyword in your description tags and title tags. Your title tag should preferably start with a keyword. Your H1 headlines should also contain a keyword to help search bots with identifying and indexing content. Another page-level factor is the length of your content. This is simply because longer content contains more words and gives you a better chance of ranking higher. It also ensures that a topic is covered extensively, which is another page-level ranking factor.

Site-level Factors

Site-level factors are more obscured. These factors include your site’s downtime, your website’s speed, and the number of pages you have. Another key site-level ranking factor is the presence of a sitemap. A sitemap helps Google to identify and index your website. To gain the maximum optimization with your sitemap, make sure that it is in both XML and HTML format.

Your site architecture is a factor that has the same benefit as a sitemap. It also assists search engines with organizing and indexing your content, as long as it is optimally constructed.

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Link Building Factors

One of the most influential backlinking factors is the PageRank of the authority website. If a link to your website appears on a spammy or low-ranking site, it can be detrimental to your own PageRank. Anchor text that links to your site should also be relevant and descriptive of your site.

Guest blogging as a ranking factor should be treated with caution. A few backlinks from high-quality authority sites is much more valuable to your ranking than copious amounts of links from low-quality spammy sites.

Special Google Algorithm Rules

These are factors that can depend on the searcher’s circumstances.

Google takes a user’s browser and search history into account to provide him with the most relevant search results. A searcher’s location also determines what he sees when he searches something. When they search a business, for example, they will see only local businesses, even if there are similar businesses elsewhere with better search rankings.

Another factor in this category is DMCA complaints. If your site has been issued with a DMCA notice, it can also tarnish your search ranking.

Domain Factors

If you have a country code top-level domain extension, for example, .ca or.ae, it can help you rank better inside a country’s geographical area.

Another domain factor is Whois. When you have your whois privacy turned on, it can lower your search ranking to an extent.

A domain or subdomain that contains or that starts with the keyword that you are targeting can also give you a competitive advantage in the search engine rankings, though not as extensively as one may think.

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Brand Factors

One of the most prominent ranking factors in the brand signal category is using your brand name in anchor text. It can also help you avoid a Google Flag. If people use your brand name as a search term, you will also rank higher in the SERP’s. If they do so together with a keyword, your search ranking will also get a significant boost.

Performance on social media can also improve your search ranking. If you have a lot of Facebook likes and Twitter followers, you will rank better than another site that doesn’t, ceteris paribus.

On-site Web spam Factors

These factors have to do penalizing poor on-site quality. To avoid on-site web spam factors, refrain from keyword stuffing, creating low-quality content, and linking to spammy websites. Pop-up ads that are distracting, that covers the entire page, or that appear above the fold can also result in a lower PageRank.

Affiliate websites also have difficulty getting a good ranking. This is because they generally have a poor quality. If you are an affiliate marketer, pay special attention to the quality of your website and make sure that you don’t hide your affiliate links.

Off-site Web spam Factors

These factors mostly have to do with links to your website that appear elsewhere. The general principle here is that a few high-quality links to your site are better than a lot of spammy or low-quality links. These include links from low-quality directories, links from press releases, and links that you bought. Poison anchor text of links to your site can also diminish your search ranking.

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Chris Gatterson
Chris is a Search Engine Optimization Manager here at Visibly Connected. With a background in Writing and Digital Marketing, Chris works closely with local business owners to help develop and grow their Online Presence and Website Traffic. He truly enjoys his work and the opportunity to make an impact on any Business. When he's not at work Chris spends his free time watching movies with his girlfriend or playing video games with some of his old friends he met while serving in the United States Marine Corps.

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