5 Factors That Influence Your Rankings

30-Second Summary:

  • High-quality, engaging content that meets user intent and a focus on user experience (UX) through responsive design and intuitive navigation enhances site usability and performance in search rankings.
  • With mobile-first indexing, optimising for mobile is crucial for visibility. Technical SEO, including site structure, Schema markup, and meta tags, plays a vital role in how effectively search engines crawl and index your site, impacting your overall ranking.
  • Earning backlinks from authoritative sources within your industry signals to Google that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

We all know that visibility on Google can significantly impact a website’s success. As the most widely used search engine with 81.95% of the global market share, Google’s ranking algorithm is a complex beast, influenced by numerous factors that can seem daunting to site owners striving for the top spot. So, what is the best way to improve search engine rankings?

If you want to improve your online presence you’ll need to understand what influences Google search rankings and build a plan of action. To help, below are some of the most important elements that will impact your positions in the SERPs, so you can start to enhance your website’s performance with an effective SEO strategy, and hopefully, improve organic visibility.

#1 – Having High-Quality Content

A successful SEO strategy needs quality content at its core. It needs to be relevant, original, and provide real value to the reader. Google’s algorithms are adept at identifying content that fulfils a searcher’s intent, rewarding sites that offer comprehensive, insightful, and engaging material. Google’s helpful content update was all about ensuring that users could find the best, most helpful pages that answer their query, along with established E-E-A-T guidelines.

Quality content influences user behaviour positively, increasing dwell time (how long visitors spend on your page) and reducing bounce rates, which occur when visitors leave shortly after arriving. Having compelling content also encourages backlinks from reputable sites, further amplifying its authority and position in search results.

Creating content that resonates with your audience requires you to understand their needs and questions, then crafting answers that are not just informative but also engaging and unique. You’ll want to create a keyword map too to help with optimising this to be as effective as possible. Being dedicated to quality not only satisfies Google’s criteria but can bring a loyal readership, setting the foundation for sustained online success including increased conversions.

#2 – Mobile Optimisation

As much as having a smartphone is the norm, optimising your website for mobile devices is very much required – in fact, it’s not optional at all. It’s all very well creating pages via desktop that look and work great, but if they fail to do the same on a smaller screen, it can be all for nothing.

Mobile optimisation affects not just UX (more on that below) but also directly impacts your Google rankings. This is largely due to Google’s shift towards mobile-first indexing which completed in 2023 after almost 7 years, meaning the search engine predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

A mobile-optimised site ensures that visitors accessing your website from mobile devices have a seamless experience, characterised by quick loading times, easy navigation, and content that adjusts smoothly to various screen sizes. These responsive elements are crucial for retaining visitors and signalling to Google that your site provides an optimal experience.

Moreover, Google explicitly includes mobile page speed and mobile-friendly design as factors influencing the ranking of a page. Sites that fail to meet these criteria not only provide a poor user experience but are also likely to suffer in the SERPs. It’s about offering a superior UX that will enhance your site’s visibility and performance.

#3 – User Experience (UX)

UX is a pivotal factor that influences not only how visitors perceive your website but also how Google ranks it. A website design with UX in mind provides clear navigation, fast-loading pages, and a structure that visitors find simple and intuitive. This is crucial for ensuring that once users land on your site, they can easily find what they’re looking for, encouraging them to stay longer, engage more with your content, and ultimately, convert.

Google has increasingly prioritised user-centric metrics, such as Core Web Vitals and page experience, which measure aspects of web usability like load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads. These metrics offer concrete data on the user experience, directly influencing your site’s rankings.

Improving your website’s UX requires a focus on the user’s journey from entry to exit, ensuring that every page is optimised for ease of use, content relevance, and speed. By prioritising the user’s experience, you not only boost your site’s performance in search rankings but can also build brand loyalty and have visitors more likely to return and convert.

#4 – Backlinks

Backlinks, or inbound links from other websites to your own, are among the most influential factors in SEO. When a reputable site links to yours, this signals to Google that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

However, not all backlinks are created equal. The quality of the linking site plays a crucial role – links from authoritative, well-established sites have a much more positive impact on your rankings than those from obscure, low-quality sites. The relevance of the linking site to your own niche or industry is also a critical factor. Google’s algorithms are sophisticated enough to recognise the relevance and quality of backlinks, rewarding those that are contextually relevant and avoid manipulative link-building practices.

To create a healthy backlink profile, focus on creating compelling, unique content that naturally attracts links from reputable sources within your industry. Guest blogging, collaborating with influencers, and actively participating in your online community can also contribute to earning high-quality backlinks. The emphasis should always be on quality over quantity when it comes to building backlinks and creating an effective link building strategy.

#5 – Technical SEO

The technical aspects and optimisation of your website and server help search engine spiders crawl and index your site more effectively. It goes hand-in-hand with the rest of your SEO efforts to help improve positions in the SERPs as if Google can’t access your site properly, pages won’t appear. Key components of technical SEO include a well-structured site architecture, the use of Schema markup, using HTTPS and meta tags. Each of these components helps Google understand your website’s content and structure, significantly influencing how your site is displayed in search results.

A clear site structure not only aids users in navigating your website but also allows search engines to crawl your site more efficiently. Implementing Schema markup enhances the way your pages are represented in SERPs by providing search engines with explicit clues about the meaning of page content. This can improve the visibility of your site in rich snippets and featured snippets. Additionally, optimised meta tags, including title tags and meta descriptions, are critical for capturing user interest in the search results, improving click-through rates and driving more traffic to your site.

These technical aspects ensure that your site can be easily understood and indexed, laying a solid foundation for higher Google rankings. Ignoring technical SEO will undermine your other SEO efforts.

Start Improving Your Website Rankings

Knowing what determines Google search rankings can help provide direction in your efforts. After all, the aim is to appear prominently in the SERPs, so having the right strategy that covers SEO, web design and link building can give your site the best chance of achieving the results you want. Remember, SEO is not a one-time effort but a continuous process, so if you are looking for guidance on creating the perfect roadmap, our digital marketing agency team is on hand to help.

For more insights, please visit our blog, where you can learn more about the evolution of Google ranking factors in 2023, as well as 5 common website problems and how to fix them.

 

 

 

 

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