In order for a website to do well in Google, there needs to be certain types of things present. In this case, we are going to call them ranking factors. If you have them, you will make it more easy to get spotted by the search engine and do well on it.
How many ranking factors are there really?
Honestly, I do not know. I’ve seen articles say there’s as much as 200 but honestly, I never pay attention to those types of claims because in all my years of doing SEO, I have found that just a select few, honestly 5 are most important.
Having those in place really eliminates the need for however many others are possible to even concern yourself with, plus if you worry about the X number of factors out there, you’re going to be missing out on the KEY ones that really make your site do well in Google so I’ll cover the 5 I’ve personally seen as being the most important.
Do these things change year after year?
This is a common question among SEO enthusiasts. Because Google is known to change it’s algorithm every few months and sometimes every year, people also tend to think that when they do this, they also change their ranking factor criteria for websites.
Is this true? Well sort of, what Google does it constantly tries to update it’s algorithm to deliver the best results for browsers. Now this does change certain MICRO elements that help pages do well, but at it’s very CORE, the MACRO, things stay the same, which is why the 5 things I will explain shortly are going to be fine to abide by in 2017 (the year this article was written), 2018 and beyond…
Let’s unveil these factors:
Note: I want to point out that even pages which follow these 5 things may not necessarily see incredible success, but I’m going to try and clarify each of these as much as I can because there are circumstances under which one or more of these factor may or may not be important.
Don’t let this confuse you, just read on and I’ll explain…
#1. Your domain age.
How old your page is does play, both a BIG and SMALL role in your ranking. I know I sound like I just contradicted myself, but as I explain this, you will understand why just a moment ago, I mentioned that there’s circumstances that affect these factor’s weight…
Typically, the age of a domain to reach “maturity” with Google is 6 months. What does this mean? It means that by month 6, your page should see a large number of articles indexed and ranked on Google. One way to tell if this is happening is by using Google’s webmaster tools.
Now this is actually a circumstantial thing and I will explain this by offering 2 opposing examples shortly. We will compare 2 pages, one which has a great amount of content and one which does not, but both are the same age, let’s say 6 months.
Which one will do better?
The former. And this is why I said each factor’s weight depends on other things. In the case of these 2 sites, the one which will absolutely do better in the SERPS is the one which is old enough and has enough content.
Now if you use the other one (less or no content page), even if it has a little bit of content, it’s ranking will NOT improve because of it’s age. And I have actually proven this on the following case study.
This point about domain age ONLY works if it correspondingly has content going along with it. Therefore…
Here’s tips to maximize #1:
As your page grows in it’s age, make sure it also grows with it’s content base. With both things rising, you will get greater attention from the search engine and better rankings.
#2: High Quality Content.
I guess I should have put this down as #1, but it’s ok, because these 5 things are in no particular order. High quality content is really the core of a website’s success, provided it also works hand in hand with keyword targeting.
Here’s tips to maximize #2:
Write an article (post or page) on your site every day if possible. More tips on that here.
In addition, ensure that every new piece of content you release chases a keyword in it’s title, and the keyword itself should have little competition of site’s also aiming to rank for it.
Make sure you write great content that has this many words in it. Frankly, the more there is, the better it’ll be for you.
Write engaging things on each article you write with the intention to help people out with a problem or whatever topic you’re writing about. You shouldn’t be writing boring things that get no interest or comments. Be sure to write stuff that intrigues people. Read blogs and pages where the writing attracts you to keep reading and wanting to see more and try to mimic that kind of style on your articles.
Really make sure your content is not about a wide range of things, but a specific topic or niche.
Naturally if content is good enough to get readers and getting them actually read what you write, they will want to comment. Comments are also a very important ranking signal for Google because they are also a reflection that your writing is good and other people enjoy reading it. That tells the search engine it’s OK to rank your page high.
Tips for maximizing #3:
I have a good tutorial on this here, and it’s provided me with some great responses from readers.
Always know that GREAT content leads to engagement.
#4: Meta tags.
I have a whole thing about that here, but think of meta tags as an identification for an article you write. Let’s say you’re writing about the healthiest fruits on the planet and your title says that, but your permalink doesn’t. If the title and permalink do not match, it can inhibit ranking.
Ensure that meta tags match in order to “align” your article’s identification with Google, which will help it do well.
Tips on maximizing #4:
Here’s great tips on meta tags I recommend you read up on.
#5: Quantity of content.
Just writing a few articles that are great in content is simply not enough to be labeled an authority site “unfortunately”, you really need to continue that sort of trend for your site to be seen as a big, worthy page by Google.
Now in a way, #5 is really an extension to what I wrote about #1 (domain age), but people really don’t understand how important this is.
If you write 10 or even 20 articles on a site, all of which are great, long and engaging, it will not be enough for that whole page to hit page 1 rankings.
I always tell people to aim for 50 instead.
Putting together all 5 tips (in a mixed order):
If a website…
- Has at least 50 articles…
- All of which target a different, low competition keyword, but all pertain to one kind of niche topic…
- All the article’s meta tags align…
- Has good, thorough content.
- Has comments flowing throughout the page…
Then you can safely assume that your page will do well with Google, because those 5 specific factors are in my experience the keys to the page doing well.
Now it is not a 100% guaranteed and there are other things I’d also recommend you check out, such as an SEO checklist I’ve provided here, but I would say those 5 things above will really put your page above 90% of competing sites out there.
Important scenarios to consider:
Is your page/s are filled with great content but not ranking well? Then add more content, more articles and ensure they are long.
Having problems getting comments? Read my tutorial on comments above and this should help you out.
Do you have a lot of content (over 50 articles), but still aren’t seeing 1st page rankings? Odds are, your page hasn’t passed that maturity age level yet. Give it the 6 month range, but do not slow down on content production or getting comments. In short, keep the page growing, you’re only going to help speed up the maturity process with Google.
Have a scenario I didn’t include here? Let me know below.
Don’t bound yourself to just focusing on ranking factors…
Like I said originally when I started this article, there’s a wide range of things that impact your rank with Google but if you focus on those tiny little things, you’re going to miss out on the 5 main things I focused on.
The main point:
Your website’s goal is to provide the very best information it can on whatever niche topic you’re focused on. If you do that, Google will notice and they will reward you and that frankly is the most IMPORTANT factor I can recommend you focus on.
Here’s a few more I’d recommend:
Make sure your site is mobile friendly and SSL friendly too. This will help, but it will not add to anything if your page doesn’t have the CORE 5 I mentioned.
Update: Site loading time is ALSO a big one. I’ll be writing up on that soon!