3 Important Ranking Factors

It is also well known that Google’s algorithm is in permanent development. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at this year’s developments. An exciting article has been published by SEJ, which in turn is based on studies by PowerSuite.

We have dealt with these factors and would like to present them to you in the following as well as point out optimization approaches, so that the way to the top of organic search results can succeed in the first place.

1. Content – One of the most important ranking factors

Content is currently the top priority: For quite some time it has been one of the most important Google ranking factors. More and more content is created that sounds “natural” and is no longer so strongly focused on keywords. In fact, the SearchMetrics study shows that only 53% of the top 20 Google keyword queries are Title tagged and less than 40% of the corresponding landing pages have keywords in the H1 heading. The percentages will be even lower in the future.

From this it can be concluded that Google judges a content on the website more than ever by its relevance and not by selected and frequently installed keywords.

If a website appears as a featured box at the top of the SERPs, it provides on its landing page all necessary information for the the search query – often organized in tables or bullet points. In such a case, Google does not find more comprehensive information on the topic on any other page and gives the Featured Snippet in the organic search results to the best website.

Semantic search – long vs. short content

Backlinko can confirm this observation and speaks of a “semantic search” in the context. Algorithm updates such as Hummingbird and RankBrain focus on semantic relevance and optimization, which means that a clearly defined topic, comprehensibly and comprehensively prepared, is rated better than poorly formulated content with a high keyword density. The more context – i.e. the more detailed and comprehensive something is presented – the better Google will be able to classify the topic and recognize its relevance.

Longer content therefore has more chances for better rankings? Possibly, because in a longer contribution a topic can be treated in detail and is brought with several information in relation. On the other hand, there are developments in mobile search: According to SearchMetrics, mobile content is on average 1/3 shorter than the content created for desktop use. A piquant aspect, since mobile content is also on the rise.

Optimisation approaches for content

Content affects other ranking factors such as bounce rate or CTR. To make it into the top rankings of organic Google search, you need comprehensive content that has maximum relevance for your target audience. A comprehensive treatment of the topic of “properly airing” probably makes little sense for your florist, but possibly information about proper watering or interesting facts about flower varieties.

Perform a content audit and optimize your content as follows:

  • Enrich content: Delete meaningless text passages and supplement them with useful, additional information.
  • Find focus: Don’t try to deal with everything at once. On each page, focus on only one or a few topics, but in detail.
  • Serve niches: Increase the relevance of topics in your specific target group

2) Backlinks – The classic ranking factor

Backlinks will remain an important Google ranking factor. Over the years, Google has learned to distinguish between good and bad links. The pure number of backlinks therefore still has a strong effect on the search result, but only if they come from a high number of different domains with the corresponding authority in the respective subject areas.

The key to a successful link building campaign is a content that is highly relevant for the target group and therefore highly likely to be recommended – shared. It is therefore about the shareability of a content. A backlink is additionally more valuable if it comes from a topic-relevant context and is stored with suitable anchor text.

As soon as your content has these high-quality backlinks, you fulfill these three important ranking criteria: Number of backlinks, link authority and link diversity.

Do not underestimate the social signals: SearchMetrics analyses have shown that the ranking position and the social signals correlate strongly across all social media channels (Facebook still has the most user interactions today and generates the most social signals).
Optimization approaches for backlinks

There are different approaches for successful link building – and nowadays they seldom pass content marketing by:

  • Create High Quality Content
  • High Quality Content seeden
  • Continuous monitoring of existing backlinks
  • Identifying High Quality Backlinks
  • Identifying potential High Quality Partners for backlinks
  • Eliminate or disavowen low quality links and spam links

3) Mobile First User Experience

One of the biggest changes in the Google search algorithm was the switch to mobile first user indexing. Primarily mobile versions of websites are crawled.

An optimized, mobile web presence is crucial for the ranking. According to SearchMetrics, all Top 100 domains have optimized pages.

Responsive content for all mobile devices is therefore an absolute must – a suitable scaling of the content is essential for an optimal user experience. Of course, the contents must be identical in the mobile and desktop versions, different information Google evaluates accordingly differently and awards worse rankings in the search results. Currently, 85% of all pages indexed by Google meet these guidelines for mobile devices. So it’s finally time to think “Mobile First”!

Another important ranking factor is the page speed, i.e. the time required to load your website. The maximum loading time is 3 seconds for desktop versions and 2 seconds for mobile versions.