It is no doubt that google uses more than 200 ranking factors to decide which content appears on the first page of a search.
In this article, we are going to focus on what is important for SEO.
The following 8 ranking factors represent the 20% of actions that drive 80% of the results in an SEO Campaign.
So let’s dive in;
How to Improve Google Ranking.
1. Is your website crawlable and indexable?
None of the other google ranking factors matter if Google can’t crawl and index your pages.
It is a pre-requisite for ranking and the easiest way to know is to download the Detailed SEO Extension for Chrome.
Look under the Robots Tag section and as long as you don’t see no index, you are good to go.
You should also set up your website on the google search console and it will notify you if you have crawling and indexing issues.
It is also the best place to go when trying to diagnose the problem.
2. Is your website structured to maximize crawling and indexing?
To answer this question, there are four core elements you need to focus on;
- Your site-wide navigation.
This is particularly more important for e-commerce but it also applies to every website.
The site-wide navigation is the single best tool for improving crawlability.
In simple terms, you are giving Google an entry point on every page on your website.
Your goal should be to have every page on your website no more than 3 clicks deep.
In the case of e-commerce, it is best to place categories or collection pages in the navigation.
- Internal link coverage.
If a page isn’t ranking well, one question you should ask is, does this page have enough internal link coverage?
In an SEO campaign process, any page with less than 5 unique internal links is often classified as not having enough internal link coverage.
That means you need to find enough pages to cover more internal links or you will need to create more content to support those assets.
Read Also: SEO Marketing Campaign: A Helpful Guide for Search Engine Optimization in Small Business.
3. Are you optimizing internal link anchor text?
Almost all your internal links should use exact match or partial anchors to describe what you are linking to.
This rule does not really apply to backlinks but sometimes modifying internal link anchor text can bring big gains.
For example, a company that sells protein powder has its anchor text on the navigation as protein.
The problem with this is that it sends confusing signals as far as intent.
The search results for ‘protein’ are informational and focus on the macro-nutrient itself while ‘protein powder’ itself is specifically for the supplement.
This means that the product was optimized for the wrong keyword variation and intent.
So the easiest way to shoot the rankings up the list is to switch up the text in the navigation to ‘protein powder’.
4. Is your website optimized for core web vitals?
Google has in recent times confirmed that core web vitals is a ranking factor.
Core web vitals refers to how fast your page loads and the overall experience.
Apart from having an SSL certificate, there are two ways to assess how well your site is doing;
- Download Lighthouse chrome extension and generate a report.
- Use google page speed insights and benchmark your scores.
5. Is your content different and better than what is currently ranking?
Long content indeed ranks better but it doesn’t mean that you should just create a long regurgitated piece of content.
The goal should be to create something new and unique for the keyword while continuing to satisfy the intent of the keyword.
The intent is the key ranking factor in regards to your content, if you get it wrong you will not rank.
It is critical to understand the different types of search intent and how it fits in the context of the sales funnel
Understanding intent is critical for how to develop the target page.
To dominate your market, your keyword-driven content should find an angle that makes it difficult for your competitors to beat you.
Create something that people have to pay attention to, want to click on, and want to link to.
Focus on being different and finding that unique angle while continuing to satisfy the intent of the keyword.
You might be wondering; how do you create unique content on category or lead generation pages on the local level?
Well, the content that lives on any given page should be 100% based on the intent of the keyword.
The content should persuade the searcher to become a lead.
Once your content is all set, optimize the page to feed the Google algorithm.
At a bare minimum, place your primary keyword in the URL, title, H1 tag, and first sentence, and sprinkle it naturally throughout the page.
6. Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Though this only applies when you are already ranking but it is critical for maintaining ranking or going up the results.
So you should always be benchmarking your CTR. This can be done using Screaming Frog.
Many variables affect organic CTR, like intent.
You might ask, how do you improve organic CTR?
Test the only few variables that are possible; the title tag, meta description, site links, and microdata.
SEOtesting.com can be used to test each variable individually
7. Have you built enough topical authority?
This factor plays a huge role in your long-term SEO performance.
In short, you need to focus on creating more content to support your existing content.
Do this and you will compound your topical authority
Think in terms of clusters, for example, if you want to rank for the keyword ‘Backlinks’ you need to create content to support that primary mother asset.
So you will create pages targeting keywords in that cluster that have different intents like;
- How to get backlinks.
- How to buy backlinks.
- How to get free backlinks.
- Do backlinks still matter?
Therefore, if you are not ranking well, focus on creating more content to support those existing ones.
Just be careful not to create pages targeting the same keyword with the same intent because that will cause keyword cannibalization.
8. Do you have enough backlinks and website authority?
Having a website authority is one of the biggest ranking factors.
That is why websites like Forbes, Amazon, and Wikipedia among others can rank for so many keywords.
They can publish a brand new page and rank in the top 10 without a single backlink hitting the new page.
That’s the power of website authority.
For the rest of us, you need to focus on two things;
- Acquiring backlinks to build your overall authority,
- Acquiring backlinks to specific pages that you want to rank.
The best thing is to be scientific about your link building.
First, identify the link and authority gap between you and your competitors on the domain level.
Then, identify the link gap on the page level for the keyword you are trying to rank for.
All you need to do now is to start acquiring backlinks to narrow those gaps and ultimately improve your rankings.