The Factors Influencing Your Search Position on Google
Updated: Jul 10, 2023
The Factors Influencing Your Search Position on Google
Securing a top spot on Google is a key goal for any business. A page one position in SERP's (search engine results pages) enhances your brand's credibility, driving more organic traffic and potential customers to your business. But with over 200 ranking factors, getting to the top is no mean feat. In this article, we'll explore some of the most influential factors affecting your search position on Google.
Quality of Content
High-quality, relevant content is arguably the most influential factor in Google rankings. Google's sophisticated algorithms are designed to prioritize content that provides real value to users. This includes well-researched, informative content that's unique, engaging, and covers a topic in-depth. Make sure your content is not just stuffed with keywords but offers meaningful information that resonates with your audience.
Let's say you run a fitness blog and decide to write an article about 'The Benefits of Strength Training', in order for this to qualify as 'quality content' you'll need to consider the following:
Firstly, you'll need to thoroughly research the topic, citing credible sources such as scientific studies or expert opinions to ensure the information you're providing is accurate and reliable. Where possible, create links to these sources.
The article should go beyond merely listing the benefits. It should provide detailed explanations of each benefit, possibly include personal anecdotes or case studies, offer advice on how to start strength training, and maybe even debunk common misconceptions about the topic.
The content should be written in a clear and engaging manner, using language that your target audience can understand and relate to. It's essential to break up the text with subheadings, bullet points, or numbered lists to enhance readability and make the content more digestible.
And finally, the content should be unique. While numerous articles online may talk about the benefits of strength training, yours should offer fresh insights, a unique perspective, or additional value that sets it apart from the rest.
All these factors contribute to the quality of your content, making it valuable to your audience and increasing likelihood the content will be shared. In turn, this can help improve your site's credibility and authority, factors that Google's algorithms look at when determining search rankings.
While content quality is paramount, it's essential to strategically incorporate relevant keywords that your target audience is likely to use when searching for products or services similar to yours. This includes using keywords in your titles, headers, URL slugs, meta descriptions, and throughout your content. Remember, the key is to integrate these keywords naturally without compromising the content's readability and quality.
Let's imagine you run a boutique hotel in New York City and you're creating a landing page for your website. Your keyword research might reveal that potential customers frequently use terms like "boutique hotel in New York," "unique hotels in NYC," or "luxury stay in Manhattan." Once you have identified your target keywords, it's time to integrate them into your website strategically and naturally. Here's how you might use them:
Title Tag / Meta Title: This is the main title of your page and the first thing users see in search results. It could be something like "Experience Luxury at Our Boutique Hotel in New York City."
Meta Description: This is the brief description that appears below your title in search results. An optimized meta description might read, "Nestled in the heart of Manhattan, our unique hotel in NYC offers a luxury stay with top-tier amenities and personalized service."
Headers and Content: Use your keywords organically throughout the body of your webpage. For example, one of your headers might be "Why Choose Our Luxury Stay in Manhattan?" followed by content that incorporates the keyword naturally, like "When searching for a boutique hotel in New York, look no further than..."
URL Slug: This is the part of the URL that comes after the domain name. It should be concise and include your primary keyword, e.g., www.yourhotelname.com/boutique-hotel-new-york.
Image Alt Text: If you have images on your site (and you should, as they enhance user experience), make sure to include your keyword in the image's alt text, which describes the image to search engines.
Remember, the key is to use keywords naturally and contextually. Keyword stuffing, or overuse of keywords, can lead to a poor user experience and can potentially harm your site's ranking. Instead, focus on creating valuable content that seamlessly integrates your keywords, addressing your audience's needs and inquiries.
With more and more people using their mobile devices to browse the web, Google has made mobile-friendliness a critical ranking factor. Websites that aren't optimized for mobile not only offer a poor user experience but are also likely to be penalized in search rankings.
Page Load Speed
Google aims to provide its users with the best possible experience, and a slow-loading webpage doesn't make the cut. If your website takes too long to load, not only will your users likely bounce off, but Google may also drop your rankings. Ensure your website is well-optimized for speed by compressing large images, leveraging browser caching, minifying codes, and considering a Content Delivery Network (CDN) if necessary. Use Google's PageSpeed Insights to see how you're currently performing >
Backlinks—when other reputable websites link back to your site—serve as endorsements in the eyes of Google. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more credible your site appears, positively impacting your search rankings. Building backlinks involves creating valuable content that others want to share, guest blogging, and building relationships with influencers and other businesses in your industry. Beware of those offering thousands of backlinks as part of any SEO strategy, these will likely be from domains with little or no authority and can harm your overall performance on Google rather than help! SEO guru Neil Patel explores this in more detail >
User Experience (UX)
Google's recent algorithm updates place a significant emphasis on the user experience. This includes factors like how quickly users can find the information they're looking for, how easy your site is to navigate, and the overall visual experience your site provides. Often when you design a website yourself these important considerations can be overlooked, while online web builders offer templates to make the process easier, a level of skill is involved in order to create an intuitive user experience. Started a site and not sure how to proceed? Contact us and see how we can help >
Websites that are not secure (marked as HTTP rather than HTTPS) can be penalized in Google's rankings. This is especially true for websites that collect sensitive information. Make sure your website is secured with an SSL certificate to ensure it's seen as trustworthy both by Google and your users. Wix sites have integrated SSL certificates, as such, Wix is probably the most secure cloud-based web building platform out there. Learn more about Wix and how they keep your site safe >
While Google has stated that social signals (likes, shares, and comments from social media platforms) are not a direct ranking factor, there's no denying that they can indirectly influence your rankings. High social engagement increases the visibility of your content, leading to more shares, more potential backlinks, and higher traffic—all factors that can positively influence your Google rankings. Consider building your social channels, perhaps by creating ads to boost your audience or sharing a space with people in your industry. Here's Neil Patel again on this topic >
Ranking on Google is influenced by a myriad of factors, some more within your control than others. It's a complex process that requires an in-depth understanding of SEO best practices, a strategic approach, and ongoing optimization efforts. Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to rank higher on Google, but to deliver an exceptional and valuable experience to your users that keep them coming back. The higher rankings will follow.
Hausman Graphics is a certified Wix Partner and creates stunning websites for businesses in the UK, USA and beyond. If you are looking for a new website, a fresh look for your current website, or are seeking to improve your performance on Google, contact us today and let's get started. Or if you'd like to learn a little more first, read our recent feature in The Drum.