WordPress Websites and Training - Sara Ohara | Google Ranking Factors
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Google Ranking Factors

Domain Factors

by Brian Dean at www.backlinko.com

  • Keyword As First Word in Domain: A domain that starts with their target keyword has an edge over sites that either don’t have the keyword in their domain or have the keyword in the middle or end of their domain.
  • Public vs. Private WhoIs: Private WhoIs information may be a sign of “something to hide”. Matt Cutts is quoted “…When I checked the whois on them, they all had “whois privacy protection service” on them. That’s relatively unusual.”
  • URL Length: Search Engine Journal notes that excessively long URLs may hurt search visibility.
  • Register your domain for 2+ Years: Google wants to see that you’re in this for the long haul.


Page Level Factors

  • Keyword in Title Tag: The title tag is a webpage’s second most important piece of content (besides the content of the page) and therefore sends a strong on-page SEO signal.
  • Keyword Appears in H1 Tag: H1 tags are a “second title tag” that sends another relevancy signal to Google.
  • Keyword Prominence: Having a keyword appear in the first 100-words of a page’s content appears to be a significant relevancy signal.
  • Bullets and Numbered Lists: Bullets and numbered lists help break up your content for readers, making them more user friendly. Google likely agrees and may prefer content with bullets and numbers.
  • Keyword Density: Although not as important as it once was, keyword density is still something Google uses to determine the topic of a webpage. But going overboard can hurt you.
  • Page Loading Speed via HTML: Both Google and Bing use page loading speed as a ranking factor.
  • Duplicate Content: Identical content on the same site (even slightly modified) can negatively influence a site’s search engine visibility.
  • Image Optimization: Images on-page send search engines important relevancy signals through their file name, alt text, title and caption.
  • Frequency of Content Updates: Google update favors recently updated content, especially for time-sensitive searches. Highlighting this factor’s importance, Google shows the date of a page’s last update for certain pages:
  • Magnitude of Content Updates: The significance of edits and changes is also a freshness factor. Adding or removing entire sections is a more significant update than switching around the order of a few words.
  • Multimedia: Images, videos and other multimedia elements may act as a content quality signal.
  • Number of Internal Links Pointing to Page: The number of internal links to a page indicates its importance relative to other pages on the site.
  • Page Age: Although Google prefers fresh content, an older page that’s regularly updated may outperform a newer page.


Site-Level Factors

  • Contact Us Page: Google prefers sites with an “appropriate amount of contact information”. Supposed bonus if your contact information matches your whois info.
  • Privacy Policy, Terms: Make sure your site has a thorough privacy policy, terms of use and/or affiliate disclosure. These are “boring” pages that Google pays attention to. After all, all Adsense publishers are required to have this info on their site, which tells me that Big G thinks it’s important.
  • YouTube: There’s no doubt that YouTube videos are given preferential treatment (probably because Google owns it).
  • Use of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools: Some think that having these two programs installed on your site can improve your page’s indexing. They may also directly influence rank by giving Google more data to work with (ie. more accurate bounce rate, whether or not you get referral traffic from your backlinks etc.).
  • Alt Tag (for Image Links): Alt text is an image’s version of anchor text.


Backlink Factors

  • Link Location In Content: Links in the beginning of a piece of content carry slightly more weight than links placed at the end of the content.
  • Link Location on Page: Where a link appears on a page is important. Generally, links embedded in a page’s content are more powerful than links in the footer or sidebar area.
Sara Ohara
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