Google's Ranking Factors

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Picture Source : https://www.seo-shaker.com/googles-200-ranking-factors-the-complete-2017-lists/

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is making your site and the site's individual pages visible and relevant to both search engines and search engine users.

As a beginner to search engine optimization (SEO) you need to understand that there is no magic way to rank your website in the first page of Google, Bing or Yahoo.

Search engines are governed by complex algorithms and it takes a lot of time and effort to ‘convince’ them that your website or web page deserves one of the top spots.

The free SEO tips you will read on this page will help you create a successful SEO friendly website yourself.

How Does Google Rank Websites?

1. CRAWLING AND INDEXING

CRAWLING : Google uses automated programs called spiders or crawlers, just like most search engines. Also like other search engines, Google has a large index of keywords and where those words can be found. What sets Google apart is how it ranks search results, which in turn determines the order Google displays results on its search engine results page (SERP). Google uses a trademarked algorithm called PageRank, which assigns each Web page a relevancy score.

For a typical search function, all the work cannot be done when a query is typed. To be as efficient and fast as Google, the work starts even before a search query is typed in. The pre-search work is called crawling and indexing.

Indexing : After retrieving information from websites, crawlers store them in a Search Index. This search index contains information from billions of web pages and according to Google, the information is over 100,000,000 GB in size.

A new index is created for every new word found. When a web page is indexed, it is added to the word indexes of all the words the web page contains. To increase the reliability of a search, Google has also created something called the Knowledge Graph.

<meta name="robots" content="......" />
<meta name="googlebot" content="..., ..." />

These meta tags can control the behavior of search engine crawling and indexing. The robots meta tag applies to all search engines, while the "googlebot" meta tag is specific to Google. The default values are "index, follow" (the same as "all") and do not need to be specified. We understand the following values (when specifying multiple values, separate them with a comma.

2. Metadata

* The "title" meta tag

Create unique, accurate page titles for every pages you have. A <title> tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. The <title> tag should be placed within the <head> element of the HTML document. You should create a unique title for each page on your site.

page-title

* The "description" meta tag

A page's description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. A page's title may be a few words or a phrase, whereas a page's description meta tag might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph. Like the <title> tag, the description meta tag is placed within the <head> element of your HTML document.

description meta tag

* Keyword Metadata

The "keyword" Meta Keyword Tag Is No Longer Used by Google in 2018,

Keyword metadata is rarely if ever used to tabulate search engine rankings. However, you should already know your keyword phrases, so it doesn't hurt to add them into your keyword metadata. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 6-8 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be "computer science degree." 

3. Simple URLs convey content information

Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website not only helps you keep your site better organized, it can create easier, "friendlier" URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.

URLs like the one shown in the following image can be confusing and unfriendly.

unfriendly seo url

If your URL is meaningful, it can be more useful and easily understandable in different contexts, like this

friendly seo url

4. Text formatting and the use of H1, H2 and H3

Since heading tags typically make text contained in them larger than normal text on the page, this is a visual cue to users that this text is important and could help them understand something about the type of content underneath the heading text. Multiple heading sizes used in order create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through your document.

 

<h1>Here is some text</h1>
<h2>Here is some text</h2>
<h3>Here is some text</h3>

How Many H1 Tags Can You Use On A Page for SEO Benefit?

John Mueller - Google

Question: “How many h1-tags should be used on a single webpage?”

Answer: “As many as you want.” John Mueller, Google

This argument seems to confuse and aggravate HTML experts, too.

Google evidently does not care that much, and it will probably attempt to ignore any attempt to manipulate it anyway.

Some argue that having more than one H1 per page is sensible in some instances (and HTML5 certainly allows for this, in some interpretations).

HOWEVER – and not getting into the actual HTML5 argument here, the W3C HTML5 Recommendation 28 October 2104 states:

5. Structured Data

Structured data is code that you can add to your sites' pages to describe your content to search engines, so they can better understand what's on your pages. Search engines can use this understanding to display your content in useful (and eye-catching!) ways in search results. That, in turn, can help you attract just the right kind of customers for your business.

Google Search also uses structured data to enable special search result features and enhancements. For example, a recipe page with valid structured data is eligible to appear in a graphical search result, as shown here:

structured seo

Most Search structured data uses schema.org vocabulary, but you should rely on the documentation on developers.google.com as definitive for Google Search behavior, rather than the schema.org documentation. Attributes or objects not described here are not required by Google Search, even if marked as required by schema.org.

6. Use alt tags

Always describe your visual and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers or screen readers. Google Image

 

<img src="smiley.gif" alt="Smiley face">

7. Use standard image formats

Use commonly supported filetypes - Most browsers support JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and WebP image formats. It's also a good idea to have the extension of your filename match with the file type.

8. Make your site interesting and useful

Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site's reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.

9. Know what your readers want (and give it to them)

Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a long-time football fan might search for [fifa], an acronym for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, while a new fan might use a more general query like [football playoffs]. Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results. Google Ads provides a handy Keyword Planner34 that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword. Also, Google Search Console provides you with the top search queries your site appears for and the ones that led the most users to your site in the Performance Report.

11. Make your site mobile-friendly

The world is mobile today. Most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. As a result, having a mobile ready site is critical to your online presence. In fact, starting in late 2016, Google has begun experiments to primarily use the mobile version of a site's content41 for ranking, parsing structured data, and generating snippets.

Smartphone - In this document, "mobile" or “mobile devices" refers to smartphones, such as devices running Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone. Mobile browsers are similar to desktop browsers in that they can render a broad set of the HTML5 specification, although their screen size is smaller and in almost all cases their default orientation is vertical.

Tablet - We consider tablets as devices in their own class, so when we speak of mobile devices, we generally do not include tablets in the definition. Tablets tend to have larger screens, which means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, you can assume that users expect to see your site as it would look on a desktop browser rather than on a smartphone browser.

Multimedia phone - These are phones with browsers that are able to render pages coded to meet XHTML standards, support HTML5 Markup, JavaScript/ECMAScript but might not support some of the extension APIs in the HTML5 standard. This generally describes the browser in most 3G-ready phones that are not smartphones.

Feature phones - On these phones, browsers lack the capability to render normal desktop web pages coded using standard HTML. This includes browsers that render only cHTML (iMode), WML, XHTML-MP, etc.

 

12. Show useful 404 pages

Users will occasionally come to a page that doesn't exist on your site, either by following a broken link or typing in the wrong URL. Having a custom 404 page that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user's experience. Your 404 page should probably have a link back to your root page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site. You can use Google Search Console to find the sources of URLs causing "not found" errors

  • Allowing your 404 pages to be indexed in search engines (make sure that your web server is configured to give a 404 HTTP status code or - in the case of JavaScript-based sites - include a noindex robots meta-tag when non-existent pages are requested).
  • Blocking 404 pages from being crawled through the robots.txt file.
  • Providing only a vague message like "Not found", "404", or no 404 page at all.
  • Using a design for your 404 pages that isn't consistent with the rest of your site.

13. User Sitemap

A sitemap is a list of all posts/pages of your website.  You need 2 types of sitemaps. First an xml sitemap to submit to Google, Bing and other search engines and second an html sitemap to help visitors find your content easier. It is recommended to place a link to your user sitemap from the main menu.

seo sitemap.xml

Refference : https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7451184?hl=en

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