How does Google decide to rank one website among the first ones appearing on the page when a Google search is being performed by a user?
What are the criteria which the biggest search engine uses?
We will have to disappoint you. Nobody knows for sure.
What we know is that Google uses more than 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. Some of them are proven, some are controversial and some are outright speculations.
But let’s sum up what we know. Here`re some of the leading factors the search engine uses to rank your website when a Google search is being performed:
1. Keyword at first position in the domain
Domains that start with a targeted keyword seem to be performing better than the ones that don’t contain the keyword at all or have it in the middle or at the end of the domain.
2. Domain’s history
In some cases, websites that have been used before and punished by Google can transfer the bad reputation to its new owners.
3. Title starts with a keyword
Titles that start with a keyword reportedly perform better than titles that have it at the end of the title or don’t have it at all, according to Moz`s marketing blog.
4. Keyword in the meta description
If the keyword is included in the meta description tag, this is not a direct ranking signal. However, this could affect your click-through-rate, which is a leading ranking factor.
5. Keyword in the H1 tag
If the H1 tag contains a keyword, this may have a positive impact on your website’s ranking, as some studies say.
6. Content’s length
Content that’s longer and more in-depth is preferred by Google’s algorithm rather than shorter and more superficial articles, as a recent study conducted by Backlinko explains.
7. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords in the content
LSI keywords help search engines understand the meaning of content, especially when it comes to words that have more than one meaning (for example: Apple the company and apple the fruit).
8. Loading speed of the website
Search engines` spiders craw (Google and Bing use this ranking factor) the websites` HTML code and can measure the speed of loading of your website.
9. Optimization of images
Search engines crawl not only words, but also images of your website. Therefore, it’s important to add text, title and description that is related to the targeted keyword or the LSI keyword.
10. Google Hummingbird
The latest changes in Google’s algorithm made the search engine smarter by allowing it to understand many more keywords. You can learn more about Google Hummingbird here.