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Google Ranking Factors (SEO Checklist)

Google Ranking Factors (SEO Checklist)

  1. Direct website visits – How many people are typing your URL into their browser was found to be the most impactful ranking signal to Google. This makes sense, those websites that people enjoy and visit frequently are most likely to have an audience familiar enough to type it directly, rather than arrive via Google search
  2. Time on site – Also known as dwell time. Google is in the business of providing its users exactly what they are looking for. In their eyes, if someone clicks on a page and spends a significant amount of time on that page, they see that as a positive signal that the visitor found what they are looking for – and thus moves your site up in the rankings over sites with lower time on site.
  3. Pages per session – Similar to dwell time, Google views visitors viewing multiple pages on your site as a positive ranking factor. If your site is currently thin on content and pages overall, you may want to reconsider your strategy moving forward if getting search engine traffic is a priority.
  4. Bounce rate – is, a single-page session on your site. Once again, Google is all about the user experience and rewarding those who provide the answers to questions or search query. If people are continually bouncing from your website, it’s obvious in Google’s eyes, that you are not meeting their expectation.
  5. Backlinks – this is the number of times other sites link back to your site. We’ve mentioned it before, but the three pillars of SEO are authority, relevance and trust. Well the way
    1. Total referring domains – the number of unique websites that link to you
    2. Total backlinks – the total number of links that point back to your site
    3. Total follow backlinks – follow backlinks are those that pass link-juice or authority to your website – we’ll discuss what follow backlinks are in a future video
  6. Content Length – Google dislikes thin content. In fact, there has been a lot of research that the highest-ranking pages on Google contain 1500+ words. This is a good ballpark to aim for when generating your content marketing strategy.
  7. Website security (HTTPS) – If your site hasn’t been moved to https yet, you may want to get on that. In fact, Google has publicly stated that the user experience will be impacted on those utilizing http by showing them a ‘not-secure’ message. In addition to providing your visitors with peace of mind, its just good for SEO.
  8. Total Anchors / Internal Links – It used to be that you could spam your website with hyperlinks that contained highly competitive keywords to rank highly on Google for those keywords. Google has since gotten wiser, but that doesn’t in mean its completely unimportant in Google’s eyes. Additionally, Google looks at the number of internal links, those that point to other pages on your website, when determining your ranking. A sound internal linking strategy allows Google to crawl your website to better understand its content.
  9. Keywords – Keywords are probably a surprise this low on the list as they tend to be the most commonly understood aspect of SEO. To rank highly for a given keyword, you’ll want to ensure this keyword appears in the following:
    1. Keyword in body
    2. Keyword density
    3. Keyword title
    4. Keyword in description
  10. Video on page – Adding a video to a page adds to the potential for an increase in dwell time as an embedded YouTube video if watched will add to the time on site overall. Also, SEM Rush has identified that adding a video is yet another positive ranking signal.

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