Now we know this isn’t going to calm any nerves (especially if you are new to this side of things), but Google scrutinizes about 200 variables when it comes to ranking a site. That’s a lot. The reason we used the word ‘about’ is because no one actually knows for certain; it is part of the challenge. Either way, the number is high; it is intimidating.
The thing that you need to realize, though, is that not all of these ranking factors are born equal. Some are considered to be absolutely must-have while others are seen to be, well, more like bonus points that may have the smallest smidgen of influence on getting found.
So, to help you decipher what is important and what is nice, we have compiled a list of the Google ranking factors that everyone should know about.
1. You need to know about keywords in the title. That is one of the first lessons you need to learn in SEO 101. To put it simply: the meta tag that is your title gives off one of the strongest signals when Google is doing its thing. So, when you are coming up with a title tag for something, make sure it gives an accurate description of that page’s content.
2. Quantity has become a lot more important in the eyes of Google over recent months. That’s because search engines have decided that basic information is not enough. They believe readers want to be educated, which is why Google will rank those with authoritative and detailed information higher. Think of it like simple math; the longer your content is the more likely it is to cover all the questions asked.
3. Original content is another must-have because copied or duplicated content will actually harm your search engine rankings. Google will just look at you like a fraud, and it doesn’t take kindly to frauds. It prefers originality a lot more.
4. Just so you know, it isn’t just word-based content that Google values. Oh no. Google loves a little bit of media too. We’re talking videos and images. It shows a varied source of information, which is good because the audience prefers that. Just make sure that you add relevant alt tags to any imagery you use so that Google knows exactly what it is going on in the images.
5. Outbound links are a great way of getting Google to trust you, especially if these links go to well-known and popular websites. Just think about it from the perspective of Google for a minute. You have stuck an outbound link into your content, and the only reason you would ever do that is to educate your reader more. It makes Google trust your motives. Just make sure you don’t go over the top because, like with everything, too much of a good thing can be bad.
6. Sitemaps are another pillar in the search for SEO perfection. What a sitemap does is help Google to index all the pages on your site. The best bit, though, is how simple and effective adding a sitemap is. You just submit one to Google using their Console and, voila, it knows what pages to include on your website and which ones not to.
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