Every website owner dreams to be high in search engine results. You can never overestimate the effects of great rankings: a new audience, a constant inflow of fresh traffic, more leads, better sales, renowned reputation… No matter what industry or niche you come from, search engine optimization (SEO) is what you MUST do to stay alive and prosper in the world of digital marketing.
To create equal opportunities for all websites and make search webspace safe for users, Google has created official guidelines with essential optimization rules. There are hundreds of them, and not all of the ranking factors are publicly available. However, we highlight 5 basic SEO principles you should consider while running a website to boost your positions straight away and long-term.
So, what are those 5 essential SEO ranking factors in 2021?
Whether your website is an informative blog or an eCommerce store, high-quality content is the most important ranking factor for any search engine dweller. Once you learn the fundamental principles of SEO-friendly content creation, you will instantly rise to a new level of website optimization. Here are the basic requirements to the quality of the content:
- originality: your content should be unique, otherwise it can harm your ranking, as Google algorithms identify and ban duplicated content;
- relevancy: the information on your web page should comply with the title and meet users’ expectations;
- value: your content should be well-researched and offer the solutions your visitors are looking for;
- freshness and consistency: update regularly, publish the latest news of your niche and follow its trends to attract a wider audience;
- length: Google appreciates long-form content, as it often answers all the users’ questions;
- structure: a well-organized piece of content is easy to read and navigate, which makes it more user-friendly.
Quality content is indisputably important on its own. However, it serves as a basis for other SEO manipulations and underpins the rest of the SEO rankings factors.
Backlinks allow you to become visible for Google and other search engines. They are markers that tell algorithms you are a trustworthy website that contains valuable and interesting information.
While backlinks are so important, approach this aspect of SEO responsibly: build quality article backlinks that have a great reputation, cooperate only with trustworthy websites, use backlink services with proven link building experts, etc.
Beware of “black-hat” backlinks, namely unethical and manipulative tactics. Google algorithms will identify malicious actions fast and punish your website, right up to deleting it from search results altogether.
Keywords are phrases that people enter in queries to find what they are looking for. Earlier, website hosts used to stuff them to make users find their websites faster. But today, Google considers this tactic as black-hat SEO and punishes it with penalties.
Choose your keywords wisely, place them naturally and so do not forget to include them in the following parts of your web page:
- title tag – to focus on what your content is about;
- meta descriptions – to give a clear image of your content without clicking on a link;
- anchor text – to make your links more relevant;
- URL – to make it clearer for people and search engines;
- H1 and H2 tags – to organize your web page better;
- image alt text – to make users find your content by image search quickly.
In this way, your website will get more structured and visible for Google users.
Website security is not that obvious, but it is crucial for a proper SEO strategy. By providing solid web page security, you can prevent hackers’ attacks and help your visitors spend time on your website safely, without having sensitive data stolen.
To show Google that your website has proper protection, get an SSL certificate. Especially in recent decades known as the age of cybercrime, website security has become an essential requirement for a positive user experience.
5. Mobile Optimization
The mobile-friendliness of your website influences your ranking performance directly. It comes as no surprise, as people all across the globe use various devices to scroll your website.
To make Google rank your website higher, make sure the page speed, design, navigation, and other technical SEO aspects work as well as on a desktop version. This will not only enhance your positions but also improve your users’ experience.
The ultimate goal of considering SEO ranking factors is not even improving Google positions (even if you will have it close at hand). As you can see, each optimization aspect is aimed at improving the user experience of your visitors.
Google changes its algorithms constantly, but every update targets the convenience and safety of its users. By implementing search engine guidelines, you do not only meet its requirements. Primarily, you care about your visitors and add value to their lives.