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Basic Ranking Factors

The basic factors of SEO

The latest estimates say that Google takes more than 200 factors into account when working out where to rank a website. When you’re first starting out it can be hard – if not impossible – to tick all those boxes, but if you focus on the key areas then you’ll see positive movement in your Google rankings.

 

On-page factors

 

This is the section you have most control of, although if you didn’t set up your website yourself you may need a bit of help. On-page factors are what people can see when they look at your site.

 

The most important of these is content – having unique, well-written pages with regular updates, such as a blog or news service, can do wonders for your site’s ranking. The better your content, the longer visitors will stay on your site – which is something else Google takes into account.

 

Other factors to think about include internal links, image optimisation and finding the right balance of keywords on a page.

 

Site factors

 

Site factors are those things that happen behind the scenes. The speed your page loads at, for instance, or where your server is located. Having a sitemap helps Google understand the layout of your website, as does a clear URL structure, something that’s further backed up by syncing your site with Google Webmaster Tools.

 

Off-page factors

 

What happens off your site can be less controlled by you and, in reality, this is what Google prefers. The main factor here is links pointing to your site. There was once a time when any link from any website would count in your favour, but quality definitely trumps quantity. When you build links, look for established sites that are relevant to yours. Of course, great content will attract links naturally.

 

Domain factors

 

There are a few factors that come into play with your domain. The most important is its age, with older domains given more trust. Future plans are also important, so registering your domain for a longer time can also send trust signals to Google.

 

There was a time when matching keywords to your URL was a benefit – such as terribleseoadvice.com – that would help you rank, but that has less of an impact now. What is important in your web address, and it’s something we touched on in our article about picking your domain name, is the ending: generally, for Australian businesses, .com.au will see better rewards than other options.

 

Improving your ranking and getting to the first page of Google doesn’t happen overnight, especially in the more competitive industries, but by making steps to shape your site in the right way you will start to notice positive changes over the following weeks and months.

 

Image: “SEO” by NOGRAN s.r.o. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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