Google Ranking Factors

Google Ranking Factors for 2020 that You Need to Monitor

Hannah Dango

Ranking Factors are those aspects Google takes into account to decide the position of Websites in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In this sense, Google uses its algorithm to determine which pages are most relevant or useful to searchers. High-quality information is undoubtedly necessary to appear on search engines. However, offering good user experience (UX) is also something you can’t do without to rank high.

Here you have some of the On-page factors that most affect search engine rankings and how you can monitor them effortlessly using FandangoSEO.

Is your site secure (HTTPS)?

There is no doubt that Google takes users’ security very seriously. That’s why HTTPS Websites are considered better than those with HTTP.

What’s HTTPS?

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, which connects the data between the browser and your site. The ‘S’ from ‘Secure’ makes sure this communication is encrypted.

It’s often used to protect highly confidential online transactions like online banking or online shopping.  It’s necessary if you’re running an eCommerce, especially for the payment page because it protects personal and financial data.

Benefits of HTTPS:

  • Every customer information such as credit card details is encrypted and can’t be intercepted
  • Visitors know you’re a registered business and that you own the domain
  • Customers are more likely to trust and complete purchases from sites that use HTTPS

How to check HTTPS for SEO

Check the profile of your HTTPS pages to make sure you offer a safe place. Ensure that your links, CSS, and JS are secure enough.

Google recommends using 2048 bit certificates. Also, they suggest to not block HTTPS pages in Robots.txt and enable HSTS. 

This practice strengthens the customer’s trust and increases your conversion rate.

Check the profile of your HTTPS pages to make sure you offer a safe place: see if your links, CSS, and JS aren’t secure enough. This will help you identify your mistakes and fix them before losing the customer’s trust and transactions.

Content Quality 

High-value content is critical in SEO. If search engines don’t consider your content good enough for users, your Website will never appear on the first pages of the SERPs. Some factors that Google check to evaluate the quality of your content are the following.

Anchor text

The anchor text or the clickable words you use in a page to link it with another is a ranking factor. The quality of the links contained in a web page has a significant influence to determine if a page is of good quality. Anchor texts provide both users and search engines additional information about the topic of a page. That’s why Google pays attention to anchor texts. Include relevant keywords and different texts pointing out to the same page to provide as much information as possible. Avoid using commercial vocabulary or unusual words.

How to check your anchor text for SEO?

Analyze the profile of your anchor texts.

Crawl your site with FandangoSEO to obtain a list of all the anchor texts and image links found on your Website. Remember that text links have more value than image links, so avoid linking from images when possible.

Additionally, you can check your most common anchor texts visually. The biggest words should reflect the most relevant content on your Website. If you find any text that is not in line with your site, you should change it to match your web page’s subject.

By crawling your site, you can obtain detailed information about each of your anchor texts. It is also possible to click on the table to see the pages where they are used.

Content size

Although Google says that its algorithm can appreciate quality content even in short articles, there is no doubt that it also values extensive writings. By this, we don’t mean that the longer an article, the better but no one can deny that long detailed reports are often a great source of information for users. Meticulously choose the information you put in your Website, taking into account your target’s needs. 

At FandangoSEO, you can check the following elements related to the content size.

  • The number of words: Discover the average number of words on your site. You can visualize this by page Depth Level, Section, or PageType. This way you’ll quickly detect if there are parts of your Website with a lack of content.
  • Text ratio: Compare the text ratio vs HTML code. This data is also displayed by page Depth Level, Section, or PageType. 
  • Thin content: Get a list of the pages that have fewer words than your average so that you can detect the weakest areas of your Website in terms of content. Once found, it’s time to decide if you need to add more text.

Meta tags (Titles & meta descriptions)

Meta tags are snippets of text that defines the content that you can find on a web page. It is composed of a title and a meta description displayed on SERPs. The title itself is a ranking factor, and that’s why it’s so crucial that you carefully select the keywords to include in it. The meta description has a direct influence on the CTR (Click Through Rate). If it’s well-elaborated, it will attract searchers to visit your web page.

Use an SEO Crawler to check the following information and optimize your meta tags. 

Title: 
  • See how many pages have titles: all of them should
  • How many of them are empty: there must be a 0 here, as every page needs one
  • How many are short: there’s no big issue here, but it’s an opportunity for you to add more keywords related to the page
  • Duplicate titles: There should be no duplicate titles cause it’s harmful to your rankings
  • Title length by level: See in a graph how long your titles are per level. You can explore them per level in detail as well as per PageType.
Description: 
  • Pages with meta description: All of them should have one
  • Empty meta description: There should be a 0 here
  • Short meta description: This isn’t a big issue, but it’s good to have a descriptive and complete one
  • Duplicated meta description: Try not to have one
  • Meta description length by level: This will help you understand if you’re putting more or less effort depending on the level

Header Tags

Creating a proper header for your Website is just as important as the headings you can find in the chapters of a book. It should describe correctly what information the reader will see.

In SEO, you should only assign a header tag, or <h1> tag per page. The h1 is the tile of the page. Then, you can add subtitles corresponding to h2, h3,… up to h6, being considered from greater to lesser importance consecutively.

Just as headers are useful information for users, so are they for search engines. You need a good description of your content to attract both visitors and search engines. 

The following is what you can check to optimize your headers.

  • See how many pages have headers: all of them should
  • How many of them are empty: there must be a 0 here, as every page needs one
  • How many are short: there’s no big issue here, but it’s an opportunity for you to add more keywords related to the page
  • Duplicate titles: There should be no duplicate headers cause it’s harmful to your rankings
  • Header tags length by level: See in a graph how long your headers are per level and explore the data per level

Schema Markup

If you want to see your Website stand out in SERPs use schema markup. As the name implies, this allows you to markup the things that are important to your target audience. Some examples are; restaurants with ratings, and phone-number; products with pictures, price and sizes available; recipes with cooking time, ingredients, etc. By helping your site to stand out in search engines, you’ll be able to increase your CTR, which makes the use of the schema markup a ranking factor. 

What is Schema?

Schema is a markup vocabulary (a code) designed to implement structured data that makes a page look more attractive within the search engine results pages (SERPs). These define your products or services with useful details, and this differentiates you from the competitors on the search engine results pages. Your pages, then, stick out and receive more clicks than others because they look more appealing. The information that schema highlights are called structured data and the results shown on search engines with schema are known as rich snippets.

Example: searching for “matcha cake recipe” on Google

Rich snippets using Schema.org 
Snippets without Schema.org

How do you implement structured data?

  • First of all, you’ll want to check out schema.org, a collaborative community that has created markups for any need- any! 
  • Select the type of information that you want to highlight: product information, contact page, author page, recipe, etc. (literally anything!)
  • Choose the code you or your developers feel more comfortable with. Generally, SEOs will use JSON-LD as it’s easier to upload, but Schema.org vocabulary can be used with many different encodings, including RDFa, Microdata, and of course… JSON-LD.
  • Once you’ve decided the info, you’ll highlight and choose the code/language; you’ll have to fill it with the information on every page.
  • Last but not least, you’ll have to upload these markups to Google Search Console. Remember to check them first with the Structured Data Testing Tool by Google to make sure they look alright.
Example of Schema.org markup:

<script type="application/ld+json">

{

"@context": "http://schema.org",

"@type": "Organization",

"url": "http://www.example.com",

"name": "Dango Corporation",

"contactPoint": {

"@type": "ContactPoint",

"telephone": "+1-451-555-3131",

"contactType": "Customer service"

}

}

</script>

Check your schema markup implementation.

You can check the pages that have Schema markup on your Website just by using the FandangoSEO Crawler. Visualize the number of pages with and without schema. You’ll be able to see the URLs that use schema classified by their typology. This practice will help you to confirm that you are using the right schema type for each page.

Mobile-Friendly Websites

Nowadays, mobile web browsing is more popular than desktop, so it’s not surprising that Google crawls with mobile Googlebot. It is vital that your Website uses responsive design. Additionally, there are several steps you can take to make sure that your site is completely optimized for mobile. You can find them in the Mobile-First Index Checklist.

Core Web Vitals

Web Vitals are essential metrics to quantify the user experience of your site. Google uses it as quality signals to see the experience your Website is offering to visitors. To make the task of SEO monitoring easier for non-so-technical site owners, Google highlights the Core Web Vitals as the metrics that matter the most and that every site must track. Each of the Core Web Vitals reflects a signal relevant to the user experience as the page loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.

core web vitals

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures the page loading performance. To offer a good user experience sites should display the first “frame” of the content within 2.5 seconds.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures the “responsiveness” or interactivity of a page. It checks the time it takes between the moment a user first interacts with your page (click a button or a link) and when the browser responds to that interaction. Google recommends having a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. It takes into account the frequency with which users experience unexpected layout shifts. You should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1 to provide good user experience.

I hope you find this post helpful. Let me know if you have any questions regarding this topic. I would also love to hear your thoughts on the most relevant metrics for this year 2020! Leave a comment below. 😉

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