Google Search Website Ranking Factors

Search engines like Google use many different factors to decide how and where they're going to rank your website in search listings. Does your web designer know what they are?

Google Search uses an algorithm that takes into account hundreds of factors that change slightly from time to time. In order to deter abuse, Google only publicizes some of these factors.

Google Search Ranking Factors

This list is a summary of just a few factors that Google Search considers when ranking websites. Some of these factors are more important than others, but an experienced, knowledgeable web designer strives to incorporate as many of these into your website as possible to make it more search friendly.

Website Addresses

Mobile Friendliness

As of April 2015, Google made mobile friendliness a "major ranking factor". This means NON mobile-friendly websites are getting pushed to the bottom of rankings, especially on mobile devices. Luckily, 90% of websites built since around 2017 are mobile-friendly (and if your web designer did NOT make your 2017+ website mobile-friendly, shame on them!)

NAP (Name, Address, Phone)

If your company name is associated with a different phone number in other online locations than the phone number on your website, or if the address doesn't match, or if the company name is different, Google may drop your website in its rankings. This is a very important search ranking factor. So if your website says, "Joe's Excavating, LLC", your Google My Business listing says, "Joe's Excavating, Inc.", and your Facebook page says, "Joseph's Excavating", that's a problem.

Title Tag

Each page should have a different title tag, and the title should contain at least one keyword. So if the company name is "Joe's Excavating", a good title might be "Joe's Excavating - South Jersey" or even "South Jersey Excavating" (in which case the company name would go in the Description Tag). Search engines only show a maximum of around 65 to 78 characters of a title tag, and you shouldn't make the tag longer than that.

Description Tag

This is a summary sentence that describes your products and services and your geographical region, as well as important keywords. Search engines show a maximum of around 160 characters, but "may" show up to 300, so you should keep the number of characters within that limit. Keywords in the description tag should also match some of the keywords throughout the web page, particularly those within the first few sentences of the page. And the description tag must be in complete sentences rather than just words.

Text Content

Page Loading Speed

Websites that load quickly rank better than those with slow loading pages (WordPress websites often load very slowly).

Content Updates

Search engines prefer websites with recently updated content that's frequently updated (at least once every few weeks, even if you're just changing a few words around).

Images and Videos

Sites with images and videos rank better than those without. Websites with embedded YouTube videos rank even better, especially since Google owns YouTube.

Website Layout, Pages, and Coding

Contact Information

Add your company's contact information (phone and address, or at least phone, city and state) to the website. But never put your email address on your website, as spam bots scour the internet looking for email addresses to add to spam databases. You could end up getting inundated with spam. An email contact form is a much better solution if you want prospective customers to email you.

Social Media

Sitemap

A sitemap.xml file helps search engines effectively and accurately index your website, and is utilized by Google Search Console.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Google Search Console is VERY important in helping your website rank better in Google Search, and Google Analytics can be quite helpful as well.

Backlinks (Incoming Links from other websites)

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate measures how quickly a visitor "bounces" off your website. You can find your website's bounce rate through your Google Analytics account. A high bounce rate is not ideal. Bounce rate can be high if the website is outdated or not displaying properly, is difficult to navigate, or contains uninteresting content. Videos, images, and interesting content keep the user on the website longer, lowering the bounce rate. Bounce rate can also be high, however, if a lot of spammy websites visit your website, which is something your web designer can't control.

Domain Authority and Page Rank

These are scores that used to be meaningful in determining your website's popularity, but in the mid 2000's they fell out of favor and are no longer used to judge your website. Yet some website analysis reports still include them because they sound important. If a company claims that your website has a low Google page rank, that's a red flag... not for your website, but for the company trying to sell you their services!

User Reviews and Website Reputation

Negative reviews on Google My Business (the map section at the top of Google Search) can affect your website's search ranking.

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