15 Most Important SEO Ranking Factors

Year by year, Google is changing and improving its algorithm and deep understanding of the most important ranking factors can make a big difference between online business success and failure. Well-optimized sites gain more and more traffic over time, and that means more leads and sales. 

If you want to have a high-quality site which complies with the most essential SEO ranking factors, take a few minutes and read about the top 15 ones which will help you dominate in the search results. 


1. Direct Website Traffic comes from the users who are typing your exact URL in the search bar or open your website by clicking on a bookmark. Since direct traffic is among the top 10 positions on Google, it is obvious that it is very significant. 

It signals that people know about your brand and that they are visiting your website frequently to learn more about the products, services or other information they need. Keep in mind that Google Analytics will define traffic as “direct” if there are no data about how the user arrived at your site.


2. Links include three categories you should think about: inbound, outbound and internal links. Google uses inbound links to determine how relevant your content is. So, it is best to have very few inbound links from low-quality domains. 

There are some tools like SEMRush which will help you find your inbound links. Linking your content will make your page more valuable, and boost your search engine ranking by helping you tie pages together for both your users and Google.


3. Time Visitors Spend On Your Site is another important SEO ranking factor which can affect your ranking results. When you attract people to visit your site, you should give your best to keep them on the website for as long as possible. 

If the users spend less than 30 seconds on your website, the search engine will interpret that your content does not fit the users’ needs which can cause a decrease in ranking.


4. Page Load Time.  If users have to wait too long for your page to load, they will probably decide to leave your website. The ideal time for page loading is between 2-5 seconds, so keep that in mind when creating your site or if you already have one, check out the Google Page Speed Test tool to see if you need to improve something.


5. Older Domains Ranks Better. Some studies show that only a few domains which are less than one year old manage to achieve the top ten Google search ranking. On the other side, nearly 60% of domains which are older than three years are among the 10 best-ranked websites. So, if you have already had your website for a while, and you use the tips we provided in this text to optimize it, that is already an advantage compared to new websites.


6.  Make sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly – this is one of the crucial SEO ranking factors. We live in a fast world, and people mostly use mobile devices for browsing and online shopping. Google’s mobile-first index creates its results based on mobile-optimized sites, rather than the ones created for desktops. So, make sure that your website is compatible with every device, especially mobile ones.


7. Bounce Rate represents the number of visitors who leave your website after seeing only one page. The percentage of single-page visits is your bounce rate and if it is high, Google will interpret that the users are not willing to explore your website further. Maybe your content is irrelevant or low-quality or the page simply needed too long to load.

Average bounce rate is between 35%-65%, but if your website is new your bounce rate will probably stick around 62%. In general, everything under 50% is considered a good bounce rate.


8. Content Development When it comes to SEO, duplicated content is considered as one of the most negative factors. It is best to use original, custom-tailored texts which will describe the topics your site is about.  Google search algorithm relies on keywords, so your content should be optimized to include words and phrases searchers use when they are looking for specific information. You should also keep in mind that longer content ranks better.


9. Pages Per Session The average pages per session data shows how engaging users think your content is, and how easy it is to access. The average pages per session for different industries is 2. So anything over 2 pages will be considered as a good result. However, if your average page per session is three, but your page loading time is too long and bounce rate goes high, you probably won’t jump in rankings.


10. The number of Referring Domains that points to your website via backlinks is very important for SEO ranking. A referring domain is the number of websites that are a guarantee for the quality of your site, content, product, and services. However, it is unrealistic to have only authoritative websites pointing on yours, so you need a mixture of referring sites, including high and medium authority sites.


11. A Secure Website (HTTPS) Back in 2017 Google announced that it will start to flag sites as ‘not secure’ if they aren’t HTTPS. To completely understand the security risks which go along having an HTTP site and why HTTPS matters, you should read the Google Developers Blog. Also, you don’t know how people will react in a ‘non-secure website’ warning, so if you haven’t already switched your website to HTTPS, we suggest you do that. 


12. Improve User Experience. UX has a strong impact on SEO. Almost 40% of people will stop engaging with your website if the content and design is unattractive. But, if you create a catchy website, with a call to action buttons properly placed, and offer high-quality content, you will witness traffic increase which will potentially lead to better ranking results.


13. Real Business Information is especially important for businesses which are targeting particular local areas. The presence or absence of a name, address, phone number, reviews, local search terms and business listings on Facebook and Google My Business can make a huge difference between great and bad search ranking.


14. Brand Power And Social Signals. Google search algorithm considers brand searches as a strong signal, so the more traffic a website gets from that kind of search, the more it will be recognized by the algorithm. If you have shareable content and mix strong social online presence with brand power, you will achieve greater visibility.


15. Amount of Backlinks. Besides referring domains you will need a high volume of backlinks because they are a vital part of any SEO strategy. They have a role of big ranking signals and they are especially significant for high-volume keywords. High quality and shareable content will bring you natural links without any effort, and another way to get more backlinks is to combine your link building strategy with your marketing campaigns. 


Now that you have learned more about SEO ranking factors it is time to optimize your website. No matter if you are optimizing an existing site, or you are creating a new one, Summit Digital will help you reach your goals with professional digital marketing services. Feel free to contact us and watch your business reaches the highest of heights!