Google has over 200 ranking factors and each of them has various levels of importance in its algorithm. As an SEO company in Singapore, we have our hands full trying to stay ahead of these algorithm changes. One of the ways we do that is by understanding and examining the SEO ranking factors of each site. This article will explore some of the more popular ones.
Domain Authority (DA) is not a Google concept but was developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank in the search engines. It’s a proxy for PageRank, which is the algorithm that Google uses internally for the same thing. Since we no longer have access to toolbar PageRank, Moz’s DA is the next best thing. DA is a score from 0 to 100 and takes into account the following domain factors:
- Number of total links
- Age of your domain
- Popularity of your domain
- Size of your domain
It’s on a 100-point logarithmic, which means that getting from 20-30 is much, much easier than going from 60-70.
Moz also advises that we use DA as a comparative metric, rather than worry about its absolute score. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword ‘link building services’, then you should compare the DA of the sites that are currently ranking in Google to gauge how easy it would be for you to rank.
However, you should note that Google has gone so far as to state that they do not use any ‘overall domain authority‘. But then again, they have also confirmed that they use sitewide authority signals. So, take from that what you will.
Your meta titles are one of the more important on-page ranking factors that determine your ranking. Your title tag determines the text that is displayed in the search engine results page.
They are also shown in the web browser tabs.
It is a major relevancy signal and helps inform Google how relevant your site is with regards to a particular query.
Google has already confirmed that page speed is a ranking factor, for both mobile and desktop searches. Page speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010, but has since become a factor for mobile searches since July 2018.
In case you haven’t heard, the number of mobile searches has been outstripping desktop searches since 2015. This does not mean that desktop searches have reduced; on the contrary, the number of desktop searches has also increased but not as quickly as mobile. Your website needs to be mobile friendly so that it can rank in mobile search results, especially since Google released its mobile-first index.
With so many high profile hacks in recent years, security has become a major concern. Since July 2018, Google has decided to include HTTPS as a ranking signal. Pages that are not on HTTPS will be shown as ‘Not Secure’ in Chrome.
Link authority has always been one of the most important ranking signals. A link is like a vote of confidence for a website; the more links you have from trustworthy websites, the more authoritative Google thinks it is. Of course, this ranking signal has also been subject to a lot of abuse over the years. Google’s Penguin penalty was released in 2012 to combat this and it has been largely successful. Link building is still an important part of SEO, but it now has to be done with more care.
Anchor Text Profile
We have written a series of articles on link anchor text and anchor text profiles previously because we believed that they were important enough that every manager should understand how they are used and why they are so important. In one of Google’s earliest works, they stated that:
“First, anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of web pages than the pages themselves.”
Google has more recently devalued this signal due to widescale abuse. In fact, over-optimisation of link anchor texts will lead to a penalty. If you’re building links, you need to ensure that they look as natural as possible by using various types of link anchor text, not only exact matches.