1. 1. Quality Content
Google is looking to find high-quality content relevant to its search query. Google will examine the language on a page, as well as words and phrases that are relevant to the search query. These are what I refer to as “theme words”. Longer pages will do better. You can also use photos and/or videos to your advantage. Videos and pictures can also be used to keep visitors’ attention. Google also considers the design of pages. What a visitor sees “above and beyond the fold” (before scrolling) when they land onto a page is what Google will look at. It is crucial to provide a good user experience. Google will view your page differently if it has a lot of ads and little else.
2. Page Load Time
No one likes waiting for pages to load. Your visitors might not wait for your pages to load for five seconds or more. Research shows that the average web user is able to pay attention for just a few seconds. This is less than what a goldfish can do. It is important that your pages load quickly. Google won’t penalize pages that load slowly. It is more about how the visitor reacts. A slow loading page from Google will make a searcher unhappy, and they may even click the Back button to Google. Google considers both bounce and exit rates to be negatives for your site. Unhappy visitors from Google are a unhappy Google.
3. External Links to Other Pages
You’ll find many internal links when you look at websites like Wikipedia. These links link from one page to another page of a website. These links should be distinguished from the external ones. These links point to another website. These links help visitors navigate through your website’s pages. A person might stumble upon a term or phrase that they don’t understand or want to learn more about while reading a Wikipedia page. Visitors can navigate the site easier and find what they need quickly by “internally” linking keywords to other Wikipedia pages. Google also indexes your website through internal links.
In the context of fast loading web pages, we mentioned bounce rates previously. A visitor clicks on a link within the SERPs, then returns to Google. This is called a “bounce”. Google will report that a visitor is not satisfied if they return faster than expected.
Let’s look at how it might work.
Let’s say a Google visitor searches for vitamin A deficiency and clicks the back button to return to Google. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they click the browser’s return button to return to Google. To see if another site is available, they may click on a link further down the SERP.
What does this say about Google’s first page?
Visitors couldn’t find the information they were looking for on this page.
Google is aware of this because they returned back to search results and re-typed (or refined) their search. What do you think Google will do if a lot of people search for a particular phrase and a high percentage bounce back to the same website that ranks #1 in Google search results?
It makes sense to degrade that page in the SERPs for that search term, since many people aren’t finding it relevant.
Searcher intent and bounce rates go hand in hand. Visitors will stay longer if they find the page useful. Visitors may also visit other pages on the site. Don’t let them bounce back. This tells Google that the visitor is satisfied with the recommendation. Google is happy.
5. Time that a visitor stays on your page / site
Google tracks the time that visitors spend on websites. Google Analytics is one of the tools it uses to do this. Google Analytics is a freemium service that provides web analytics services for site owners. It tracks and reports on your website traffic. Many webmasters have it installed on their websites because it is free. Google can track visitors to their site with this tool. It will track many variables such as time spent on your site, page views, operating system, screen resolution, device used, and more. Google can monitor visitor behavior even if Analytics is not installed on a site.
6. Trust and Authority
This is why I will cover it here, even though it is controlled via off-page factors.
In 2018, this factor was huge. This factor was important in 2018. Google will not rank pages if they can harm your health or financial well-being by the information (or products). My opinion is that Google’s monitoring of these factors depends on what authoritative sites and people are saying about your site. Votes (links from other websites) can pass this authority on, as we have seen. It is more important than ever to concentrate on authoritative, high-quality links. Quality is more important than quantity. Trust and authority will be built over time. However, this can be controlled by off-page optimization. We’ll get back to that later.
These are the key on-page factors that Google uses in its ranking algorithm.
The webmaster can control most on-page factors, except for the last. You can control bounce rates and how long a visitor stays on your website, up to a point. You can keep visitors on your site longer if you offer quality content and the rich experiences they expect.
1. Click-through Rates
We webmasters have some control over click-through rates.
Let’s suppose a web site ranks at #5 in a search term. Searchers like this listing since 15% of them click on it. A page that ranks in position 5 would typically get around 5% clicks. Google may boost the page’s rankings if it sees more people clicking on that link than they expected. It’s evident that this is what searchers are searching for, so it deserves a higher ranking on the first page.
The other side of this coin is a spammer. Google uses this term to refer to someone who tries to manipulate rankings for a web page. Let’s say that a spammer is able to bypass Google’s algorithm and rank #1 for a search phrase. A link that ranks #1 typically receives 31% of clicks. This page is only ranked #1 because it receives 15% of the clicks. Searchers don’t like the description or title of the link. It’s also worth noting that 99% of those who visit the link bounce back to Google in 30 seconds or less. Google now has clear signals from users that the #1 ranking web page is not very popular with searchers. Google now has clear user signals that the web page ranking #1 is not popular with searchers. Google begins moving the page down the rankings until it drops out of the top 10. It will continue to fall.
Bad content won’t make it to the top of Google today, and even if it does, it won’t stay there for very long.
2. 2. Social Signals
While they aren’t major factors, social signals such as tweets, Facebook shares and Pinterest pins are used in Google to rank websites. Social signals will not give your site a significant boost, and any gains they might bring you are temporary. Because of the temporary nature of “social buzz”, this is a problem.
Let’s take, for example, a viral piece of content that is shared by thousands via social media channels. These are usually done in a short time. Google will notice this as it recognizes that the content is valuable and visitors are interested in it, so it gives it an increase in ranking. Google’s ranking boost increases in Google after social interest has declined and shares have fallen.
Social sharing is an excellent idea and should be promoted on your website. However, you shouldn’t expect backlinks from social channels to give your site a significant or long-lasting ranking boost.
You can go back and read what I wrote about authority and trust just a moment ago.
Google considers “webpage A” linking to “webpage B” on another website as “backlinks.” This is page A (on site 1) voting against page B (on page 2). It is generally believed that the more backlinks (or votes) a page receives from other sites on Google, the higher its importance or value must be.
Backlinks are still a major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. But more is not always the best. Let me explain.
A web page with many links from authoritative sites such as CNN, BBC, NY Times, and others is obviously important. Quality authority sites such as the ones mentioned above wouldn’t link to garbage.
A page with thousands of backlinks but from low-quality or spammy websites is unlikely to be very important. Although backlinks can be a powerful indicator about a page’s worth, it is not the number of backlinks that matters most. It is more important to consider the quality and relevancy of the backlinks.
Trust and authority are built through high-quality links. Low-quality links can have the exact opposite effect.
Google can identify a site that has hundreds to thousands of low-quality backlinks as spammer by using it.
Google considers the authority of every backlink. High-quality backlinks will be counted more than low-quality links. A page with fewer high-quality backlinks is more likely to rank higher than a page with many low-quality links. Google could penalize a site or page for too many low-quality backlinks.