Did you know that over 90% of search traffic goes to results on the first page of a Google search? With users increasingly relying on online information to drive key decisions, organizations must leverage search engine optimization (SEO) to cement their digital presence.

Strategic SEO practices can help businesses boost online visibility and garner a competitive edge. In today’s dynamic digital landscape, SEO professionals can help organizations optimize their websites to meet the ranking criteria set by Google. But what are these ranking elements, and how can you improve your chances of getting a first-page rank? Let’s delve into the details of acing your SEO score with actionable tips!

How Do Google Ranking Factors Work?

Google aims to deliver high-value information to users. Hence, its algorithm evaluates webpages based on 200+ ranking factors to determine their quality and relevance. Based on Google’s recent guidelines, the algorithm assigns higher ranks to pages that meet the E-E-A-T criteria. E-E-A-T refers to experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The ranking factors are metrics to assess the ability of a webpage to match these requirements. When a website is aligned with the major ranking factors, it has a better chance of getting a high rank on the search engine results page (SERP).

Google’s EEAT Model and its Significance for SEO
(Source: https://www.oom.com.sg/ultimate-guide-to-google-e-e-a-t/)

Top 10 Factors to Boost Your SEO Score

SEO is an organic digital marketing technique because it does not require paid ads to attract users. The following SEO ranking elements can help you optimize your website and to gain top ranking spots in Google to achieve maximum organic traffic & boost sales:

1. High-Quality Content

Google prioritizes webpages with fresh content that provides value to the users. Adding informative and authoritative content is an excellent SEO strategy that can potentially boost your SERP ranks. The following tips can help you optimize for this factor:

  • Create accurate, informative, and trustworthy content tailored to your target audience’s needs.
  • Generate original content free from repetition or spam.
  • Prioritize long-form content to provide detailed information to users.
  • Leverage keyword research to add relevant keywords to your content and appeal to your target demographic.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing and ensure your content matches the intent of your keywords.

A majority of decision-makers rely on informative articles to make decisions instead of following targeted ads. Hence, it is crucial to invest in high-quality content to grow your website.

Relevance of Content for Decision-Making
(Source: https://userguiding.com/blog/seo-statistics-and-trends/)

2. Keyword Placement and Meta Tag Optimization

The choice and placement of keywords can make or break your SEO strategy. You should select relevant keywords and place them correctly within your page tags. You can check popular keyword research tools like Google Ads, SEMRUSH, UberSuggest and Ahrefs to find relevant terms and phrases. The following tips can help you align with this ranking factor:

Use your keyword in the Title Tag that appears on the SERP.

Place your keywords in the H1 heading and H2 headings.

Ensure your page URL is short and easy to read.

Create a meta description to help users understand why they should click the link.

Add keywords in the first 100 words of your content and place them strategically throughout the main body of the text.

Popular Keyword Research Tools
(Source: https://resources.jdsupra.com/what-is-jd-supra-overview)

3. Image SEO

You should optimize the images on your webpage to keep up with the latest trend of search results becoming more visual. The following tips are valuable for achieving this aspect:

  • Provide a short and descriptive alt text with the image.
  • Compress and resize your images for faster loading speeds.
  • Avoid using stock images and add relevant images that drive value for users.
  • Optimize the file names of images by adding keywords and replacing spaces with dashes.

4. E.E.A.T

As we have discussed earlier, Google prioritizes web pages that demonstrate E-E-A-T. A great way to show expertise is to carve out a niche that suits your organization. For example, if you regularly publish content in a specific domain, Google will potentially recognize you as an expert for searches related to that domain. However, if you start posting unrelated content, it will be harder for you to rank. Hence, it is best to follow a hub-and-spoke model and design a unique information architecture. You can create content on core topics and branch out to related sub-topics to establish your expertise. This strategy helps your SEO score and improves your internal linking structure.

When third-party websites provide links to your webpage, Google understands that your site is credible and useful. You can use the following strategies to build high-quality backlinks:

Publish unique and informative content to drive organic backlinks.

Use a guest posting strategy to publish content on other websites.

Build relationships in the relevant industry to earn backlinks for your site.

Use high-quality images and videos to encourage backlinks.

Importance of Video in SEO
(Source: https://userguiding.com/blog/seo-statistics-and-trends/)

6. Page Speed

When a webpage loads slowly, users are likely to get frustrated and leave the page. In fact, the probability of leaving the page increases by 32% when it takes three seconds to load instead of one. That is why it is crucial to optimize your page loading speed using the following strategies:

Compress or resize images so they are easier to load.

Enable browser caching to make your webpage load faster for returning visitors.

Minimize white spaces and line breaks that require unnecessary code.

Experienced SEO professionals can help you optimize technical SEO factors to increase your page speed.

7. Mobile Optimization

Nowadays, most people regularly use their mobile devices to access web pages. You should optimize your site for mobile in the following ways:

Simplify the layout for easier navigation on smaller screens.

Ensure that the user finds the action buttons easily.

Design the UI according to the user experience on mobile screens.

8. Management of Core Web Vitals

Google uses Core Web Vitals to assess real-world user experience. These metrics evaluate the loading speed, visual stability, and interactivity of the page. If your webpage achieves good Core Web Vitals, it can often help you get better SEO results. The Core Web Vitals are as follows:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This metric measures how long it takes for the visible elements to load for the first time when a user visits.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This metric measures how long it takes for the visible elements to load for the first time when a user visits.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID assesses whether the webpage is interactive enough, by measuring how quickly it registers a user action.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This metric evaluates the visual stability of the page. Google recommends a CLS score of 0.1 or less. You can lower the CLS by reducing pop-ups and disruptions.

9. Internal Linking Structure

Google prioritizes webpages that are easier to crawl and index for the bot. Hence, you should establish a tight-knit internal linking structure. Establish clear hyperlinks and add related content to ensure ease of navigation. Experts recommend that users should be able to find any page within three clicks.

10. Site Security

You can bolster your website security to increase your SEO score. The following steps can help:

Get SSL certification to demonstrate site security.

Update your security patches and ensure regular maintenance.

Optimizing your site according to these ranking elements can help you get a higher rank on the SERP. Contact the experts from Forix SEO today to get professional help to align your website with all these factors!