Ranking factors are the characteristics of the search engine algorithm by which the site page is evaluated and its position in the search results is determined.
These are the factors by which sites are evaluated and distributed in the output At the moment, there are about 200 factors by which search engines evaluate sites and distribute them in organic search results. Let’s talk about them in more detail.
Domain ranking factors
Domain ranking factors are, strictly speaking, the features of the domain itself (the name of the site), which can affect its appearance in the TOP of the output.
- Domain age – the older the site, the more it inspires confidence in the search engine. According to statistics, it is more difficult for young sites to reach the TOP, although this rather depends on their link weight than on the age of the domain.
- SSL certificate (https://) – the presence of an encryption protocol is mandatory for all sites. Otherwise, the resource in the output will be marked as unsafe.
- Keywords in the domain/subdomain – at one time it was a very powerful signal for search engines. Sites that had an RF key in the domain name of the first level very quickly flew into the TOP. Today, search robots pay less attention to this factor, but the relevance of a resource with a key in a domain name still remains high, especially if the key is closer to the beginning.
- Domain history – it should be remembered that all links, sanctions and pessimizations are assigned to the domain, this is its history. Therefore, before buying a domain from third parties, it is recommended to check its history. It should also be remembered that sites with non-permanent hosting or regular drops are likely to be “reset” – Google will reset the link history of the resource, which can also negatively affect its ranking.
Technical ranking factors
Internal site optimization – page errors, mainly + indexing settings.
- Site availability – all public pages of the site must be accessible to the user and give the server response code 200.
- Site loading speed – this option is important both for ranking and for user interaction. Good site speed has an indirect effect on ranking through the behavioral indicators of visitors – the longer the page loads, the less likely it is that a person will stay on it (hence the increase in the bounce rate).
- The presence of viruses on the site – if the search robot finds that the site endangers the personal data of users (viruses, spyware), sanctions will be applied up to the complete exclusion of the resource from the output.
- Adaptive design – mobile layout quickly became a very powerful ranking factor, especially for Google, which was the first to introduce such a concept as Mobile-First Indexing – i.e. accounting for user experience in the mobile version of the site and separate search results for mobile devices. It is very important to make an adaptive on your site, because this directly affects user behavior, and even the standard output for the desktop version of the site.
- Text relevance – high-quality, elaborated, unique, diverse content is highly appreciated by the robot.
- Keyword density – using keywords on a page is a normal practice. But it is necessary to take into account the changes that have occurred in search algorithms, to avoid spam and unnatural constructions in the first place
- The presence of synonyms in the text – the use of synonymous queries, LSI phrases, terms increases the relevance of the page on request. The same goes for synonyms in title, description and H1.
- The structure of the text – a competent breakdown of the text into sections with the use of H2-H6 tags is welcome, and (important!) each tag must correspond in meaning to the text that it contains. The search robot also likes bulleted lists, tables, quotes, text highlighting and other elements that can diversify and make the page content convenient for perception.
- Uniqueness of content – search engines have a negative attitude to copy paste and poor-quality rewrite. The author’s content and good copyright are appreciated. Really interesting content gets good behavioral indicators, which is taken into account when ranking the resource.
- The age and quality of the donor – the older and “trust” the site from which the link comes, the more weight it has. And from the opposite – if a link came to the site from a shameful resource that is already in the emergency of search engines, this can negatively affect your site.
- The subject of the donor – as in the case of the region, the subject of the donor should ideally correspond to, or be close to, the subject of the recipient.
- Link dynamics – sharp jumps in the link mass (growth, fall) even for an old domain can cause a close check. The dynamics of the reference should have a natural character.
- A variety of links is another indicator of the quality and naturalness of links. Anchor and non-anchor links, links from social networks, from media files – all this suggests that the site has honestly earned its weight on the Internet.
- Near-link content – if the anchor is morphologically/syntactically different from the near-link text, this indicates its low quality and artificiality.
Content ranking factors
These are all factors related to the content on the site.
External ranking factors
External factors are 90% links. Links are still an up-to-date website promotion tool. Only the rules for evaluating the link weight of the site have changed.
Search ranking factors
- Now let’s talk about what indicators of the site in the output affect its ranking.
- CTR of the search snippet – the clickability of the snippet in the output indicates its relevance to the search query, which directly affects its place in the TOP.
- The share of direct visits to the site indicates the quality of the resource. Most likely, it is one of the indicators by which the X (site quality index) of Yandex is considered.
- Repeated site visits are a positive signal for search engines, indicating the popularity of the site and its content.
- The last click – as a positive signal, the fact is taken into account that the visitor from the search was the last to visit your site and did not return to the output anymore – that is, he found what he was looking for.
- Traffic growth while maintaining positions – additional traffic from other sources can become a positive ranking factor.
- The number of pages in the search – the more good, high-quality pages in the output, the more authoritative the site is.
Behavioral ranking factors
Search engines pay the most attention to the user’s behavior on the site. This can be called the most important ranking factor.
- Number of visits – the total number of site visits. The higher, the better. Shows the popularity of the resource.
- The number of visitors is the number of unique visitors, i.e. people who came to the site for the first time in a certain period.
- Bounce rate – each PS has its own, for example, Yandex considers a session of less than 15 seconds and the opening of only one page of the site to be a failure. A high percentage of refusals indicates that the site is irrelevant to the request, does not answer visitors’ questions.
- Internal traffic – the higher the CTR of internal links, the better. Shows the significance of the internal pages of the site. Sessions with a timeout of 30 minutes are taken into account.
- Time on the site – the total time of the visitor on the site. Not always a short time is bad. A lot depends on the subject. The optimal time for the topic is taken into account.
Social ranking factors
Of course, the representation of business in social networks is of great importance in the ranking of the site. Another thing is that not all topics are suitable for working in social networks.
- Social media profiles – the presence of a profile, as well as its popularity and popularity affect the ranking of the site.
- The number of clicks from social networks is another pretty strong signal. One of the main social factors.
- Audience activity – the more comments, likes, reposts and other actions are made by the group members, the higher the group is valued.
- Links from reputable resources/profiles – good links to a group from trust sources similar in subject matter will be a positive signal.
Commercial ranking factors
It is more relevant for sites that sell goods/services via i-net, i.e. for online stores, catalogs, service sites, etc. Information resources (news portals, articles) do not have to follow all the rules described below.
- The presence of the actual address – the address of the point of sale, office, pick-up point, in extreme cases, the legal address. It shows that the company really exists, increases the trust of the user and search engines.
- Convenient structure – a logical structure of sections and a unified design of goods helps the user to quickly get used to the site, start actively interacting with the resource.
- Details – the presence of standard details of the UNP type shows your legal transparency, inspires confidence among users.
- Work schedule – as a rule, these are the hours and days of work. A good commercial signal showing the user at what time his order will be processed.
- A variety of contact data – mobile phone (several operators), landlines (even by department), e-mail, Viber, telegram, Skype and other popular communication channels. The more options there are, the easier it is for the user to choose the right one for himself. Also, a variety of communication channels will be a positive ranking signal for the search robot.
- The feedback form is a mandatory attribute of any e-commerce site, one of the most popular tools for collecting leads. It is necessary to give the user the opportunity to leave a request for a callback, tell about their problem.
- Online chat – many visitors do not want to wait until they get a call back and want to solve their question “without leaving the checkout”, so you need to give them this opportunity. An operator in an online chat is quite capable of coping with such a task. If you properly arrange the chat and organize the work of the manager, you can get a very good conversion from appeals.
- Travel map – for a modern website, a travel map is required on the “Contacts” page. This is one of the positive ranking signals. There is nothing difficult, to put a map on the site and Yandex, and Google offer a simple mechanism for the generation of maps with ready-made code you simply need to place on the pages
- Google My Business to register your company in Google Directory is simply a must have. This will not only help you catch up faster on geo-independent queries, but also get your address on Google Maps (displayed in the search for certain queries).
- Reviews – diverse, numerous, constantly updated product/service reviews are an excellent commercial ranking factor, because they show the user value of the page.
- The offer – the user agreement shows the transparency of cooperation with the online store. Robots generally like everything to be transparent and accessible.
- The “About the company” page is the introduction of the consumer to the brand. You can post photos of your employees on the same page with a minimal description of them. This will once again prove the real existence of your business, show the user that real people are sitting “on the other side”.
- Photo Gallery – take a photo of your store/factory, exhibitions in which you participated. This will increase consumer loyalty and diversify the content of the site. In addition, these photos can be linked to the company’s representation in Google Maps (via the directory).
- The product range is a very important factor in commercial ranking. Try to make sure that you have many product categories and at least 5-7 offers in each. Empty pages or categories with 1-2 products will negatively affect the promotion of the site.
- Description of goods and services – for each product you need to issue a detailed description with its technical characteristics, properties and features. Remember – the text in the product card is read!
- Prices are a so important factor in commercial ranking. A website without prices is immediately a fat minus and a departure to the back of the issue. Often in my practice I come across a misunderstanding on this issue on the part of customers. Many are afraid that competitors will see their prices and … will dump them or I don’t know what else … but in fact, hiding prices on a commercial resource, you are primarily hitting yourself. Neither users (for whom prices are important) nor search robots will understand you, for whom price availability is one of the most important commercial ranking factors. If you do not want to specify specific prices, write at least “Price from”.
- Functionality – product filters, product comparison, cost calculators, constructors, quizzes – any “feature” of the site that will help keep the visitor on the page longer is useful.
- Related products – the “often bought with this” block is somehow underestimated, although this is not only an additional link between products, but also a good tool for collecting additional conversions. Offer accessories to the main product (printer cartridges, for example), complete a package of goods at a reduced price (for example, laptop + mouse + case).
- Online payment is an additional factor in the assessor evaluation of online stores. Well, it is convenient for the user, among other things. After all, we strive to make the most useful website, right?
- Loyalty program – discounts, promotions, accumulative system. A very good way to improve conversion, if you approach this issue correctly and work comprehensively with the same e-mail marketing.
- The “Buy”/”Order” button increases the depth of site browsing, increases the CTR of product offers, allows you to painlessly increase the density of the keyword “Buy” on the page.
- One-click purchase is a simplified version of the “Buy” button. Usually it either transfers to the feedback form, or directly to the shopping cart for ordering.
- The presence of a basket is a critical commercial factor for online stores. A shop without a basket is like a samurai without a sword, it seems to be there, but somehow wrong.
- Having a personal account – if you are planning a long-term cooperation with your clients, you cannot do without a personal account. It will contain the entire history of orders, personal data of the client, cumulative discounts, etc. The personal account, at least, will help to unload your managers, because the client will be able to solve a number of issues himself.
- Portfolio – more relevant for service sites (for example, building houses). A very useful section that helps the user to make a decision. Tip – it is advisable to display only top projects in the portfolio, i.e. a built cabin for uncle Sasha is unlikely to make the client think better about your company, but the fact that you built a three-story cottage for Kirkorov’s beloved dog will definitely elevate you in the eyes of the buyer.
- Partners – sometimes the presence of reputable partners can be a decisive factor and affect consumer confidence, but here, again, it is advisable to specify serious partners that everyone knows.
Brand ranking factors
- The brand principle is to gain more trust in the brand. There is a set of brand factors for this: Brand links, or links with the domain name of your site, increase brand credibility.
- Mentioning a brand without a link can be one of the signals that increase trust. And who said that the citation can only be a reference?
- Registered office organization in the map service Google can positively affect the trust of search engines to the website of the brand.
- The geographical proximity of an office or an online store to a search engine user can be taken into account when ranking.
- Multiple search results. According to a direct brand query, sometimes you can see the same site in several positions of the search results.
- The company’s official Linkedin page, as well as employee pages, may be perceived by some search engines as an indicator of trust.
- The degree of trust in the site’s activity can become a strong basis for obtaining high positions in the search.
Assessors are special analysts who manually check the search results and the sites that are located there. Assessors’ ratings are included in the ranking algorithm and affect the site’s position in organic search results. Assessors pay attention to the following site indicators:
- Ease of perception of content – block margins, visual differentiation, additional selections, lists, tables, etc. In general, all the features of the text that help to unload it, make it readable.
- Usability is a broad concept to which a separate article should be devoted. In a nutshell, it is the convenience of the interface, simple and intuitive site navigation, additional options that help a person interact with the resource.
- Usefulness and relevance – manual verification of the usefulness of the site and the correspondence of pages to search queries.
- Errors – Manual search for bugs that may affect the user experience. Usually these are crooked layout, broken forms and other errors that may not be displayed in the webmaster console.