Did you know that Google has more than 100 ranking factors? If you want to rank in search results, you must optimize your pages to satisfy Google’s algorithms. But with so many ranking factors, and many of them unknown, where do you start?
Luckily, we’ve got the answer! On this page, we’ll cover seven critical on-page ranking factors you need to know, including:
- Keyword usage
- Page content
- Title tag
- URL structure
- Page speed
- Mobile-friendly design
- Site security
Keep reading to learn more about these factors! P.S. Want to get the latest tips and tricks for improving your search engine optimization (SEO)? Join 190,000 marketers by subscribing to our email newsletter!
What are on-page ranking factors?
On-page ranking factors are components on your business’s website that impact your page’s ability to rank in search results. You need to optimize your site for these factors to help you rank in relevant results for your business.
7 on-page ranking factors you need to know
With so many on-page SEO factors, where do you begin? Let’s start with these seven Google ranking factors:
1. Keyword usage
First on our list of SEO ranking factors is keyword usage. For your listing to appear in relevant search results, you must integrate keywords into your pages, since these keywords trigger relevant results. Your keyword usage impacts your page’s ability to rank in search results.
If you don’t use keywords or use them often enough, Google may not know where to rank your pages. On the other hand, overusing keywords, known as keyword stuffing, negatively impacts your page’s ability to rank in search. To find relevant keywords, start by conducting keyword research with a tool like KeywordsFX.
Focus on long-tail keywords, containing three or more words, to help you appear in the right search results. Once you identify your terms, you’ll integrate them into your site. You’ll want to integrate your key terms into your:
2. Page content
Next on our list of on-page ranking factors is page content. Page content, as the name implies, is the information you have on your pages. It isn’t enough to share a few tidbits of information.
Your pages must provide your audience with helpful information that keeps them engaged. Page content is critical for two reasons:
- It tells search engines the context of your page so that it can rank you in relevant search results
- It keeps users engaged on your page longer, which sends a positive signal to Google about your page’s relevancy
When you craft your pages, deliver high-quality content that fits the search intent. You can discover the search intent for your page by searching your core keyword on Google and seeing what’s ranking already. You want to provide important information that’s helpful to your audience.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a page on the best gaming keyboards. Having a page that lists the best keyboards and doesn’t explain why each keyboard is the best won’t fulfill your audiences’ needs. Instead, you would provide details about each keyboard and explain why it’s a top pick.
If you want search engines to rank your pages highly, you need to deliver informative and helpful content for your audience. Your content should provide them with enough information to learn what they need to know about the topic. Additionally, having content that’s easy to read and skim is great, too.
It will keep prospects engaged with your content longer, which sends a positive signal to Google that your content is relevant.
3. Title tag
Another one of the most critical on-page SEO factors is your title tag. Your title tag is what appears in search results when users search. Search engines and users both use this information to determine your page’s relevancy in search results.
If you want your pages to rank higher in search results, you must optimize for this Google ranking factor. Here are some best practices to follow to create click-worthy title tags:
- Use your core keyword: To help search engines recognize the relevancy of your page, put your core keyword in your title tag. It’s best to put your core keyword towards the front so search engines and people recognize the relevancy immediately.
- Stay within the character limit: Title tags have a 60-character limit. If you want to optimize for this on-page SEO factor, you need to avoid having a truncated title tag. It will help you have a cleaner tag where users can see all the information they need.
- Make it informative: Don’t just write a title tag like “Gaming Keyboards.” It doesn’t tell your audience anything about what to expect on your page. Instead, an informative tag like “8 Top Gaming Keyboards for 2021” tells your audience all they need to know.
You can use our free on-page SEO grader to your title tag optimization scored, too!
4. URL structure
One of the most commonly forgotten SEO ranking factors is your URL structure. Your URL structure provides search engines with greater context of your page so that they can rank you better in search results. Here’s an example of a bad URL structure:
When search engines see a URL like this, it doesn’t provide them with context for your page.
With an optimized URL, though, you provide context for search engines and your audience. Here’s an example of an optimized URL:
This URL is clear and provides search engines with page context. This URL example could be used as an on-page SEO ranking factor for that website and help the website rank better in search results.
5. Page speed
Did you know that 83% of users expect your website to load in three seconds or less? Users don’t want to wait for your page to load to get information. As a result, Google takes your site’s load time into account when ranking your page in search results.
To help improve your site’s load time, run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool will provide you with a picture of your site’s current load time. Google PageSpeed Insights will also provide you with suggestions for improving your site’s load time, including:
- Reducing redirects
- Enabling browser caching
- Reducing image file sizes
- Minimize HTTP requests
If you aren’t familiar with optimizing the backend of your site, you can rely on page speed services from a professional.
6. Mobile friendliness
Next on our list of on-page ranking factors is mobile-friendliness. Google recently shifted to a mobile-first index, which means it takes your site’s mobile-friendliness into account when ranking you in search results. So, if you want to rank higher in search results, you must have a mobile-friendly website.
To create a mobile-friendly website, integrate responsive design. Responsive design enables your site to adapt to whatever device a user uses. Whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, or computer, users will see the version of your site that fits their device best.
As a result, you’ll deliver a better user experience for your audience. By having a mobile-friendly site, you’ll help your business rank better in search results.
7. Site security
The last of the on-page SEO factors we’ll look at is site security. When users shop and browse on your site, they want to feel safe doing it. Users don’t want to divulge any personal information if it’s not protected.
Since a secure site impacts user engagement, Google includes it as an on-page ranking factor for your business. To take your site from HTTP to HTTPS, get a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This certificate will secure your site and encrypt sensitive information that users share with you.
You’ll know your site is secure when you see “HTTPS” in your URL and a padlock next to your URL.
Need help optimizing for these on-page ranking factors?
If you want your website to rank better in search results, you must optimize your site for critical on-page ranking factors. But if you aren’t sure where to start or how to optimize your site for these factors, WebFX can help.
We have a team of over 450 marketing experts that know the ins and outs of optimizing for SEO. We’re experts at what we do –– That’s how we’ve driven over $2.4 billion in revenue and over 6.3 million leads for our clients in the past five years. Ready to rank better in search results?