Category: Ranking Factors


Unless you are trying to rank a website for a business that operates purely online, or if it’s a business that competes on a national or international scale, the ability to rank your business website for local search terms is vitally important. If you are a local business and not focusing on SEO that helps you appear on page one of Google for local searches, then you are losing lots of customers to local business competitors who are.

There are several actions you can take which will ensure that your local business’s website can compete with, and ideally, outrank your competitors, provided they are done correctly.

Below we have 7 of the most important ranking factors which Google look for when assessing local websites in its search engine results. Many of these can be implemented quickly and easily, while some may take a bit more time and effort.

Google My Business: Normally abbreviated to ‘GMB‘ this is arguably the most important ranking factor that exists for local businesses. It is essentially set up to let Google know what your local business is about. You need to include the business category, your business address, highly relevant keywords in the title, and even having your opening hours is a plus.

Linking: With backlinks, it is important that you focus on the type and quality of the backlinks rather than simply trying to amass as many as possible. By all means, try for high numbers of links, but make them quality links. Link signals which are especially influential in local ranking are the anchor text used and the authority of the websites that the backlinks are coming from.

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As soon as they sense a drop in their ranking many business owners panic and think that they are on the slippery slope to page 5 of Google. Thankfully, in most cases the situation is temporary, and even if the drop is sustained, there will be an explanation for it.

What it will mean is carrying out some simple checks to determine why the ranking drop happened. Some of those checks will involve using SEO research tools so it might mean you need to employ an SEO consultant or agency to carry them out.

Here is a guide to 4 of those checks that can be made in order to find the culprit and reverse the drop.

#1 Is Your Website In Full Working Order?

It is astonishing that many business owners do not look in on their website on a regular basis, and so if anything happens to go wrong on it, they do not become aware of this until their rankings start going south.

There are some really basic things you need to check such as the expiry dates of your domain registration or your hosting. Yes, it does happen that a website disappears from rankings because the business owner forgot to renew their hosting service or their domain.

Also, check if your hosting company is having any problems or outages. While most hosting services will be up well over 99.5% of the time, it could be that 0.5% downtime that is the issue.

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It is hardly surprising that many website owners who do their own SEO often feel like their head is spinning trying to keep up with Google’s ranking factors. Truth be told, many seasoned SEO experts often feel the same way.

Well, hopefully, we will not make you feel too dizzy as we highlight Google’s top 10 ranking factors for 2020.

#1 Content still rules as Google continues to reward websites that publish quality content over those that produce sub-standard content.

#2 Mobile over desktop is how the world has moved in terms of consuming online content and that is why Google now indexes mobile sites first. That means if your website is not mobile optimised its ranking is going to continually drop

#3 Page load speed has become more important due to mobile indexing and it means that websites that load quickly have a distinct advantage over clunky websites that take ages to load.

#4 Freshness is a ranking factor that many are blissfully unaware of, so their old, stagnant content does nothing for their ranking. If, instead, they updated it, and even included the present year, Google will look upon it a lot more favourably.

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Hopefully, you will have already realised we are not talking about eating food to help your SEO, much as that might appeal to us all. Instead, the acronym E-A-T stands for Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness. Given that E-A-T, is something which Google’s algorithms are focussed on, it is something every website owner needs to understand.

Those three words mean that Google has moved on from just looking for quality content. A quick point to make here is that does not mean that you should let your standards drop and stop producing quality content. That requirement has not been abandoned, however, Google are taking things a step further.

Google is continually striving to make its search engine results as close to the user’s intention, as possible. Taking that a stage further it means they want the destination that users arrive at, to give them the best user experience possible.

Put yourself in Google’s shoes for a moment and imagine you had to determine what websites are going to achieve that goal, and which are not. How about fake news websites, or websites with lots of content, but otherwise full of affiliate offers for sale?

What about those with misleading sales messages or hyped up claims? And, how about websites that look like they offer content, but it is really just sales copy dressed up as content?

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If you have researched SEO in any way you will have undoubtedly discovered a lot of discussion about keywords. Keywords and their importance to SEO have had many business owners scratching their head wondering how they work.

Even to those with a modicum of marketing knowledge keywords can be a source of huge frustration as they try to work out which ones to optimise for, and where to have those keywords positioned on their website, or on other websites in links back to theirs.

The reason why the positioning of a keyword is so important is that Google has a pecking order of those positions which their algorithm refers to when it is calculating the relevancy of the keywords. The pecking order is in effect Google’s order of importance, and how much weight it gives to a keyword in determining its relevance.

How that order is was decided upon, only Google knows for sure, but the consensus amongst SEO experts is that it relates to the difficulty with which anyone building and ranking a website would be able to position a keyword. The harder they think it would be, the more power they give it in terms of ranking for the keyword, and the easier it is, the less power it gets.

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