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Google Ranking Factors: An SEO Checklist

Having a goal in mind for any venture is great. But knowing how to get there is often a much more complicated process. This is certainly the case with any company’s SEO strategy — everyone wants to be on that lucrative first page of search engine results. After all, 75 per cent of surveyed users don’t go beyond the first page. But how do you get your website to sit in that prime location?

A quick Google search into what exactly Google looks for in terms of ranking websites will flood you with a list of potential factors. Google itself isn’t entirely forthcoming with the details of what they look for. So, how do you filter down this list of potential ranking factors to a solid list of logical, likely points that will improve your campaign?

You ask the experts, of course! In this week’s blog post, Mediaworks’ SEO specialists shed light on their experiences with SEO ranking, as well as forecasting potential future changes for Google’s ranking system.

Beyond relevancy

It goes without saying that search engines are looking to provide the most relevant content to match a user’s search query. But it’s not enough to just be relevant — your content needs to be of a higher quality than the competition.

SEO executive Ross commented that: ‘Content relevancy is certainly one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO ranking. However, the quality of the content is also under scrutiny by Google. Good quality content will always attract better links and, by extension, a stronger signal.’

Fellow SEO executive Kevin agreed, but added that relevancy and quality were just two parts of the equation: ‘Apart from creating good quality, relevant content, it’s also important that the content is pointing to the right place. There’s no use having fantastic content hidden away! Making sure it’s placed on a website or within a publication with a strong domain authority is crucial.’

Aiming higher than first place

It sounds like a baseless motivational poster quote, but when it comes to SEO ranking, you really can aim higher than number one. Google’s Featured Snippet position, often referred to as Position Zero, has long been an SEO gold standard. It sits above the organic search results, and so it is the first thing your potential customers will see when searching the keywords that you want your company to rank for.

‘The feature snippets feature is something Google is always updating and improving, so you should be keeping track of those changes in order to prioritise your strategy. Making sure your company’s products, events, or courses pages are all optimised with high quality content is important to have a shot at being selected for Google’s snippet.’

On the updates and changes to the features snipper section, SEO executive Gabriela commented: “The featured snippet carousel has been a hugely successful update, and it will be transitioning to other categories of search. This will lead to an even more competitive market as companies vie not just for the featured snippet, but its multiple answer bubbles too.”

Get ahead of the game

Ranking factors shift with the times, and it is now time to speak up! Voice search has been creeping up through important ranking factors, and our experts are in agreement that it is set to be the next big thing.

‘Voice search will lead to different ways in which we approach keyword research,’ Gabriela explained. ‘It will also impact keyword targeting. The shift will be towards long query-based keywords. For “which”, “who”, “what”, ”do” based keywords, the FAQ and Q&A markups are the most likely to be picked up first, leading to more search visibility.’

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