There’s no denying it, Google Search is a big deal. When we say big, we are talking about an index that weighs in at a whopping 100,000,000 gigabytes. That’s hundreds of billions of web pages stored in Google’s brain, all searchable in a moment’s notice.
But how, with so many web pages out there, can you get yours front and centre (or rather page one and top) in a Google search? Here’s a list of nine Google ranking factors that you just can’t ignore in 2018.
More than anything else, Google exists to help searchers have a positive experience, so content it believes provides genuine value is key. Don’t confuse quantity (of words) with quality – long content doesn’t equate to good content. It’s far better for your users, for Google and ultimately your website if you think more about intent rather than hitting a keyword milestone. Thin content just won’t do it these days, so make sure you are offering something that serves a purpose, and consider related areas that might be of interest to someone landing on your page.
Top tip: brush up on the importance of search intent in the Telegraph’s handy marketing guide.
Back in 2016, the number of people surfing the web on a mobile device overtook those on desktops. Take a look around next time you’re waiting for a train, queueing in a shop or even watching a film – everyone is on a smartphone. Sure, they might be listening to music, posting a picture or looking for love, but the point is they expect to be able to access content with immediate effect. If your offering isn’t mobile-friendly then you are essentially burying your head in the sand at a time when more than half of internet users are looking for you. And in case you needed more persuading, this year Google rolled out its mobile-first indexing strategy, which means the mobile version of a web page is what’s used for indexing and ranking, rather than the previously used desktop version.
Top tip: run your pages through Google’s Mobile Friendly Testto make sure you are not just catering to the dwindling desktop audience.
A bespoke page title
Any content management system worth its salt will give you full control over key backend fields that can be fully optimised. In particular, Google pays special attention to your page title and URL. A page title, sometimes called a window title, appears in your browser tab as well as on Google’s results pages. The search engine uses page titles to understand what information the article contains, so this is where your primary keywords need to be – without keyword stuffing, of course.