According to some reports, Google uses approximately 200 different factors when determining site ranking in a search engine.

While there is some debate about this number, the important thing to consider is what that number, or any other number, means for you and your website. Even if the claim of 200 factors is accurate, they differ in their level of importance. Depending on your market or your goals, you may be able to dismiss many of these factors outright. If you are a beginner to the world of digital marketing and online website rankings, especially when it comes to SEO, you will want to know exactly what to focus on first. Here is a list of the four most prominent factors you should understand as a beginner.

The experts at Salient Marketing are dedicated to helping you manage your on-page factors, which are essential to site ranking. In order to optimize your on-page features and give you the best ranking boost, make sure you pay close attention to the keywords included on your site. Keywords in title tag, description tag, H1 tag, and in proper context in your page content are all necessary elements of boosting your rank in search engine results. Placing a relevant keyword at the beginning of your title meta tag will ensure that search engines will recognize what your page content is and how it should be ranked. The meta description tag is also an important factor in SEO marketing. Effective keywords in the description tag will increase relevancy and ensure more clicks to your site. An H1 tag works to describe your webpage’s content, so a unique H1 tag is more likely to increase the relevance factor and appeal to a searcher. Finally, relevant keywords throughout your web content will have a significant impact on your search engine rankings. While keyword stuffing is frowned upon and can actually lower your ranking, proper SEO keyword usage will increase your clicks and conversions. Keywords in your URL may also boost your relevancy in a google search, thus increasing your rank.

When it comes to content, the length of your pages can have a positive impact on your site ranking. Google prizes detailed and relevant content because it reflects what users are seeking. If your webpage reflects the information that searchers need, it will boost your rank. Remember to make the copy useful, however. Long, rambling posts that lack valuable information can have a negative effect. Make sure you have relevant and original content across your webpages. If you simply duplicate copy in order to fill up pages, this will count against you.

The best way to improve your page ranking is to make sure your site is user friendly. This means optimizing your images so that they will appear relevant to search engines. Google’s algorithm also recognizes new content and gives you bonus points for it. While it doesn’t need to change daily, updating your content once a year may provide a needed boost. Outbound and internal links also play a part in Google’s page ranking algorithm. Moderate use of strong and authoritative outbound links reflect positively on your page, as does interlinking pages throughout your site. Finally, adding a canonical tag to your site will ensure that Google recognizes a single page rather than assuming two URLs have duplicated content.

There are many factors to consider when looking at off-page optimization and your search engine ranking. The more links your website has from high-ranking domains, the higher your rank. While several different links from a single high-ranking domain is good, having links from a variety of domains is better. Also keep in mind that relevancy and authority play a part. If your linked pages relate to yours and have a high PR, that can provide a boost to your rank. Another popular theory is that links to a home page have a stronger impact on rank than links to other pages on a site.

While no follow links, or those with rel=no follow attached, are not counted by Google, your do follow links have an effect on your rank. Another issue you should be aware of when building your site is the type of links. Make sure you use a diversity of different link types in order to prevent your links from appearing as spam, which will lower your ranking. Adding links within the body of the content, as opposed to in a sidebar, have a more positive effect on rank, while anchor text of a link might indicate web spam, which lowers your search engine ranking overall.

Understanding the basic site factors that boost your rankings is essential. Start with a good sitemap. A sitemap ensures proper indexation of your site’s pages and tells Google exactly what users can expect when they visit your page. Verifying your site with Google Webmasters Tools may help with accurate indexing and offers good feedback for further optimization.

The next step is to establish domain trust with Google. The more Google trusts your site, the higher you will rank. It is important to make sure your site is fully optimized for mobile use. Approximately half of all searchers use mobile devices exclusively, a number that continues to rise. When you site can be accessed successfully across all platforms, your ranking will rise.

A final factor to consider is your server location. According to some SEOs, you may receive a bump in local site rankings if you are located in that region or country. For clients in our Ottawa community, we know how it important it is to appeal to local clientele. That’s why Salient Marketing focuses on strategies that give your business the visibility it needs.

There are several domain factors that may have an impact on your Google site ranking. The longer your domain has been registered, the more trustworthy it appears. However, if your domain was previously registered by another party and received penalties, it’s possible those penalties could continue to affect your current rankings. Depending on the type of market you are hoping to reach, you may receive a boost to your local rankings if your domain has a country-specific TLD extension.

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