SEOStart Blog

5 Factors that Affect your Search Engine Ranking

29 March 2019

Today we are going to share with you our top five factors that affect your search engine ranking. Optimising with these five factors in mind will positively affect your ranking in Google and other search engines.

1. Domain Authority

Domain authority is essentially a measure of how relevant a website is for a given topic or subject matter. One of the biggest contributors to domain authority is the overall trustworthiness of the website in and of itself. Domains with a good reputation get ranked better by search engines, and this is due mainly to a high domain authority score.

In order to optimise for domain authority, you should ensure that your website produces quality content on a daily basis, or as close to every day that you can. Doing so will signal that your site is one of worth. Also, try to make it as easy as possible for people to trust your website. Ensure that you have a great web page design that makes navigation a breeze; follow up with contacts in your industry and try to land a place guest posting on a reputable website; link to your own website where you can, for example in forum signatures.

The team at SEOStart ran a test recently with our own site which is new (only nine days old at the time of writing this blog post). We are in the process of doing SEO on this very website, and we noticed a trend in the graph we produced given three, separate, non-related queries. Our rank for all three queries improved at the same time, by roughly the same amount, three times over the last week. In other words, our search engine ranking position was mirrored across all three queries. It should be noted that we were not optimising for any of the three queries during the given week, we were merely observing them.

The conclusion is clear; it is the overall authority of the domain that is probably the most important thing to Google and other search engines. If you have a domain which is deemed high-quality, you can expect to achieve a very good ranking in search engine results for multiple queries.

2. Mobile-friendly Website Design

It is no secret that now mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches; as much as 60% of global searches are now performed on mobiles. If you’re optimising for Google, you have likely observed the prominence of mobile usability in the Google Search Console. These facts lead us to the second on our list of factors that affect your search engine ranking, mobile-friendly website design.

For your websites to be classed as mobile-friendly, you should be using responsive media queries to adjust the appearance of your webpages for mobile devices. You should also make sure that any elements on your page that are clickable are surrounded by space that does not respond to clicks, to make them easier to click. This is especially important for website navigation: menu items that are too close together will get flagged up as errors.

Having a mobile-friendly design will almost certainly send your search engine ranking in the right direction, and it will also gain you more business too, or readers if your site is a not-for-profit.

3. Your Website's Social Media Reputation

Considering social media when optimising a website for search has gone from being a mere afterthought to top of the list of priorities. More than one billion people are active on Facebook, and the number continues to grow day by day. Your website likely has a corresponding Facebook business page, and if it doesn't, it's time to create one! Studies have shown that your website’s social media reputation is taken into account when ranking websites in search.

A simple way you can see the correlation between social media reputation and web ranking is through the use of JSON-LD Organization markup. The 'sameAs' urls which should link to corresponding social media pages signal to search engines that a given website is represented on social media. It is trivial to imagine that search engines will take into account this data when indexing pages, as a large social following and timely responses from website owners show that webpages on the given site should perhaps be ranked closer to first place on SERPs.

To optimise for social media, ensure you have pages representing your website on all the modern social platforms - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then build your social media following and ensure that you engage with them on a regular basis. You should start to see improvements in your search engine rankings. Share your results with the team at SEOStart by emailing us. We'd love to hear your story.

4. Backlinks from Reputable Sources

Backlinks are incredibly important when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO). Analysing and following links is at the heart of how the first search engines (including Google) were made, and this core has remained unchanged despite algorithm improvements throughout the years. You should therefore aim to build backlinks to your website from day one, and doing so will positively affect your search engine ranking, you'll see.

The general thought goes that if your website is linked to by several credible sources, it is likely an authority on a subject, or at the very least the content it provides is worthy of note. If it wasn't, what would be the point of linking to it? You need to aim to get links to your website from trusted websites that already exist. Trusted websites include educational institutions (with domains ending .ac.uk or .edu), government websites (with domains ending .gov.something or similar) and notable blogs.

Pick sites which are already listed on page one of Google when requesting links back, they are almost certainly a credible source.

5. Click-throughs from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

When your website reaches the front page of Google, and we’re going to be positive here and say when instead of if, you will rise up the ranks primarily from people clicking through to your site for a given query. If out of ten top results, the third repeatedly gets clicked more than expected, then it signals to search engines that the third result probably deserves to be the second or even the first straight away.

Because of this, it is crucial that your titles, URLs and descriptions are optimised for click-throughs. If you sign up to SEOStart, this is taken care of for you. Consider the look of your search result aesthetically. Would you click on one of your own results if you saw it below two others that are better placed on a results page? If you answer no, then more optimisation is needed; if yes, then its time to move on to other areas of SEO that need attention.

We think that Google does indeed use click-through data when ranking websites; it’s a sure-fire metric that says x and y wanted this website when they searched for z, therefore logically rank the website closer to #1 for search term z to give the two users more relevant results.

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