13 Things To Know About SEO

Search Engine SEO Ranking Factors

You may have read that Google uses 200 ranking factors in their algorithm.

Fortunately, you don’t need to master all 200 to succeed with SEO. In fact, you’re better learning about the small set of ranking factors that have the biggest impact.

Great SEO Tips

Here are the most important ranking signals in Google’s algorithm uses (in 2021).

1. Content Quality

Quality content is the ultimate ranking factor.

You can have a site that’s perfectly optimized for SEO. But if your content stinks, it simply won’t rank.

The question is:

When it comes to SEO, what does “quality content” look like?


Google wants content that completely answers someones query.

That’s probably why a study found that longer content ranks above short content:

Longer content ranks above shorter content

So make sure that your content is thorough and complete.


In other words:

Does your content satisfy what a user wanted when they decided to do a Google search?

For example, let’s say you search for “Crossfit exercises”.

A post that lists 17 Crossfit exercises is MUCH more useful than an opinion piece about why Crossfit exercises are great for weight loss.

So make sure your content is insanely useful.


Last up, SEO-friendly content is highly-structured.

Why is this important?

First, well-structured content is easy to read. Which means that users can get the answer to their question faster.

Second, organizing your content into sections helps Google understand what your content is all about.

Well-structured content ranks higher

So make sure your content is structured and well-organized.

2. Content Uniqueness

It’s one thing to have a great piece of thorough, useful and structured content.

But if it regurgitates information that’s already out there, it’s probably not going to rank well.

(After all, Google has content with the same information in its index already. Why would they rank yours above it?)

That’s why your stuff needs to be different or better than the content on page 1.

When you do that, you’ll have a HUGE leg up on the competition.

3. Fully Crawlable Page

If you want to rank, it’s VERY important that search engines can fully crawl and index the content on your page.

In other words:

If search engines are blocked from accessing the page (for example, from Robots.txt), they won’t index the page at all.

Blocked access noindexing

And if they can’t access certain parts of your page, that’s going to hurt your search engine visibility too.

Poor accessibility lowers visibility

You can easily check if your page is fully accessible to search engines using the “URL Inspection” feature in the Google Search Console:

4. Mobile Optimized Site

Google has said that:

“Mobile pages that provide a poor searcher experience can be demoted in rankings or displayed with a warning in mobile search results.”

In other words:

To rank in 2021, your site NEEDS to work well on any device.

(Desktops, phones, tablets and TVs)

Fortunately, Google has created a nifty free tool called the “Mobile-Friendly Test”.

Mobile-Friendly Test

It tells you whether or not your page is optimized for mobile…

…with specific recommendations on fixing it.

Mobile-Friendly Test – Results

A backlink is like a vote from another website.

What are backlinks

Search engines like Bing and Google measure these votes. And they use them to figure out which pages deserve to rank in the top 10.

The more backlinks a page gets, the better it will rank in search engines.

Number of backlinks

6. Domain Authority

A link pointing directly to a page will help that page rank better.

Direct links help rankings

But these links also help boost your site’s overall Domain Authority, which is your site’s authority as a whole.

Direct links improve domain authority

And the higher your Domain Authority, the better all of the pages on your site will rank.

Higher Domain Authority, better overall rankings

The best way to boost your Domain Authority is to create an awesome site.

7. Anchor Text

Google uses anchor text to figure out what a page is about.

What are anchor links

For example, someone recently linked to my site with the anchor text: “backlinks”

Link to Backlinko with anchor text backlinks

This anchor text tells Google: “Other people are linking to this page with ‘backlinks’ anchor text. This page must be about backlinks.”

8. Site Loading Speed

Your site’s loading speed is a VERY important ranking factor.

(Especially how quickly your page loads on mobile devices)

In fact, Google has even come out and said that “page speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

9. Keyword Usage

I’m going to sound like Captain Obvious here, but stay with me:

If you want to rank for a keyword, you need to use that keyword on your page.

Use keywords you want to rank for

Otherwise, Google won’t know that your page is about that keyword.

For example, here’s a page on my site optimized around “link building”

Backlinko Link Building Guide Keywords

As you can see, I use the keyword “link building”, a few times in my content.

(I should also point out that I don’t go overboard and use my keyword 100 times. That’s called “keyword stuffing”, which can work against your SEO efforts).

Another thing to keep in mind:

You don’t need to use your exact keyword every time. In fact, it’s smart to include variations of your main keyword in your content.

For example, if your keyword is “Paleo Desserts”, you’d also want to use terms like “Paleo Diet Desserts” and “Paleo Cookies”:

Include variations of main keywords

10. Google RankBrain

RankBrain is the AI part of Google’s algorithm.

How important is RankBrain?

Well, Google has confirmed that RankBrain is one of their “top 3” ranking factors:

RankBrain is one of Google's top 3 ranking factors

RankBrain’s main job is to figure out what a searcher wants… and serve them up the best results for that search.

Because RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm, it’s constantly changing. Which makes it tricky to optimize for.

So my advice is this:

The best way to “optimize” for RankBrain is to create awesome content that makes searchers happy.

11. Search Intent Match

Does your content match what a searcher wants at that particular moment?

If so, you’re going to find yourself with a massive rankings boost.

That’s because Google is trying to downgrade traditional ranking factors (like keywords and links) in favor of ranking factors that answer the question: “Does this content give the searcher what they were looking for?”.

In fact, Google employs thousands of “Quality Raters” to measure how well the search results satisfy search intent.

Google quality raters

How about an example?

Let’s say you just did a search for “link building”.

Google closely monitors how you interact with the search results.

For example, if you click from the first results — and quickly bounces back to the search results — that’s a strong sign that the result didn’t make you happy.

Pogosticking SEO

(The act of bouncing around the results is called “Pogosticking”)

But if you click on a result and get exactly what you were looking for, Google will push that result to the top.

Rankings improve if the selected result satisfies the user

12. Content Freshness

Google does NOT want to rank out of date stuff.

That’s why you might have noticed that brand new content gets a temporary rankings boost:

Brand new content gets a temporary boost

(Usually for day or two)

That said, “Freshness” is still important weeks or months after your content goes live.

Specifically, Google wants to see that your content is still relevant and up to date.

For example, let’s say you just published a massive iPhone buying guide.

Google Ranking Improvement Of Up To Date Content

Well, unless you update that content on a regular basis, it’s going get out of date REALLY quickly.

Google measures freshness directly (they check to see if the content has been updated since you published it… and how often.)

But they also use User Experience Signals to see if people start interacting with your content differently (for example, they notice people start bouncing from the page right away).

That’s why it’s important that you regularly update your content to keep it fresh.

For example, I update almost every page on my site at least once per year.

But even if you’re not in a fast-changing industry like SEO, I still recommend updating your content once per year to keep it fresh in the eyes of Google (and users).

13. E-A-T

Google’s newest Search Quality Guidelines state:

“…the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T)
is very important”.

In other words:

Google wants to promote content written by legit experts on that topic.

Here are 3 quick tips to help you optimize for E-A-T.

Identify Authors

Make it easy for Google to know WHO wrote a particular piece of content.

And whenever possible, hire or work with well-respected experts in your field.

Be Transparent

Make sure that users can easily contact you (using a contact form or email address).

Reputation Matters

Google’s quality raters are instructed to look at a site’s off-site reputation.

Google Quality Raters look at a site's off-site reputation

In other words:

They monitor what people online are saying about your site.

And if your site has a reputation for publishing useful, trusted content, that’s going to help your rankings in a major way.

Things You Can Do To Help Your On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is a basic but very important tenet of creating a stable SEO base for your website.

In simple terms, it is the effect that can be gained by manipultaing parts of a web page; by changing wording, making things more readable or using significant keywords in headers for your page.

For example if your website is based around car repairs then you should aim to have the phrase “car repairs” within your header text, your body text (your main paragraphs) and also longer phrases like “car repairs in Nottingham” within your text (and varations of these phrases) several times over.

Also within the snippets (the bit displayed on the search engine results pages), the same should be observed.

This will all help your on-page SEO score climb higher.

Observe how this page has been created to contain certain keywords relevant to the business activity.

There are many other things you can change also and we will cover some of these in time, but these are some easy changes you can effect youself to assist in your on-page SEO.

If you wish to have us take care of the work for you then get in touch here of course.

So What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, from here on known as SEO is the method of getting specific traffic to your website from a search engine’s like Google or Bing etc, through their organic results.

Some basic elements associated with SEO usually include creating quality and optmised content, or for example making sure that your website is structured in a certain way that “crawlers” and search engines will find easy to read.

When you set about optimising content around a specific set of keywords this in turn provides relevance to your website.

SEO should be guided towards improving a website’s rank in the organic, or “not paid for” section of the search engines results.

So Far… so good..

So now you know what SEO is, check back here for updates that will walk you through some relatively straight forward things you can do yourself to improve your website rank, on-page content and much more.

We will be updating this regularly so remeber to bookmark this page (SEO in practice right there) and check back in with us for more tips and news.

You can contact us here with any queries about our service.

In the mean time a very useful tool for assessing what your own website is like in terms of an “SEO score” based on numerous standardised industry factors can be found here.

Also, anyone on Twitter who is interested in SEO and its best practice (it is always changing) should check out Neil Patel. He is basically one of leading authorities in the world on the matter and ocassionally dishes out some free tips.