WordPress SEO in 5 Minutes – What are Ranking Signals?

What are Ranking Signals?

The next article on WordPress SEO from Codesquad for Web Development in Perth is on Ranking Signals. Ranking Signals or Ranking Factors are a set of characteristics or criteria of a website that search engines use to rank a website in search results. The complete set of ranking signals forms the search engine algorithm.

What are Google’s Ranking Signals?

Only Google knows exactly! Google also keeps changing the ranking factors, so you need continuous monitoring of your site SEO. Experience and a lot of testing give SEO experts a good enough idea of the way the algorithm’s work. That is why we always recommend that your SEO be monitored by a professional. Though the exact working of algorithms is a secret, Google does let us know important factors from time to time.

Content

Content is King. Even if you have all other signals in order, low content quality will cost you in the search results. Ensure your content is optimized for keywords as well as search intent. Use original content on each page and canonical URLs for similar content. Use keywords in page titles and meta descriptions. But do remember not to stuff keyword on the page- Google knows when you are trying to do that, and will penalize you.

Linking

Backlinks or inbound links (when other sites link back to your site) are one of the most important ranking signals. You must constantly monitor that inbound links are from quality sites. This sends a message to Google that you are a trusted and authorized source. Similarly link out to trusted sites. Create a strong internal linking structure, will help in ranking for each page.

Mobile Friendly

Mobiles are increasingly the device of choice for internet search. Google has already made it clear that mobile-friendliness would be an important ranking signal. Your site should load fast and have easy navigation on mobiles.

HTTPS

A secure website has moved from a light-weight ranking factor to a strong ranking factor. Website security is a strong factor as Google looks to protect its users from hackers and identity theft.

Page Speed

Speed is a crucial SEO factor. Anything over 3 secs in loading time will lead to a high bounce rate. Optimize images and videos for size and format issues. Content Delivery Networks help with faster load times. Ensure your hosting provider is giving you good accessibility and speed.

Core Web Vitals – The new ranking factors

In May 2020, Google announced that it would be integrating the new Core Web Vitals to the existing page experience signals. The good news is that the change won’t happen till 2021. And Google will make an announcement 6 months before it rolls out the new ranking signals.

Core Web Vitals

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Loading times
  • First Input Delay (FIP) – How long it takes for a site to respond to actions (like dropdowns, clicking on links or checkboxes etc.)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Total of unexpected layout shifts that happen after you arrive on the page.

Existing Page Experience Factors

  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Safe Browsing
  • HTTPS
  • Intrusive Interstitials

Expanding on these new factors is beyond the scope of this article. We promise more on this later.

This is just a starter for your SEO strategy. SEO is exhaustive and ever-evolving, and can be overwhelming for business owners. Codesquad’s SEO team in Perth provides end to end solutions that help you keep your site optimized. Contact us today or email at squad@codesquad.com.au and speak to our WordPress experts.

Codesquad is a member of The Computing Australia Group of Companies.

Today’s Jargon Buster

Canonical URL – The most representative URL from a set of duplicate pages on your site.
Content Delivery Network – A system of geographically distributed servers that delivers web content based on the location of the user.
Internal Linking Structure – The links between relevant pages of your website.