In 2021, are you still not able to rank high on Google?
Don’t worry, I have compiled top 21 Google on-page SEO ranking factors.
All these ranking factors are proven to help you rank better on target keywords.
Nevertheless, your competition, and industry trends may still make it difficult for you to rank on the top. These factors are out of your control.
Nevertheless, you can still work on-page SEO ranking factors which is in your total control.
Now, let us quickly learn the top Google on-page SEO ranking factors one-by-one.
At any point, you want to ask a question use the comment box at the end of the article.
- #1. Title of the Web Page
- #2. Meta Description of the Web Page
- #3. SEO Friendly URLs
- #4. Keywords – Relevancy, Density, and Variety
- #5. Web Page Speed
- #6. SSL Certificate
- #7. Content – Quality, Readability, Length & Depth
- #8. Image Alt Tags
- #9. Image Optimization – Size, and Quality
- #10. Internal Linking
- #11. External Linking
- #12. Rich Snippets
- #13. YouTube Optimization – Content and Quality
- #14. Google My Business – Local SEO
- #15. Sitemap Submission
- #16. Engagement – Variety and Interactivity
- #17. Click-Through-Rate
- #18. Direct and Returning Traffic
- #19. Mobile Responsiveness
- #20. Website User Experience
- #21. Header Tags – H1, H2 and H3
#1. Title of the Web Page
Across all major research reports, you will find web page title is the most important ranking signal. Even Google says that.
Keep following things in mind, while writing your page titles:
- Start your title with your target keyword
- Make it catchy, interesting and direct
- Ideal page titles length 2021 – 60 characters
- Use titles – such as how-to questions, and lists
#2. Meta Description of the Web Page
After the title, meta descriptions play the most crucial role in convincing web traffic to click.
Things to remember about meta description:
- Write in short sentences
- Try to start your description with your target keyword
- Make it easy read
- Should have action words
- Value proposition is exact and clear
- Ideal meta description length 2021 – 160 characters
#3. SEO Friendly URLs
Many SEOs disagree on effectiveness on SEO friendly URLs. But I personally feel that, nowadays the audience also read your URL before click it.
Therefore, I recommend to always keep your URLs SEO friendly, and keep these points in mind, while making one:
- Ideal length for SEO friendly URLs 2021 – 60 characters
- Accommodate your target keyword in it
- Use hyphen for spacing always
#4. Keywords – Relevancy, Density, and Variety
Keywords are the first and most strategic to your SEO plan.
However, your target keyword will need to be relevant. That means your keyword needs to be popular and relevant to your website and content.
Apart from that, it is necessary to have appropriate keyword density. The ideal keyword density is 2 percent of the total words.
Lastly, the variety of keywords that are directly related should be used.
For example, if your target keyword is real estate, then related ones could be properties, broker, real estate agent etc.
#5. Web Page Speed
Increasing the speed of your website, and reducing the size of your content can be very technical.
Nevertheless, you will still need to work on it. That’s because Google says that your page should quickly open.
According to Google, the ideal size of a page should be less than 2 MB.
Because if you don’t your bounce rate will increase and your ranks will drop.
You can work on following things to increase page speed:
- Reduce your image size that can be a major factor behind the low speed
- Keep heavy image content below the fold
- Use Google Page Speed tool to check page speed and learn how you can increase your speed further
#6. SSL Certificate
Google categorically said that SSL certificate is one of the important ranking factors.
However, further clarified that it is still not necessary for all.
You will need to buy one SSL certificate on a yearly subscription basis.
Despite that, you can still use a free SSL certificate.
But the setup is the most difficult part. You could use Let’s Encrypt free SSL certificate.
Even Google recommends Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
#7. Content – Quality, Readability, Length & Depth
Undoubtedly, the content is still and always be the king.
Your content has the power to make or ruin your SEO game.
So, to make your game at SEO, you will need to work on the quality of your content.
Quality of content includes:
- No grammatical mistakes
- Deep research
- Add facts and figures
- Readability up to 8 grade level (Hemingway Editor best online tool to help you improve readability)
- No repetition, duplicate content or plagiarism (tool to check this – Siteliner)
- A research says that 2,000 word blog ranks faster on Google
#8. Image Alt Tags
Image alternative tags are commonly ignored though it can have an effect on your ranking.
Therefore, it is always recommended to use relevant and original images according to the content.
Moreover, add target keywords of the page relevant to the image.
It is big no, to not add irrelevant keywords with the unrelated images.
For example, you shouldn’t use the keyword ‘cat’ in an image of dog.
The ideal length for image alt tag is 125 characters.
Make sure your alt tags are descriptive enough that may include the target keyword.
#9. Image Optimization – Size, and Quality
Images on a web page are the major reason for a low speed. That in turn will drop your rankings.
Therefore, it is important that you reduce the size of the image, so that your page shouldn’t cross 2 MB threshold.
Moreover, the quality remains intact enough for a better visual.
Tools such as Photoshop can help you reduce the size.
And ideally JPEG format is the most recommended one.
#10. Internal Linking
Breadcrumbs are the most recommended for navigation and crawling.
However, internal linking will still be needed for better crawling rate and higher ranks.
I personally recommend you to read Neil Patel’s internal linking guide that covers everything about it.
Make sure you link your internal page at the right time and right place, every time.
#11. External Linking
Outbound linking is equally important.
Because your external links gives signal to Google that you’ve qualified your content.
However, make sure that you always link high ranking and authority sites.
Particularly, government, institution, research agencies, and news media websites.
Moreover, the linking should always be in the context of your content.
#12. Rich Snippets
Again, rich snippets are very technical that will require you take special efforts.
If your website is in WordPress, then you could ideally use rich snippet plugins such as ‘All in One Schema Rich Snippets’
There are various online tools available that can help you to generate rich snippets for your website.
Though Rich Snippets increase your click through rate. Nevertheless, you can still reach top search without them.
#13. YouTube Optimization – Content and Quality
Google research says that a video can increase 90% conversion rate on your web page.
Though, making videos can be difficult and time consuming, but still it’s worth it.
But most importantly, your video submission to YouTube for your target keyword with a backlink to your page will increase the rank of your page.
Looking for relevant topics or question people searching in your industry. And then make a video targeting the keyword.
#14. Google My Business – Local SEO
Google My Business is a service to verify your business location on Google Maps.
Google My Business is the best platform for targeting local keywords on Google search engine easily.
Moreover, Google My Business can send huge local traffic to your website. The local traffic usually has a high conversion rate.
In addition, Google gives preferentially high ranking to verified local business to local searches.
However, you will need to keep in mind following thing for better and higher rankings for local keywords:
- Add original location and setup photos
- Add quality content with target keywords
- Collect positive reviews
- Regularly post using target keywords
#15. Sitemap Submission
Google Search Console is the ultimate platform to follow your SEO performance.
You can further increase your crawling rate and search rankings by submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console.
With Yoast SEO or WP Sitemap Page WordPress plugins you can easily create sitemap.
The most ideal format for sitemap is XML.
Sitemaps is one of the most important Google SEO ranking factors of 2021.
#16. Engagement – Variety and Interactivity
Everyone talks about engagement, very few people understand the ins and outs of it.
The most important factors behind online engagement on your website are a variety of content and interactivity.
The more variety of content and interactive content you deliver, the more traffic stays and engages.
Nowadays, SEOs are using games, contests, quizzes etc. to increase interactivity.
If you’ve developed quality content, with amazing title and description, and you know people will love it.
Then it doesn’t matter initially you may have low ranks but as people see your page, they will click on it.
Eventually as your click through rate shoots up, so will your rank.
I have seen one of my blogs initially ranking 43rd and then gradually the average rank reached 3.
That happened due to high click through rate, which was almost 3-4 percent at the start then increased with rank up to 15 percent.
I told you, your title, description and above all your content is immensely important.
#18. Direct and Returning Traffic
Websites that tend to attract their first time visitors back to their website, or have high direct traffic, Google automatically increases their ranks.
If you need direct traffic, you would need to work on your branding, social media marketing and offline advertising.
For returning traffic, you will need to work on your website.
Particularly on the user experience and user interface part.
#19. Mobile Responsiveness
In 2019, Google changed its indexing policy to mobile first.
That is primarily due to the mobile-led digital world today.
You cannot remain oblivious to the fact that mobile digital world is already here.
Apps and mobile sites are running the business in the online world.
Therefore, your website needs to be mobile responsive.
Otherwise, you will drastically lose your ranks on Google.
You can check your mobile responsiveness using the Screenfly online tool.
#20. Website User Experience
Website user experience is a study of user online behavior and website development together.
Today, it is important to understand your target audience’s needs, wants, preferences, and behavior.
And based on that, you will set your color scheme, page structure, design and many other things.
For example, a research says that colors such as Orange, Red, and Green should ideally be used for buttons as it increases click through rate.
Furthermore, wrong placement of important content or call-to-action will lead to poor engagement and high bounce rate.
#21. Header Tags – H1, H2 and H3
People at Google said that header tags are not relevant.
But to my experience, header tags are very much relevant still today.
Use of target keyword in the header tag also helps you to increase your rank for the target keyword in Google search engine.
There are header tags from H1 to H6. But it is recommended to use only H1 to H3 only.
The ideal size for header tags is 70 characters.
The shorter header tags may show up on Google search itself.
That’s it guys, do you have suggestions, well then go ahead use the comment box, I would love to read them.