Google Ranking Factors  - Ultimate SEO Checklist for 2020 & Beyond 

Higher page ranking in Google is the priority for every business to ensure the accomplishment of the online venture. But the question is: what are the top ranking factors Google use for better SEO?

Research reports there are more than 200 Google SEO ranking factors, though Google reveals they have top 3 ranking signals in the search algorithm.

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Martin Splitt recently shared the top 3 SEO Factors to focus in 2020. And those are-
I. Content
II. Meta Data
III. Performance
Though we are not narrowing down our list for the top 3 only, we will talk on the other driving factors as well. If you are interested to know how to rank higher in Google, you are on the right page. Let's find a comprehensive list of Google Ranking Factors - Ultimate SEO Checklist for 2020 & Beyond, piled together.

Research

Research is possibly the most tedious part of SEO for many. But we love it to do for our clients.
Why is the research part so important?
Because it makes you understand what you are up against and what you will be doing. Your entire SEO strategy depends on your depth of perception. So do not ever skip the research part.

1. Market Research

Now market research provides you with a feeling of the perfect scenario. And chances are, you will work on a more certain website.

Look around upright and parallelly. The data you collect from market research will come convenient while you start planning your SEO strategy and link building programme.

2. Niche Research

After conducting market research, now it's time to study niche. You need to recognise -
I. who are you going up against directly
II. the overall state of the niche when it comes to SEO
III. the types of results Google showing you when you search
IV. if news sites being shown
Understanding all these help you prioritise, what you need to do to get higher visibility in the quickest span.

3. Competitor Research

Do you know, who are your main competitors in business? What are they doing or planning? How aggressive are they for online marketing and SEO success?
Find out your competitors by searching the keywords you have targeted on Google and jot down the names. Also, gather their link profiles, recognise the sites that get most links, understand the link types used, and identify what the viewers are sharing or how they participate.

4. Keyword Research

The data you have collected from the competitor research part will help you in this phase.

Watch out the keywords that your competitors are using and getting the higher ranking. You can find the exact anchor texts that get most clicks from the links, and you can create yours using different digital marketing tools. You can also find out other keywords used or bid by your competitors as well.

Now compile all those keywords and add your target keywords in the list. Now, cut-paste the keywords on Google Keyword Planner and get a ton of keyword recommendations that you have never thought before.

5. Data Compilation

This step is crucial as you need to compile all the initial keywords and backlinks collected from the research done previously. Put these data into a well-organised list, and find answers for -

  • What is the current status of your website considering your competitors?
  • How optimized are competitor websites?
  • How many links do the competitor websites have?

Now, you need to set off the Google Analytics tool to get data on the website you are working. Crawling the site is also necessary so that the data is available during on-page SEO.

6. Google Search Console

The latest version of Google Webmaster Tools is just great to get a ton of data by using it. You can check for:

  • crawl errors
  • penalties
  • the sitemap submitted already
  • HTML improvements if needed
  • broken links

Grab the data and fix the issues before you start the on-page SEO phase.

On-Page SEO

Though on-page SEO has received a lot of criticism from determined link builders, a lot of them have finally come to accept this as a significant part of the overall SEO process.

At present, a lot of pages rank effectively from consistent and good on-page SEO work. So, never underestimate the on-page SEO strategy.

7. General

Below we have mentioned the basic things to consider for on-page SEO:

  • Add XML Sitemap
  • Add Navigation
  • Add Menus
  • Use Breadcrumbs
  • Add a robots.txt file
  • Check for Canonical
  • For Pagination, add Rel="next" and Rel="prev"

No-index Thin Pages

  • Tags should be no-indexed
  • Category pages that don't have unique content

Fix problems found in Webmaster Tools

  • Title - ensure keyword presence/check for H1 tag
  • Use long-tail keywords in the title
  • Check Meta Tags
  • Fix all pages missing Meta Titles (write titles within 60 characters)
  • Fix all pages missing Meta Descriptions (write description within 160 characters or less)
  • Fix all images missing Alt Text
  • Check # tags (e.g. h1, h2, etc.) and order them properly

8. Optimize Content

Now comes the content. Check all the existing content on your website. And don't be doubtful in changing the content if it improves the quality and appearance, and also, do not hesitate to leave the useless pages.

So, what are the points you need to check in your contents?

  • Check for Duplicate Content
  • Review Visual Design
  • Revise Use of Media
  • Optimize Media Size
  • Add Tags to Media
  • Schema – use microdata to identify the media properly
  • (check out https://neilpatel.com/blog/faq-schema/ for easiest understanding)
  • Use LSI Keywords – these make your content more consistent
  • (another good read here https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/lsi)
  • Categorise Contents Properly
  • Publish Usual Static Pages (Privacy/ Terms/ Sitemap/ About/ Contact etc.)
  • Keep Indexed Pages Static
  • Do Internal Linking
  • Have Quality Outbound Links
  • Refresh or Update Contents Frequently
  • Monitor Bounce Rate
  • Externalize Code (CSS)

9. Performance Tweaks

It is significant to know how your website functions. So, identify the possible issues your site might having and fix these to assure your website rank better on the search engine.

  • Check Mobile-Friendliness
  • Check Multi-Browser-Friendliness
  • Check or Improve Site Loading Speed
  • Use CDN
  • Use Good Hosting
  • (if you find great improvement with your traffic, start moving away from a shared hosting account)
  • Compress Images
  • Use Different Ways to Cache

You can check with Google PageSpeed Insights for further fixes.

10. URL Optimization

Do you know, even your URL structure can have a good impact on your rankings?

A simple yet relevant helps users remember it, and also attract new viewers. The best practice is to -

  • retain the URL as short as possible
  • incorporate primary keywords into the URL
  • use absolute URLs
  • simplify dynamic URLs with mod_rewrite
  • use 301 redirects for rewritten URLs
  • set up non-www to www redirect

11. Using Schema

There are very few websites that use Schema. But, this is in the on-page SEO sector to stay for the long run. Utilise the benefits of it.

Though the immediate impact of Schema on SEO is still to be proved accurately, its indirect consequences are pretty obvious.

What do you need to do for now?

  • Test the website for the current schema
  • Refine or add markup for possible schema (Official Logo, Articles, etc.)

Off-Page SEO

Have heard a lot about off-page SEO work, right?

This is the most known SEO part, which is usually related to link building. Everyone wants to contribute their maximum time and effort in off-page SEO besides planning and creating content.

Below we have mentioned some of the old-school off-page SEO practices, while some are new and some are especially niche specific.

12. Set Up Brand Alert

Set up a brand alert and know promptly as someone mentions your brand or any other related keyword, anywhere on the internet. There are different tracking tools, including Google Alert.

Setting up brand mention tracker allows you to follow positive and negative reviews, press or blog mentions, forum questions, and more.

It gives you to get backlinks by starting it promptly and helps you build better brand loyalty by attesting that your quick response to the posts or issues.

13. Competitor Company Links

Look around crossways in your niche and category to find your business rivals. Pile up all those at a place and check the links, and then go out and get those.

14. Rank on Competitor Links

To find your direct-ranking competitors, search for your target keywords. And chances are you haven't noticed a lot of them while performing the competitor research phase.

Now organise all these sites and check their backlinks. You can find the relevant links using the Link Intersect by Ahrefs. Find the links that your competitors have used already. You have a higher chance to get those links fast.

15. Create Social Media Profiles

Organize your social attributes and make sure to put a link back to your website.

16. Broken Link Building

Broken link building is a fundamental strategy to start the conversation with a webmaster. If you give them something, they might eventually do you favour.
Now, get creative with the broken links. Broken link building is one of the consistent opportunities for SEO link building. What you need is the right method.

Here's the step by step guide on broken link building - https://www.quicksprout.com/broken-link-building-guide/

17. Utilise Relevant Pinterest Boards

PinGroupie is a good place to join or ask to get invited on Pinterest Group Boards.

Though Pinterest links are usually no-follow, it can bring you lots of traffic and visibility over the internet. By doing this, seo company in madurai you can identify new links that you never get by finding new pages for getting a link on, or efficiently by doing link prospecting.

You probably know that you can message directly on Pinterest nowadays. So, take a step forward and reach out to them who shared your pin.

18. Join Expert Roundups

Expert roundups are now a dime a dozen and getting bigger day by day. You don't require to join all of these groups but a few of them for sure.

Usually, these groups are on blogs with their readership. So, it offers you a great opportunity to get your brand out there and ultimately pull in added links.
For the most part, these are on blogs with their readership, so it's a chance for you to get your brand out there and eventually draw up more links.
On the other hand, you can be the one to arrange expert roundups and propose that as part of your outreach. If you involve the right plan for the roundup, a lot of people are going to link to it.

19. Guest Posting

What is your view on guest posting? If you think it is dead, you think it wrong. It is more like that guest blogging on irrelevant or fake blog networks is almost gone. It's more dominant than ever, and more precious as well.

Find the right platform, develop the right connections, and create excellent content for the audience without over-using the anchor text.

20. Blog Commenting To Build Relationships

Though blog comment links are usually no-follow links, the original purpose is in the contacts made here. You can meet a lot of people only making the guest comments that ultimately link you to the readers and help you build relationships.
While you can make some new connections through email, some by joining local networking events, make some by starting blog commenting in spare times.

21. Link with Quote Directories

What to do with quote directories? You can use several quote directories for links. Also look for the blog directories, niche-specific directories, startup directories. These links are usually obtainable smoothly, and for the most part, these are free.

22. Get on Sites that Offer Awards

There are awards for different business sites from specific award sites, both local and international. There are plenty of business awards you can join.

It allows you to get a link then by getting nominated for a particular award. And, if you win the prize, you can show off it on your website, and add further perks to your business.

23. Contribute to Newsletters

Contribute in the newsletter to take your brand out there to get targeted traffic, and engage faithful readers. But where does the SEO part come here?

You can find sites that would allow you to distribute your content, but for their subscribers, exclusively. It is similar to guest posting but only for an elite list of readers.

You can also get along the newsletter publishers, who publish approved content every month. Many of their subscribers use the content while sharing their monthly or weekly link roundups on their company blog pages, and creates more potential links.

Moreover, some people directly copy the newsletter content and paste it on their website. It gives you further benefit.

24. Get on Institution Websites

Get on the .gov and .edu links. Even if we tell you to hack their sites, or manipulate their Moodle platforms or others, it is purely a white-hat SEO practice.

The familiar way to get on these sites is their resource page. Though you can offer work for them in exchange for a link. While the .gov sites often have forums that give do-follow links, you can be a provider to a project or event considering your business niche. It can help you get further opportunities the right way.

25. Don't Overlook New Bloggers

New bloggers look for a platform and also look for the mentors who have already achieved their desired hight. They need your guidance and suggestion.

If someone like this tries to reach you through email, do not wait to help them out. Relationships established this way can create strong links not possible by simple prospecting.

Moreover, while, building out your prospecting list, don't ignore new blogs. Those who are a PR-0 site, often they have resolute followers that jump on any suggestion they make, and the followers are usually bloggers too. This means you are going to get more links and build a reliable connection.

26. Do Guest Podcasting

Podcasting is the latest big thing, and it's a great platform to get some high-quality link. You don't need to start podcasting your own, only do guest podcasting to get more connection.

27. Submit to Curating Platforms

Content curation platforms are great to share your content out and then link back to your website. Though these links are often no-follow links, these platforms have followers and users. Most of seo company in tirunelveli these users who curate contents have their blogs, hence, your blog gets sent to their page, and their readers go through your blog.
This is how you achieve a lot of traffic and readers truly who stick around.

28. Use LinkedIn Pulse

Don't miss LinkedIn Pulse. It's not only to get links, but it's a great platform to create brand visibility.

Assume that your followers on LinkedIn already have an online presence. And some of them have their blog as well. So, you can get some new links from their followers as well.

Furthermore, you can republish your content on LinkedIn Pulse, and it's not duplicate content.

29. Get on Publisher Websites

Target top tier publishing sites depending on your niche. Find those really big publishers and make sure to get on them. Also, consider the viral sites to get on board.

Usually, you need to write on their backend and try hard to get your work featured on the main site. Otherwise, your content won't be indexed.

You can be creative and start with some shorter blogs. Spread those for getting viral on platforms wherefrom the publishing sites get the news. Once you are picked up, push your content again on the next level, and keep going on.

30. Find Uncredited Images

People steal your images. Steal! Does it sound harsh? But it is genuine and inevitable. Bloggers often grab images off Google, and it is absolutely an innocent act as we understand.

But we know SEO, right! Hence, practically stealing images means getting a free link. You can upload an image for Google's image search and get links where the images applied. You can get links from infographic promotion in the same way.

31. Submit to Slideshare

Do you have a collection of slide decks? Simply share those on to the platforms like Slideshare.

Do you generate blog posts? Then Re-purpose your blogs content into slides share them.

32. Find Links To Your Social Media Account But Not Website

This is simple yet highly neglected.

By doing a simple backlink check on your own social profiles, you can dig out some pretty easy links.

To take this a step further, compile your competitor's social accounts and check their links.

33. Use a Service? Submit a Testimonial!

If you use a service or bought a course or maybe you are a member of a group/newsletter, then you can try to share your learnings, testimonials and results to the owner.

If you are purely in this for the link, which I know you are, then make sure the site you are contacting has a testimonial area.

For a more extensive process, Bryan Harris, THE poster boy, explains this like no other.

34. Support Crowd Funding Projects

I mentioned it briefly here but I have talked about this on the newsletter pretty extensively in the past.

You basically find crowd-funding projects that offer a link from their websites. You support them and get the link when they go live.

35. Charities to Support

There are tons of charities you can support. Look around your local area and find those with websites.

Of course, you need to be aligned with their vision.

36. Q&A Sites

Q&A sites are mostly no-follow links but they bring in relevant traffic. They also rank pretty well and can get you spots in Google's results.

That way, you can get more visibility, new users and eventually, new links.

37. Research How an Author Did it

I love this technique because I can sort of see how someone I look up to got to where he is today.

I could see how hard they worked, how they did it, the creativity they showed and more!

I could then do something similar and set myself apart from what he already did.

I talked about this extensively on the newsletter and I mentioned it on my post over here.

38. Supplier Websites

This is mainly for e-commerce websites where you have suppliers that have sites. Just ask for those links.

If you are a business or a blog and have someone you work with that has a site, then you can also ask for a link from them. Easy, high-quality links are always welcome.

39. Do Successful Content BETTER

As mentioned in my previous post, my go-to strategy when it comes to link building is simply just doing better content than what's already working out there and get all their links!

It basically means that people are interested and you can get those links.

40. Comment Scouting

Comment scouting is a way for me to simply get ideas from the comments area (be it in my own blog or another blog) and create content for whatever the need I see there.

Then you contact the commenters and commenters on other blog posts with a similar topic.

I am creating a post about this and I'll be posting it soon. Signup for our newsletter so you never miss an update!

41. Build Category Specific Sites

Category pages on a website are probably the hardest pages to get links for. E-commerce sites will benefit from getting links to these pages greatly so one way of getting links is by creating separate websites.

Cultivate them, get them links and then 301 those domains to your main category.

Since you read all the way here, here are a few bonus strategies that aren't in the infographic!

42. Management and Sponsor Links

Let's say you are working on a celebrity's site, then get a link from her agency's site. Get links from her sponsors and magazines that mention her.

Are you getting paid to show off products? Get links from your sponsor's website!

Everything Else

Once you get to the point of the Google Ranking Factors Checklist, the next part is the cherry on top. Most of these ranking factors don't fit into the categories mentioned above.

While some factors are minor, some are vital once you start ranking, and the others are for support.

43. Social Media

Let's start with this influential platform.

When it comes to explaining social media platform and its direct effect on SEO, it's almost always controversial. Why?

Because, there are a lot of people who disregard the impact of social media in moving forward both online and offline brands.

For us, we believe that social media has plenty of indirect impact on a brand's ranking on the search engine.

So, make sure your website is set up suitably and linked to your brand's official social pages on different platforms.

Hence, creating social media accounts help you gain brand awareness and brand loyalty. It also helps you get new users and subsequent links..

44. Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO is an art itself and does have processes that affect overall SEO strategy. Furthermore, it doesn't damage to convert more of your existing visitors.
Some of the things significant in CRO include:
‒ Continue to speed up website
‒ Check bounce rate
‒ Be sure to avoid duplicate content during A/B testing
‒ Keep track of the correct page that is converting
‒ Test User Experience and give it a priority

45. Rank Tracking

We haven't Rank Tracking earlier because we can skip it to a certain extent. Only if you are serious about your SEO strategy, this is a necessary factor to include to your list.

The Google Webmaster Tool offers average data on rank tracking of where you place. You need to use dedicated rank tracking software or any of the cloud-hosted rank tracking tools. It offers more accurate local or country-specific data.

46. Reputation Management

Brand identity is essential, and it saves you from massive headaches in the future when your brand is big enough.
Also, keep tracking your brand's mentions either to get more links, as well as to stop negative things from escalating.

47. Ongoing Server Configuration Checks

Don't ignore server tweaking regularly, especially when you are getting constant growth in traffic.

Moreover, ongoing checks protect you from the misconfigured things on your website. It also helps you point out early if your website is down or is having issues with loading speed.

48. Other Paths to Improve Branding Online

There are more things to do besides traditional link building.
We can build our brands over several ecosystems that are crawled by Google.
From YouTube to Apple or Amazon, these are major search engines on their own and can build your brand within them. It aids your SEO strategy and takes up space in Google's results. So, that's a bonus for your brand to grow online.

49. Keep Up with the Latest Google Guidelines

Google keeps on changing its guidelines from time to time, and it's just the nature of their gameplan.

If you miss the latest SEO development introduced by Google, your SEO strategy will be misguided. Make sure to keep yourself up to date with the latest Google guidelines.

Conclusion

Well, the list is quite long and the reading time too!

Not all, if you follow half of the things we have mentioned and explained here, will benefit your Google Ranking in the coming year and so on definitely.
All of these above mentioned Google SEO Ranking Factors for 2020 and beyond are truly striking!

So, go for them.

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