What is Google looking for in a website?

Google’s primary goal is to produce the most relevant, high-quality results to its users. To achieve this, Google’s search algorithms evaluate websites based on several criteria.

Understanding what Google looks for in a website can help improve your site’s visibility and ranking. Here are six of the key factors.

1) Content quality

High-quality, relevant content is the cornerstone of what Google looks for in a website. Content should be original, informative, and well-written, offering value to the user. Google prioritizes content that answers users’ queries comprehensively and accurately. Using relevant keywords naturally within your content helps Google understand the topic of your pages, but keyword stuffing can lead to penalties. 

2) User experience (UX)

User experience is crucial. Google assesses how users interact with your site through metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and pages per session. A good user experience involves:

  • Fast Loading Times: Google takes page speed into account as a ranking factor. It is essential for websites to load rapidly on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Mobile-Friendliness: With most searches now occurring on mobile devices, Google employs mobile-first indexing. Now, Google will mostly use the mobile version of the site content for indexing and ranking.
  • Easy Navigation: A well-organized site structure helps users and search engines find content easily. Clear menus, intuitive navigation, and a logical hierarchy are essential.
  • Visual Stability: Elements on your page should not shift unexpectedly, which can lead to poor user experience. This is part of Google’s Core Web Vitals.

3) Technical SEO

Technical aspects play a considerable role in how well it performs in search rankings. Key technical SEO factors include:

  • Secure Website (HTTPS): Security is important to Google. Websites using HTTPS are preferred over those with HTTP.
  • XML Sitemaps: An XML sitemap assists search engines in comprehending your website’s structure and locating all its pages.
  • Robots.txt: This file tells search engines which pages they can or cannot crawl on your site.
  • Canonical Tags: These help prevent duplicate content issues by identifying the preferred version of a webpage.
  • Schema Markup: This microdata aids search engines in understanding the context of your content, which can enhance your site’s appearance in search results with rich snippets.

4) Backlinks

Inbound links from reputable websites are also called backlinks. These play a crucial role in Google’s ranking algorithm. High-quality backlinks serve as endorsements for your content, indicating to Google that your site is authoritative and trustworthy.

Gaining backlinks naturally through excellent content and fostering relationships within your industry is more advantageous than employing manipulative link-building strategies. You can look into the Click Intelligence app, a specialist marketing company, to learn about backlinks and the types of options you have.  

5) On-page SEO

On-page SEO involves working on individual pages to rank them higher and gain more relevant traffic. Key components include:

  • Title Tags: A clear, concise, and keyword-rich title tag tells Google the exact content of the page.
  • Meta Descriptions: These provide a summary of the page content and can impact click-through rates from search results.
  • Header Tags (H1, H2, etc.): These structure your content so it is far easier for search engines to understand.
  • Alt Text for Images: This helps search engines understand what the images are showing and improves accessibility.

6) User engagement and signals

Google uses user engagement metrics to gauge the quality of your content. Important signals include:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on your link in the search results. A high CTR indicates that your title and description are relevant and compelling.
  • Bounce Rate: This is the number of visitors (as a percentage) who visit one page and then click away again. A high number can indicate your content is misleading and not meeting user needs.
  • Dwell Time: The amount of time a user sits on your page before returning to the search results. Longer dwell times suggest that users find your content valuable.

You need to optimize your website to align with Google’s standards

By concentrating on these crucial areas – content quality, user experience, technical SEO, backlinks, on-page SEO, and user engagement – you can optimize your website to align with Google’s standards. This approach boosts your rankings but also enhances the overall user experience, driving more traffic and attracting potential customers to your site.