Top Google Ranking Factors (as of May 2020)

The amount of influence Google’s search results have on businesses today cannot be overstated. The constant effort to improve your business’s ranking can be complicated, and may sometimes feel like more of an art form than a science (and in some ways it is).

Because Google’s algorithm changes with regularity, staying on top of the latest optimizations is a full-time job…literally. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to constantly making adjustments, there is still hope.

In this article, I’ll lay out some of the most important ranking factors you need to know in 2020. One important note to keep in mind is that ranking improvements can take a couple of months to show, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an immediate jump. In the world of SEO, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Here are the top 7 factors you need to focus on (in no particular order):


1.      Mobile-first

In recent years, there’s been a major shift in the world of web design. People are consuming more web content on mobile devices than on desktops, and search engines are taking notice.

Design your website in a way that’s optimized for a mobile user by making things fast, easy-to-read, and easily navigable. This will not only help your search ranking but should result in longer sessions on your site.

One easy way to help improve the mobile experience is to make sure your website is free of large image or video files that may be slowing downloading time. Speed is a huge factor when evaluating a site’s mobile effectiveness.


2.      Backlinks (but don’t forget outbound links, too)

Despite all the changes in Google’s algorithm, backlinks still remain as one of the top search ranking factors today. If you’re not familiar with how it works, Google takes into account how many outside websites have links to the pages on your site.

Having multiple high-quality websites linking to your website will significantly boost your search performance. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to have good, useful content on your website.

One aspect of the “linking” game that is often overlooked is the importance of outbound links. These are links that lead users to another page (not on your site) for more explanation on a certain topic.

If you’re wondering how in the world sending users off your site can help improve your search ranking, here’s why it works: Google recognizes sites with outbound links as being more helpful to users. Essentially, the algorithm rewards you for really trying to help your audience get the best information, even if it isn’t on your own site.


3.      Freshness

Google is increasingly valuing sites with the most recent content. Try Googling something now and you’ll likely notice (category depending) that the top result is an article or post that has been published recently.

Most internet users have visited a website hoping to get certain information, only to realize that everything was outdated. Google is doing their part to help eliminate this frustrating experience by boosting pages whose page admins regularly update content, and lowering the search ranking for those who don’t.

If you have tons of older content, try making small updates so that the information is relevant and accurate. Doing this, along with adding new content, can help you improve your search ranking.


4.      User experience data

You may have read that websites that are considered “high quality” rank higher. But how exactly is the quality of your site determined? The simple answer is: basic website stats.

Things like bounce rate, time on page, etc. go a long way in proving your site’s utility for those who visit. This is why it’s so important to not just focus on getting people to your page, but keeping them there as well.

If you can prove to Google that people are enjoying their time on your site, the algorithm will reward you for the effort.


Click here to learn more about how to reduce your website’s bounce rate.



5.      Security and accessibility

Cybersecurity has become a mainstay in Google’s search ranking factors over the past few years, and it’s not going anywhere. Having the right type of URL (meaning one that Google can easily reach and crawl) is more important now than ever before.

An ideal URL in Google’s eyes is a website created with a well-coded website builder, a robot.txt file that lets Google know where it can (or can’t) find site information, and a sitemap where all your pages are listed.

Google engineers have said that HTTPS is not a factor in whether or not they’ll index a page, but it’s widely considered to be a minor ranking factor as it usually indicates a better user experience.


6.      Schema markups

The backend of your website holds valuable information, but getting it out to search engines isn’t always easy. Utilizing a website like helps to highlight your data in ways that major search providers can quickly recognize and may boost your ranking if your site passes the test.

Keep in mind that focusing on schema markup alone doesn’t mean that your ranking will improve. It simply helps search engines evaluate your content more effectively. Nonetheless, this can be hugely beneficial if you feel like your site isn’t getting “seen” by the major search providers.


7.      Quality content

The idea of “good content” might sound ambiguous, but there are several components of good content that are fairly concrete.

At the top of the list of what you should be considering in terms of content is your blog. Just how important is it? Blue Corona, a company that evaluates marketing data, has said that adding a blog to your website can increase its chances of ranking in search engines by an astounding 434%!

Make sure that your blog posts include important keywords, make good use of headings, and are at least 750 words or more. Start building up your content library and watch your search ranking improve within just a few months.


Wrapping up

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, getting your search ranking up is an ongoing process that takes constant maintenance. If you need assistance with setting things in the right direction, contact us today for more information!