Ranking and Leading Factors: Internal and External SEO

In the introduction to this series, we got acquainted with some factors that top the ranking of search results, some of which were documented and confirmed by Google directly, or through thousands of experiences from SEO experts in the world, and in this article, we will expand greatly on the most important factors of leadership, explaining them, and how they can be applied , and how it affects your site's ranking on the SERP search results page.

You may have noticed in most Arab and international sites that everyone divides factors into internal factors on the page (sometimes called internal SEO / On-Page SEO / On-Site SEO), and external factors (External SEO / Off-Page SEO / Off-Site SEO), And this grouping of more than 200 Google ranking factors into two categories has some shortcut, but a lot of it!

There are many factors that are not related to your page (directly) in which it competes with other pages, factors related to your site in general, factors related to the domain as well! and factors related to the interaction of users on your page and site in general.

Therefore, we will divide the factors in this article into more than two parts (internal and external), to have a more comprehensive view of the subject, and to be able to better collect and understand the factors related to each other.

Mistakes you make when converting to your siteDomain Factors

We will start with it because it is the least and easiest, and here we are not talking about the site, but only about the domain name of your site, there are some factors related to it that may play a role in the ranking of the results of your site pages.

Domain Age

But most likely you will not find a site that is several weeks old that may top the search pages. There has been a lot of controversy around this point. Sometimes a Google employee says that the difference between a 6-month-old domain and a one-year-old domain is not a huge difference:

The difference between a domain that's six months old versus one-year-old is really not that big at all. So as long as you've been around for a least a couple months, a few months, you should be able to make sure that you're able to show up in the search results.

But what happened in the past (which Google has denied many times) is that the new domains enter into something called the Sandbox, in which the domains remain for several months before they can be top, but this has been denied several times by Google, although a site like Moz when They changed their domain name from SEOMoz.org to SEOMoz.com, their pages have been delayed for about 9 months .

In a study by Ahrefs to find out the age of the links (not the entire domain) that appear on the first page of Google search results, it was clear that nearly 95% of the links on the first page of Google are more than a year old!

The bottom line in this factor is that it should not be taken as a 100% guaranteed factor, nothing is proven in it, even Google denies that it is an influential factor in the algorithm, but the numbers say otherwise, it could be indirect factors (such as backlinks that often It is almost non-existent for new domains) that affects here.

 Registration Length

This information was clarified by Google in one of the patents it registered for the search algorithms system, and I quote from it here the following:

Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains are rarely used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain

What does this mean? Long-term registered domains help search engines distinguish the quality and credibility of this domain, since amateur sites are “usually” registered for only one year.

It is necessary to clarify that this patent is old, and although he did not want anything from Google to deny it afterwards, there are many things related to the domain that have developed in search algorithms to help Google know the credibility of these domains, but if you are making a site and a long business Term, it is always better for you to renew the domain for as long as possible.

The reputation of the Domain Authority

Yes, as people have a reputation, there is a reputation for domains, which includes several factors, the most important of which is the number and type of sites that talk about this domain (ie, the backlinks ).

You may have heard a lot about the term DA or Domain Authority in some of the discussions about sites, mostly the discussion is about a scale built by MOZ that gives a rating of any site from 1 to 100 based on the “likelihood” that this domain will be on the search pages, this rating is based on Many factors, the most important of which are the number and quality of links pointing to this site, the site’s evaluation against its competitors, and so on.

There is also another thing about the reputation of the domain, from experiments on sites, I noticed that Google gives you a certain order in your field, for example, if you have a site that talks about design, and then you publish an article on physics, you will find it very difficult to top this article, as Google puts a certain image About specialized sites (and this does not apply to general sites) help the site to lead in its field.

Is this confirmed by Google? Of course not, not even the Domain Authority or Domain Rating as Ahrefs calls it, but let me give you an example:

This image from Search Console shows the clicks obtained by an article I wrote in one of the sites specialized in the field of hosting and domains, and nothing but this field:


Number of clicks to a page from Search Console

Notice at the beginning of the period that the number of clicks was zero, as the article did not exist in the first place, shortly after its publication, the clicks began to come, but the strange thing is the arrangement of this article on the words that it was issued on:

The article was able to reach the first three results on a good number of keywords, without any external link referring to it by the way! Yes, its content is good and it is very competitive, but the point here is that if I wrote it on a culinary-related site, for example, would it get that ranking? of course not! This is the point when we talk about the reputation that Google builds on your site when it is specialized in a particular field.

 Domain Extensions

If you use a well-known extension such as com, net, org, co and others, no problem, but the best is to stay away from free domains such as ml, tk and others. There is no confirmation on this, but do you remember when was the last time one of these domains appeared on the first results page?

When you try to register a domain, Godaddy, for example, will try to flood you with dozens of other extensions, whether the one you want is available or not. well-known extension.

 Country-Specific Domains

If your activity is limited to a specific country, then you can take advantage of the extension of that country, for example in Jordan, the local extension is jo, and in order to improve the local SEO of any business or business based in Jordan, it is better to use the extension jo, it gives it Preference in searches that take place inside Jordan.

But at the same time, these domains are almost confined to their countries, so if someone searches from Saudi Arabia for services provided by the Jordanian site, the site will most likely not appear in the results, so you should pay attention to this and not rush to buy a local domain if your plans are to expand in more than nation.

There are some other matters related to the domain, but most of them are not proven, or do not have that important effect in improving search results based on the domain, so we will be satisfied with these five points, and we will move on to the second classification of ranking factors.

This list can extend to pages, even a brochure or even a book. Almost the majority of the factors that affect the ranking of sites and their issuance on Google are related to what is inside this page and the site in general, we will try to shorten it and focus on the most important factors as much as possible.

Page Speed

For Google, your page speed (and your site in general) is sacred, and this factor is confirmed by Google as a factor affecting search algorithms.

Why all the attention from Google's website speed?

Because anyone who searches for a specific word, he will not like to find the first result that takes 6 seconds to load its content, for every second the page is delayed, it loses a large part of its visitors, whether they are from search engines or other sources of visits.

The issue of page speed can branch out to us and take us another article. If we want to delve a little into its parts, what matters to Google is the time that the page needs to start appearing (a readable and sufficient part of it), that is, the so-called First Meaningful Paint, even if there are many The content in the rest of the page (images, etc.), can be delayed successively after the top part of the page appears.

Here the programmer's skill appears in delaying sections of the code and presenting other sections, so that the page is easy and clear to the reader as quickly as possible.

How can page speed be measured? Google has a tool for this that gives you important details about every part of your page loading speed, and what you need to do to improve, the tool is PageSpeed ​​Insights .

And if you want other details related to speed, I recommend you to try GTMetrix , it gives you a report that includes an overall rating of the page, its size, loading speed, things that slow down the site and how to solve them, and much, much more. A third tool that is also important and has good details is Pingdom .

Mobile Responsiveness

Several years ago, in the month of April 2015, exactly, one of the biggest changes occurred in the history of the Google search engine algorithms.

It gave priority to sites that give a better experience on mobile devices , meaning that the sites that were not compatible with phones, lost a large part of the visits that were coming from phones, as the ranking of sites compatible with phones was raised significantly, this image shows the difference between the site Compatible with phones, and other website:

The difference in the appearance of the site between the phone and the computer

Due to the catastrophic effect of this change on many of the sites that were in command, it came to be called Mobilegeddon for Armageddon (the term used for any catastrophic event that marks the end of the world, and is taken from Biblical references to a war that will be the end of the world).

How can you verify that your site is compatible with search devices?

Either browse it from your phone and make sure all its pages display content specifically for phones (as pictured), or better decide based on Google's point of view, use this tool to check your site 's mobile compatibility.

Security Certificate (Encryption) HTTPs (SSL) Protocol

Today, I browse the vast majority of websites that encrypt their communications between their servers and the browser (actually you and me), so that if any part of that correspondence is intercepted it will be encrypted and protected, even if there is no transmission of passwords or the like.

You may have noticed this by the lock sign next to the address of any site you are browsing, and due to its importance, Google has shown the word "Not secure" on sites that do not use the HTTPs protocol on their servers.

Encryption certificate in the address bar

Obtaining and installing an SSL certificate is very easy and, in most cases, free. If you use cPanel web hosting, you will most likely find an option to add a free Let's Encrypt certificate to your site, and there are many articles detailing how to obtain SSL certificates .

 Content

I put the content in the fourth point, although it is the most important for a reason, which is that I have never arranged these points in order of importance here.

Content is the first and last, and without content you will not top your article, nor your site.

Without content, no one will point to your site and you will earn external links, and without content, the search engine will not understand what you are talking about or what you stand for.

Without content, the search engine will not be able to generally rate your site and domain, and your domain reputation will not rise.

In sum, without content, you will not top!

When you start the process of searching for the keywords you want to target, you have to think about the user who will search for these words, what does he want? And what answer does he want to get? Do I have to be satisfied only with the direct answer, or do many sites, as you notice, give introductions on the subject?

Google always says that it is important for the article to answer the researcher’s query regardless of its length (the number of words), but the numbers prove something else (we will explain its interpretation shortly). This image is the result of the analysis of more than a million search results on Google by Backlinko with SEMRush, the image shows the link between the ranking on the search results page with the number of words in the article:

Word count in top articles

There are other analyzes done by different sites, some of them found the number 1000 as an average, others went to extremes and reached 2250, but in general, all the studies did not reach any number close to the content that can be considered relatively short, i.e. 300-500 words!

Although Google says that if the article answers the search with 100 words, it can be top, but this does not happen, why?

Because the content alone does not top! An article that contains 200 words can answer a specific query, but it will most likely not be a source of important information, or the result of a study, or a comprehensive definition of a specific term, which makes other sites refer to it, and here is the link for the horse!

Longer content doesn't just top because it's longer, it often gets backlinks from more other sites! Being valuable, useful, and answering a number of queries that other sites benefit from.

Longer content also allows search engines to understand the content better, the interconnection of the parts of the article and that it covers keywords related to each other gives a clearer picture of the article for the search engine, not only because the number of words is more!

Unfortunately, these results made content writers (Arabic and English) masterful in filling articles with any words, only to reach 800 or 1000 words! If the article ends at 500 words, he can add an unrelated part or repeat and repeat what he said in the article, and this is a filler that harms your content and does not benefit it, as Google’s algorithms know this and can link the words together.

 Keywords

This part is related to the previous point. Your article must be based on a specific and clear topic, targeting specific keywords. Therefore, you should use these keywords in their logical context, without reducing or exaggerating.

Search engine algorithms have evolved greatly to understand the meaning of a search word more than its 100% matching words, as you can see in this image (taken from Google's guide to how the search engine works ):

Google's understanding of similar words

This does not mean that you have to write what you want and in the way you want, but rather you have to diversify the use of keywords in different ways of writing them in your article, in order to help Google understand your content and what the corresponding words to answer as well.

Just as there is content stuffing, there is something worse than it, which is massive keyword stuffing in the article. This worked 15 years ago and not now. Keyword stuffing has become a thing of the past, like this picture:

Keyword stuffing

There is a lot to learn about keywords, the tools that help you find them, and the search volume on them, so I dedicate an entire part of the series to them: Everything you want to learn about keywords .

 Meta Tags

One of the semantic or descriptive tags that you should pay attention to is the page title tag or the Title tag, in the past the page title had an important weight to evaluate the page’s ranking, and this is the title you see in the page title on the browser, which differs from the title of the article itself, it is always better Use your keywords logically (remember, without padding) in the page title.

Also, the Viewport tag, which is used to place the zoom and zoom dimensions on the phone screen, and is very important for phones and the compatibility of sites with them.

One of the argumentative tags is the page description or the meta description, which is the part that appears on Google of your site to describe the content of the page, like this:

Page description part on search result

You notice here that Booking has given you the most interesting information on the search result page (which was about “hotels in Cairo”), try to convince you to click on this result as it will meet your needs.

Is the page description included in the page ranking? no. 

Is the page description important? very very! And you have to pay great attention to it, although this description can change based on the search word, but Google always says that you are the one who knows your content better, so be sure to write the description in the best way and do not leave it to the search engine.

There are some meta tags that have no effect, like the Meta Keywords tag, this tag is completely deprecated by the search engine and will not be relied upon to rate your page, or the Revisit After search crawler description.

To learn more about tags and what's important about them, check out this article on Moz .

SEO Success Factors (Search Engine Optimization)

 Keywords in Headings

Sub-headings are important keys for the search engine to understand the content of your page, and you have to use them in their optimal form, not all content is Paragraph (and here I mean its type and not its format), some to clarify page titles, enlarge the font size, and this is an error in which he loses a way in which he can deliver messages to the search engine About the content of the article.

To clarify, any article that consists of one headline Heading 1 and is usually the title of the article itself, such as “ranking factors and ranking on search engines: internal and external SEO” in this article, and under this main heading Heading 2 sub-headings divide the article into its smaller parts (but they remain headings Explain to the search engine what these sections are talking about).

For example, in our article here, the line “Domain Factors” that you see at the top is a second sub-heading, Heading 2, which gives a general idea of ​​what is under it, and the factors, as you can notice, are Heading 3, and not just a font written in a larger size! There are Heading 4, 5th, and 6th, but you probably won't need more than the 3rd depending on your article type.

The rest of the text is Paragraph, which is plain text, in which the rest of your article (or actual) content is.

These titles are important in dividing your page, and you should use keywords (carefully) in your page titles.

Image Optimization

Perhaps it is a little strange, and here we are not talking about SEO for image results, but rather for web page results.

When search engines read your site page, they will not analyze what is inside the images in it, so you need to make sure of two things:

Reduce the size of the images as much as possible, before uploading them, or by using add-ons that compress images while maintaining their quality, or both if you want. This reduces page size (which is also an important factor in speed).

Also, inform Google about the content of these pages through the Alt text for images . For example, look at any image in this article, such as the image of the hotel search process. Note that the image has a clear name, and a description of its content as well, which is what I refer to in the image here:

alt text for images

Content Age

Here we have to clarify a little, there are a lot of experiments and analyzes that have reached similar results, that any article does not top quickly, regardless of the period between those who said 6 months, and those who said a year, the consensus is that the article needs time to top.

For example, in an Ahrefs study of more than 2 million random keywords, they analyzed the age of the pages that topped the first page, and the result is clear in this graph:

Link life and appearance on the first page

The age of the pages that topped the first result was nearly two and a half years! Does this mean that the older the content, the better? of course not! But a longer period can earn this article more links, and it will be topped. The idea here is that you shouldn't be surprised if your articles didn't top immediately.

This point should not be taken in isolation from the next, which is the freshness of the content!

But is there anything that prevents an article from being published if it has a short lifespan? Of course not. We saw above the example of an article that was published in a short period of time, as there are other factors that affect the result, and it is not a requirement that the article be a year ago to top.

 Content Freshness

In short, in order for the old content to remain on top, it must be constantly updated and not satisfied with the first version of it!

That is, the old page, but it is being updated, often tops new pages with new content, for many factors that give it an advantage as well.

 RankBrain . System or Algorithm

By the way, this is one of the 3 most important factors that Google has when evaluating the page (with content and backlinks), there is nothing clear for sure from Google about how this algorithm works, but in general it is based on machine learning models that analyze the content of the pages to find out what they are talking about The page, what interaction is happening on it, and give it a rating that enters into other ranking algorithms.

The algorithm does more than this, which is the part that relates to linking what this algorithm has learned about the content of a particular page, with the search process itself and its goal (Search Intention). some factors) and examines people's interaction with new search results, how is this?

Suppose that the top result for a particular word was one of the most important factors that it topped with are backlinks, the algorithm reduces the weight of this factor to see how the searcher interacts with other results if its rank is raised, and accordingly it adjusts the algorithms for the search process.

Just to clarify, the topic is much more complicated than this, but I do not exaggerate if I say that this system / algorithm is one of the most complex things that happens in the search process, and no one knows exactly how it works (not even the author of this article), because this system includes the CTR of the results On the search page, the user interacts with the page, what does he do on it, how long does he take to read it, does he return to the search results page after reading or not? and so on. 

What is off-page SEO? You will not need another guide!

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