Google Algorithm Ranking Factors For 2024: Your Recipe For Page One Domination!

Feb 26, 2024

There's been lots going on in the backroom of Google over the last few months in terms of their fabled algorithm, and as the dust settles on the two core updates they rolled out at the end of 2023, I want to give you an update on what it means for you in terms of getting your website to rank well in 2024.

The updates were mostly about making sure the content that gets shown to the people who use their Search Engine is good quality, and Google themselves said, “Chances are, there’s nothing to do for most creators who have already been working to create helpful, reliable, people-first content."

So today, I want to show you what kind of things Google is now looking for in terms of content so you can make sure you're creating that helpful, reliable content and, in doing so, give you a recipe for Page One Domination in 2024! 

Google Algorithm Ranking Factors For 2024: Your Recipe For Success

So, let's say your main ingredient for the success of your online marketing strategy in 2024 is your time, and now we can see what the impact of the Google Algorithm updates means for us in terms of rankings; the following is the recipe you should be following.

  • Quality Content - 21%
  • Keyword Rich Meta Title Tags - 15%
  • Backlinks - 14%
  • Showing Up As An Expert - 14%
  • User Engagement - 11%
  • Freshness - 6%
  • Trustworthiness - 5 %
  • Mobile Friendliness - 5%
  • Page Speed - 3%
  • Other - A pinch of each

(Source - First Page Sage)

Let's take a look now at each of those elements and see how you can ensure you're implementing them in your business.

Consistently Publish Quality Content

Content truly is Queen. Creating and consistently publishing quality content has held the top spot as the most influential factor in the Google Algorithm for years, and there’s no sign that things are going to change this year.  

Try and post content that meets Google’s quality standards and that is keyword-rich and well-optimised 2 - 4 times a week. 

I know that sounds like a lot, but we’re talking about optimal practices for Page One domination here!

Put Your Keywords in Your Meta Title Tags

It’s so tempting to skip the keyword research and just get on with writing your blog, but not spending the time to find out what words will help you rank better in Google is SUCH a false economy. 

If your content isn’t optimised with keywords, it’s not likely your post will be seen, so step back and get that research done before you start writing.

And don’t just include your keywords in your copy; you need to make sure they are properly placed in your meta title.

Build Good Backlinks

Back in the day, backlinks were boss.  The number of backlinks you had decided how well your website ranked.

Backlinks btw are links from someone else’s website back to yours.

So, look, I’m linking from my website (a blog page on my site) to a page on Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest website that has a great article on backlinks. 

I have given Neil Patel a backlink from my site to his.

Now, I’m a minnow in the SEO world, and my site doesn’t have the authority that the big players do, so the backlink I’ve given Neil isn’t that much of a big deal.

If, however, Neil linked to my site from Ubersuggest, that would be amazing. It would show Google that a really big player believed in my business and was happy to send people from their business to find out what I had to say.

Basically, backlinks show Google that you are a business they can trust. You want as many backlinks from other trustworthy businesses as possible.

And as I said, they used to be THE biggest ranking factor, but no more. Since 2018, with Google’s focus on quality content, backlinks have slid to only the 3rd most important ranking factor, but that’s not to say you should dismiss their importance.

Make sure you spend a good slug of time building good quality backlinks, and you will be rewarded, just not as much as if you spend most of your time creating and publishing quality content.

Be A Big Fish In A Small Pond - Be The Expert in Your Niche

Google loves a niche, and they want to see you stepping up and being the expert in whatever it is you talk about.

Google would say that if you have a cluster of quality pages (10+) on a core keyword, you’re on your way to being a Niche Expert and getting rewarded with better rankings.

Let’s take an example.

Say one of my keywords is “SEO Audits”. This would be my core keyword for my content cluster.  

I could then create pages on my website that targeted very closely related keyword phrases that used my core keyword. I might have pages like - SEO Audits for Online Businesses, SEO Audits for Small Businesses, SEO Audits for Web Site Designers, SEO Audits for WordPress Websites and an SEO Audit FAQ page.

What would happen is that I’d create a kind of magnetic field in the SEO Audit metasphere (made that one up!) that would draw all (or at least lots more) of Google’s traffic from people looking for SEO audits to my website.

So, get creating your content hubs and become a traffic magnet.

Be Helpful and Boost User Engagement

User engagement is quite simply the amount of time someone spends on one of your website’s pages.

You can see how well you’re doing, or otherwise, by heading over to Google Analytics and looking at, yup, you guessed it, your User Engagement stats.

I've written a great blog on how to read Google Analytics if you're not sure where to start.

Have a look in your Reports section and click on Engagement. You’ll get some amazing insights into what pages your people are looking at and how long they are hanging around.

You want them to spend as much time as possible on your pages. Longer engagement implies you are creating great content, which makes Google happy and will result in you ranking better in the Search Results.

There’s a lot you can do to improve User engagement. The number one thing is to create quality, helpful content people want to spend time reading.

Keep It Fresh

Google loves fresh content, and while it’s always been a ranking factor, it’s become a much bigger deal over the last year.

So, keep publishing new quality content consistently for better rankings.

There’s a bit of a theme emerging here, don’t you think?

Can Google Trust You?

Google is super hot on making sure that the people who use Google (93% of the internet) are not being told a pack of lies.  Which is good.

Google has built in some super sophisticated fact-checking functionality into its Algorithm, which tries to weed out any outright misinformation.

To get on the right side of Google, you need to avoid making any false claims in your content, and if you’re in any doubt, make sure you include citations from reputable academic or government sources.

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? 

Google went Mobile First around 2016, which is quite a long time ago now!

Basically, what it means is that if you want to rank well on Google, you need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

The mobile version of your website is the primary version Google will look at, and it needs to be simple to navigate and easy to use on a phone. 

Oh, Come On! Sort Out Your Page Speed.

Ever given up on a website because it took forever to load? Well, Google doesn’t like slow sites either, and if yours is one of the offending slow coaches, you’ll not get a spot on Page One.

Google want the people who visit the sites they put forward as contenders to answer their questions to be the very best on offer, and being slow won’t do.

If you want to get on Page One of Google, you need to make sure your site’s pages load as quickly as possible.

There are lots of things you can do to improve your page speed, including optimising your images, but that’s for another blog.

In the meantime, why don’t you see how you stack up in the Page Speed stakes by testing your site with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool?

Other Things To Think About

We’re now looking at things that, taken on their own, aren’t going to make a huge difference to your rankings in 2024 but which together will have an impact. So make sure you pay some attention to…

Internal Linking Structure

This one sits alongside your niche expertise factor. Try and make sure your pages with similar keywords are all linked together. Create a keyword network. 

If I’d written 5 blogs on the subject of SEO Audits, I’d link them all up together and to a central SEO Audit Page to create a powerful rank-improving internal linking structure.

Site Security / SSL Certificate

It can be pretty scary to share so much personal information online. Tapping your credit card number in and pressing Buy Now or being willing to enter personal health information is expected of us these days, but we need to know the sites we’re being asked to do this by can be trusted.

So, Google started showing us which sites can be trusted or not by flagging up anyone who didn't have a valid SSL certificate.

An SLL certificate shows whether the site is encrypted and safe to use. 

So, you need to make sure your site has a valid SSL certificate. Have a read of this blog to find out how to do that (see that nice internal link I’ve just created!).

Schema Markup

Schema markup is basically you translating the words you’ve put on your website into Googleese. It turns your content into code that Google can understand more easily, and it helps if you want your content to show up in Rich Snippets.

Google likes pages that use Schema Markup. It’s not relevant to all, but it is something worth looking into once you’ve got a handle on creating and consistently publishing your quality content. 

To Sum Up

Google’s Algorithm and the ranking factors it's using for 2024 are now focusing SO much more on the content it’s serving up to its users.

In doing so, Google is simplifying what was once a massively complex behemoth of an Algorithm into something we can better understand and, most importantly, do something about.

Hands down, the most important thing you can do in 2024 to please the Google Gods is get on with creating quality content and publishing it consistently. 

Making sure you’re doing your keyword research and optimising your content by putting your keywords in all the right places is just as important, so please take your time to do your research and don’t ignore your on-page SEO.

This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for everything else!

Your ranking in Google is dependent on much more than some good content, so make sure you’re covered on all the points in this article, but, well, you know what to do this week, don’t you?

Get writing!

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