3 Ranking Factors You May Not Know

1. The Speed of your Website

A speedy site is critical to the user experience, nobody in this day and age wants to wait any length of time for a webpage to load. However beyond user experience, it has now been confirmed that the speed of your website could also be affecting where your website sits in the Google search results. Yes that’s right – speed is now one of the signals used by Google’s algorithm to rank websites and failure to optimise your website’s speed can seriously affect how your website is crawled and indexed by Google.

So how is it measured?

  • Site speed – the pagespeed of a sample of page views from your website.
  • Page speed – how quickly your page loads.

Other effects of slow websites…

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s obvious that speed could be a determining factor in the experience that somebody has when using your website. However it could also have a negative impact on key metrics such as website conversion rate, pages per session and bounce rate.

How to improve the speed of your website

Here’s 3 easy tips on how to improve your website’s speed:

  • Caching your pages – this allows your website to be served faster to visitors.
  • Reduce image size – there are many web tools to compress your images without reducing the quality of your image that are free to use. Here are 2 to get you started Tiny PNG and Compress Photos
  • Change your hosting package – a slow system, means your website will take a long time to load. Be sure not to use underpowered web-hosting and check that the web-technology you are using is compatible with your hosting. ​​

If you want to assess the speed of your own site, here are some free tools to use:

  • YSlow is a free tool offered by Yahoo! which gives you suggestion on how to improve the speed of your website.
  • Page Speed, this open source Firefox/Firebug add-on allows you to evaluate the performance of web pages and provides suggestions on how to improve.
  • WebPagetest presents a cascade of the load performance for all pages in addition to a checklist for optimisation.


2. A Website Which isn’t Secure

What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a form of encryption used to improve the security of websites. To know if a website you are visiting is protected by SSL you will see the prefix HTTPS instead of the traditional HTTP, giving you peace of mind that the website you are viewing is secure.

Greater online security has been high on Google’s agenda for the last few years. They have encryption incorporated and developed throughout all their software and online services such as Gmail and Google Drive. Google are pushing to increase the use of SSL to prevent attacks and ultimately provide users with a positive experience. So much so, that they have now incorporated SSL as a key ranking signal within their organic ranking algorithm.

Although the ranking signal only achieves a slight boost for now, with high quality content always outperforming SSL, the demand for further security measures is growing with cyberattacks on the increase. With this in mind you can be sure that the presence of SSL will only grow.

Switching to SSL

If you want to transform HTTP to HTTPS, this is the process you need to follow:

  1. Choose the type of SSL certificate (single domain SSL Certificate, multi-domain SSL Certificate or Wildcard SSL Certificate) that best suits your business needs.
  2. Implement 2048-bit key certificate
  3. Do not block the HTTPS protected site from being crawled using robots.txt
  4. Authorize the indexing of the web pages by the search engines wherever possible


3. Outdated SEO techniques

Over the last few years SEO has changed. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, now it’s all about optimising for your audience and creating content that people choose to engage with. Whether you’re currently engaged in a search engine optimisation strategy, or you were doing SEO but aren’t anymore, you should be aware that still having ‘old hat’ SEO techniques on your website could negatively impact how Google crawls, indexes and ranks your website.

Below is a comparison of how search optimisation has evolved:


Old – Focus was on; stuffing keywords into copy and metadata, singular keywords.

New – Focus now on; long tail keywords, keyword intent and user needs


Old – Focus was on; creating content for search engines, not focused on relevance or quality

New – Focus now on; writing content for a reader not a search engine, fresh and original content that provide value to the audience

Link building

Old – Focus was on; off-site optimisation, paying for links, quantity of links, spam backlinks, reciprocal links.

New – Focus now on; quality links, not paying for links, building quality links by relationship building.


Old – Focus was on; singular keyword, page, ranking, only Google

New – Focus now on; how to engage with the audience, visual content to grab attention and drive traffic, mobile/voice/social search, ROI.

What should you be focusing on?

  • Long tail keywords, which now account for 70% of organic search traffic
  • Performance metrics and conversion rate
  • High quality content – 88% of the companies that use SEO integrate content marketing into their strategies

Marketing now is about the overall experience you’re creating for a user. The user experience starts the moment your content is found through a search query. It’s essential to create high-value content that users really want in order to rank well. Quality over quantity. Optimise your content with the right keywords without overdoing it. Would like your website to rank higher in search results? Then have a chat with our friendly team. Atelier is a SEO agency in Southampton