Website ranking and how Google Ranks Websites in 2021

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Google Website Ranking Statistics – 2020 Summary

Before we take look at how Google ranks websites in 2021, let’s take a look at some interesting statistics from 2020. Some are pretty believable, others are quite amazing!

Make your content for users, NOT search engines.

This won’t change, as search engines, especially Google, develop their algorithms to better understand search intent for website ranking.

  1. There are over 3.5 Billion global Google searches each day
  2. 94% of clicks in Google searches go to organic results (Search Engine Watch)
  3. Google makes 6 algorithm changes per day, on average (Google)
  4. Close to 91% of pages receive no traffic from Google (Ahrefs)
  5. 75% of search engine users never go beyond the first page of results (HubSpot)
  6. 21% of search engine users click on more than one result (Moz)
  7. Google shows meta descriptions in search results only 37.22% of the time (Ahrefs)
  8. The average page in the top 10 results is over 2 years old (Ahrefs)
  9. Google’s market share is around 90% in 2020 (Statista)
  10. Voice search currently accounts for around 10% of searches

How Google Ranks Websites in 2021

Google is still a major search engine in 2021, dominating the market. In this article, we look at how Google ranks websites in 2021.

Statistics show that the search engine handles between 80% and 90% of all searches. Search engines including Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo share the remaining percentage.

Google handles between around 5 billion searches, every day!

Although social media platforms are increasing rapidly in popularity, search engines are still a vital resource in driving traffic to your website. They cannot be ignored when developing an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy. Furthermore, voice search is now increasing rapidly. Websites will have to be ready for this too.

Voice search is growing at a significant rate, with smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home becoming a part of everyday life. Besides having a website optimised for a simple typed Google query, website owners must consider how people use these devices to ask questions and search for businesses.

voice search in google illustration

Google Website Ranking Algorithms

Google ranks websites in 2021, with an extremely complex set of algorithms, updated daily.

20 years also, the search engine was much less sophisticated. Ranking a website was often just a case of cramming as many keywords as possible into a website.

This effectively tricked Google into thinking the website is relevant to what the user has searched for. However, as you can probably imagine, the sites weren’t particularly user friendly, useful information was difficult to find and readability could be quite poor.

Today, Google wants a clean, fast, user friendly experience. Websites should be designed to be helpful to humans, over search engines. Containing natural sounding, well written, informative content.

Google’s algorithms are therefore fine tuned for this purpose today, gathering hundreds, even thousands of bits of information, which determines where a website should rank. The algorithms are adjusted hundreds of times over the course of a year, and the majority of the factors it looks for in a website, are kept secret.

Frequent updates ensure Google are able to better understand a user’s query, ensure websites are being ranked fairly, and that the user experience while on a website is as good as it can be.

Google Website Ranking Factors in 2021

Although Google keep their algorithms a closely guarded secret, we do have some information to use in helping to determine website ranking in 2021.

Google works through 5 basic phases when establishing where a website should rank:

  1. Meaning of the search (search intent) – which words have been used in the search and what is the context. Google will interpret what exactly you are looking for from the words used, taking things such as language and spelling mistakes.
  2. Webpage relevance – Google will search its index to find the websites that are relevant to the word or phrase you have searched for. Keywords within a website are a strong indication that the content is relevant. Google will look at a website’s page titles, headings and body text.
  3. Useful pages – It’s now necessary for Google to decide which of these potentially relevant websites have the content for you that will be useful, from what you typed in your search. Things such as trustworthiness, regularly updated content and high quality links from other sites of authority suggest a webpage will be of a good quality and will give the user the information they want.
  4. User experience – A major factor today, is the user’s experience on a website. Is the content readily availably, easy to read and the website easy to navigate. Factors such as page loading speed and mobile friendly websites are now essential and can set you apart from the competition.
  5. Context and history – Finally, Google will look at things like your location, your search history and your search settings to further refine your search. This helps to personalise the search to you.

It’s important to remember, these are just the basic phases Google’s search algorithm will go through. In addition to this, there are literally hundreds more factors that will be applied to determine which position a website will rank.

Search Engine Optimisation for Google Ranking

With the above points in mind, we need to use SEO to optimise a website fully to demonstrate to Google that the website is of a good quality and relevant to the search word or phrase.

Here are the main points to consider:

Page Content

Create quality, accurate content of a good length. Don’t ramble on for the sake of it, but don’t leave a page with a couple of paragraphs. Research and include relevant keywords for your product or service. Try to dedicate a page to a single product or service.

Where appropriate, it’s good to include extra helpful information, such as statistics, case studies and client feedback.

fresh page content for Google ranking illustration

Freshness

Keep the website fresh. Update web page content as necessary and add new blog posts detailing what your business is doing on a regular basis. Include new products, services or events.

Not only does it show search engines that your website is updated frequently, it also looks good to users, that you take the time to keep the site up to date and accurate.

Mobile Friendly

Is your website mobile friendly? Be sure that once it has been build in a mobile friendly format, it displays and works as it should on different mobile devices. Since 2015, mobile usability has been a ranking factor within Google’s algorithm.

Does Google list a mobile friendly version of your website in its Search Console? The tool will also tell you if any of your pages have errors that are stopping them from being indexed on the search engine.

Page Speed

The time it takes for your website to load, on both desktop and mobile devices is another factor that helps, or potentially hinders your website when Google’s algorithm is ranking your site. It comes back once again to user experience.

This is one of the newest factors added in with Google’s algorithm, and will have a major effect in how Google ranks websites in 2021.

Is your website taking over 5 seconds to load? Generally, this is going to present a problem. Firstly Google will penalise you for this, but also, the user will simply not want to wait and will head to another website displayed in the search results.

Site Security

Websites now must be secure. This became a ranking factor in 2014. Data protection is now more important than ever. When building a website you need to make sure it is secure and displaying the ‘https://’ prefix in the address bar.

website security as a google ranking factor illustration

Links back to your website are an important factor in website ranking. To be clear, not just any link will do, such as social profiles. We need links from websites of authority, which can be a challenging task at first.

Backlinks also need to be relevant to your own website and link naturally through anchor text. A link from a well established website, relevant to your industry or niche, will carry much more weight with Google than a high authority website with no relevance.

One technique is getting your quality blog posts published on a blogging site or writing as a guest blogger.

Best Tools for SEO and Google Ranking in 2021

It’s often helpful to involve some tools in your pursuit for that Google page one website ranking.

There’s some great SEO tools out there, many are free to use. So why not take advantage of these to help refine your website and SEO strategy.

Here’s some of my favourite SEO Tools:

Ahrefs is my go-to SEO tool. It is a comprehensive SEO tool. Some of its popular features include: Keyword Explorer, Site Explorer and Content Explorer. The backlink index is huge, giving a good indication of quality of your backlink profile.

PageSpeed Insights is a highly detailed review of your website’s speed in loading pages by Google themselves. The data shows how fast your website pages are loading and suggestions to improve. An invaluable SEO tool.

Analytics by Google. Again a fantastic in-depth tool to measure how your website is performing from keywords and where your all important web traffic comes from.

Moz offers a great tool to see how your local business performs online. Check your directory listings are complete and accurate.

Conclusion

Google ranks websites in 2021 based on good quality, original and useful content.

There’s no shortcut to achieving the first page rank you need for your business website unfortunately. However, by planning your content well, researching your keywords fully and optimising your website properly, you can increase your website ranking and head for that number one position on Google!


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At Studio 36 Digital in Blackpool, we deal with SEO for small and medium companies looking to boost their presence online. We feel our SEO Packages offer great value and you will see some fantastic results.

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