Top Ranking factors for Google in 2018

What are the top ranking factors for Google in 2018?

You, along with a million other people are asking, “what are the top ranking factors for Google in 2018?” You may have even wondered how you can find out the exact algorithm that Google uses. Let me assure you, that only Google knows the exact algorithm that they use. I would even argue that they might even have a hard time explaining it :-).

Fortunately for you, the small business owner or entrepreneur, there are industry leaders out there who help keep a great pulse on Google’s algorithm. We rely on industry experts and our own research and results to help shape our own SEO strategy as well as what we use with our clients. Based on the industry experts and our own expertise and results, here are 10 of some of the strongest factors that we have found which influence how your keyword ranks.

Top 9 Ranking Factors for Google in 2018

  1. Click-through rate – Basically, this is how many times someone sees your ad or organic search result and clicks it.
  2. Number of Images – The number of images matter on your site. Even more important, make sure that the images titled correctly and you have the appropriate alt text.
  3. Overall Content Relevance –  as discussed previously, content relevance is one of the three key principles for any ranking and SEO project. Make sure that your content is tag appropriately with the appropriate keywords and that the heart of the message is relevant for those who might be searching for those keywords.
  4. Time on your site –   if the search engine refers traffic to you and they stay awhile, it signals to that search engine that it gave you what you were looking for. A longer time on your site is a good thing!
  5. SSL (HTTPS): A secure website has been a ranking factor for Google since 2014. It will become more of a ranking factor this year as Google continues to evolve.
  6. Font Size – This is the not so obvious factor for most people. If you have a small font size it signals to Google that you were trying to cram a bunch of content that you don’t expect people will read. Increase your font size and reduce the number of words to help your SEO results. Succinct is better!
  7. Social Media Activity:  Google has admitted that it takes cues from activity on social media. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and many different platforms which help drive traffic to your site will be considered.
  8. Backlinks:  all backlinks are not equal.  Backlinks do have a big determination on your ranking and Authority in Google.
  9. Page Speed:  Google is placing a big emphasis on page speed as it continues to enhance its algorithm and mobile first index.

We hope this is been helpful. If this all seems overwhelming you can hire a company like ours to take care of all your SEO needs.

3 Powerful SEO Factors

What are the most important principles for SEO?

You may ask, what are the most important principles for SEO? Since 1993 Google has evolved tremendously. currently, Google has developed over 200 factors which determine the position of your ranking. You may be saying, wow that is a lot to worry about. And you are correct! Google’s algorithm is very complex and constantly evolving. When you think about it, Google’s whole mission is to provide accurate, relevant and authoritative content to people who are searching. In fact, Google’s mission statement is “ to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

So does that mean that it is impossible for small businesses to get top rankings in Google and other search engines?

The answer to that question is no. Today, Google assesses so many different factors (over 200) that it makes your job actually a little bit easier. Google’s algorithm is so complex that it actually helps the small business owner. Ranking for relevant keywords can be fairly easy if you pay attention to the following principles and ranking factors.

There are three key principles for SEO on any website.

    1. Trust:  Going back to Google’s mission statement, they want to be able to provide good information to those who are searching for it. In order for it to be useful, it must be trustworthy. Google wants to keep the bad quality and untrustworthy sites away from those who search. If your site has quality content and good links from other sources who are reputable, your site is most likely to be considered trustworthy in a good source of information. As a result, you will rank higher in search results.
    2. Authority:  Authority can be considered a popularity game. If Google sees that your site has a lot of social media followers, relevant links, etc.,  you will most likely have a higher authority ranking. Your keywords will rank higher if your competitors have a lower Authority.
    3. Relevance:  Relevance is huge. Google will look at the contextual relevance of your website or any site and will reward a higher relevant site with higher makings. For small business owners,  just makes it a little bit fairer when you are competing with sites like Wikipedia or any other type of high authoritative forum out there.



If you focus on these 3 key principles alone, you will start to increase your ranking on Google.

What is a keyword?

So what is a keyword?

What is a keyword? A keyword is a phrase or a word that you would like your site to rank for within the search engines. It can either be a single word or a combination of words. I would caution you on trying to rank for a single word because those are most likely the most highly competitive and most difficult to rank for. There are many different types of keywords so let’s explore those:

Head-term Keywords:

A head-term or otherwise known as a head keyword is in direct contrast to what we call long tail keywords. it is a very popular keyword which most likely has high search volume. They are generally very competitive to rank for in most search results.

Long tail keywords:

Your long tail keywords are keywords with three or more phrases. An example of a long-tail keyword is “ Atlanta Braves fitted hat” or “Best Realtor in Atlanta, GA.”

Navigational keywords:

Navigational keywords are those that is exactly how it sounds. They help you navigate to a particular company, brand or website. An example of navigational keywords would be Instagram, CNN, or Aculign.

Informational Keywords:

Informational keywords are those words used to get more information on a particular topic. Think about how you search.  many users going to Google and ask, “ what is the best restaurant near me?” or “ how to change the oil in a Honda Pilot.”  these question type keywords are called informational keywords.

Transactional keywords:

This is exactly as it sounds. These are keywords meant to describe an action to be completed for commercial purposes. An example would be “purchase  and Atlanta Braves fitted hat online.”

What type of keyword should I rank for?

So the question becomes what type of keyword should you rank for. We recommend targeting long tail, transactional, and informational type keywords.  These are going to be more specific and drive more traffic to your website and be easier for you to rank on the first page of the search engines.In many cases targeting the head keywords or navigational keywords are not worth your time and effort. Yes, they will have higher traffic numbers but they will not be able to discover you because you will not be on the first page of Google for a long period of time.

In our next post, we are going to discuss how to generate a really good list of keywords. We are also going to discuss tools and techniques for finding those keywords and implementing SEO your site.

3 Pitfalls of implementing SEO

Implementing SEO on your website is difficult. It takes time, attention and constant measurement. While there are many benefits of SEO, there are 3 pitfalls we find companies experience when they implement SEO on their own. Keyword research is the most important aspect of every SEO campaign. Think about it.  Getting the right keywords is similar to telling someone the right directions to get to your house. If your house is only 5 miles away and you send that person directions which takes them 100 miles to get to your house, they are most likely going to reconsider or find somewhere else to go. SEO is very similar. You must rank for the right keywords in order to drive the right traffic to your site. In this next blog series, we are going to discuss Keyword research and how to implement on your site. Before we do, let’s discuss the 3 pitfalls to implementing SEO on your website. 

There are 3 pitfalls to implementing SEO that you should be aware of:

  1. Not defining your ideal customer. Before you do any keyword research it is important to understand WHO you are trying to target first! We use an acronym to help us remember to do this: F.O.C.U.S.  It stands to Follow One Customer Until Success. Imagine if you were trying to target teenagers whom you want to buy your widget.  Those teenagers are going to search differently and use different terms. Heck, they may even call your widget something different. If your targeted audience were baby boomers, you will most certainly want to speak their language differently. While this is just one example, you can imagine all of the different variations: geography, race, religion, gender and many more factors play into how your user is searching.
  2. Ranking for the wrong keywords. If you decide to rank for the wrong keywords, you are going to end up spending many hours and money on targeting the wrong type of traffic. You will spend even more time trying to clean up your keywords. This will frustrate you and you will not have any conversion on your website.
  3. Trying to rank for highly competitive keywords. Competition is key! Every single keyword has a competitiveness factor. If you target really heavy competitive keywords, you may end up spending lots of time and effort on that particular keyword and miss out on opportunities for other keywords that can get you on the first page and drive much more traffic.

These three factors will ultimately decide how successful your website will drive the right traffic and lead to sales.


April News – Google Mobile First Index, Adwords and more!

April updates for businesses using Google

Well, Google continues to enhance its platform. In the most recent newsletter, we discuss 5 updates which will impact your business. Here is a summary:

  1. Google started to send e-mails about shutting down any unused Google+ accounts…are you one of those? If so, don’t panic!
  2. Google has begun rolling out the MOBILE FIRST INDEX!!
  3. Google has launched the all new Google My Business Dashboard!
  4. Business descriptions used to be hard to add to GMB, it is now hassle-free!
  5. Google Adwords has made significant improvements: Keyword planning tool, new performance insights, a new way to promote apps, and rule changes for nonprofits.

We go into more detail in our newsletter. Feel free to download it today! Don’t worry, we don’t require anything to download it!

If you want to get it automatically, please sign up for our newsletter below!


March News: The importance of page speed on mobile devices and voice search

Google emphasizes the importance of page speed on mobile and Voice Search

In the March edition of our newsletter, we discuss some helpful tips for businesses to focus on to improve their search ranking. We discuss 5 updates which will impact your business. Here is a summary:

  1. Google launches two new tools which highlight the importance Google is placing on Mobile devices.
  2. With the onset of Google Home and Alexa, Voice Search is becoming more and more important. Find out the top voice search ranking factors.
  3. Google has updated its reviews guidelines. Find out the what happened and the best way to collect reviews.
  4. Google has updated some things within Adwords: New Keyword Planning tool and the ability to opt-out of re-marketing campaigns. Find out what else has changed.
  5. There is a new social app, meet VERO! Find out why it is important.

We go into more detail in our newsletter. Feel free to download it today! Don’t worry, we don’t require anything to download it!

If you want to get it automatically, please sign up for our newsletter below!


Feb News: Google Launches a Brand New Search Console

Google launches the beta version of a BRAND NEW Search Console!

In the February edition of our newsletter, we discuss some important updates from Google and Youtube. We discuss 5 updates which will impact your business. Here is a summary:

  1. Google launched the beta version of the new Google Console. The most promising feature is access to up to 16 months of historical data! Find out more about this update in our newsletter.
  2. Did you know you can now add videos to your google my business listing?
  3. Google has announced that page speed will officially be a ranking factor beginning in July of 2018.
  4. Google has updated some things within Adwords: Dynamic Search, advertiser spend and Facebook. See what has happened by downloading the newsletter.
  5. Youtube has updated its monetization policy. Small channels (less than 1000 subscribers and 4k hours of watched content) will no longer be able to get paid for ads. We go into more detail in our newsletter.

Feel free to download it today! Don’t worry, we don’t require anything to download it!

If you want to get it automatically, please sign up for our newsletter below!


Do this ONE thing to GROW your Revenue in 2018!

Wondering how to Grow your Small Business in 2018?

Many business owners are energized by the beginning of the new year. Big Goals, new P&L, and big hopes and dreams. While goal setting is extremely important, many business owners forget and/or don’t understand one critical component:

Understanding your Customer!

Who buys your products and/or services? Your Customer! Who doesn’t buy your products and services? Your Customer! The reality is, your customer is out there searching for and assessing your products/services. The question is, how are you going to reach them and get them to buy. As consumers become more aware of marketing techniques and increasingly picky, your customers want more than just your product/service, they want to FEEL that YOUR product/service will resolve THEIR PROBLEMS. If you can connect the dots between how your brand is best positioned to solve their problems, you will see your revenues and brand awareness increase!

Companies focus on their products and services, BRANDS focus on their customers and solving their problems!

Want to win in 2018? Change from promoting products/services to promoting your ability to solve problems.


Just like in any relationship, it takes time to get to know them and what makes them tic (buy). It is critical to get laser-focused on figuring this out. That’s why we recommend you FOCUS this year to help grow your revenue. This is so critical that at the end of our Customer Value Proposition exercise, we find a picture that represents the customer, name, him or her, and then print out a picture, frame it and hang it on the wall in our client’s office. What does FOCUS mean?

Follow One Customer Until Success!

Some may say, “but I serve so many different customers, that is impossible.” We hear this argument all of the time. We agree with you but just from a different viewpoint. It is impossible to sell everyone on your product/service. Think about it, everyone doesn’t own an iPhone, do they? In fact, Apple does such a good job marketing to their target audience that others outside of their target market buy their phone.

When you FOCUS, plan for collateral impact!

When I was in the military, they use a term called “Collateral Damage” to describe any damage surrounding the desired target that was unintentionally damaged. In the marketing world, Aculign calls this Collateral Impact. Think about it.  Do other people buy an iPhone that is not within their ideal customer profile? Yes! For example, my father-in-law is a 65-year-old former farmer who spends most of his time fixing equipment and walking on his property. Apple didn’t market to him. They did market to me and my wife who attracted him to buy one. My Father-in-Law has been affected by Collateral Impact by speaking our language, not his. Now, I must admit that I now use a Google Pixel and love it much more than the iPhone.

Once you get your model right, expand and continue to differentiate!

Once you experience the power of FOCUS and have succeeded. EXPAND your product/service to help solve similar problems. Take that model as a starting point to drive value to a different product/service. This will help you continue to DIFFERENTIATE. And yes, we have an acronym for you to help you remember to EXPAND and DIFFERENTIATE. You guessed it! You must stay FOCUSED!

Follow One Customer Until Success, Expand and Differentiate!

Are you willing to FOCUS this year to grow your REVENUE?

We spend thousands of hours each year working with businesses to help them speak the language of their customers. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of our job is watching the “light bulbs” come on as they better understand their customer. Speaking their language is the most critical part of business growth. Companies don’t grow by just offering their products and services, they win by positioning their brand to solve their most pressing problems through their products and services. Want to get started? Here are 3 things you can do today to get started:

  1. Download our FREE Brand Catalyst Guide. All it will cost you is an e-mail. Yes, we do want your e-mail so we can send you other things that may help you!
  2. Schedule a 2-hour Customer Value Proposition Exercise with our professionals. You and your team will come to our conference room or online and meet with our team to walk you through our 7 part framework that will help you grow your revenue by getting ridiculously clear on WHO you are serving.
  3. Websites are critical to your brand message. We are offering a FREE website audit. Get your report today!

There is no better time to start than NOW. Regardless of where you are in your business journey, if you do not have a clear vision of your customer, doing so will certainly increase your revenue in 2018!