SEO Ranking Factors to Rank Higher in 2021

Written by - adeena


January 14, 2021

Many SEO ranking factors help you to rank higher in Google SERPs. In this article, we will explore the top seven ranking factors that will boost your SEO efforts to rank higher. Let’s have a quick recap of different ranking factors that Google started using in previous years.

  1.      HTTPS became a major ranking factor in 2014.
  2.      Mobile Usability became a factor in 2015.
  3.      Content development as RankBrain became a factor in 2016.
  4.      HTTPS was a more significant push ranking factor in 2017.
  5.      Mobile Page Speed became a ranking factor in 2018.
  6.      Mobile-first Indexing was adopted as an SEO ranking factor in 2019.
  7.      Purposeful Keyword usage to improve user experience called Google Maccabee in 2020.

John Mueller (Google Representative) describes that “awesomeness” is the major key to ranking higher in Google. With more than 1.5 billion sites online today, how to create awesomeness? Like Google, I am also sure that all the ranking factors are for a better user experience. All the ranking factors which we will discuss in this article are aimed at better user experience. New SEO trends have their roots in the recent algorithm of Google. And with creativity and SEO, you can rank well in 2021 in Google.

Publishing High-Quality Content

Every one of us needs high-quality content on his website to rank higher in Google. The quality of the content is still a major and crucial factor even in 2021. High-quality content is still at the 1 position in ranking factors.

publishing high quality content seo ranking factor

High-quality content that is still optimized for keywords holds valuable SEO power. Your content must have useful information for the users. Google introduced Panda & Fred algorithm updates about content. Pages with non-valuable content can pull you back in Google rankings. If you have high-quality content on your pages, it increases user retention on-page, lowers the bounce rate of users, and provides valuable information required to the users. Your content should not be for the search engines, rather it should be for the users. High-quality content is more than just well-written and long-form. Your content should also cover the following aspects to rank higher in SERPs:

User Search Intent

User search intent is essential in creating pages on your website that will drive more organic traffic. If you want to understand the target searchers’ intent, you have to go deep into your Google Analytics to have an idea of what users are searching for. To know about what your users are searching for, you can use reports like Site Search and User Flow. These can give you a complete idea about your user’s search. From Google Search Console, you can also view the Search Analytics Report of your site, it will give you complete insights about users clicking on SERPs to reach your site.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the most crucial part in the SEO ranking factor. It serves as a roadmap to content creation. Through competitors’ keyword research, you can gather a huge list of potential keywords that have a major search volume. You can also find a high CTR rate of your users through keyword research. For example, a Google study has found in mobile search queries, searching for keywords like “brands like” & “stores like” have increased to 60% over the past two years.  So you need to find your primary keywords and include them in the topics for high-quality content creation.

Voice Search

In a study conducted by Google, 72% of users stated that they use voice-activated speakers as a part of their daily routine. With the invention of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, a new trend of search (voice search) is developing. Dawn Anderson has given a few helpful tips on SEO for Voice Searches. This will give you deep insight into the way users ask questions. This will also help you in understanding local queries & the intent of the users. You can also have a look at this article written by Brian Dean of Backlinko to have a detailed insight into voice search optimization.

Rich Snippets

To markup your content for better visibility in Google SERPs, rich snippets use schema. Rich snippets may also be your images or ratings. Rich snippets increase the CTR rate and at the same time, they lower the bounce rate of users as they give a detailed preview of your content before visiting your website. You can consider SERPs as the front door to your business, and then the content pages of your website are the interior. These content pages provide useful information to customers. By providing rich snippets of your high-quality content, you create a warm welcome for your customers and search engines to make them feel that they have come to the right place. You can read Google featured snippet guidelines to create rich snippets for your content.

Mobile-Friendly Site

One of the major ranking factors in SERPs is mobile-friendly sites. Nowadays, a mobile-friendly website is the main aim of web developers.

Mobile-Friendly Site

Google does not publicly favor any way of doing mobile websites whether it’s responsive, dynamic, or having a separate URL ( In rankings at SERPs, a responsive website is recommended by Google. Google states that the responsive design of a website helps their algorithms to assign indexing properties accurately to a web page rather than signal the existence of respective desktop/mobile pages”. In this mobile-first indexing age, your mobile responsive website is a major player of your existence in the SERPs. To be alive in Google, you have to follow the guidelines of Google in this aspect. Also, make sure that your content on desktop & mobile looks identical. By this, you help search engines to improve their results.

Secure Website (HTTPS)

Google started using HTTPS as one of the SEO ranking factors back in 2014. In 2017, Google announced that it would flag the site as “not secure” in the URL bar if it has not installed an SSL certificate and is not HTTPS. After the final warning announcement, you may see a rise in bounce rates if you have still not installed the SSL certificate to secure your website. Google takes HTTPS as an essential ranking factor. However, when you switch from HTTP to HTTPS, there may be a canonicalization issue if the SSL certificate is not installed properly. You can take guidance on how to shift from HTTP to HTTPS by reading this guide. Although it has no significance on SEO itself, Google considers this ranking factor as the trustworthiness of customers on any website.

Improve User Experience

The better the User experience on your website, the better your rankings in SERPs. It has a definite impact on the SEO ranking factors. If you do not take user experience seriously, be prepared that your website will end up in the trash.

Improve user experience


A study conducted by Adobe showed that 38% of visitors to your website will not engage if the layout & content are not attractive. All search engines seriously look at the dwell time and take it as a signal of time, a user spent on your website. UX paired nicely with SEO is an important factor to succeed in SERPs.

Site Architecture

Site architecture has a great relation with user experience. It plays a major role in SEO.

Display of site Architecture

Many SEO gurus say that fixing site architecture is one of the biggest changes you can make to your website to improve UX. Site architecture helps search engine crawlers to find more pages on your website easily. Also, it helps users with better website navigation. Your website should be much easier to navigate from one page to another. You have to make site architecture in such a simple way that within three to four clicks he can find any page on your website. When it comes to the example of a larger website, there are many ways to help your users find pages to ensure they get what they are looking for.

Optimize Page Speed

Page speed has become a major ranking factor as officially announced by Google. Mobile-first indexation has been slowly rolling out and mobile has become Google’s new search preference. The faster your page loads in Google, the more visitors, and hence more revenue you will have. If the website of Amazon takes one second more to load, it will cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. From this, you can consider how much it is important to optimize your page speed. So, don’t take the risk. To test the page speed of a website, there are many tools available. Just by having ideas from these tools, you can fix problems associated with page loading speed. Faster loading pages improve the UX of your website.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization and user experience are related to each other. It is the basic technical component of SEO. On-page optimization has a direct impact on the visibility of your website to customers and position in SERP regarding your target keywords.

SEO on page optimization

Many companies just increased their organic traffic by updating H1 tags, and metadata, improving internal linking, and improving readability. If you optimize your website properly, then you have a greater chance of high-quality content being found in SERP by users. You can do on-page optimization by some improvements on your web page, mentioned below in 2021.


Metadata includes page descriptions and the title tag of your web page. It covers the information about your site that a user can see in SERPs.


In December 2019, Search Engine Journal (SEJ) reported that Google has increased the length of the snippets. But later on, Google confirmed that it had reduced the length of the snippets. Moreover, they stated that they had not fixed the length of snippets. In any case, you should not write a full description of your existing descriptions. Google sometimes automatically pulls the content of your page and inserts it as the description in SERPs. Although you have provided snippets for your content when it best matches the user’s query, Google shows a description that it has automatically pulled from your content. You must write the best titles & descriptions for the pages of your website, but you should be aware that it will not be always used by Google.


Schema markup is an important component of your website. It tells all the search engines about your content in detail. The schema was created in 2011.


It has almost 778 different types of information that you can include. Through the help of schemas, a search engine can identify the important information on your website. You can define the schemas of the rich snippets in the search results displayed by Google in SERPs. It is an important part of your SEO strategy in 2021. With the help of JSON-LD, you can add schema to the header of your web page. You can use Hall Analysis to generate schema markup for your basic needs.

Internal Linking Structure

Search engines can find your web pages easily if your internal structure is at its best. You can prioritize your internal linking structure by following different ways.

Internal linking structure

  • Helping users.
  • Managing the link flow of your website.
  • Building a roadmap around your particular content topics.
  • Canonicalization
  • By prioritizing the indexing of your web pages.

This means that your strategy in internal linking of your web pages should be for the users as search engines like linkage to be user-centered. Improving your internal link structure can help you in conversions of your clients e.g. from signing up your letter to completing a request for a live demo.

Relevant & Authoritative Backlinks

Backlinks, as in 2020, will continue to play an important role in SEO for better rankings in SERPs. Don’t listen to those who say that you can increase the traffic of your website without backlinks. There are a few exceptions, but it would be silly not to build a strategy to create quality backlinks. There are several ways to create quality backlinks. If you are not an expert in creating backlinks, you should contact someone who is an expert at it. Backlinks may lose their value in the future, maybe next few decades, but still backlinks will be an active and major ranking factor in 2021.


You can create a sophisticated and detailed SEO strategy for 2021 by following the ranking factors described in this article. You can create awesomeness and increase the chances of your website showing in SERPs with the help of these ranking factors. Publishing High-Quality Content, a Mobile-Friendly Site, a Secure Website (HTTPS), improved user Experience, Optimize Page Speed, On-Page Optimization, and Relevant & Authoritative Backlinks will continue to play an important role in moving your website up in SERPs.

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