SEO in 2019 takes on a very different landscape to what SEO meant a few years ago. With the development of mobile users, algorithm changes and the inclusion of different search methods, there’s a lot for you to keep in mind. In fact, Backlinko has even gone as far to list the 200 top Google ranking factors which search engines use.
However, while it’s vital to understand each and every one of these 200 ranking factors, it can be overwhelming. So, how do you know which ones to focus on and which ones matter most to your website’s success? Let’s take a look.
The Top Google Ranking Factors & How You Can Use Them in Your Strategy:
1.Get to Know Your User & Their Search Intent
Making your user your first priority is key to increasing your SERP ranking. After all, users are the ones who are engaging with your content and who will benefit from your website the most, right?
Due to the strategic role users play in SEO, you have to get to know what your audience wants to see and how they want to see it. When you understand what your users are searching for, you can start optimising your content accordingly.
2.Make Your Website Secure
With all of the spam content that’s available on the interweb, search engines value websites that are safe and secure. Since 2017, Google has started flagging websites that aren’t secure for its users. As a result, those visiting unsecured websites may be deterred and quickly click out of the page.
What does this mean for your SEO? Pages that don’t see users spending a lot of time on them or engaging with their content, don’t bode well for search engines. You see, the more time people spend on your website, the more search engines will see your content as valuable and authoritative.
For you to make your website secure, you will need to switch to an HTTPS URL. Setting up this new website URL is fairly easy. You will need to buy an SSL certificate from your website host which acts as your content’s ID. Once purchased, you will have to activate the certificate, install it and input the necessary data into your website.
While this may not directly affect your SEO ranking, it will affect your user experience which we all know Google values the most.
3. Put Mobile First
Mobile is continually growing in preference when it comes to the top Google ranking factors. The better your website’s adapted for mobile, the better your ranking will be.
Here’s what you should take into consideration when optimising for mobile:
- How does your website’s layout look on mobile and tablet devices?
- How responsive is your website’s design?
- How are your pop-ups received on mobile?
- How easy is it to navigate your website on mobile?
- How compressed are your images for mobile loading speed?
4.Test Your Page Speed
Your page’s loading speed plays makes an immense impact on your Google mobile ranking and your user experience. Whether your audience is accessing your content through their mobile devices or on their desktops, you have to test how your website loads.
The slower your website takes, the greater the risk that you’ll disappoint users and cause them to click out of your page. Not only are you losing your audience here, but you’re missing out on sales too.
5. Do Your Keyword Research
One thing that hasn’t changed in SEO is the importance of keywords. While there is a debate on whether or not keywords are needed to rank on Google, they still support the quality of your content.
Keywords show search engines what your content is about and which search related queries its suited for. Keyword research tells you which content you should be creating for your audience and what your competitors are doing in terms of driving traffic to their site.
6. Increase Your Content’s Quality
As Bill Gates once said, “content is king”. While those words were stated in 1996, they have never been truer for 2019.
Search engines see quality content as extremely valuable when it comes to ranking your website. Every piece of content that you create should be providing your audience with valuable and engaging information. Without any real value, your website may be flagged as spam and therefore hurt your Google ranking.
There are a few things you can do to optimise your content:
- Increase its length
- Use the correct heading structures
- Do your keyword research
- Avoid keyword stuffing
7. Don’t Forget About Your Technical SEO
Correctly optimising your website for technical SEO will help tell Google what exactly your content is about and how they should read your content.
Here are a few elements of technical SEO for you to use to please Google:
- Look at your heading structures and your keyword placements
- Create meta descriptions that are optimised to engage users
- Don’t forget about making your image alt tags relevant to your content
- Use schema markup where appropriate
On top of these site structure elements, take the time to look at your code. Clean and crawlable code is essential for search engines to easily navigate their way through your website. While your site may look attractive on the outside, it’s the inside coding that really pleases Google. We’d recommend working with someone who understands CSS and HTML well for you to simplify your code and improve your ranking.
8. Keep Building Your Links – the Right Links
The importance of backlinks is nothing new to SEO. However, what is different is the quality of these backlinks and how authoritative these sites are.
Google wants to see your backlinks coming from relevant sites that have engaged users. The better quality content that your website’s generating links from, the better Google will weigh these external links for your ranking. Try reworking your link building strategy to focus around natural or organic links to make the most of your SEO.
Now that you know which top Google ranking factors to focus on, it’s time to start implementing!