A very seasoned SEO specialist would admit that the optimization of the search engine is not what it was in the earlier days. In reality, SEO’s rules and ethics continue to change or are updated on an annual basis. That brought positive results to your website in 2018 may not apply in 2019.
While the basic elements stay the same, if you want to rank higher, you will still find significant improvements that you can not overlook. That’s right, we’re talking about variables in Google’s ranking that can make or break the SERP role of your website.
Just don’t listen to anyone who tells you these variables in Google’s rating are insignificant. Because it will work only against the quality of your page. You want important visitors to visit your website regularly, right? Then cut out of date SEO methods, unlearn the old ones and embrace the new ones. Otherwise there will be rivals more than willing to take over you with the new SEO tactics.
Now, let’s look at a list of factors in Google’s ranking that really matter in 2019. At first glance, these factors may not feel super important, but you will see the difference for yourself once you take action on them.
Top 6 Factors for Google Ranking 2019
Ranking Factor #1: Backlinks
It’s 2019 and backlinks remain one of the most important factors to focus on in Google’s ranking. They give Google a clear signal about the quality and importance of your website. That means that Google will always offer good backlinks more weight than high-quantity bad backlinks.
The cause why advertisers don’t get the correct backlinks is:
- They don’t create content we want from their audience.
- They are not regularly promoting their material.
Finding more authority places to link to your content in your niche tells Google that it’s worth ranking your page. The more connections you have with performance, the better. The giant search engine puts backlinks in the bracket of critical variables in Google’s ranking because they are hard to play.
Google uses three criteria to determine your links:
- The number of links your page has
- The authority of the pages linking to it
- The diversity of your backlinks
Let’s look at two issues that can affect your campaign to build links:
When it comes to backlinks, Google has come a long way. Not only do we better understand them, they also use them most efficiently once evaluating a page’s importance. How are they doing this? The response is “link score” based on the calculation of:
- An incoming link’s individual performance score
- The number of links to the website
This clearly continues to demonstrate the value of both quantity and quality when constructing backlinks. Too many backlinks of low quality can harm the SEO of your website.
Google also doesn’t record multiple connections from the same domain name. That means that you need to make an effort to increase the number of domains connected to ensure that they come from specific websites.
Relevant Anchor Text
Does the incoming link’s anchor text matter in SEO? Obviously, it does. It’s always got it. Similar to how a page’s content gives Google more site and target keyword information, anchor text tells Google how important a backlink is.
That doesn’t mean you should play the system, though. The anchor text must be both organic and inclusive from your incoming links. There is no perfect formula to reconcile these two, but here are the averages of the industry:
Ranking Factor #2: Content Length
Long-form content is not as popular as short-form content, as it is not easy to consistently produce unless you are collaborating with a marketing agency for content. Nonetheless, it is totally worth building it from an SEO point of view.
In-depth and relevant content is simply..
- More engaging because it offers more information and real value
- Highly shared because people like to share useful content that responds to their questions
- Google says it’s better because it offers search users what they’re looking for
When you evaluate the top ranking websites, you will find that almost always performs better long form content. Going through recent studies, it is one of those variables in Google’s ranking that can not and should not be ignored.
Ranking Factor #3: URL, Domain Age and Authority
While Google has penalized spammy websites (with thin content) whose domain name is made up of target keywords, some studies still show that exact match domains can improve the ranking of a website. That is, if the content of this website is of high quality and important.
And here’s an interesting data: Did you know that almost 60% of the website listed in the top 10 Google SERPs are at least 3 years old based on an Ahrefs study? It was also mentioned that websites can only get the ranking for a month, less than a year. Now if your website has been up for a while now and you’ve been improving it, then you’ve got a good chance of ranking already.
And last but not least, authority is also one of Google’s ratings considerations. A blend of high-quality content and off-page SEO is usually achieved.
Ranking Factor #4: Mobile First User Experience
The search engine optimization industry has come a long way, and so are the other factors affecting it in Google’s ranking. If you want your website to rank above your rivals today in 2019, you need to be more worried about your user experience than other smaller aspects
The search engine optimization industry has come a long way, and so are the other factors affecting it in Google’s ranking. If you want your website to rank above your rivals today in 2019, you need to be more worried about your user experience than other smaller aspects.
Yes, the reason Google developed it’s now notorious RankBrain algorithm was to de-rank websites that don’t offer a great user experience for their tourists.
Not long ago, Google slowly began to give priority to “phone-first indexing” in 2016. As a consequence, Google’s index now favors a website’s mobile version (against its desktop version) when browsing it.
To give your visitors a great user experience and earn more brownie points in Google’s hands, make sure that you focus on improving your site’s performance:
1. Page Speed: How can you expect a good user experience for your guests if your website loads slowly? Page speed is one factor in the ranking algorithm of Google. The search engine made it clear that when it comes to mobile searches, page speed will be considered as a ranking factor starting in July 2018.
The question is how quickly a website should be loading? The quicker, the better. But technically speaking, in two seconds or less, a mobile site should load. And it should not take more than three seconds to load your desktop counterpart.
Keep in mind that Google allocates a crawl budget to your site. Which means, slow-loading pages will affect the number of pages the search engine crawls. Also, slow pages can make people spend less time on your page or leave it all together, leading to a higher bounce rate.
2. Mobile Friendliness: Mobile friendliness is no longer an option, it has become a necessity. Today, more than 85% of websites on the web are mobile friendly, which is important for SEO. So as a brand, try to think beyond mobile friendliness and focus on being mobile-first in every way.
Google knows that more and more people are using their mobile devices to conduct searches. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, forget about getting it ranked in mobile search.
Ranking Factor #5: Click Through Rate
The search engine algorithm designed by Google keeps changing, and continues to get better. Even though a lot about this algorithm is secretive, Google is open about the click through rate or CTR, which is an important metric when measuring SEO success.
CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks your website’s search result gets by the number of views or impressions. This simple metric speaks volumes about how well your site is performing in the SERPs. A higher CTR means that your search result is enticing enough and is attracting the attention of the search users.
You can start by optimizing the two most important parts of your site’s search engine result:
- Title Tag (clickable link)
- Meta Description (readable snippet)
If you manage to reach the first position in Google for your preferred keyword, your site will receive the highest click through rate because according to common SEO knowledge, you can expect 35% click through rate in the first position. Remember, the lower your website ranks, the lower is your CTR.
Ranking Factor #6: Other Technical Signals
The Google ranking factors we discussed above are important in 2019 and beyond. However, there are a few other technical signals that you should focus on in order to improve the chances of ranking your site.
- HTTPS Encryption:
In layman terms, HTTPS makes a visitor’s connection to your website secure. If you find the lock icon closed in your browser’s address bar, then the site’s connection is secure. If it’s open, it’s not secure. So what does this have to do with SEO?
Apparently, using an HTTPS encryption may improve your chances of hitting the first page of Google. According to a study done by SearchMetrics, almost half of the top ranking websites use an HTTPS encryption. What’s more, Google itself confirmed that websites that use an HTTPS encryption rank higher than sites that use HTTP.
- H1 and H2 Headings:
The many different types of headings that you find on a page have one goal: make the page’s content more organized to help people and search engines understand it better. It particularly gives search engine a clearer picture of the information the page and how relevant it is.
- Interstitials Ads:
We all know how pop-up ads can be intrusive and hurt a website’s user experience. But they can also negatively affect your site’s SEO. In its quest to focus on mobile-first optimization, Google has given a big thumbs down to interstitial pop-up ads that don’t add to the UX of a website.
Google as a company cares about its users and wants them to have a great experience when they visit a website from its search results. However, when the user has a hard time navigating to the content due to an intrusive, hard-to-close pop-up ad, they may not be too happy. Which is why sites using such pop-ups can attract a Google penalty.
Pop-ups are acceptable in the eyes of Google only when they are necessary. So if you’re using one to verify the age of your visitor or to show a login dialog on your page, you’re in the safe zone.