We’re always hearing that Google utilises over 200 ranking factors when it calculates search result listings. However, Google’s page ranking algorithm has always been surrounded by secrecy and speculation, so no one is exactly sure what the process entails. What we do know is that it’s continuously evolving. Today, neural matching and AI process over 30% of searches and even allow Google to identify how words are related to concepts.
This makes SEO an excitingly dynamic field, and keeping up with the latest developments in Google ranking factors is a challenge for all of us. It’s essential to be “in the know” and adapt to these changes quickly. If you stop paying attention for a minute, the result can be catastrophic for your business. In fact, many of the traditional SEO strategies from keyword stuffing to clickbait are now obsolete.
That’s why we here at Topcontent would like to share our thoughts on the powerful influences to keep your eye on for 2020.
The top seven Google ranking factors that can transform your results
1) Creating compelling & relevant content
Gone are the days when content quality was immeasurable. Google just loves credible, in-depth content that provides actual value to users. It works solely to connect customers with useful, well-crafted information. Nowadays, a high ranking means covering a broad scope of knowledge in your own sector, with balanced visual content to engage users. Ensuring that your focus is on quality and value, not quantity and word count, is critical. Customers and their overall experience are always top priorities.
What constitutes great content is a subject all on its own, but there are some ground rules that we think will help:
- Produce unique, creative, specific and well-written text
- Provide both useful and accurate information
- Add value with information and educational material
- Include other types of media and colourful images
- Engage users with interactivity and regular updates
- Be aware of semantic search optimisation for context and language
2) Optimising for mobile indexing
Despite Google introducing the concept of mobile-first indexing several years ago, we can still come across websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. This directly influences ranking on Google SERPs. More people now use cellphones for internet navigation rather than desktops. So, if you’re ignoring the vast majority of your customers, Google, quite understandably, doesn’t like it!
This means that your site’s mobile-friendliness and mobile optimisation should be top priorities for 2020 Google ranking factors. New websites should ideally be built first for mobile, and then made compatible for desktop. SEO for mobile doesn’t end here, either. Studying SERPs means studying real, mobile search results, in order to understand everything from anticipated traffic to successful optimisation that will impact profits.
3) Improving page speed & technical SEO
If you don’t have a fast loading website and pages, then users will leave faster than you can say “SEO”’. Page loading speed is one of the most crucial Google ranking factors. Any site producing a high “bounce” rate will have a hard time achieving top ranking results. Low loading speeds, together with unhappy users, present both a direct and indirect effect. There are even new Chrome ‘slow speed warning badges’ on the horizon, so ignoring it could be disastrous!
Google’s goal is to ensure that websites provide a superb user experience. Speed is deemed so important, in fact, that it has produced a complete set of tools for webmasters and developers with its PageSpeed Insights. For many, it may mean a complete redesign of page templates with a firm focus on front end performance. It may also mean structuring your data logically so that search engines can understand how details relate to each other and to other website pages.
4) Providing regular refreshing updates
Your website should live and breathe. Regular updates are an essential factor, and a haven of fresh content will attract search engines like bees to honey. Google’s Freshness algorithm has been around for nearly a decade, but continues to improve its scope and accuracy. Updating old posts and articles is fast and easy. Adding the new date will help, too. Remember, a static website has nothing new or exciting to offer!
Here are just some of the benefits that regular revisions bring:
- New content means new indexing
- An opportunity to achieve higher rankings
- Google loves hot new content
- A chance to optimise with appropriate keywords
- Maximises your authority potential
- Keeps customers engaged and informed
5) Improving quality backlinks momentum
Backlinks continue to provide strong ranking signals for Google results. The more high-authority links you generate, the better your chances of ranking well, with the added bonus of referrals. In the past, the links themselves were unimportant, but things have changed significantly since then. The 2016 Penguin 4.0 real-time algorithm truly made “low-quality” backlinks a thing of the past, and continues to penalise websites with this profile.
It actually makes perfect sense. The more links from high-authority domains you include, the more feasible it is that customers will find informative, high-quality content. These links must also be contextual and relevant. So, planning resources and producing a dynamic strategy for 2020, from competitor analysis to guest blogging, is a great way to move forward.
6) Connecting link building with brand power
On a similar theme, acquiring top-tier links needs to encompass a customer-first approach. This means it must be about that all-important brand building, too. Link building activity and media placements also need to drive traffic and boost your brand identity. It’s not merely about Google ranking factors. Building a trustworthy and reliable brand alongside link building is essential. Only then will customers share your content, talk positively about experiences, or purchase products, driving up your domain’s authority. There are many ways to approach this, but here are some of the most successful:
- Start a relevant, informative blog
- Create your own custom research and resources
- Seek out influencers, expert opinions or interviews
- Share content on social media for maximum exposure
- Use branded short links
- Introduce planned editorial topics and features on breaking news
Combine social signals with brand power across SEO channels
7) Perfecting the user experience for all
The most significant continuing trend for 2020 is Google’s growing attention to the overall user experience (UX). Clickthrough, bounce rates and reviews are vitally important, but as the Google algorithm develops, so will its scope. Providing improved user engagement and a complete experience is now essential. This means from the initial SERPs interaction right through to what happens after users have left the site.
As Google ranking factors now include the ability to measure customer interaction, a whole combination of important areas can aid in better ranking results. Think about what will help users to enjoy the best possible experience and what added value can be provided. Building an outstanding communications platform displays your business, your products, attracts customers and keeps Google more than happy!
Start the New Year today!
The newest Google updates are paving the way for those websites that combine creative content and trusted backlinks with quality, speed and value.
Here at Topcontent, we produce compelling premium content that we know will keep your customers coming back and elevate your brand at the same time.
Contact us today for a free quote, and we’ll get started on your 2020 content straight away!