Moz estimates that Google changes its search algorithm about 500 – 600 times every year. While a lot of those adjustments fly under the radar, the search giant does occasionally strike fear in the hearts of SEOs around the world by rolling out a major change.
When Google introduces a significant change to its algorithm, it can have drastic, near-immediate effects on local SEO as well as broad-based search engine optimization. As a result, it can negatively or positively impact where your site lands in search engine results pages.
Because core algorithm updates like the Medic update that peaked in early August 2018 can have such dramatic effects, it’s vital for you to be aware of the factors Google uses to rank websites in SERPs. It’s not enough to know what factors Google uses today. Keeping up with changes to these factors and paying attention to Google’s algorithm updates should be a part of your daily routine given the number of changes Google makes every year.
With Google having an 86.02 percent of the market share in search as of July, 2018, it’s vital that your website appeals to both the search engine and its users. While that’s the case, achieving that may be easier said than done when it comes to making Google favor your site. That’s because Google uses at least 200 different factors when it ranks websites.
Even though the number of ranking factors that Google uses is dizzying, you can increase the likelihood that Google will favor your site in SERPs by focusing on a few key factors, beginning with your website’s architecture. You should section your website into subdirectories and have clear slugs at the end of every URL. Doing these things will make it easier for Google (and other search engines) to understand what your site is about and recognize the topics you’re trying to be an authority on.
Google wants to send users to secure websites while avoiding sites that aren’t safe. With this in mind, it’s essential for you to get an SSL certificate and that all your URLs start with HTTPS. The final letter in that abbreviation stands for “secure,” and it’s what Google will look for to ensure your site is safe.
Backlinks are hyperlinks that direct people to your website from another site. Backlinks are a significant factor as they relate to your position in SERPs generated by Google. Don’t run out and start trying to secure backlinks from just any website, however. You should only acquire backlinks from trustworthy, respected websites. Spammy and irrelevant links can negatively influence your position in SERPs.
Google used to reward websites that matched keywords exactly – meaning verbatim – with higher rankings in SERPs. Today, the search engine rewards sites that match the intent behind the keywords it uses with better positions in SERPs instead. This means it’s not enough to simply use a keyword. To rank well now, you have to delve into a given keyword and make it truly relevant to the content it’s a part of.
As it’s been for a while, it’s imperative for your content to be of the highest quality in 2019 and beyond. Search engines want to provide results that match a searcher’s intent and they do that by showing websites that have matching content in the SERPs they generate. Moving forward, it won’t be enough to prepare content that will resonate with search queries typed in a search box. It’s now necessary for your content to show up in searches that are initiated with questions asked in a natural way.
Millions and millions of people have voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Cortana in their homes and/or offices. Your content needs to be crafted around the questions people ask their smart speakers in order for your website to continue to rank well in SERPs.
In addition to creating content that speaks directly in response to natural questions, you can focus on a few other things to ensure your content ranks well in the New Year. Keyword research, rich snippets, metadata and general on-page optimization are all areas you should pay attention to if you want your content to rank well in 2019.
Google made the switch to mobile-first search in 2018. This means the search giant now favors mobile sites over desktop versions in its search engine results pages. Because of this, it’s more important than ever for your website to be not just mobile-friendly, but mobile-first.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time for you to create a website that has a responsive design. A responsive website design will ensure your site appears the same regardless of the device or browser a person is using to view your website.
While no one who’s not a Google insider can tell you all the factors that the search engine uses to rank websites with anything resembling authority, user experience is one of the definitive things Google does consider when generating SERPs. The time people spend on your site is one of the factors Google uses to evaluate the experience users have when they visit your website.
If visitors navigate back to SERPs quickly after they make their way to your website and your bounce rate is high, you need to improve your site’s user experience. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of losing your current position in SERPs. If you’re looking for a place to start improving your site’s UX, you can begin by improving your page load speed, which is a big contributor to user experience.
Use Our SEO Services to Rank Well in SERPs
Being seasoned digital marketers, we’re experts at helping websites rank well in SERPs. From the structure of your content to your meta tags, page load speed, UX and more, we can put our SEO services to work to optimize your website to rank well in SERPs. Contact LP Creative Co. to schedule a consultation today.