Google’s Ranking Factors are Changing. Here’s how.

November 16, 2018

This year was met with multiple data and privacy breaches, increased demand for mobile-friendly usage, and a shift in traditional advertising to native and content marketing. But for most businesses and marketing teams, the end goals remain the same, specifically when it comes to SEO. However, as Google changes their algorithms and factors for ranking, marketing strategies will need to be adjusted to remain competitive.

Here are the top-ranking factors playing a significant role going into 2019:

 

Security First

While Google was already in the process of cracking down on security measures for websites, recent data breaches brought the issue to the forefront. Updated requirements have made it essential for business websites to secure their site. Google Chrome has now begun to flag sites as “not secure” in the URL bar when they don’t denote HTTPS. This warning can increase the bounce rate on a site and hurt rankings.

 

Page Speed Matters

As mobile device usage increases, Google has incorporated page speed as a mobile ranking factor. Sites that load slowly are losing visitors and conversions. In fact, for Amazon, just one second of slowdown could cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year. While that amount applies to a large, worldwide shopping site, it just goes to show the importance of a faster loading speed for desktop and mobile devices.

 

Mobile-First Indexing

In the past, businesses built a mobile version of their website hosted in the m.URL.com format. With Google’s mobile-first indexing, shifting those sites to be responsive websites is highly recommended and helps the algorithm Google uses to more accurately assign indexing properties. That mobile-first index is ranking sites that are fully optimized for mobile first and creates a more enjoyable user experience.

 

Optimized Content

Content is one of Google’s top-three SEO ranking factors, relying on keywords to match consumers with the most applicable search result. This includes words, phrases and voice-search optimization. SEO ranking monitors for duplication and keyword stuffing, so content should be original with relevant keywords. Content length also affects ranking. Research suggests that content with over 2,000 words will gain more top-ten rankings in Google search. High quality content provides enough information and pages on a site to draw traffic, reduce bounce rates, and rank higher in searches.

 

User Experience

One factor that is becoming increasingly important for rankings is the user experience on a site. This experience encompasses many of the other factors like security, page speed, being mobile-friendly, and relevant content. It also includes the layout of the site, optimized call-to-action buttons, and titles and descriptions that catch their attention. A strong user experience will increase click-through rates, decrease bounce rates, and extend dwell time – signaling to Google that your site is relevant to their searches and should be ranked higher.

Contact excelerate Digital for help boosting your search ranking.