The factors that determine the rank of websites on Google SERP seem to vary every year. New elements are added and the algorithm is also prone to change.
In 2017, Google focused on the HTTPS websites among other factors and these seem to have been carried into this past year too.
In 2018 however, mobile page speed seemed to grab more attention to become one of the next major determiners regarding SEO rankings. One thing that the rankings show is the opinion of users. A less visited site is ranked much lower than ones obtaining more frequent visitors.
It’s important to base an SEO strategy on the rank determining factors set out each year. Adhering to such factors will ultimately help to increase your overall traffic. Users will also choose to visit a site again and again that has a great interface and offers quality service.
In a market where there are hundreds (if not thousands) of sites providing the same services and fighting for the top rankings, it becomes quite difficult to stay in the competition. The ranking signals of Google actually tend to adapt to the users.
Thus, by following the already seeded trends of the current algorithm and adding in a little innovativeness it’s possible to achieve a great ranking year over year.
Let’s take a closer look at some key ranking factors!
We’ve put together this infographic outlining 7 SEO Ranking Factors of 2018.
HTTPS sites have more visitors than those less with a less secure designation!
Google translates HTTPS as secure and this has been a vital site rank determining factor since 2014. In the last few years, Google started to tag sites as “Not Secure” in the URL bar if they weren’t an HTTPS. Visitors prefer to use a site that has been tagged as “Secure” rather than facing the adverse risks from hanging out on a non-secure site. They’re also more reluctant to share any pertinent personal information or make a transaction through a site that is not secure.
Importance of Content Quality:
Another factor contributing to website rankings (that can be said to be constant and consistent) is the quality of the content. To ensure high quality of on-page content, only relevant topics should be covered with proper insertion of keywords. And the content should relate to the visitor’s search intent.
The new snippet feature introduced by Google can take in “multi intent” queries, with the intent of answering a user’s questions right away. Such featured snippets are also known as “answer-boxes” and are a great way to gain exposure to a targeted audience. This search intent of the targeted populous can be analyzed utilizing Google Analytics (a free tool that every website should have installed).
Content should also be optimized in such a way that it will rank even when it is a Voice Search. The trend of Voice Search has become ever more popular. Especially with the introduction (and continued popularity) of AI assistants like Cortana, Siri, Alexa, and Google. These rich snippets also increase click-through rate while decreasing bounce rate. Site visitors will be able to see a snippet of content before actually clicking on the link.
Considering Google’s efforts in mobile-first indexing, it’s important to give priority to mobile responsiveness too. A website should be designed in such a way that it is responsive in the varied mobile format sizes too. A large number of users now prefer to search from their smartphones and tablets rather than their desktops.
Page load speed is another vital factor as people tend to exit pages that take too much time to load.
- Related: What to Do for Mobile-First Indexing
The number of factors that contribute to SERP rankings is more extensive than our short list of 7. However, continuing to integrate these key-ranking factors should be taken when determining your next SEO strategy and beyond.
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