5 SEO Ranking Factors That Will be Crucial in 2019
Whether you’re an e-commerce shop or offline service provider, SEO matters. It’s no longer just a luxury to have a web presence, it’s a necessity. This is a field that’s forever changing so it’s essential to ensure your website keeps up.
From security to content, there are a whole host of factors that Google considers when ranking websites. Even if you’re not an expert, there are certain measures you can take to help boost your ranking as we head into the new year. To help, here’s 5 SEO ranking factors that will be crucial in 2019.
1. Your Domain Security
Whether you have a blog, online shop or services page, your website needs to be validated as secure with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This encrypts all information passed between a web server and browser. In other words, it keeps information like personal details and credit card numbers safe and secure.
Not only does an SSL certificate protect end-user data, it also validates your site and helps to boost your search ranking. Back in 2014, Google algorithm updates started prioritising ‘HTTPS’ (secure) websites as it could ascertain that they were safe for end-users. Here’s a handy guide to get an SSL certificate if you haven’t already.
2. Page speed
This has always been a key factor when it comes to SEO and is showing no sign of changing as we enter 2019. Three seconds is generally considered to be the maximum amount of time it should take for a site to load. Google openly shares that page speed is a key factor when ranking websites. If your site is slow, its search bots will crawl fewer pages using their set crawl budget which could have a detrimental impact on your ranking.
Pages that take longer to load also tend to have a higher bounce rate which can also harm your indexation. To test your website speed, head to Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
3. Intent-based keywords
The way we use keywords to rank sites has changed over recent years. Early Google algorithms focused on the number of instances of ‘exact match’ keywords. Therefore, web pages that had the most instances of set keywords were favourably ranked.
However, this is no longer the case as Google now priorities keywords which are based on user intent. So what does this mean? Generally, there are three different types of search intent:
- Navigational – looking for a specific website
- Transactional – looking to buy
- Informational – looking for an answer or to learn
The keywords you choose must therefore help or guide one of the above type of searches.
Here’s an example using car insurance:
Navigational: Searching for a provider’s exact website
Transactional: ‘Buy comprehensive car insurance’
Informational: ‘Who offers the best car insurance for young drivers?’
If you can answer or help a user based on their intent, Google will identify this and favourably rank your site in that category.
4. Think topics
Instead of just honing in on keywords too much, think about which topics your ideal customers will be searching for. The more content you post on a specific topic, the more relevant your site appears to Google. Say, for example, you own a teeth whitening business and post 15 blog posts on tips and information surrounding this topic; your search ranking is likely to improve.
In doing this, you will gain a high page authority for this topic as the information you provide is useful and relevant to that specific audience. Just be sure to be as informative and helpful as possible to keep that bounce rate down.
5. Concentrate on your inbound links
Inbound or ‘backlinks’ are still a crucial ranking factor when it comes to SEO. These are basically hyperlinks elsewhere on the internet that link back to your site. It’s a form of endorsement that shows Google that others trust what you have to say.
This is something, however, that must be done carefully. Random backlinking can do way more harm than good, especially if you are unwittingly linked to spam sites. There are a number of ways you can obtain high-quality backlinks such as offering to guest post on an existing, high-authority blog or by creating linkable content. To help, here’s a handy guide.
To sum up
As SEO is an ever-changing, complex field, this round-up is by no means exhaustive but it should help you to positively impact your search ranking. As Google is now predominantly focused on the end user, it’s crucial that your site is relevant. When creating content and researching keywords, always put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. What are they looking for? What do they need help with? If you take this approach, it will be apparent in all of your content and have a positive impact on your ranking.