Our Guest Blog this week comes from Marketing Manager Rob who specialises in SEO and Content Marketing.
What should you consider when trying to rank at the top of Google’s search results in 2019?
Good old-fashioned relevant content still RULES when it comes to ranking factors, high-quality content, particularly long-form, detailed content, tends to gain more inbound links. It also keeps people on your website for longer periods of time, which is a ranking factor for Google. The assumption is that when visitors don’t bounce away from your content, it must be relevant and is therefore worthy of a higher search engine position.
Keyword-rich content: is another important ranking factor, but it’s important to consider two things – 1) Google hates keyword stuffing, so write with natural language and 2) make sure your content really speaks to what people are searching for, rather than just search engine alone. Rand Fishkin touched on this with his “How to Rank” checklist noting that website owners should do keyword research to help discover words and phrases that searchers use or regularly search for – keep in mind that more people are asking questions either via voice search or typing them directly into Google.
Metatags still matter: so pay attention to the title tags of your webpages (this is what appears as the clickable link on the search results pages) and meta description which is the snippet of text directly beneath the title. One of Google’s top-ranking factors is still CTR, so a compelling link title is really imperative.
Make sure you include H1 and H2 tags in your webpages (SO BASIC, BUT VITALLY IMPORTANT) because pages using at least one H1 or H2 heading tend to rank better than those without.
Modern SEO ranking factors to consider
The modern search marketer or SEO specialist has their work cut out for them. In addition to the tried and true (old fashioned) ranking factors listed above, there are many new factors to consider:
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly since Google’s index will crawl the mobile version of a website first before the desktop version. Your website should be responsive on all mobile platforms – this is now the rule rather than the exception.
- Make sure your website is speedy and loads quickly. Mobile sites should load in 2 seconds, while desktop sites should load in 3. The top-ranked websites are the ones that load the fastest.
- Make sure your website is encrypted – that is, it uses HTTPS encryption since nearly 50% of top-ranking websites all use HTTPS, up from 12% in 2015!
Happy optimising in 2019
It’s extremely interesting (and possibly a little comforting) that many ranking factors have stayed the same since the early days of SEO. CONTENT is at the centre of a good SEO strategy, just as it was twenty years ago. On-page optimisation, meta tags, and backlinks are all still key criterias in Google’s ranking algorithm (as they were in the back in the day).
Implementing these factors alongside newer factors such as mobile-readiness, site encryption and fast-loading pages, will help you rank higher in the coming year.