We are all aware of the power that Google wields over the Internet. It is estimated that 3.5 billion searches are carried out every day; equating to just under half of the global population. It is therefore fully understandable that this massive search engine can make or break the success of any business. Unfortunately, staying ahead of the curve can be tricky at times. Google regularly updates its algorithms with catchy names such as “Panda”, “Penguin” and “Medic”. The seemingly simple nature of these titles tends to hide the fact that they are not always publicised. Furthermore, such changes can have a very real impact on your future success. What can we expect in 2019? Let us delve into what makes Google ranking algorithms “tick” before looking to the months ahead.
What Exactly Are Google Ranking Factors?
Google ranking factors are tools used to determine how effectively your website has been optimised to suit its search engine. These metrics can be viewed as the overall health of a portal. Just as a doctor will use several approaches to diagnose an illness, Google will check your website for any symptoms of substandard SEO practices. Should these be found, the site will be penalised in the form of lower SERP (search engine results page) listings. Believe it or not, there are approximately 200 ranking factors. These cover issues such as:
- Domain name listings.
- On-site coding.
- The correct use of hyperlinks.
- The deployment of fresh and relevant content.
- Brand signals.
- Image optimisation.
These are likely to appear confusing at first glance and if you feel slightly stymied, you are certainly not alone. SEO analysts devote a great deal of their time and energy in an effort to determine which factors are predicted to be the most important. The good news is that some variables will affect the growth of your website more than others. This is why Textbroker has taken the time to list four key areas which need to be addressed in 2019 if you hope to experience higher online rankings. Without further ado, let us begin.
1. The Presence of Inbound Links
Inbound links are also known as backlinks. These are simply hyperlinks that redirect an online query back to your website. This is slightly tricky, as such inbound links might not necessarily have a visible impact upon the amount of revenue that you generate. So, why does Google place such importance upon their presence? The simple answer is that a higher number of inbound links signifies that users respect your content as well as what you might have to say. This is why link building is a critical strategy if you hope to place higher on a results page.
However, we should point out that inbound links are not the same as linking between two of your own pages or blog posts. The efficacy of these links will only be felt if they are derived from third-party sources. This is why you should hone the proper link-building strategies in order to keep abreast of any upcoming algorithmic changes.
2. Keyword Intent
Many of us have heard that Google is set to place more weight upon quality content as opposed to keywords. While this is absolutely true, the correct use and implementation of keywords are nonetheless critical. Once again, things have changed.
Some of the earliest iterations of Google used what was known as an “exact match” formula. This viewed the number of times a specific word appeared within a block of text. The exact match principle has now evolved to discern the intent associated with a keyword as opposed to how many times it crops up. Let’s look at an example to better understand this observation.
Consider for a moment an article discussing the benefits of a conservatory. A key phrase such as “top conservatory designs” would likely be present. However, the mere presence of this phrase multiple times is no longer enough. It must now be backed up with the types on the market and the specific advantages of each. As this will tend to represent the information that the average user desires, the associated article will be placed higher within the results page. Be sure to focus on the intent of the content in the coming year.
3. Topic Authority
This raking factor has existed since the earliest days of Google and it is just as important in these modern times. Topic authority will play a powerful role in 2019 content marketing. Topic authority represents how many times a website publishes posts. It is still interesting to note that Google has added a slight twist to this concept.
Let us return to the conservatory example mentioned in the previous paragraph. 13 out of the last 16 articles were based around conservatory design options. The “smart” algorithms at Google will, therefore, assume that your website primarily specialises in conservatory architecture. Keep this in mind if you wish to be ranked based off of a specific service. In the same respect, be sure to mix and match the content of your articles should you hope to appear in broader search criteria (such as if you design, maintain and paint conservatories).
4. The Structure of Your Content
Imagine being forced to wade through incredibly obtuse blocks of text in order to find a snippet of important information. Now, envision how the appeal of an entire website would plummet if this same strategy was adopted. The structure of your written content will become nearly as important as the information contained in the article. Hubspot predicts that this formatting will play a pivotal role in the coming year. Some of the major steps that this entails should always include:
- Keeping paragraphs to a reasonable length.
- Using the properly coded subheadings to break up blocks of text (such as H2 and H3).
- Employing lists and bullet points when necessary.
- Using optimised images.
- Citing authoritative and current references to support specific facts.
Not only are these very important measures to take if you hope to satisfy the ever-evolving Google algorithms, but such approaches will make the content more palatable to the reader. He or she is likely to remain on the page for longer; potentially leading to further levels of engagement such as an email subscription or a purchase.
It should go without saying that the very same black-hat SEO techniques that have been frowned upon in 2018 must be ablated in 2019. Keyword stuffing, the use of randomised links and page swapping will all cost your business dearly.
A Brave New World?
Google has always rolled out its ranking factor upgrades in such a way as to avoid overly confusing the end user. 2019 will, therefore, represent slight shifts over time as opposed to a massive game changer. It is still important to distil many of the predicted enhancements in order to better prepare yourself for what 2019 has in store. All of these changes are easy to implement for those who boast the proper experience and this is why Textbroker will continue to excel well into the coming year.