Optimize These 6 Google Ranking Factors to Rank Higher in 2019
It's 2019 and it seems every business on the Internet is already having a go at Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I mean, with about 91% of online businesses doing SEO in one way or another in 2018, that's pretty much everyone, right?
And wait for this: 4+ billion people are now on the Internet, spending jillions of fine dollars.
When you realize that 93+ percent of all online experiences starts with web search, it just makes you want to take your SEO game more seriously so you can take your own share of that money.
How do you actually take your SEO more seriously and rank your website higher?
It starts with optimizing for the most important Google ranking signals.
As you may know, there are over 200 of these signals. But today, we want to bring to your attention some of the signals we believe will have a significant impact on search this year. This should help you optimize your online presence more effectively.
Ready to give ‘em a look?
IMPORTANT GOOGLE RANKING FACTORS FOR 2019
When it comes to online marketing, content is everything. In fact, it's been like that for the greater part of the existence of the Internet, and 2019 will be no different. You've probably seen the statement “Content is King” yaaah?
In 2019, content will become even more relevant when it comes to ranking on Google.
Just to be clear, we are talking about relevant, high-quality content; and this is not just text or blog posts, but any type of content that you put on your website and other online platforms (like YouTube, social media, etc.) to teach users and help them learn about your business, product, topics, industry, and so on.
With that in mind, one thing you should do this year with your content is to DIVERSIFY. Instead of focusing on creating blog posts thrice a week, try a mix of videos, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, infographics, and the like. Why? Because 2019 is the year of content diversification. More than ever before, users are keen on consuming more than just text. They want more engagement. They want more flexibility. They want more options.
Also, in 2019, the structure of content will take center stage. As much as search engines will care about what a piece of content says, they'll also care about the way that information is structured or communicated.
With more and more searchers asking more specific questions than generic, it has become important for content to do more than just pass an information. Content structure plays a major role in how content ranks, especially for competitive keywords.
The structure of content simply refers to the way a content is used to solve the problem of the users or answer their questions. This includes everything that makes content easier to comprehend; from using sub-headers and bullet points, to the type of language used, to actually really structuring your content to answer user queries.
Couple this with creating conversational content and you have for yourself top-performing content to conquer your space in 2019.
Just for the record, conversational content is different from content structure in that conversational content interacts with human readers and engages them on a, well, conversational level. Where content is not conversational, it can easily bore the reader. When that happens, people will easily click the back button, increasing your bounce rate. Bounce rate is bad for SEO.
In fact, that's our next point.
2. Dwell Time vs Bounce Rate
“Dwell Time” is basically the amount of time a searcher spends on your site before they revert back to the search results page.
Shorter dwell time could mean that the content is not useful to the user. If more and more people keep clicking back, Google will think that your content is not needed and so won't rank it higher. It may even push it downward. There's no excuse for not improving how long people spend on your website.
Study finds that it’s not just the number of people using the Internet that has increased; the amount of time that people spend on the Internet has also gone up considerably. The latest stats from GlobalWebIndex finds that the average Internet user now spends around 6 hours each day using internet-powered devices and services.
That's roughly one-third of humans’ waking time.
To improve dwell time, your content has to be useful to the user and the information must be communicated in a way that the user can relate with. For instance, don't promise gold in your title and deliver stone in the content body. People will simply click back.
Also, the ability of your content to engage the user will determine how long they stay on your website.
Engaging content = longer dwell time = better rankings.
In other words, higher dwell times directly translate into higher ranking.
When people stay longer on your site, Google thinks the people love your content and so the search bots will push your page higher. This also happens negatively with “bounce rates.” When people continue to bounce off your web page seconds after they arrive on it from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it says a lot about your website content and Google would just frown at you
You can influence the way people interact with your content and, by extension, how long they stay on your web pages. To influence this, you will have to go back to the drawing board in terms of the quality of content you push out.
3. Google RankBrain
RankBrain is an algorithm learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) system, which attempts to guess what searchers are looking for, and adapts the search results to provide better, more relevant information for user satisfaction. It is an extension of Hummingbird, but with an added twist of AI and deep learning.
Since 2015, Google has been working on this machine learning/artificial intelligence search algo to deliver more focused and relevant search results. In 2019, RankBrain will continue to play an important role in determining rankings, providing turnkey answers to searchers fast.
For this REASON, RankBrain has become one of the highly important factors to consider when thinking about SEO strategies for ranking in 2019.
But not just that, RankBrain is considered one of the top three Google ranking factors along with content and backlinks, out of 200 plus.
How can you optimize for Google RankBrain?
Well, since RankBrain is designed to learn the language of content in order to be able to present better results, content that focuses on providing true value to the user will definitely be ranked by it.
How can you create such content?
First off, create content for human readers and not for machine. The expectation is that the machine is trained to read content the same way humans would read it. If this is the case, it means that your content would be deemed relevant by RankBrain, and as such, would rank higher on the search engine.
Another interesting way RankBrain detects good content is through dwell time, as discussed earlier. If this AI-based search algorithm finds that people click and stay long on your search result, it'll automatically push it north. Why? It thinks that people love your content because you're providing relevant, valuable information.
You'd also want to make use of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, too.
A tool like LSI Graph can prove helpful for finding LSI keywords.
How does LSI keywords help you rank higher? They provide Google with more information about your content and take care of related key terms people use.
Bottom line: Create awesome content that distinctively answers reader questions (questions they type into Google), improve your dwell time, and make the most use of LSI keywords.
Backlinks continue to pop-up in conversations about ranking on Google.
This is mostly because they form the bedrock of the information that Google has about your website, including your site's Domain Authority (DA). Backlinks to your website from other relevant authority sites tell Google that your website and content is trusted by other relevant authorities.
Backlinks can really affect where your website ranks and this is why it is an important factor to consider for ranking this year.
They serve as a way of informing Google that people trust the content you publish to the extent of linking back to it. And, the more backlinks you have, the higher your chances of ranking higher.
Here are some useful but easy strategies for building legitimate backlinks in 2019:
Use our Backlink Maker tool.
Try guest posting
Leverage broken links on other websites
Get featured on blogger reviews
Ask other bloggers to link back to your key content.
Here's our post on how to build thousands of backlinks without pain.
Want to track and analyze your backlinks or that of competitors? Try our highly effective Backlink Checker (hint: it integrates with Ahrefs to provide you with the best results).
5. Domain Security
You may have noticed that the URLs of some websites are preceded by “https” while some others are not. The reason for this is simple: Websites with the “https” are secure because the domains have an SSL certificate.
SSL certificates are believed to improve a website's search engine rankings in the SERPs.
You’re probably thinking:”How does this affect my ranking on Google?”
Well, I'll tell you:
HTTP is short for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and is a process of transferring informational data from a particular website to the browser of the visitor. Where there is the “S” which stands for Secure, it means that the informational data which is being communicated is secured and trustworthy.
This seemingly tiny shift can in fact make a huge difference with Google because it helps them ascertain that the information they are indexing is secure and safe for the searcher.
In other words, Google now uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. Data analysis has shown that HTTPS websites have a higher advantage of ranking over HTTP links, so switching to HTTPS will benefit any website, whether or not confidential information is involved.
In fact, in July 2018, Google started to flag off sites without SSL certificates as insecure on Chrome.
We've noticed that not many people have added HTTPS to their website yet. You'd want to secure your website in 2019 using HTTPS vs HTTP to improve your relationship with Google and avoid hurting your rankings.
This year, the crown for the top position on Google could be yours for the take but it starts with getting it right first. And there's something about getting it right from day one, or more conceivably, starting early.
You just set the right foundation from the onset and keep winning like a superstar. 2019 is still in its early stage and there's no better time to get it right or set a proper foundation for your search engine optimization and online marketing than NOW. Use the information we've provided and you'll be way ahead of the pack by mid year.
We have the best SEO and content tools for you to take advantage of for completely free. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter to keep abreast of the latest happening in the world of search as well as the most disruptive SEO techniques throughout this year. Happy new year from us at SST!