We cannot begin to count how many times Google changes its keyword ranking algorithms over the course of only one year. Understanding the most important ranking factors is crucial because it will mean the difference between a successful SEO campaign and one that fails.
Just recently SEMrush.com performed an analysis of ranking factors, Ranking Factors 2.0, and has made the data available to the public. Analyzing and understanding this data can help you understand how to adjust your digital marketing strategy, and which changes you can implement right now to improve your search engine visibility.
What is known is that Google takes into account over 200 ranking signals when organically ranking your website. There are domain-related factors, on-page factors, off-page factors, site-level factors among other factors that contribute to where your website ranks in comparison to your competitors.
Two-hundred ranking factors is a lot to take into account. How are you supposed to remember all of them and know which ones are more important than others? Our team of digital marketing course instructors and corporate trainers has prepared this post to help you prioritize your SEO goals and strategies.
6 Most Important SEO Ranking Factors of 2019 | Digital Marketing Online Training
To make prioritizing your SEO efforts easier over the next year, our digital marketing corporate training staff isolated six of the most important ranking factors for you below.
1. Average Number of Pages Per Session
The average number of pages per session that users access while visiting your site is a key ranking factor in 2019, as identified by authoritative websites like Moz.com and SearchEngineLand.com. This data is important because it indicates how convincing and useful users find your content and how easy they can access it. Your average pages per session should be no less than three pages.
If a user is intrigued by what you have to offer and wants to learn more that tells search engines that your site is relevant to its users. If your average pages per session are three, but your time on page is low and bounce rate (see next top ranking factor) is high you will likely not be successful in your SEO.
2. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who leave your website after viewing only 1 page. Obviously, if the user spends 30 minutes on one page that is a different story. This rule will only affect you if your visitor leaves your website in 20 seconds or less after viewing one web page.
In essence, the bounce rate is a user engagement signal to Google. If your bounce rate is high, it tells Google that users are not willing to explore your website and will abandon it pretty quickly. Perhaps your content was irrelevant or low quality or it simply did not deliver what visitors were expecting.
What is an optimal bounce rate to have? 15-35% is an excellent bounce rate range. Average bounce rates should be between 35-65%.
3. Content Freshness
The Google Freshness Algorithm is the most powerful algorithm to be rolled out by Google. The algorithm was originally unveiled in June 2010 and has had a powerful impact ever since. If you are big publisher with a huge number of old blog posts and pages that do not rank, updating them can be the game changer for you. Google seems to be somewhat biased towards new content as it prioritizes it and makes sure that at least some of the SERP features have the recently published results.
For example, let’s search for “Best Satellite TV Box”: The #1 result is the most up to date. 3 out of the top 6 results have the date of the article listed by Google. The freshness algorithm seems to update much faster than other core algorithms Google updates.
Don’t believe us when we say that the Freshness algorithm is the most powerful algorithm by Google? Update 2-3 articles on your website with fresh and unique content. Then, go to Google Analytics to see if there was a change to the number of visitors viewing the page since it was updated. It will take a few days to see an impact in the SERP, but the results will be noticeable.
4. Mobile Responsiveness
Since mobile-first indexing was unveiled last year, mobile responsiveness has been an absolute necessity for your website. The mobile first index has become Google’s primary ranking index, which means that it is updated before its desktop index.
If there is a difference between your desktop and mobile version, Google will only index mobile one. You will get a notification when your website has been moved over to mobile-first indexing. It is therefore very important to make sure that your most important content is visible in the right places on your mobile version. If not, forget about your rankings, Google has stated that they will not be crawling your desktop site.
Page speed on mobile is also going to be incredibly important. When you move to a mobile first index, fast page speed upload will be key. Although there are no boosts for websites with high speeds, if your site is really slow there could be a demotion.
5. Well Structured Coding
Organizing your HTML markup in a clear way is also an important factor to consider in 2019. That is because you make it easier for Google and other search engines to understand what your content is actually about. So, if your page has messy a sitemap or messy h-tags, nosey search engine spiders may think it is of bad quality and either de-rank or demote it. Luckily, there is now WordPress plugins and tools that can help you ensure a clean interface.
To make your HTML even more structured, you may want to consider employing a schema markup. Structured Data Markup Helper, a WordPress plugin can assist you with that. Not only will it help search engines understand your content better, but it will help them identify the most important information on your site as well as make your snippets look more attractive.
6. Internal Link Building
Internal link building refers to links that webmasters or digital marketers add to additional web pages or posts of the same domain name. For example, a link placed on yourdmac.com/corporate-training that points to yourdmac.com/contact-us is an internal link, while a link that points to irisemedia.com is an external link.
Internal is too a powerful ranking signal. Let’s say for example you want a page to rank for SEO Toronto and you have a page containing information about it, then you can point people to the page using the relevant anchor text. By doing so, you will send a clear signal to Google that the page is relevant to search users typing in that phrase. By adding internal links pointing to the SEO Toronto page, you get a huge boost in your search engine results….increasing your organic search traffic in the process.
It is important to remember to use the right anchor text and to stay away from keyword stuffing. Before the Google Penguin algorithm update, you could give all anchor texts the same keyword and get ranked high. Nowadays, Google is nifty enough to understand the content revolving around the anchor text that says more about the relevancy of a keyword. So make sure you have natural looking anchor text in your copy.
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yourDMAC is committed to your success in content marketing (e.g., blogging). Our online digital marketing course sets up all professionals, whether novice or experienced, for success and helps them develop winning strategies that transforms their business. Alternatively, we offer customized corporate training workshops to senior executives and their staff. We work collaboratively with all businesses, both big and small, to understand their corporate vision, goals and objectives and help develop winning strategies that will lead them to success in the least amount of time. Contact us today and see how we can put your digital marketing career on the right track.