Every year, it seems that Google gives us a new ranking factor. In 2014, HTTPS became a qualification signal. In 2015, mobile usability became a sign of rank. So 2016 changed content development when RankBrain entered the scene. And in 2017, there was a more significant boost for more HTTPS sites. Now the speed of the mobile page seems to be the next important ranking factor to focus on.
All that said, John Mueller assures us that “awesomeness” is the key to ranking in Google.
But with more than 1 billion websites online today, how is awesomeness created?
One thing I am sure of is that all these rating factors are designed to create a better and more impressive user experience.
With Google evaluating websites based on hundreds of ranking factors, it may seem impossible to target your SEO strategy in 2019 to get the best performance.
But good news: the rating signals will continue to adapt to the user.
This means that the new SEO trends that are already surviving have their roots in the current algorithm, and with a little creativity and SEO knowledge, it is very possible that you will be well-positioned in 2019.
Although the marks of qualification are far from being limited to only seven, the factors highlighted in this publication are what I consider the most important for this year.
These are the rating factors that really matter in 2019 and why.
#1. Publish high-quality content
“I don’t need quality content on my site to rate,” said no one.
The quality of the content of your website and blog remains crucial for 2019. The content continues to reign as king.
As Rand Fishkin pointed out on a whiteboard Friday, keyword-optimized content still has valuable SEO power.
Your content must provide valuable information. Creating pages with no real value can chase you again, thanks to updates from Google’s Panda and Fred algorithms.
High-quality content consists of creating pages that increase the time of the page, decrease the bounce rate and provide useful content for the user.
High-quality content pages should do more for today’s SEO than simply being well written and long. They must also cover the following areas to increase their presence in the SERPs:
Knowing the user’s search intention is essential to create pages that generate organic traffic.
CoSchedule had a 594% traffic increase, reshaping its SEO content strategy to better align with the search engine’s intention.
In addition, Google updated the search results with a new featured snippet designed for “multi Intent” queries.
To understand what your target search engines are doing, you must dive into Google Analytics to see what users are looking for.
Reports like Site Search and User Flow can give you an idea of what your customers are looking for.
You can also view the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. This report will provide information on what people are clicking on the SERPs to access your site.
Despite the word on the street that keyword search is not necessary to rank, keyword search still supports the creation of quality content. Unlike traditional keyword research today, keywords serve as a roadmap for content creation.
Through competitor search and data mining, you can discover keyword gems with an average search volume but high click rates for your audience.
See how Chris Hornack, founder of Blog Hands, saw a traffic increase of 80% after searching for keywords.
Therefore, as the industry continues to whisper about the negative impact of keyword research, you should identify your main keywords and group them into appropriate topics for your search engine.
For example, a Google study found that mobile search queries such as “brands like” and “stores like” have increased 60% in the last two years. This study explains the need to adapt your keyword strategy to the mobile consumer.
Andrea Lehr, Fractl brand relations strategist, shares ideas on how to group your keywords here.
According to Google, 72% of people who have a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.
Clearly, from the growth of artificial intelligence assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortona, a new form of research is approaching.
It may seem that optimizing the way people talk goes to their first yoga class.
You are looking around at what other people are doing, trying to breathe deeply while holding the lotus cup over your head while waiting only for savasana. # Strange
I have it and Dawn Anderson too. She offers some impressive SEO tips for voice search, including thinking about how people ask questions and understanding local queries and intentions.
Brian Dean recently shared his ideas to optimize voice search after analyzing 10,000 results from the Google homepage.
Rich snippets use the scheme to mark your text and data for better visibility in Google search results.
Rich snippets can mean photos or ratings on your result (default for recipes) like this.
Rich snippets can increase your click-through rate and decrease your bounce rate by giving users a preview of their content before clicking on it.
If SERPs are the gateway to your business, your content pages are inside, showing users that your site (and, therefore, your products or services) is worth it.
By creating high-quality content for your site, you create a warm and welcoming place for your users and search engines to feel at home.
Rob Bucci, CEO of STAT Search Analytics, shares his ideas on how to get featured snippets in SearchLove 2018 in San Diego. Watch the full presentation here.
#2. Make your site suitable for mobile devices
Do you remember when a mobile version of your site, hosted on m.URL.com, was the most recommended?
While it doesn’t always hurt him now, more sites are moving away from this mobile site method and creating responsive sites.
While Google has stated that it does not publicly favor any definite way to create mobile sites (either sensitive, dynamic or separate URLs) when it comes to ratings, a responsive site is the recommended format.
Google said the responsive design helps its “algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page, rather than having to mark the corresponding pages for computers/computers.”
In the era of the first mobile index, your mobile site is the vital element of your SERP existence. To stay alive, follow Google’s guidelines and make sure your content matches identically on your computer and mobile phone.
Whenever you can make it easier for a search engine to improve your results, do it!
#3. Create a secure site (HTTPS)
Almost a year ago, Dr. Pete J. Meyers wrote that 30% of the results on page 1 of Google used HTTPS.
While the change to HTTPS does not necessarily harm your site, there have been several changes since Google announced HTTPS as a Ranking signal in 2014.
In 2017, Google announced that its Chrome browser (which uses 45% of us) would begin to flag sites as “insecure” in the URL bar when they are not HTTPS. And after the final warning announcement, you can start to see bounce rates increase if you don’t transition.
This is what Chrome looks like when implementing HTTPS:
All this shows that Google thinks HTTPS is essential.
However, switching to HTTPS (and SSL, since they work together) can also bring many canonicalization problems to your site if it is not done correctly.
While it has not been proven to have a significant impact on SEO, updating Chrome may mean that it is worth changing the site (for experienced people).
#4. Improve your user experience
User experience (UX) affects SEO.
If you don’t think about UX, your site ends up in the trash next to dinner on TV and peas.
In fact, 38% of people will stop interacting with a site if the content and design are not attractive.
Main Street Host, a digital marketing agency, experienced a 66% increase in visits to the pages of their lawyers’ profiles, updating the content and optimizing the call to action buttons.
Ezoic saw a 186% increase in earnings per 1,000 visitors after creating a better user experience.
Rover is a good example of solid user experience:
Search engines consider dwelling time as a signal to see how much time a user has spent on a site before clicking the Back button to return to search results.
Designing a user experience that suits your SEO well is vital if you want to succeed in SERPs. It’s like choosing which song from Backstreet Boys you want to sing karaoke. Even if the performance is good, if the music comes out, nobody will sing with you.
The architecture of the website is a component of the user experience and has a significant impact on SEO.
John Doherty of Credo says: “One of the biggest changes I can make is to correct the architecture of the site.”
Continue to discuss a site where you changed the URLs of a tag page to a subcategory page to create a higher link in the site architecture. He was able to increase organic sessions by 74% and pages per session by 41%.
Here is an example of proper site architecture:
The site architecture not only helps users find what they are looking for with better site navigation but also helps search engine crawlers find more pages on a site.
Simply put, your websites should be easy to use.
All pages and navigation should be organized as simply as possible.
It only takes three to four clicks to find any page of a site. While it is not always possible for large sites, there are ways to help users search and find pages internally, ensuring they find what they need.
#5. Optimize your page speed
Finally, page speed is now officially Google’s mobile Ranking factor.
With the first Google mobile index that was also launched slowly this year and last year, the mobile is still Google’s new preference.
The slower your site loads, the more visitors and revenue will be lost.
Why take this risk?
A faster page load leads to a better overall site experience, so Google moves to make it a mobile ranking factor.
#6. Master on-page optimization
Closely related to the user experience is the optimization of the page, which deals with the technical components behind the scenes of SEO. These facets have been around for years and still have a significant impact on the visibility and SERP position of your site for your target keywords.
Worth it? I think so.
Optimizing your site can help search engines and users find existing high-quality content faster.
Below are some of the ways in which the optimization of the page will continue to have a great impact in 2019:
This information includes your title tag and page descriptions: information about your sites that users see in SERPs.
As reported by the SEJ in December, Google has increased the size of the snippets. But more recently, Danny Sullivan of Google confirmed that Google has reduced the size of the snippets and that they do not have a fixed length.
Anyway, I don’t recommend rewriting all your existing descriptions.
Sometimes, Google extracts the content of the page and dynamically inserts it as the description in the SERPs when it best matches the user’s query. This is what this would look like:
As it stands, write the best titles and descriptions for your pages that you can, but keep in mind that they will not always be used.
Schema marking is another “hidden” component of a site that tells search engines more about its content.
Created in 2011, there are now almost 600 different types of information that you can include.
Schemes make it easier for search engines to identify essential information on a site. For example, your schemes for a local business might look like this:
<!-- FOOTER --> <div class="footer left"> <div class="footer-top left"></div><!--/footer-top--> <div class="wrapper"> <div class="footer-widgets-content left"> <div class="footer_box left"> <div class="footer-widget-holder"><h2>Get to Know Us!</h2> <div class="textwidget"><div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <a itemprop="url" href="http://www.toybraryaustin.com"><div itemprop="name"><strong>Toybrary Austin, TX</strong></div> </a> <div itemprop="description">The Toybrary is a toy lending library and kids' birthday party venue that also offers drop-in childcare in Austin, TX</div> <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">2001 Justin Lane</span><br> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Austin, </span> <span itemprop="addressRegion">TX </span> <span itemprop="postalCode">78757</span> <span itemprop="addressCountry"> USA</span><br> <span itemprop="telephone">5127654174</ span> </div> </div></div> </div> </div><!--/footer-widget-->
In a “How to stand out in the search for structured data” session in Google I / O, Andrew Valente of Google shared a sample of case studies that show how schema marking and advanced results help increase online engagement and clicks.
Rotten Tomatoes achieved a 25% higher click rate on bookmarked pages. And Food Network experienced a 35% increase in visits to labeled recipes.
Scams are what help Google show rich snippets in search results, which makes them an important part of SEO in 2019.
You can now add design to a page header using JSON-LD. Use a generator like this from Hall Analysis for basic labeling needs.
Internal Link structure
The internal link structure helps users and search engines to find pages better.
Corey Morris, Vice President of Marketing for Voltage, talks about prioritizing your internal link structure in five different areas:
- Helping users
- Manage the flow of links (for example, where traffic goes when it arrives at your site).
- Create a roadmap around specific content topics.
- Prioritize the indexing of specific pages.
What this means is that your strategy of how it links to different pages of your site must first focus on the user so that he can focus on how to direct traffic to a fundamental set of pages.
Consider how the internal link structure can help guide users to complete a conversion, from subscribing to your newsletter to requesting a live demo.
#7. Obtain relevantly and authorized backlinks
Links will continue to be one of the main SEO components if you want to get a good ranking in 2019.
Ignore those who say you can achieve success without backlinks. While some sites can and do absolutely, it would be silly not to follow these powerful link building strategies:
- Customer case studies: the client shares them and can include interesting information on how they achieved their results, which can help others.
- Expert meetings: sometimes this information can be exaggerated. So focus on valuable information that is not found anywhere else.
- Infographics: they are still shared online and are an excellent way to provide an instant view of data on a specific topic. It can be fun and informative and is usually republished on other blogs and shared on social networks.
- Other content that highlights influential people: This may include podcasts or video interviews.
- Industry research: Many publishers conduct annual industry research, which becomes known (and well-cited) every time it is published. Content Marketing Institute reports on B2C and B2B content marketing are often linked by other publishers and writers who wish to illustrate their views.
- Free content or tools: this may include long-form content, such as e-books, or useful tools, such as questionnaires and personalized reports, which provide users with useful information they did not know before. A good example of free tools is all calculators on the Dave Ramsey website.
While backlinks may lose their value in the coming decades, they remain an active classification signal.
All ranking signals flow together to help SEO marketers create greatness. This means a more complete and sophisticated SEO strategy to improve SEO in 2019 and beyond.
As the mobile index first, the page speed rating factor and other changes continue to be launched this year, make sure that SEO that focuses on quality over short-term earnings is what will help you scale in the SERPs.