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What webmasters used 5 years ago to rank websites top on popular search engines has significantly changed. To better maximize your SEO efforts, you need to ensure that you are on top of the changes in ranking factors used by search engines. Let’s look at 4 top ranking factors that you need to focus on in order to get your web pages on top of popular SERP.
Relevant content that is written with a natural language is given more prominence by search engines compared to keyword rich content. Long-form content is particularly critical if you want to appear on popular and relevant search terms. When you take time to cover a subject matter in detail, you are likely to respond to more user queries and cover multiple keywords. This is why long-form content usually ranks high.
You also need to understand how to best optimize your content for search engines. Don’t just stuff your web pages and blog posts with keywords. Ensure it’s interesting, unique and helpful to users. Add call to actions in the content to maintain a reasonable bounce rate and keep users on the page for longer. If you have thin content on your web pages, find it and fix it. You should opt to write about fewer topics but cover them in greater detail.
Backlinks have and will remain an important factor that Google algorithms use to rank websites on search engine result pages. When you have more links, you will get a higher score but only if the links are from credible and relevant sources. Think of who you are linking to and make sure they are all credible sources. When you also take time to create content that is interesting and engaging to your target audience, more people will want to link to you and this ultimately helps to boost your search rankings. High quality backlinks may be hard to obtain but they have a very heavy impact on your rankings.
In this mobile age, search engines are also placing special emphasis on making sure websites are well optimized for mobile search. If your web pages do not appear well on different mobile devices, you will not receive top rankings even if you’ve invested in other SEO tactics like quality content. The reason behind this is that search engines want to assure users of direct connection to sites that offer the best user experience. Lack of mobile-optimization will harm your rankings and undermine the experience of users on your web pages.
There are of course other technical factors that are considered by search algorithms when ranking websites. They include whether you’ve used h1 and h2 tags within your content and the anchor text on your links. It is very important to ensure that your anchor text is diverse and relevant. Don’t be quick to publish posts and pages on your website before reviewing the tags and making sure the structure is proper for SEO purposes.
We all know that search engines prefer faster loading websites. This is even more critical when it comes to mobile pages. Most web masters will begin using AMP properties in order to boost their site loading speed and improve rankings. Implementing this is easy, simply install an AMP plugin if you use a CMS like WordPress and customize it to suit your needs. With high site load speed, you can help to improve rankings, reduce site bounce rate and average session as well as the click through rate. All these factors have a positive impact on search rankings.
If you pay attention to changes in Google’s SERP, you may have noticed the Rich Answer Box which is simply a snippet of text that contains a quick answer to the user’s query.
Web masters will now focus on having their website appear on top of the first page result. To do this, they have to ensure that their content is focused on providing the most fulfilling answer to the user. Webmasters will focus on making their websites pop up with rich answers by making more efforts to come up with clear and complete content on any topic. Content will no longer be created to add quantity but more focus will be on making sure it is user-centric.
Voice search is also expected to grow significantly in 2019. More users are expected to use voice search in making queries on search engines and web masters will ensure their content is well optimized to provide fast answers. Content will be optimized to attract target audiences.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise since content marketing has played a huge role in rankings since time in memorial. Web masters will continue to take time to develop unique, engaging and well-researched content. Instead of copying content from different platforms, more webmasters will develop strategies to generate creative and original information that inspires their target audience. From informative videos to infographics, 2019 is the year when different kinds of content will be explored to foster engagement and website rankings.
Webmasters will still continue to grow their audiences on different platforms. Some people prefer to spend their time on Facebook, whereas others opt for Twitter or Snapchat. It’s important to ensure your brand gets complete exposure across different platforms. In 2019, more brands will grow their presence across different platforms in order to enhance visibility and better understand their markets in different areas. Focus should not only be on doing proper SEO but also investing in engaging content, an active blog and social media pages.
With the data encrypted, it becomes harder for hackers and spying eyes to get to the user as the encryption creates a barrier. The head of liaison between Google’s search team and web designers has also expressed a desire to see this approach taken and adopted by Google. Given Google’s past experiences of tweaking the algorithm to promote certain behavior while discouraging others then this is likely to happen at some point in future as negotiations are currently ongoing. Website security has been an issue strongly advocated by Google with sites containing malicious software getting a dip and more actors taking up website security. It could soon join the over 200 other factors that determine site ranking.
Website security even in the face of data encryption has continued to face challenges. An example is the discovery of the Heartbleed bug an exploit in the Open SSL scheme for data encryption. It affected more than half a million websites leaving them vulnerable for tampering. It is such cases that prompt Google to offer an incentive to web designers and managers to have them proactively secure their sites and looking for loopholes and plug them.
Making the websites to move to SSL will cause some problems on the short run for certain websites. For smaller sites the migration to SSL technology will have no problems. The security certificates for them are not expensive. There is also little configuration to move and many adaptations can seamlessly be added.
The challenge is however on larger websites. There is extensive reconfigurations to be done as well as testing. The other challenge is on cost. SSL certificates for larger websites are very expensive. It is even higher for older sites and most of the big websites presently are the older ones.
The other challenge for sites that have to move to SSL technology is SEO. The migration affects the URL structure which impacts negatively on the ranking. This is because Google ranks sites based on unique URLs.
For sites which aim to beat the algorithm, they will easily try and migrate unless Google has stringent measures of the security of ones site’s. Some sites may suffer in the short run but the end benefit is a more secure world wide web. For sites still coming up, it is much easier implementing the SSL scheme right now. This allows you not only to secure your data and your user but also places your site on a better position for the time when security will be part of Google’s search engine algorithm.