5 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) elements that you need to keep a close eye on in 2019

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Ever since Google started back in late 90’s, they had an algorithm that was designed to rank websites in search results. This algorithm is regularly and continuously updated by Google up until today and companies are in a never-ending search engine optimization race. Google updates their algorithm based on web technologies that’s seeing a massive evolution especially in the past 5 years.

In the past 19 years, Google updated their search algorithms over 150 times  to cope with technologies, websites and user’s behavior. In the dark Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ages, there were ranking factors that are now considered as a spam like overusing the keyword. Now in 2019, These algorithmic updates piled-up to form a very advanced and complex Algorithm that ranks websites, and as usual, Google just gives recommendations for best practices to implement. So, in this article, we’re going to talk about rankings factors that will be very useful in 2019.

Search Engine Optimization ranking factors

Before we start, keep in mind that these ranking factors are being updated regularly and have one sole purpose which is to provide searchers/Google users with what they’re looking for. Having said that, you’ll notice the importance and the purpose of each factor to serve that purpose. So, Let’s Start!

  1. Content
  2. Website speed
  3. Implementing HTTPs
  4. User Behavior
  5. Backlinks

Content

“Content is King” A quote that has been online since “Panda Update” was launched in 2011. Basically, what Panda update does is that it fights low quality content (spammy articles for example) and if the crawler detected a website with such content, its ranking drops as Google doesn’t want to show low quality results for its users.

After the launch of this update, in early 2012, Digital marketing and content gurus started to speak more on how important content is and it was the start of “Content Marketing” Era. Content marketing is not a new concept (it’s been there for years in both online and offline marketing) but what the industry was aiming at is to create the type of content that will answer the user’s query.

If you’re planning on launching a website, make sure to have a clear vision of your content strategy and how are you going to implement it. If you currently have a website, I recommend that you conduct a full content audit to make sure that you covered all answers for queries that your potential customers/users are looking for.

In any content strategy, make sure that you have these two elements:

  • Relevancy: Ensure that the website’s content is relevant to your audience. If it’s relevant they will start engaging with it (read it, bookmark it or even share it on social media)
  • Value: Anyone can write content, but users will not appreciate or engage with your content if it doesn’t add value to what they’re looking for.
search engine optimization GoDaddy blog content
GoDaddy’s most recent blog content

Content for conversion (Opportunities – Sales):

This is a combination of both relevance and value together. Usually this type of content is used for eCommerce websites to convert users into customer. The equation for this one is very simple, provide as much details as you can for your products and make sure you have pictures that clarifies the product’s size and dimensions. This should answer a lot of your visitors’ questions about your products.

Website Speed

In this revolutionary era, everything is fast including technology, new discoveries, as well as page loading speed. Put yourself in your user’s shoes for a minute, you searched for a certain query on Google, you clicked on the result….and you waited for the result. But for how long? Eventually you’ll get bored and hit the “back” button.

According to Google’s report, Mobile loading speed must be between 1 to 3 seconds, because if it’s more than that it may increase your bounce rate by 90%. So, to optimize your website and make it load faster you can use the below tools:

  • GTmetrix

GTMetrix is a speed test tool provided by GT.net. This tool measures the website speed using two internal tools (PageSpeed & Yslow) and each one of these will provide you with elements that you need to optimize/fix on your website.

  • Test my site (Google)

Test My site is a tool that Google developed for webmasters to test their websites and after the test they can add their email to get a detailed PDF report.

  • Web page test

Webpagetest is another great tool to test your website speed that include more features than the other two. Use this tool to compare your website speed with your competitor in video format or even a timestamp timeline.

More: Fail your last website speed test? It might be time for a CDN. 

Implementing HTTPs

HTTPs is a secure protocol, responsible for sending and receiving requests between a server and user’s browser. Google cares about its reputation, so they decided to show in their search results more websites that are using SSL certificates. That’s why Google considered HTTPs as a ranking factor, and it is also obvious in SEMRush ranking factors report that protected websites get top positions in searches.

https ssl certificate

Why is it important?

Aside from boosting your ranking on Google, users won’t give away any of their information to a website that’s not protected. An SSL certificate will give your website credibility and you’ll earn your users’ trust. Moreover, if you launch your website using HTTP protocol first, and then you decided to move to HTTPs (from http://www. ⇒ https://www.) you will have to implement “301 Redirection”. This allows all URLs with http to redirect automatically to https. This is a necessary step of course if you want to migrate from old URLs to a new one, but it won’t be necessary if you can start your website with HTTPs protocol.

If you want to check if your website is secure or not try out our free SSL checker.

User Behavior

This part is the important for both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and user experience reasons. User behavior is crucial because it shows how users interact with your website. It’s also essential because it is a major ranking factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

So, what are the elements behind it? There are three important elements that you should optimize your website for:

  • Pages per session

Whenever a user visits a website and starts going through more than one page, that’s an indicator that this user is interested in this website’s content. This means that when the user searched for a certain query and landed on your website he/she started browsing more than one page. Google will take this as a signal that your website is relevant to this query.

  • Time on Site

Just like the previous point, if users will browse more than one page, of course this will increase the time that users spend your website. This is also an indicator for Google that users prefer your website.

  • Bounce Rate

One of the important Search Engine Optimization factors that measures how many people bounce back after landing on your website’s page without taking action. In other words, after they click on your website’s page in the results, they just hit the “Back” button on their browser and go back to results. There are different factors that can affect bounce rate like the content, page speed, non-responsive layout and many other factors.

Search Engine Optimization (Backlinking)

The simple definition for backlinks is having links on other websites pointing to your website. Backlinks were and still are one of the most important factors of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), because Google uses it as indicator of how popular your website is. Getting a backlink from a reputable and relevant website is always a great thing, but the downside is that backlinks are considered one of the hardest tasks in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Google keeps updating its algorithm to make backlinking harder. Back in the day, users were adding their own website’s URL to other websites regardless of its niche/content. That’s when Google had to interfere and update its ranking algorithm to penalize those websites.

Up until today, Google is still updating its ranking algorithm to eliminate Blackhat SEO techniques that some people use to drive quick results. Yet, it’s just a matter of time till Google discovers those methods and penalize it.

If you would like to create backlinks in 2019, here’re some smart tips that you can follow:

  • Outdated sources: You’re visiting a website that’s pointing to an article that says “10 Tips about SEO” and when you clicked on it, you found that the article is 10 years old and most of these tips are outdated. That’s when you reach out to the author asking him/her to replace this URL with your SEO tips that you’ve written recently because its up-to-date.
  • Broken Pages (404): This technique is commonly used among Search Engine Optimization gurus. With a help of crawling software, you can identify what are the pages that have broken links. The next step is to contact the website owner, asking for these broken pages to be built again and you provide its content in return for backlinks.
  • Building detailed guides: All-in-one or PDF guides usually get tons of backlinks. When you’re good at something, and interested in writing a small eBook about it, or even combining different sources that talks about a specific topic in one place. Create an introductory page that describes how important and useful this guide is and allow the downloaded link to be generated through this page only, this will result in getting tons of links to the page itself (not the eBook).

These are the most effective ways that will boost your ranking positions in Google searches, you should start implementing them right away. If you’re interested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you can check the following articles too. You can also check GoDaddy’s Search Engine Optimization SEO tool that will help turn your website into a customer magnet.

Image by: Free-Photos via Pixabay

Mostafa Fathy
Mostafa has a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Management and Marketing as his minor specialization. Back in 2012, he decided to pursue a career in Search Engine Optimization and Digital Marketing. Since then, he worked in different fields like: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, Media Buying and Paid campaigns. Currently Mostafa is working for one of the top advertising and performance agencies located in Dubai.