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  • Oct 30, 2018

The Definitive 2019 Google Ranking Factors Infographic

The key to a solid SEO strategy is staying on top of how Google ranks websites on SERPs. This is often easier said than done, as Google doesn’t make their specific ranking algorithm public. What we can do, however, is stay up-to-date on what they do make public and be sure to treat SEO like an ever-evolving entity rather than a one-and-done task.
Thanks to Single Grain and Backlinko, we have this infographic with the 200 ranking signals Google uses in determining organic search results.

google_ranking_factors_infographic_2.jpg

Most important on this all-encompassing list are related to URL, inbound links, meta tags, keyword intent, content structure, page load times and other technical SEO specifications. Read on below to get started with what we believe are the highest priorities!

1. Website Architecture

While it may not be the most important factor, website architecture is often the best first place to start, as it is something that can be addressed when you are first launching your website. Make sure that your website is organized into subcategories, with clear strings of text at the end of a URL that make it easy for Google to understand who your brand is and on what you’re trying to establish yourself as an authority.

2. Domain Security

In the age of digital protection and data privacy, it is important to make sure that your site is identified by Google as being secure. The simple way to figure out if your site is secure is to check the URL – does it begin with “http” or “https”? HTTPS is the secure version of the HyperText Transfer Protocol – a virtual process that transfers information from a website to the visitor’s browser. In order to secure your website domain, you need an SSL certificate.

3. Inbound Links

Also known as “backlinks,” inbound links are any hyperlinks that direct a visitor to your website from another location on the internet. You may be wondering why these links matter, and how they affect your Google ranking. These links tell Google that other people trust what you have to say enough that they are willing to link to your site on theirs. The more trustworthy a source linking to your site is, the more trustworthy Google will find your site, and the greater the impact of that inbound link on your ranking. Consider including a link-building component in your website strategy.

4. Topic Authority

The more content you create and publish related to a particular topic, the higher Google will rank each piece of content belonging to that topic. Say you’re a content management system vendor, you’ll want to create a lot of content relating to web development and design, web content management, web hosting and content marketing.

5. Keyword Intent

When it is done the right way, keyword optimization can be an important piece of your website’s SEO strategy. Long ago, Google simply looked for the quantity of instances of a keyword, phrased verbatim, in a webpage or blog post – also known as “exact match.” Now, Google doesn’t weigh the number of instances as heavily as the intent behind the keyword. Rather than saying “best web content management system” ten times in a blog post, we may mention it a handful of times, then follow it with more details about these web content management systems including native integrations, ease-of-use, ease-of-deployment and more. When readers see the page that offers more of the information for which they are searching, they will be more likely to engage with that website. This engagement will lead to Google interpreting this site as a good answer to the visitor’s question and thus rank it higher as a result.

6. Content Structure

Once you get into more competitive keyword territory, the structure of a website’s content can make or break a ranking. When structuring your website’s content, it is important to include a variety of headers and sub-headers to make an answer easier for a visitor to understand. Other ways to make your content more structured is to use bullet points, numbered lists, images and cited research to keep readers engaged. Increased engagement with your content means that the visitor will spend more time on your website, increasing their “session duration” – another important Google ranking factor.

7. Meta Tags

A good, easy-to-use content management system will include an easy way to manage meta tags. Meta tags help Google identify what a page’s specific purpose is and should always be filled in with either the target keyword or details related to that keyword. The three never-miss tags are:

a. Title Tag

Usually the title of the article or page, represented in the HTML. In a Google search engine result, this is the blue, clickable text you see on the SERP. This is usually a good spot to use optimized keywords.

b. Image Alt Text

While images are great additions to things like blog posts, Google cannot crawl them in the same way that it does for text. In order to circumvent this, you should give your image alt text (or alt tags) that best describe the image in context of the webpage and its content.

c. Meta Description

When you see a search result on a Google SERP, the text that appears under the title is the meta description. This text details the content inside and gives the reader more context for what they get if they click on your listing. This is a great opportunity to drives more clicks and including some more optimized keywords here never hurts – if the visitor searched for those words before stumbling upon your listing, they will be bolded in the meta description.

8. Page Speed

How many times have you navigated off a page because it took too long to load? Chances are your website’s visitors are using the same discretion when they come to your website, so it is in your best interest to make sure your page loads in less than three seconds. Make sure to use compressed images, which can mitigate one of the biggest causes of slow page speed – large, heavy, complex media.

Did anything on this list surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

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