What’s new with Google Ranking in 2019?
#MediaGuru has watched videos, read blogs and scanned social media sites to bring you a breakdown on the key thinks to think about in terms of keeping hold of that, all important, #google ranking in 2019. Let’s jump in!
How does Google work out ranking?
Google uses a variety of factors in its algorithm to determine what results will be the most helpful for the user. It also uses latent semantic indexing & search intent as an indicator of what results are the most relevant.
Google built its current algorithm around RankBrain, a machine learning (AI) algorithm Google uses to help sort and improve the search results. The helpful chaps at Backlinko condensed it pretty well:
In short, RankBrain tweaks the algorithm on its own. Depending on the keyword, RankBrain will increase or decrease the importance of backlinks, content freshness, content length, domain authority, etc.
Then, it looks at how Google searchers interact with the new search results. If users like the new algorithm better, it stays. If not, RankBrain rolls back the old algorithm.
Google’s algorithm is smart; it is constantly changing and adapting to give users the best experience and to prevent black hat SEO tricks from manipulating search results. Part of the mystery of Google’s search algorithm is that it takes a LOT of ranking signals into account before displaying results.
The reason for this is because one search term can have hundreds of meanings. For example, if I conduct a search for the word #video, Google has no idea of what I’m really looking for. Possible results could range wildly, including:
Finding the nearest video retailer
Defining what a #video is?
Video production companies like #mediagurutv.com
Video news stories
Video equipment websites
Video production advice
What Google is trying to do here is guess my intent and then tailor the results to what it thinks will be the most helpful result. Over time, Google’s algorithms have identified and adapted to the user’s search intent, and identified four main types:
Know queries, where the user wants information about something. Ex: “What is a video?”
Do queries, where the user wants to take an action. Ex: “Best video production company.
Website queries, where the user wants to go to a specific website or webpage. Ex: “Medigurutv.com”
Visit-in-person queries, where the user wants to locate and visit a physical address. Ex: “Closest video production company”
This changes a little bit for Google’s mobile search index, which focuses on micro-moments:
Micro-moments are the instantaneous moments when a user turns to a mobile device for an immediate need. They focus on:
Google’s smart search algorithm—both for mobile and desktop results—has adapted to produce results based on historical data as well as its ranking signals to match the most common intent, and then provide the user with the most “helpful” answer. Knowing this can help you tailor your SEO strategy by matching your content to the most common intent people have when searching for that keyword. For example, when I search for the keyword “plumbing,” the top results are for plumbers in my local area. This means Google has learned that the most common intent people have when searching for “plumbing” is “I need a plumber to fix an issue.” As SEO experts, adapting content to users’ search intent and Google’s other ranking factors can help you win big time in the first-page real estate game.
So HOW MANY Google Search RANKING Factors ARE THERE?
Although nobody but Google knows the exact answer, SEO experts have been guessing and testing them for some time now, and have arrived at a list of over 200 factors used by Google’s search algorithm to rank websites and pages. But don’t let that list overwhelm you! Not all 200 Google ranking factors hold equal weight. So, what search engine ranking factors are the most important for your SEO efforts in 2019?
Before we dive into the most important Google ranking factors for your 2019 SEO checklist, you should know how the Google ranking algorithm works to put your business at the top.
top 10 Google ranking factors in 2019:
Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
Websites that are mobile-friendly
Social and local signals
Creating Quality Content
We’re sure you’ve heard this one before, but content is still the king of the SEO world this year. User experience is Google’s big priority; creating quality content that is easy for the user to find and understand is key.
There’s a lot that goes into creating quality content, but the basic idea is that Google will recognize and reward content that helps users find the information they were looking for. Think of it as a farm—would you rather have a hundred tomatoes that are semi-ripe and hard as a rock, or would it be better to have a dozen vine-ripened, cherry red tomatoes? When it comes to content on your website, the pages should be the juiciest tomatoes ever.
Quality content means not falling for the most common SEO mistakes, such as keyword stuffing, scraping content, or writing thin content that has little or no value to users. Google’s overall priority is user experience, so if your content doesn’t deliver on this, it won’t rank well.
Careful, purposeful keyword usage is big for SEO in 2019.
A recent Google algorithm update called the Google Maccabee Update was aimed to improve user experience. It did this by penalizing keyword permutations, which are multiple phrases or long tail keywords that basically mean the same thing. An example of this would be creating a page about “how to edit video” and stuffing it with keyword permutations like:
Edit video with adobe
How to use music on edited video
How to edit video that shakes
Start editing videos
Edit videos on the move
Unless the content is incredibly in-depth, these keyword permutations disrupt the natural flow of the text and can create a bad user experience. The key to a high keyword ranking in 2019 is creating helpful content.
Does Google have a specific length requirement for getting your content indexed? Nope, that’s part of the mystery. Thankfully, through our data and data from other reputable SEO sources, we’ve got proof that the highest-ranking pages on Google DO tend to have longer content. In fact, the average content length for a web page in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.
From a very young age, we’ve been using pictures and other visuals to gain information about the world around us. While that approach works for humans, pictures are still tough for search engines to make sense of. The SEO solution to adding photos without missing out on ranking opportunities is to make sure you are optimizing photos on your website.
We’ve written a great guide on how to optimize photos on your website, but here are the basics:
Reducing the file size for faster loading times (another ranking factor!).
Choosing a descriptive file name that includes keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Including a caption can help consumers find what they’re looking for more easily.
Adding an alt tag helps search engines understand what the image is about.
Giving a title to your image provides additional information for better user experience.
Along with content, backlinks are the bread and butter of SEO. When your website is associated to a trustworthy site via a backlink, it also makes your site look more trustworthy to search engines. Google keeps score of what sites have quality backlinks through PageRank.
PageRank is essentially your “link score.” One of the algorithms that skyrocketed Google to fame, it evaluates both the quality and the number of links to your site, giving it an authority score of 0 to 10. You can’t afford to have spammy, low-quality links in 2019!
Social shares and signals such as Facebook “likes” and shares, tweets, Pinterest pins, etc. most likely influence your Google rankings. Besides just promoting your company, social media has a positive impact on your company’s SEO efforts. When a person finds something they love on social media, they may share that link with others. This increase in inbound links to your site can both improve your credibility and tell Google your content is popular, which can boost your company’s social profiles to the top of branded searches.
Voice Search and Digital Assistants
Another big thing to adapt your SEO strategies for in 2019 is voice search and digital assets. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries, and we’re expecting a bigger shift towards that in the coming years. Because of this, focusing your SEO efforts on long-tailed keywords will benefit you. In fact, we’re seeing it already with Google’s RankBrain.
RankBrain is the name of Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence (AI) system that helps Google sort through the billions of pages it has indexed in order to decide which pages will be the most relevant for search queries. Specifically, RankBrain helps Google interpret long tail queries to bring the searcher results. Using long tail keywords in 2019 can help increase your conversion rate and adapt to voice search!
Important Technical SEO Factors
A crucial foundation to SEO work in general, Google’s shift to ranking sites that are fast and secure higher will continue to be a priority in 2019.
Page speed has a massive impact on user experience. In 2019, search engine users want answers, and we want them fast! Increasing your page’s loading speed not only helps your bottom line, but it has been confirmed by Google to be a ranking signal. This year, aim to have all
of your pages load in two seconds or less.
Encryption has also been confirmed by Google to be a strong ranking factor. Encryption means that your website is secure, which can be seen by the addition of an “s” at the end of the “http” part of a URL. With the increase in technology from hackers and identity thieves, Google is making an effort to ensure its users are protected from these malicious intruders by making website security a key search ranking factor. Secured sites protect a user’s connection and ensure a user’s activity cannot be tracked or have their information stolen. If your site isn’t secured in 2019, you’re going to have a huge wake-up call; finally adding that “s” to your site will prevent your site from sinking in the rankings.
Schema markup is a type of structured data added to websites that make it easier for search engines to interpret content. Boring, right? Well listen to this: structured data can improve click-through-rate (CTR) by 30 percent! Adding schema markup with the help of sites like schema.org can help the leads roll in!
Domain age is a sneaky search engine ranking factor. Although Matt Cutts (the head of Google webspam) has said that domain age doesn’t play a big role in how well your site ranks on search engines, there’s tons of evidence out there saying it does. It can be difficult to get leads to a new website, but the new year means another candle on your website’s birthday cake! Cheers to an older and wiser (and more authoritative) 2019!