The Internet continues to evolve and so does the SEO requisites, and keeping up with the development can be overwhelming and challenging especially if we want traffic to our website. We need to update ourselves constantly in order to stay competitive. Without the help of proper SEO, our business will have limited presence online.
In this 2 part series, we will be sharing 10 most important SEO ranking factors in 2020 that you need to know to dominate the SERP.
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Basic SEO – How To Rank Higher In Google
Before we begin on the key factors, let’s get to know the basic of SEO.
SEO, known as Search Engine Optimization, can make your website work and do better to get a good ranking spot organically in search engines, making your page more visible to online users.
SEO Ranking is the position of your webpage on SERP. Google search engines will display webpages that have the most relevant content and information that can answer the searchers query. Generally speaking, the first page of SERP is a good ranking spot for you to be noticed by thousands of users every single minute, as study shows 95% of the searchers will not go beyond first page.
What Google Looks For In SEO
Google once said, ‘Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’. As Google stated, websites should deliver relevant search results to the users.
The search bots of Google, known as the ‘spiders’, are bits of automated software responsible in visiting and crawling through your webpages. They are the ones that index and catalog pages into Google. Whenever someone enters their query to the Google search box, the searchers will be shown the most relevant results out of the millions or even trillions of pages that have been indexed by Google.
How Does Search Ranking Work In Google
In addition to using proper and optimized keywords, Google is looking into the quality of information that you provide.
Here are the factors that Google looks into in terms of search quality ratings whenever it indexes a page’s content:
- The webpage’s purpose
- E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) signal
- The amount and quality of the content
- Information and reputation of the website and content creator
If you ponder on the info above, Google only wants to show the searchers the most relevant answers to what they are looking for in the first page, and the rests are placed on the next succeeding pages.
However, it’s a tough battle out there to get the #1 ranking spot since Google constantly updates its algorithm.
A Simple Comparison Of On-Page & Off-Page SEO
These terms are the two most common terms in SEO ranking and are both included in the top ranking factors of SEO.
On-Page SEO is about optimizing various factors on your own web page such as the content and underlying code.
Off-Page SEO is about the actions that were made outside of your website that can affect its trustworthiness and authority through building of the appropriate inbound links as well as social signals.
SEO Ranking Factors
Now let’s look at the factors that will impact your SEO ranking:
1. Secure And Accessible Website
It’s no surprise this factor is ranked #1. Every website needs to be secure and accessible by having the correct kind of URL. It should be easily reached and crawled by the Google bots.
It means that Google can visit the URL and can understand the content of your web page. You will need the following in order to help the bots on this:
- A well-coded website builder is used for your site.
- A list of your pages through a sitemap.
- Inform Google on where to look for your webpage’s information by using a robots.txt file.
2. Speed Of The Page: Both Mobile & Desktop
For many years, page speed is considered to be one of the main ranking factors of SEO, and it still does. It’s all about the user experience (UX), specifically how fast a web page loads up.
You can use a mobile testing tool to see how your page stacks up. In fact, there was a search engine algorithm update focusing on the page speed of a mobile device in July 2018. Your ranking may be affected if your site does not load fast enough.
3. Mobile Friendly Page
Mobile friendliness is definitely another major ranking factor in SEO. Today, the market of mobile users has greatly increased compared to the desktop users when accessing the Internet, and this is why Google has emphasize so much on mobile experience.
The mobile-first index of Google is already a reality. The results are drawn from the mobile-optimized websites, instead from desktop. A site that is not mobile-optimized can affect your placement in ranking.
Aside from focusing on the foundation of your SEO, you also need to look at the user experience when visitors land on your website. Here are some of the things that you need to check:
- The responsiveness of your site wherein it resizes automatically to fit the device screen.
- The font size that you are using if it’s readable on a small screen.
- Simple to navigate and the accessibility at the same time. Tapping the menus should be easy to do as well.
- The crucial content of your site should not be hidden by any interstitial ads
4. URL, Domain Age & Authority
Here’s a fun fact – About 60% of the websites that are rankings top ten in Google search results are three years older or more. An Ahrefs study showed that two million pages suggest that only a very few numbers of websites that are less than a year-old can achieve top 10 rankings. So if you’ve had your website for a while now and been applying correct SEO strategies, you already have the advantage.
Domain name also matters. There were cases when Google has penalized domains that exactly match, wherein the URL contains the target keyword, and the penalty made was generally because of “spammy” websites that have little content.
It was also shown in another research that exact-match domains that are believed to be valuable, relevant and of high-quality can see a boost in their ranking. However, if you have an established site, you need to focus on optimizing the URL that shows your business instead of trying to look for exact-match domain.
Authority is also another thing that matters. This is more of a combination of having great content and signals in off-page SEO like social shares and inbound links.
5. Optimized Content
The Google search algorithm relies on keywords; phrases and words that are used by searchers whenever they try to look for helpful information over the Internet through search engines. These words and phrases can also describe the different topics that your site is all about.
Using keywords in your content is vital. Having duplicated content is a huge no-no in the ranking factor of SEO. You need to have original and fresh content and it is highly recommended. However, if you have a similar content, you can tell Google which content you would like to rank as the most authoritative one with the help of canonical URLs.
LSI Keywords & SEO Ranking
Aside from the main keywords, the related terms should also be included; this is called Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI keywords. It helps Google which results should be shown since it provides some kind of word association online.
Example, if you use the appropriate LSI Keywords, Google will know that when a searchers type in ‘mini’, your web page is more relevant to the car and not the skirt (vice-versa).
Another important thing you need to remember: Never apply keyword stuffing to your web pages as it will results in poor quality content and it will have a negative impact on your SEO ranking.
Content Optimization Based On Search Intent
Whenever you optimize your content, you have to look at the search intent of a user. Don’t just look at the keywords. Look deeper and understand what they are looking for.
It helps to use specific keywords than general terms. You will quickly know what a searcher really wants to know. Searchers will change the keywords that they use depending on the following factors:
- Navigational – trying to find a particular type of website
- Informational – finding the answers to their question
- Transactional – when making a purchase
Business websites that are well-optimized include content for every search type.
The Length Of Content
Google is looking into contents that have good quality and length at the same time. Don’t just expand the content with irrelevant info just to stretch its length, this is not recommended. If you need to write depth, then provide depth.
According to a research done, a 2000-word content can get a better chance in the top ten spot in the search engine rankings of Google. Contents that are longer also attract more shares and links, and these two are vital ranking signals.
Stay tune for part 2 of the 10 SEO ranking factors.