They say, “The best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google search engine”.
Yes, that’s true!
About 75% people never click on second page of search results. A website is like a dead body unless it ranks on page 1, as most of the traffic never go past this page. And for any website to bring business, it is important to get traffic. How does this traffic come? To receive good amount of traffic, your website certainly needs to rank on first page and for that, needs to be optimized in various ways, so that search engines recognize it. That’s where, search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play, to enable the website perform or else it will stay buried in the pages beyond, won’t perform, thus leaving you pondering over this.
It is however, interesting to note that the trends in SEO keep changing with time, as it continues to evolve with every passing day. Google keeps bringing new ranking factor every year, with HTTPS being one in 2014 and mobile friendliness in 2015. In 2017, the major Google ranking factor was again HTTPS. In 2018, the mobile page speed grabbed the focus and it still continues to be the crucial factor or website ranking. Apart from this, the website needs to be genuine in all aspects, for a great user experience, which is most important for any website to ensure. Well, this may sound too exhausting as there are hundreds of ranking factors, way too many!
Following are ranking factors that will be in the focus in 2020, so you too need to focus on them.
#1 Webpage Load Time
Speed is the essence of website performance!
Do you know, it takes just 3 seconds of loading time, for a person to abandon a web page. If your page takes too much time to load, it definitely loses on raking. Even if the visitor stays on the page by chance, a slow website fails to engage the visitors on other pages.
More the load time, more is the page abandoned, as presented in the graph by Speed Agency below:
Source: Speed Agency
#2 Mobile Responsiveness
According to mobile device usage statistics, the number of mobile phone internet users in the United States is estimated to increase from 237 million in 2017 to 275 million by 2022.
The mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage.
The mobile-first approach has already been implemented on Google’s local search results which target the current location of the user. This makes it important for a website to be compatible with mobile, for better search rankings and to ensure better user experience.
#3 Content Quality & Freshness
Content is not the King, It’s a Kingdom!
The statement by Bill Gates, more than 20 years ago, seems to be crusted now as today the content has surpassed the status of being a King, which has soared to become Kingdom. A great content covers far broader aspects of any subject, and provides value to the reader. A visual content engages them further in a better way, provided it complements the written one. A piece of content, well optimized with keywords really plays well. It is however, wise to use the Google’s semantic search for optimizing keyword targeting in the content.
Sometimes, even good content does not get the results expected. You may wonder about every other factor that may not seem to work. Well, it may be Google Freshness Algorithm that can change the entire course of game.
Like the performance of a car may not stay same as ever, the content may also not perform the same way it did earlier, no matter how great it may be. As it gets old, it loses its charm for the search engines. The new content keeps coming up, which is picked up faster than the old one. The freshness algorithm is sure to respond to your updated content faster. So, start writing now!
Backlinks are one of the strongest ranking factors for a website. They refer to the links attached to websites that show up on top of the search engine results. The more links a website comes up with, the more credible it is found to be. It is important for marketers to consider getting quality backlinks as this makes their website rank better in search engine results.
However, the low-quality backlinks should be avoided and they don’t really help. Recently, Penguin 4.0 filtered the websites that had such irrelevant, low-authority backlinks.
#5 Website Security
“Security is a top priority for Google. We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail and Google Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google”, an announcement was made on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, in August 2014.
Another announcement was made on October 17, 2017, that aimed at notifying the webmasters to use the HTTP protocol for websites. This has made ‘Security or HTTPS’ as the official and most valid ranking factor for websites. Websites are recommended to be moved to HTTPS to protect sensitive data or information from any malicious activity.
#6 Schema Markup
This is one of the newest factors, that has come up with the evolution of SEO ranking factors lately. Not much in use though, Schema Markup can actually boost your website rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).
What is Schema?
Schema Markup refers to a code embedded in the website text to enable the search engine understand what the text is about and then come up with more relevant results to the user. The search engine ranks what it understands better and so Schema Markup helps in ranking the website better.
When a website with Schema Markup in its texts, is found in search engine results, it allows the users to find all the relevant information about it, like – what the website is all about, its intent, services, location and lots more.
#7 Voice Search Optimization
The advent of smart devices including home voice assistants like called for smart searches, and so the voice search started. The searches that were made through entering the keywords on desktops and laptops, have become the words that are simply spoken to the device and queue up all the search results on the screen.
As indicated by sources, it is expected that by 2020, there will be around 4 million smart speakers in the US. Most of the searches will be made through voice search only, and that makes voice search optimization, an indispensable factor for any website to rank better.
#8 Video Optimization
In this age of millennials, when time and patience are seen sporadically, instead of reading through the words, users wish to play the videos for instant updates. Instead of switching on the television and sitting in front of it, waiting for the information they need, all they do is, simply play the videos they wish to see and fetch all the information in no time.
A good quality video gets attention of everyone as it promises lot of information in mere seconds. To let it reach to wider audience, it becomes important to optimize the video through suitable descriptions with relevant keywords.
You may find some of these factors quite familiar, while some have emerged as part of the SEO evolution process. Considering adopting them today, may fetch fruits of all your SEO efforts tomorrow.
Sachin Agrawal is an Enterprise Architect and heads up Business & Technology at Tarika Technologies. He carries expertise and a flair for writing on Management Consulting, Software & Analytics and Digital Media. Apart from distilling his technical ideas into creating innovative solutions, he is a practitioner of Haidong Gumdo and at his leisure, taps the Cajon and strums his Guitar! You can connect with him on LinkedIn.