search engine optimization

Which SEO Ranking Signals Matter in 2020

There’s a good chance you’ve seen some sites ranking higher on Google even when they barely have what you may expect to matter to Google. A lot of it has to do with the Google algorithm. Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. However, only a handful matter the most. Google shifts through trillions of indexed web pages to find the best possible search engine result. The priority is based on ranking factors. Furthermore, the focus seems to be changing nearly every year to understand “why is my site not ranking on Google“.

Here are the top seven SEO ranking signals that matter the most in 2020:

1. Publish High-Quality Content

website contentThe secret to ranking in the Google search engine is to publish high-quality content. This has remained the most crucial ranking factor over the years. High-quality content is about creating:

  • Content with Valuable Information: Your content needs to provide valuable information to rank high in the SERP. Content created with no real value will surely come to haunt your site. It is worth noting that valuable content is not all about creating lengthy content to increase the browsing session duration. Contrary to what many people believe, lengthy content that increases time on the page doesn’t matter much to Google ranking. What matters is creating helpful content for users.
  • Length of Content: The reason why Google doesn’t pay much attention to the time on the page and content length is that a blog with 500 words will register a shorter time on page than that with 5000 comments. But that doesn’t mean the latter is more valuable; it may be consuming much time with fluffy words. On the other hand, the shorter one might be precise and informative.
  • Keyword Alignment in the Content: The use of keywords is still an essential tool in quality content creation and ranking factors. While meta keywords have been rendered useless in ranking and meta descriptions are created for click-through rate only, the title tag remains a decisive Google Search Ranking Factor: Titles summarize the page’s entire content, and Google always leans on them as a fast way to sort the page. Therefore, the keyword appearing in the title is a crucial signal to Google. It is much better when the title tag starts with the keyword, according to MOZ.
  • Search Intent Alignment: Search intent is basically what users want to achieve when they enter a search query. Knowing what users are searching for is very crucial in creating content that drives traffic. To learn what users are looking for, simply visit your Google analytics. The good news is that there are reliable reports from Site Search and User Flow to give you an idea of what your customers are searching for. You may visit a Search Analytics Report in Google search console to get an insight into what people are clicking on SERPs.
  • 2. Rich Snippets

    Snippets give users a preview of your content before they click to read on. It could be photos or ratings on your results or just a brief highlight of your content generally and is necessary information. Generally, it is aimed at inviting the user by informing them that your content is worth their time.

    3. HTTPS

    HTTPS has been tremendous to Google since it was announced as a ranking signal in 2014. At the time of the announcement, it seemed unnecessary to many site owners, but in the meantime, several changes have been made.

    In 2017, Google warned that its chrome browser would begin to flag sites in the URL that are not HTTPS. This promoted HTTPS as one of the most primary trustworthy Google search signals. While failure to make a shift to HTTPS won’t harm your website as such, there is an excellent risk of weakening your SEO performance. Therefore, to create a secure website, make a shift to HTTPS.

    4. Click-Through Rate and Bounce Rate

    website analyticsAccording to an internet marketing service, click through rate depends on several factors, some of which we have discussed. Google algorithms look for the number of clicks you receive from the total number of people searching that particular phrase you rank for. It is always calculated as a percentage, and if you have a higher rate, you will be better placed in the list.

    If the click-through rate is higher than your competitors, Google will start moving you up the SERP. However, to maintain the ranking, the bounce rate has to be low since it is considered by Google search.

    Google assesses the number of people who hit the back button to return to the search engine page. For instance, if Google channels 700 people to your webpage and each of them clicks through and hits a back button within a few seconds, that proves to Google that your content isn’t relevant.

    5. User Experience

    If your website and content layout aren’t attractive, many people will stop engaging with your site. A substantial user experience increases their stay and the search engine, to some extent, pays attention to session time. For you to succeed in the SERPs, you need to design a user experience that pairs nicely with SEO.

    6. Web Speed

    website speedWho loves a website that loads slowly? No one. Website usability factors are significant to Google. Users expect a website to load within 2 minutes. A website may have high-quality content, but if it takes time to open the content, who will wait? And once users quit a website because it loads slowly, they rarely come back.

    Besides, if Google shows users websites that load slowly, many people may shift to other search engines. This may be a threat to Google in terms of income, something they won’t allow. If your site loads slowly, you need to improve speed. To improve your web speed, ensure:

  • Your hosting company has a content delivery network.
  • You pick the best website hosting provider.
  • You hire a good developer to clean up your code.
  • 7. Backlinks From the Relevant Authority

    Relevancy and authority are much important to Google than a sheer number of backlinks a site has. In other words, we are long past the era when backlinks purely depended on the numbers. When a page receives high-quality citation from a trusted website, Google will perceive your page as having subject authority. Backlinks from high authority websites are vital to boosting the authority of your page.

    Final Thoughts to Consider

    The key to getting a high search ranking is understanding the Google algorithm. Google algorithm looks for several ranking factors. Moreover, Google search gives them extra attention, and this changes with time. For this reason, small business owners who are eager to boost their ranking should do research to learn which ranking factors matter each year.

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