If you think SEO is a one-time process, then you are wrong. In SEO, only one thing is constant i.e. “Change”. We all know that Search Engine Optimization is an extremely dynamic field that keeps on evolving continually.
- In 2014, HTTPS turn into a huge ranking factor.
- Mobile usability became the most important ranking factor in 2015.
- In 2016, the focus moved towards the user experience in the form of RankBrain.
- And in 2017, there was a major push for more HTTPS websites.
- Then in 2018, mobile page speed became the big ranking factor to focus on.
- In 2019, visual searches are conducted more than ever before.
That being said, it has never been essential to keep up with the changes in Google Search’s ranking algorithm than now. With 2020 already in full swing and to cope with the rapid pace of algorithm updates, it’s a challenge to stay on the top of SERPs. Search engines like Google, Bing rely on more than 200 ranking factors for search engine optimization (SEO). Deciding which factors to aim is a daunting and time-consuming task.
That’s why based on our experience and successful SEO results, we’ve put together this handy guide for you. This guide covers all important SEO ranking factors that can’t be ignored if you want to rank #1 in 2020.
Let’s dive into the most important SEO ranking factors for your 2020 SEO checklist:
1) HTTPS Secured Website
User’s safety is Google’s primary concern. Since 2014, HTTPS has been confirmed as an important Google ranking factor, so switching to HTTPs can’t be neglect in 2020 too if you want a ranking boost. The use of HTTPS/SSL may affect your website credibility and search engine rankings. Though there hasn’t been any significant impact on SEO for websites that have migrated to a secure HTTPS encryption, it is highly recommended to move your site to HTTPS to avoid any mishaps from any future updates by Google.
2) Well Optimized On-Page SEO
Page Optimization has the most profound effect on its rankings. Here are some On-Page optimization factors that can affect website ranking:
- Primary Keywords used in the title tag.
- Keywords detected in the first 100 words.
- Keyword in the meta description.
- The keyword appears in Heading tags.
- Using keywords in the content of the page.
- Using Inbound and Outbound Links.
- Duplicate content not used.
- The canonical tag used.
- Images are optimized with the right keywords.
- The length of the content is not exceeding the ideal length.
- Keyword used in URL.
- Where it’s appropriate, schema markup used.
Search Engine will love your page and make it rank higher if your page meets the above-mentioned factors.
Note: Make sure that you’re not overusing keywords while page optimization because you don’t want to be penalized for keyword stuffing, do you?
3) Quality and Relevant Content
You’ve heard this one before, but the content is still the King of SEO. Quality Content plays a crucial role in 2020 too! Your content needs to provide valuable information in order to rank higher on Google. Otherwise, pages with keyword stuffing, scraping content, or thin content that has little or no value to users can come back to haunt you.
Think about the content as a fruit farm. Would you prefer to have a hundred mangoes that are rotten and hard as a rock or would it be better to have a dozen vine-ripened, sweet mangoes? When it comes to content on your website, the pages should be the juiciest mangoes ever.
As per Google’s Panda and Fred algorithm updates, if your content doesn’t deliver relevant and quality content then your website won’t rank well.
4) Mobile Friendliness
Nowadays, people are using mobile devices more than ever and that’s why Google also shifted to the mobile-first index ranking factor. It is drawing its results from mobile-optimized sites first, rather than websites geared to desktop computers. Now, as mobile usage is surpassing desktop, websites should prioritize mobile versions to provide a better user experience on tips.
Google’s ‘mobile-first’ approach is already changing the search results, especially when it comes to local results, so there is a clear indication of Geolocation actively affecting the local search queries on the desktops as well. So, make ensure your mobile site is as responsive and well-functioned as your desktop one is.
5) Page Speed
Page Speed is becoming a hot ‘thing’ since Google adopted a mobile-first indexing approach making it more crucial than ever. Websites with slow page speed will have a hard time to rank at the top in the results. Google officially announced an algorithm update based on page speed (especially for mobile devices) which states that “If your site doesn’t load fast on mobile devices, then it could be penalized.” The main goal of these updates is to provide the best user experience with the faster speed.
You can use https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
to check your website page speed.
Google officially announced that for a while now Google’s been using RankBrain to better rank web pages. It’s Google’s most important ranking signal. RankBrain is a machine learning Artificial Intelligence algorithm that Google uses to sort the search results. It helps Google process and understands search queries.
It usually measures user satisfaction on the basis of below 3 signals that affect your search engine ranking. These are:
- Clickthrough rate(CTR): CTR refers to the percentage of people who click to visit your site. CTR has a high correlation with rankings because an increase in CTR almost every time entails a significant ranking boost.
- Dwell time: It means how long they stay on your site after they’ve arrived on your website. Remember, the longer a certain user stays on your page, the more relevant it seems for Google.
- Bounce Rate: It refers to the percentage of visitors who enter your website and then leave (bounce) from your website rather than continuing to view other pages.
If you want to boost your Search Engine ranking, then make click-worthy Meta Tags in order to increase CTR and deliver the value on the other end to make your visitors stay longer. Remember, if most of the people land on your site, don’t like it, and bounce away, then RankBrain will think that your website is not relevant. In this case, you might find it more difficult for your site to rank higher in search results.
7) High-Quality Backlinks
Google officially confirmed that along with fresh, good-quality content and RankBrain, backlinks are one of the strongest ranking signals in Google’s search algorithm. The more links you earn from multiple high-authority domains, the better your chances are to rank well for top keywords. With the recent updates such as ‘Penguin 4.0’, online marketers should pay close attention as it filters sites with low-quality backlink profiles.
If your website has backlinks from credible sites, then it will automatically help to boost your SEO because they show search engines that your website is authentic and therefore valuable to its users.
8) Social Sharing
Social signals from Facebook, Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, and other social sites correlate with search rankings. Although there’s been a debate on whether social shares impact rankings or not. You should understand only one thing and your doubts will be clear.
If your website provides more quality and informative content and you share the content on social media, then it means more traffic to your site. And when more people visit your website, then higher the probability that someone will naturally link back to your website which means more links resulting in higher rankings. This is the reason you should try to get more social shares.
9) Accurate Business Information
This is another important ranking factor especially for businesses that want to rank higher locally. You need to ensure that your business NAP (name, address, phone number) information is consistent throughout the web and your business is listed in the right category. This lets you have better ranking and authority in local as well as organic searches. If you use different business information, then Google can’t trust you and wouldn’t provide you a higher rank.
10) Direct/Branded Searches
Direct/Branded searches provide a strong signal to Google’s search algorithm. Because if people visit your website directly either by typing the URL in or by bookmarking it, then it clearly indicates that your brand is known and your website is serving a purpose or is of high quality. The more traffic a website gets from direct/branded searches, the more it will be recognized by the algorithm. Based on Brand popularity and behavior (Dwell Time and Bounce rate) of Direct User, RankBrain decides your ranking.
11) Rise of Visual Search
Visual search is the SEO game-changer on the base of how things are trending. Here are some visual search-related stats from 2019 which you need know:
- Google lenses have been used 1 billion times already.
- Pinterest gets 600 million visual searches per month.
- 36% of American consumers have already used a visual search.
- Google Lens can identify 1 billion objects. And that number is growing every day.
The Final Thought
SEO is an ever-evolving industry and we know that there will be a huge impact on SEO marketing strategies in 2020 and the recent Google algorithm is paving the way for websites with good quality content that provide real value for users.
To make it to #1 on Google, there are 200+ ranking factors that can affect your ranking. Thus, it is not possible to apply each factor, but if you prioritize improving website SEO based on the above-mentioned ranking factors, then your website will surely stand out from the crowd. These ranking factors are worth your time, consideration, and energy. Good luck with achieving #1 rank.
If you think we’ve missed any of the crucial factors, please comment below!