January 29, 2019 | By:

Top 5 SEO Ranking Factors to Monitor in 2019

Search engine optimization (SEO) is undeniably a foundational element of digital marketing. Most, if not all, efforts in digital marketing are geared toward ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs), most especially on Google. There are 200 known ranking factors that Google uses to rank web content. While these ranking factors are not officially confirmed by Google, they’re still worth noting for marketers in order to boost digital marketing efforts.

As the new year unfolds, a number of ranking factors take precedence over others. Here are the top 5 SEO ranking factors to closely watch out this 2019:

1. Mobile-friendliness

Google has finally and officially pushed through with their mobile-first indexing very recently, so it’s expected that SEO best practices in 2019 will revolve around mobile-friendliness for the most part. That said, the obvious first step is to shift to a responsive web design, if you haven’t already. And also, while it’s not officially clear whether this is a ranking factor, consider upgrading your website into an accelerated mobile page (AMP).

User experience is key to mobile-friendliness. Thus, it’s important for business websites to make the mobile experience as seamless as possible—first, by making it easy for users to access and view the website from their mobile devices; second, by making the experience swift and snappy by improving the page load speed; and third, by providing users the content that they are looking for.

2. Structured data

Structured data is often overlooked, however, with the increasing focus on improving mobile user experience, structured data has become more relevant these days.

Structured data makes it easier for search engines to glean additional details around a website’s content, and therefore gain better understanding of your content as the basis for SEO rankings. It also helps in classifying your content in SERPs, and have these data appear in search results as rich snippets. To get started, read through Google’s comprehensive Structured Data Guide. You can also test your structured data markup by using Google’s free testing tool, and check out Google’s guide on rich snippets for more help.

3. Domain security

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates are the secure HTTPS version of a website where the transfer of data is more secure than the HTTP version. Their use has been common for some time, but surprisingly, only 1.9% of the top 1 million websites use them.

This year, browsers such as Google Chrome have taken bold measures in barring websites that do not have SSL certificates and are therefore considered unsafe. The good news is that most prominent CMS platforms such as WordPress and Wix offer affordable (and even free) options to purchase an SSL certificate for your website. Once you’ve secured your SSL certificate, you can redirect website traffic to your HTTPS site; Google has provided a comprehensive guide on HTTPS redirects.

4. Multimedia content optimization

In 2018, Google introduced a number of algorithm updates that prominently showed image and video content in SERPs—that is, users no longer have to click on the “Image” and “Videos” tabs to view these search results format; videos and images now have a dedicated area on the organic SERP as video carousels and top image search results.

That said, it’s important for business websites this year to focus more effort in optimizing multimedia content on your pages. This entails including meta descriptions and alt tags for your images and videos, compressing multimedia files to improve page load speeds, and curating image and video content that are relevant to your target audience.

5. Keyword intent

Content remains king in SEO, and it takes a new turn as mobile usage and voice search continue to rise in the years ahead. That said, it’s important to consider your keyword intent strategy when doing keyword research for SEO. Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords—those that are semantically related to your main keyword—have become an important ranking factor in determining the relevancy of a page content to the search intent of the user.

LSI keywords are more than just synonyms. You can use free tools such as LSIGraph, Niche Laboratory, and Twinword Ideas LSI Graph to research and analyze the best LSI keywords for your content.

In Conclusion

SEO is a constantly changing industry, with Google constantly making efforts to update their search engine algorithm in response to various scenarios. This year brings a fresh opportunity for businesses to realign their digital marketing goals, and knowing the aforementioned SEO ranking factors is a start.

If you want to know more about SEO best practices, or if you need help with any of your digital marketing needs, Ilfusion has the professional experience and passion to give you a hand. Just give us a call at 888-420-5115, or send us an email to creative@ilfusion.com.

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