Google wants you to do one thing! According to its P.Q (Page Quality) factors, it wants your website to live its raison d’être ‘reason for being’. What does this mean? According to Google’s 160+ page guide on How Search Works, (link below), technical SEO ranking factors are becoming nil and void by comparison to interaction and user interface factors, meaning whatever information your website is meant to give to your audience needs to be done as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Once a year I write a forecast article on SEO that predicts the future Google is moving towards, primarily concerned with its weightings of ranking factors for the next year. Thankfully, I’ve forecasted positively for years now and most of the changes I’ve predicted have come around within the first three to six months within the next coming year. This year my SEO forecast is taking a different route. Instead of concentrating on specific algorithm updates like Penguin and Humming Bird etc… I’m writing more of a complete guide outlining the most important factors you need to begin working on to ensure your website packs a powerful enough punch to rise in the rankings in 2019.
The reason for the altered approach this year is to meet the new criteria outlined by Google including their own assertion on what are the most important SERPS weighting factors. There have been new ranking factors, recently made live, that take a more intricate and in-depth look at authorship and the reputation and trust of the company and/or content author, rather than just the website hosting the content, (this doesn’t mean that this too isn’t also an important factor). Whoever writes the article is now integral to the trustability of the content and thus the ranking. This is a huge change and is going to create big effects over the next few months.
You may have heard the expression, ‘Content is King!’, Bill Gates 1996 and then Matt Cutts 2010. Well, times are changing. Now, the User is King and content is only powerful if a number of new intricate factors are considered and acted upon.
Below is an overview of the most important ranking factors for 2019 and the basics that need to be fixed today, considered deal breakers from Google. These lists are for people that want quick answers, rather than a more in-depth explanation. This is followed by a more comprehensively detailed deconstruction further below for those with a greater interest in the subject matter.
Most Important Ranking Factors For 2019 (Quick Version)
- U.X user experience (Clear and considered formatting, strong CTR, a reduction in over monetisation including ads and affiliate links, answer questions quickly, preventing pogo-sticking, time on page, mobile-friendliness). The most important of these being the time it takes for your website to help the user with their initial search query, (more on this below).
- Content Depth, how thoroughly the topic is covered after the basic answer is given.
- Quality Backlinks, to the content page, please don’t buy links, you’ll get caught out. This is considered on the extreme side of Black Hat now.
- Site Reputation and Authority, are you and other organisations/media outlets writing about you and/or your company’s credentials, both on and offsite.
- Rich Content, appropriate use of multimedia (images, infographics, video, interactive tools).
URL Length, keep it snappy.
- Internal Links to the page, is your website cohesive on your subject matter and able to signpost to further useful knowledge within your domain?
- Outbound or External Links, to quality content sources consistent with your subject matter across the web.
- Author Trustability, reputation around the web including official certifications from trusted institutions.
Generally, most of the updates and changes Google are releasing are aligned to their larger mission statements and many of the talks where they speak about the search engine progressing so most of these changes shouldn’t come as a big shock. Especially to anyone that’s been monitoring how the Google architecture has developed since 1998. It’s easy to see that many companies online aren’t getting this right yet and over the next three to six months I’d expect many to see a drop in their content and overall website rankings unless they take a proactive approach to improving their websites. This is all very good news for users and means that more of the Black Hat SEO people will be leaving the stage. A bonus for us White Hat SEO specialists.
The User is King!
To great SEO for 2019,
(Founder and Managing Director)