Google, without any doubt, is pretty serious about the ranking signals. Every random year the search giant appears with a new one. Way back in 2014, Google introduced HTTPS as a significant ranking signal. The Trend continued with mobile usability in 2015; RankBrain in 2016 and mobile page speed in 2018.
Top Search Ranking Signals for 2018
I firmly believe that these ranking signals have only one aim to fulfill: create a better, more awesome user experience. Therefore, you should adopt an SEO strategy that’s created around hundreds of these ranking factors. Though, Google considers over several hundred signals as ranking factors, I am listing out 9 that I feel the most important for 2018. Here we go:
1. Authority Content:
Like always, a website that offers great and value adding content would be a clear winner. This means you are bound to produce great content and worthy information through your site. The quality of your website and blog content will be decisive in 2018.
Moz once stated that content that’s optimized around the targeted keywords is still the super ingredient in an SEO strategy. While writing a post or page, make sure they provide valuable information. High quality content is one that accelerates use engagement and reduces bounce rate.
2. User Search Intent:
A page can garner more organic traffic if it’s written having searcher’s intent in mind. A SEO strategy driven by adopting the searcher’s intent could result up to 500 percent spike in organic traffic. Recently, Google as well, updated the search results by adding a new featured snippet that is designed for “multi intent” queries.
User intent tells you more about what your customers are really searching for. Visit your Search Analytics report in in Google Search Console to get an idea into what people are clicking on the SERPs to get to your site.
3. Exhaustive Keyword Research:
Regardless of what certain section of industry thinks, experts still rely on keyword research for producing quality content. Go through competitor research and data mining to unleash keywords that have average search volume, but a high CTR. You need to work incessantly with your primary keywords to convert them into topics that entice your searcher.
4. Voice Search:
Google has already noted that over 65% smartphone users who own voice-activated speaker use voice AI assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana to perform a their day to day task. The search giant has made it clear on many occasions that voice is the fastest growing form of search. A survey revealed that by March 2017, 63% of teens and 41% of adults were already using voice search.
Tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Google are heavily investing in digital assistants. It itself indicates the potential of voice search for marketers. If you haven’t yet ready for voice search optimization, take a stand.
5. Rich Search Snippets:
Rich snippets are now heavily used markup your text and data for better visibility in Google search results. They use schemas to display photos or ratings on your search results. Recall your recent visit on a recipe portal. Search Snippets can help you in reducing bounce and boosting CTR as they give users a brief preview of your content before they click on it. Your search snippets give insight into the quality of your content. Thus, by building high-quality website content, you can engage more users to your platform.
6. Mobile Friendly Website:
As mobile-first index is a norm now, not having a mobile friendly website might hurt your business growth. As Google offered strict guidelines for mobile-friendliness, websites are increasingly switching to responsive websites. Google has made its official that responsive design helps their existing algorithms index the pages accurately. In times when users more likely go mobile for searching and shopping, your mobile website is nothing less than the oxygen that supports your existence in the SERPs.
To get an edge in a mobile friendly world, make your website responsive by following Google’s guidelines. You should also ensure that content matches identically on your desktop and mobile website.
7. Migrate to HTTPS, Today:
Would you believe that 30 percent of page 1 Google results are using HTTPS? It’s incredible, but true. Now, Google’s chrome browser has started flagging sites as “not secure” in the URL bar when they aren’t HTTPS. This is what Google announced back in 2017.
Since its arrival, google has made several changes to its HTTPS guidelines. Though, HTTPS isn’t necessarily impact your website’s SEO, it could affect user experience.
8. Optimized Page Speed:
Recently, Google has announced page speed a significant mobile ranking factor. Alongside, Google is rapidly rolling out its mobile-first indexing feature. This means, mobile continues to be Google’s new heartthrob.
Google’s page speed considers a website bad at user experience if it takes time to load and display information asked. Put simply, the slower your sites load, the more visitors and revenue you’ll lose. Google views page loading speed a ranking factor and important to overall visitor experience.
Check your website’s average page speed through many free/paid tools available. Fix the issues that prevent your webpages from loading fast.
9. Internal Link Structure:
Website’s internal linking is a way to help users and search engines find website pages. Experts say that wisely curated internal links help in different ways:
- They help users in managing link flow
- They help in creating new content topics
- They help search engines to prioritize indexing
Your website interlinking should be designed around your users. This is the only way it can help you to drive traffic to your website. You must have seen websites where a wisely planned internal link structure guides users toward completing a conversion.
Above ranking signals altogether help you to create an awesome experience and deliver a more comprehensive, sophisticated SEO strategy for better SEO in 2018. Beyond all, SEO strategies which aim at quality over short-term gains will be the winners.