The exact way in which Google determines which results show up on a search query is a closely guarded secret, and the company frequently adjusts its core search ranking algorithm. This can leave businesses struggling to keep up with their online marketing efforts but fortunately SEO professionals are able to offer an insight into 2019’s ranking system. Here are some of the key takeaways from this year’s survey.

Content is key

Of the 26 Google ranking factors, the vast majority of more than 1,500 survey participants (all professionals in the field of search engine optimization) believe that the relevance of overall page content on a website is the primary ranking factor currently used by Google. This is a change from recent years when the quality of linking sites was believed to be a higher priority. Although links are still an important consideration, excellent content is now the top ranking factor.

How to optimise your site:

Check the quality of your site by ensuring that all your content is:

  • original and relevant to your business or service.
  • SEO friendly.
  • thorough and insightful (long-form content usually performs better in search).
  • plentiful – aim to have multiple related articles about relevant topics on your site.

The value of anchor text is decreasing

Anchor text (the clickable text link on a site) has historically been viewed as one of the top-ranking factors, but now it doesn’t even make the top 10. SEO experts believe that Google has been moving away from an over-reliance on anchor text, and although using certain types of anchors are still important, misusing them or overusing them can result in your site being penalised by Google.

How to use anchor text:

  • Focus on branded anchor text (text that uses your brand’s name) to establish authority.
  • Minimise the overuse of exact match anchor text for targeted keywords – this will make your page appear spammy and it will be penalised by Google.

SEO Ranking factors

Google will expand its current empire

Of the predicted SEO trends over the next 3 years, experts believe that Google’s own activities will have the greatest impact. Google has been expanding into new verticals, most notably within the travel industry. In 2011, it launched Google Flights, followed by Google Trips in 2016, and then Google Hotels earlier this year, directly competing with online hotel booking sites such as Expedia, Trivago, and Kayak. The expansion has raised the attention of antitrust regulators, who are investigating anti-competitive behaviour among tech giants, including Apple and Google.

With The above rankings factors, below are some SEO tips for small businesses to follow:

Having a strong local SEO strategy is essential for small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to compete on the same terrain as larger organisations with more substantial resources in their arsenal. You don’t need to have a huge amount of funding or a thousand links pointing to your site to get visibility to a local audience. Understanding the characteristics of local SEO and applying some basic strategies is all you need for success.

SEO ranking tips

 

Verify your business’ Google Plus page

Verifying your Google Plus page will allow you to monopolise the majority of search results pages for your brand name; local searches lead to more sales conversions that non-local searches. Be aware that anyone (including your competitors) can edit your business listing, so make sure you keep an eye on your dashboard to ensure no-one makes unwanted changes to your listing.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising

Launching a website is only the beginning. If you’re looking to reach an audience and sell your products or service, PPC advertising is essential, leveraging your web presence. PPC advertising identifies keywords relevant to your industry and helps you understand your target audience in order to generate leads.

Be aware that a large portion of local searches with high purchase intent take place on mobile, due to users looking for services in close proximity to them when they’re out and about. As PPC advertising takes up a bigger portion of screen space where mobile is concerned, having paid search in place will give you the best possible shot of appearing in front of consumers when they’re making such searches.

 Optimise images

SEO does not stop at text. Because of the increasingly blended nature of search results, images are now available to view on search listings pages so with this in mind, optimising imagery for search engines is key. Make sure your images have sensible file names that stand out so that they don’t end up being lost in a huge pile of images online. Create content for above and below the images on your site – the more the text pertains to the image the better. Remember to use your local keywords! 

Here at HookedOnMedia, our experience covers working with businesses of all sizes across a variety of industries. Contact us today to find out about our SEO packages – we also offer tailored packages to suit your needs and budget.