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.

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.

Want to learn more about driving relevant traffic to your website? HookedOnMedia is a certified Google Partner with more than 30 years’ digital marketing experience. Contact us for a free initial consultation.