In the world of search engine optimization, changes are always around the corner. SEO is ever-evolving, forcing webmasters to keep up in a race to the top of the search engine results pages.
However, some ranking signals stand the test of the time. We’ll touch on some of the tried and true ranking signals below that were vital a year ago, today and into 2020:
Website Speed (Mobile and Desktop)
Optimizing your website speed will not only help you in search engines, but will also dramatically increase the user experience for your website. Investing in a fast website is usually profitable.
Research shows that Amazon loses $1.6 billion in revenue when its website speed decreases by 1 second.
If you’re looking to increase your website speed for Google, a good option is to use the Google Page Speed tool. With this tool, you can check the website speed for both mobile and desktop. This makes it easier if you wish to optimize your website for mobile users. A few common suggestions the Google Page Speed tool gives:
- Optimize Images
- Leverage Browser Caching
- Eliminate Render-Blocking Resources Above the Fold
- Enable Compression
It’s very important to keep testing your website in the Google Page Speed tool when optimizing for speed. It shows the changes you have made and what you still need to adjust.
Since the moment more than half of the searches in Google were done by mobile users, the SEO world hasn’t been the same. That milestone was reached in 2015, and SEO specialists can’t stop talking about mobile. First this happened in America, but later in 2015 it applied for all searches worldwide.
Having a good mobile experience isn’t only good for your ranking. It also boosts conversions.
A short checklist to see if your website is mobile-ready:
- Do your users have to zoom in to read certain parts of your website?
- What is the website speed for your mobile version?
- Is your website responsive?
- How much content do you want to show on your mobile website?
- Are your call-to-actions easy to see and click?
Using correct internal links has been a ranking factor for a long time now. Internal links are links that point to pages within the same website.
A few best practices for using internal links to rank pages higher:
- The more links a page receives, the more value Google will give this page. This is mostly to compare the worth of a certain page to other pages within a website. For example: A page that receives 100 internal links will usually have more value than a page that receives five internal links.
- Pages that are placed in the header or footer usually have the most value. The header and footer are shown on every page, so these pages have an internal link from every page on the website. This makes these pages very valuable in the eyes of Google.
- Reduce page depth for the most important pages in Google. Google webmaster John Mueller said that the click depth matters for ranking them: Pages closer to the homepage will have more value than pages farther away.
Use these best practices to make the most out of your internal linking strategy. When done right, it can significantly boost certain pages and make them rank higher in Google.
Having great content is a timeless strategy for every SEO specialist or website owner. Google’s end product for its customers (the searchers) is great content and the ability to provide quick answers. It is no surprise that websites with great content in most cases get great rankings.
A few best practices to make the most out of your SEO content strategy:
- Focus on readability
- Go deeper in the subject you are writing about
- Add rich content to the equation (videos, pictures, interactive elements, etc.)
- Show your expertise on the subject you are writing about
- Write original content (don’t reproduce other content)
Linkbuilding is a ranking factor that still has a huge impact on the success of a website in the search engines. Most SEO specialists will agree that linkbuilding has the greatest off-site impact on the ranking of a website. But from what kind of websites do you want backlinks to improve your ranking?
Here is a short checklist to determine if a website has what it needs to improve your ranking:
- Is the website relevant to your business?
- How authoritative is the website?
- What is the domain age of the website?
- In what country is the website active?
- How strong is the SEO of the website?
Use this checklist to determine the quality of the domains you get a link from. A question to ask yourself: “Does this backlink generate relevant traffic to my website?” When the answer is no, the backlink will most likely not contribute to the SEO of your website.