2019 has been a very dynamic year for SEOs and Webmasters. The bar to get to the first page of search results continues to rise. Below, we’ve listed the most important themes that we’re seeing influence rankings today.
We’ve also seen designing and building for mobile-first become very important. Websites that have failed to adopt the required performance standards and responsiveness having an increasingly tougher time making it to the first page. Webmasters need to utilize tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and ensure their servers have pages that respond in less than 1 second, low “time-to-paint” metrics, and are utilizing compression of their CSS/JS assets as well as a CDN. If you’re on WordPress, there are a host of plugins that help make implementing many of these best practices easier and are well worth spending a few days implementing and optimizing against Pagespeed Insights/Lighthouse to improve your page scores.
Some common issues we see SEOs and Webmasters commonly overlook are listed below:
- Forgetting to implement server-side compression of HTML content, JS, CSS, and images
- Needed to implement a CDN or use a service like Cloudflare that implements image-caching, freeing up resources on Apache/Nginx
- Not implementing or incorrectly implementing rich snippets and other schema.org markup
If you’re an SEO specialist, this year has been a volatile one for rankings. Google’s algorithm updates, such as BERT, have focused on evaluating the content quality of SERPs, rewarding high-quality content that is well researched and informative. Pages with longer content length, over 2000 words, especially those that utilize useful information architecture, are correlated with ranking better. Pages that are informative and accurately address a user’s search intent also have stronger user-engagement metrics and have lower bounce-rates, further compounding the benefits.
LinkGraph’s free SEO tools include a powerful Content Optimizer, which helps direct webmasters to improve the content quality of their landing pages and make proper use of key SEO tags (H1s, H2s, and Title Tags). Using their tool to improve content quality of landing pages has been seen to have a strong positive impact on keyword rankings.
In addition to expanding the content quality of your landing page, expanding content depth on your domain by creating more high-quality content around your core topics, and meaningfully internally linking across these pages.
In every well-researched study of the correlates of ranking well on Google, high-quality backlinks from reputable publications is always one of the top-ranking factors. Links are the voting mechanism of the internet. The more unique referring domains linking to a website, particularly those with strong and mature backlink profiles themselves, the more likely it is to rank on Google.
There are several tools that help quantify how influential a domain is. We recommend utilizing a combination of metrics including Domain Authority from Moz, Trust Flow from Majestic, and Organic Traffic estimates to assess how useful getting a link might be from a given domain. If you’re looking to start improving your backlink profile quickly, it’s a good idea to start with a reputable digital SEO firm that specifically specializes in link building and content marketing.
Doubling down on these key areas is essential for getting success with SEO, and we’re sure that focusing on them will yield dramatic results going into 2020.