With the end of year in close site, many businesses are well underway mapping out their marketing strategy for 2019. A significant part of that strategy is likely to include search engine optimization or SEO. Each year we see new tactics, changes in algorithms, and technological advancements that require us to re-evaluate and lay out a fresh plan for the coming year. In a fast-paced digital age, keeping up with the latest search engine ranking factors is critical. To help cut through the noise, we are going to explore four significant search engine ranking factors and how to develop a better SEO strategy for 2019.

1. Get cozy with RankBrain

Launched in 2015 by Google, RankBrain is a system that helps Google measure how users are interacting with search results. It notices the percentage of people who are clicking on a specific link and then how long they are spending on that page they clicked into. Taking this data, search results are then ranked accordingly.

The best way to stay active and aware when it comes to your website and page rankings is to monitor both your click-through rate (CTR) and the average time spent on your website. You can do this through Google analytics, which will offer you the insight necessary to create a new strategy that encourages more clicks and time spent on your website.

2. Consider paid search ads

Have you noticed the first page of Google shrinking regarding the number of organic search results compared to ads? This valuable real estate of page one is a lot more challenging to come by from an organic search perspective due to the prevalence of ads as well as newer search features like answer boxes and featured snippets, as seen below:

The benefit of advertising with Google and other search engines is that you are essentially paying to appear in that precious real estate. And we all know about page 2 of Google…

3. Develop more in-depth content

In-depth content might feel like a thing of the past (back in the days when keyword stuffing was on the rise), but we want to remind you of the importance of well thought out content that goes in-depth to showcase your expertise in your industry. Keep in mind that search engines are not looking for the highest word count; they are looking for the best context. This means that a page on your website that covers a topic in its entirety, or in-depth, is going to have a better chance of moving up in the search engine rankings.

Not only is in-depth content good for search engines, but it also creates a one-stop shop for visitors on your website. Instead of having to piece together the answers they are looking for, or solutions to their problem, potential customers will be pleased to obtain all the information they need to make a decision, take action or purchase in one location.

4. Optimize your site for mobile indexing

With over 50% of global searches coming from mobile devices, it’s becoming more common for Google to index the mobile version of a website over the desktop version. What this means is that any hidden content (like tabs and accordions) may not be crawled by the search engine bots and thus could affect your rankings, especially with a competitor who did not “hide” the same content.

It’s important to keep both design and functionality in mind when it comes to optimizing your website. While good design and aesthetics are critical to drawing in potential customers, it is equally as important that your website is also functional from an SEO standpoint. It’s a fine balancing act between customers and bots!

In addition to the above ranking factors, we always recommend continuing your SEO efforts in other areas, including:

  • The implementation of an SSL on your website for added security
  • Using keywords in your URL page titles
  • Making sure you have external links and back-links
  • Optimizing your website for fast page loads
  • Encouraging visitors to stay on your site (on the top 10 URLs, visitors are spending an average of 3 minutes and 10 seconds on the site)

If you’re ready to optimize your website and brand for better search engine rankings, be sure to contact our team of SEO and web design specialists.

Strategic Thinking. Creative Everything.