Google’s search engine is an ever-evolving beast with over 200 ranking factors to look out for. More ranking factors are added each year and what made websites rank highly last year might not be as relevant this year. So what ranking factors should you consider for Google SEO 2020? Here are the top ones:
In 2016, the number of smartphone users across the globe reached a whopping 2.5 billion. Later that year, Google introduced mobile-first indexing because this growth in smartphone users strongly correlated with the growth in Google searches on mobile devices. This sent a clear message that mobile-friendliness will be highly-favored by Google.
In 2020, the number of smartphone users has reached 3.5 billion and is expected to reach 3.8 billion by 2021. To top that off, mobile usage has even surpassed desktop usage. This means mobile-friendliness is a Google SEO 2020 ranking factor that keeps getting relevant each year.
Google cares about providing the best user experience for its search engine users, especially on mobile devices. A slow-loading website significantly reduces the user experience for many people. In 2015, 46% of mobile users said that a slow-loading website was their biggest frustration when browsing on their mobile devices.
Also Read: How To Speed Up Your Site For SEO
With the dwindling attention spans and the fast-paced lives we live today, it’s no stretch of the imagination to figure out that the number of frustrated users has only risen over time. So to rank highly on Google, make sure that your website loads quickly. If your website takes over 3 seconds to load, over half of your visitors will abandon it.
Google is all about providing relevant content to its users. This is where keywords come into play, as they help Google bots determine the topic of a page they are crawling and indexing. Usually, the more broad and diverse the keywords are, the more points the page will be warded – just don’t stuff the keywords.
Also, long-form content tends to be highly favored by Google since it indicates greater topic coverage. What is considered long-form content varies between topics. For some topics, anything above 700 words is enough, while other topics might require 1,200 words or more.
However, it is more important to focus on creating quality (relevant and accurate) content than upping the word count. With quality content, users stay on your website longer, which is something that will not go unnoticed by Google. A website that gets a high number of visitors that don’t stay long will be deemed irrelevant. It also indicates a poor user experience.
Any piece of content that is not evergreen (perpetually relevant) will lose value over time. This is because things like trends and your audience’s tastes and preferences are constantly changing. Google always wants to give its users the latest and most relevant results on non-evergreen content. And this is why content freshness is an important ranking factor for Google SEO 2020.
Any fresh content will outrank similar but outdated content. If you have been publishing content for a while, it is a good idea to revisit old pieces and update them. And don’t just update the content once, update it whenever new information about the topic surfaces, That way, you will maintain or even increase its value.
Internal links take visitors to other parts of your website to find more relevant information about the topic. When crawling your site, Google bots will investigate internal links and index the new content based on the relevance of the internal links. This means high-quality internal links can significantly boost your site’s ranking.
One thing to keep in mind is that Google bots also consider the structure of the internal links – they need to be SEO-friendly. When they analyze the link, they need to be able to tell if it is relevant to the topic. An SEO-friendly link is one that is short and incorporates the main keyword.
Backlinks take your visitors to other websites. With Google’s “Penguin 4.0” update, the search engine is penalizing websites with low-quality backlinks. Conduct a backlink audit and make sure that you’re leading your visitors to high-authority sites. The healthier your backlink profile is, the more you will rank for your targeted keywords.
Your website’s schema is also an important ranking factor for Google SEO 2020. A website schema contains markup code that helps Google and other search engines better understand the information contained on the website. Another reason why a schema is a ranking factor is that it helps Google bots crawl the website much faster. This is because the schema contains data about the website’s structure as well.
Social signals don’t affect your website’s ranking directly – they do so indirectly. The more people visit your website, the more Google will consider it as relevant. And for your website to bring in a large audience, it needs greater visibility in the digital space, which is where social signals help significantly.
It is no coincidence that the websites that consistently rank highly have a high number of social shares. All that traffic coming in from social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest is making your website look good in the eyes of Google. So be sure to include social sharing links on your website.
Establishing a secure connection over HTTPS than HTTP is a light-weight ranking factor. This means it’s not considered when indexing a page. However, it’s worth mentioning because it is so easy to do. With HTTPS, users can establish a secure connection between their browser and your server.
Installing an SSL certificate – even a free one – is all it takes to allow users to establish a secure connection. If the connection is not secure, Google warns visitors not to leave any personal or financial information. So to provide the best user experience, it is essential to provide visitors with a secure connection.
There are many ranking factors to consider when you want your website to rank highly on Google. As you can see, Google gives special attention to those ranking factors that provide relevant content and enhance the user experience. Pay special attention to the above-mentioned ranking factors for Google SEO 2020.