The Facts on Google’s Ranking Update | 2020

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Google initially hinted at having over 200 ranking update factors as part of their search engine algorithm. While this implementation occurred in 2009 to provide users with more accurate search results, another ranking for 2020 adds even more changes. The Google search algorithm has radically evolved over the past decade. Now, neural match, which is an AI-based method, processes approximately 30% of searches with the system being able to recognize notions beyond keywords.

Google has also launched RankBrain, mobile-first indexing with HTTPS. As digital marketers, you need to find the best ways to reach the top of the SERP list, so this topic continues to be as fresh as ever. Here we will review the facts on Google’s ranking update you should consider for 2020.

Comprehensive Content

The rules for high-quality content include accuracy, comprehensiveness, and adding value to the user’s life. To follow these rules, avoid creating content just for the sake of creation or only to promote a product, brand, business, or service. Instead, create content with a purpose, that answers a user’s search, and delivers the best solution.

Country-Code TLD

A country-code top-level domain is a critical Google ranking factor for country-specific searches. Therefore, if your business is targeting specific markets, you must distinguish that your content is relevant to potential customers from that country.

Image Optimization

Images are a critical segment for your website content. They are easier to read, more aesthetically pleasing, and often deliver more value than text. To ensure they are effective, you must optimize images correctly, so they appear in the image search. Also, the more relevant images are to the related content, the better chance of a higher ranking. Image attributes, such as titles, alt texts, etc. are significant ranking factors.

Internal Linking

The Google algorithm crawls websites by following internal links to identify the site structure. Therefore, internal links carry a heavyweight to and from pages, so the page with many links from other site pages appears more prominent in the search engine’s eyes. A strong relevance signal is the internal links’ keyword-based anchor text, so it is critical to link to the most valuable content. Also, always double-check that there are no broken links on the website, which hurts you in the ranking update.

HTTPS

As security is a continually evolving machine, it is always at the top of Google’s concerns. Therefore, it is unsurprising that HTTPS is a factor. While it is not a huge game-changer, it is better to utilize a secure protocol than not, to also ensure an improved visitor experience.

Hyperlinks from Relevant Sources

A few backlinks from relevant sources are more important than ten backlinks from less relevant sources. To be an authoritative website in the robotic eyes of Google and the real eyes of your visitors, you must have a connection to other trustworthy sites.

Keyword Within H Tags

Although there is no clear communication that utilizing keywords in H tags boosts rankings, they aid search engines in understanding the context and structure of a web page. The content of your H1 heading is the most essential piece within an article. This means that placing a target keyword within H tags is a good idea.

Keyword Within the Title Tag

Although evidence exists that keyword-based title tags are less significant in rankings, Google highlights that this practice holds a strong relevance factor. Therefore, to maximize title tags, ensure they are unique and specific to page topics with reasonable usage. Also, it is always better to avoid meta title duplication throughout the site.

Keyword Within the URL

URLs that contain keywords are highlighted in search results, which impact a website’s click-through rate since they hint users of the page content. Google’s algorithm recognizes these URL’s are ranking signals that consider their ability to act as their anchors. Therefore, it is in your best interest to put in the effort to include the keyword within the URL.

Mobile Friendliness

With an exponential increase in mobile users, Google wants websites that are available for mobile visitors that deliver efficient and smooth performance from a mobile device. As a user, consider what improves your experience, including the layout, functionality, and design.

Number of Links

Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors, and the number of backlinks is essential. While not all backlinks are rated equally, quality certainly trumps quantity. Therefore, focus on acquiring backlinks from authoritative websites instead of chasing many backlinks.

Page Category

Google will utilize category matching as a ranking factor, in conjunction with other approaches, to provide the most relevant results. Having hierarchical architecture comprised of categories aids the search engine in understanding the best content and site structure.

Page Speed

With most searches being made from mobile devices combined with users leaving sites that do not load within 3-seconds, having a snappy website is an enormous advantage. As a result, the Google algorithm ranks faster websites more favorably. Do yourself a favor and take steps to increase your site’s speed. This includes applying compression to large files, optimizing videos and images, reducing redirects, and utilizing a CDN.

Server Location

Like having a country-specific TLD, the hosting server location helps Google better understand the target audience and includes it in country-specific search results. The server location is particularly important when targeting highly-competitive local SERPs.

Site Architecture

Boasting a well-elaborated site architecture creates better “crawl ability” and gives users a convenient method of accessing all content. When content is difficult to find, it equates to a poor user experience that likely will not rank well.

User-Friendly Layout

While this goes without saying but having a user-friendly website layout is necessary for Google rankings and customer satisfaction. If users can quickly reach a page’s content without having to traverse your entire site, then it is a pleasant experience. On the flip side, Google penalizes excessive and distracting advertising within the ranking update.

A Final Word

Google has so many factors that it is impossible to verify every single one. However, these are some of the most important that will improve your ranking in the search engine. Google has significantly evolved over the past ten years to provide the user with a better, more relevant search experience. Factors that were considered necessary in the past may no longer be best practices. Meanwhile, new factors and ranking updates are being added, and internet marketers must remain updated on the changes. The bottom line is there is a combination of factors that will help your rankings, so it is important to focus on them within your site design and content creation. For more information on Google’s 2020 ranking update, contact Simplemachine today!

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