Top Google Ranking Factors for 2020 & SEO Checklist: Essential Steps to Survive in Your Niche

Contents

Google’s Ranking Factors in 2020

Backlinks

How to Optimize

What to Avoid

Content

How to Optimize

What to Avoid

Mobile-First Optimization

How to Optimize

What to Avoid

Technical Factors

How to Optimize

What to Avoid

Conclusion

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Although there are over 200 ranking factors, according to Google, not all of them are created equal.

Google’s algorithm has created a complex network, one in which specific ranking factors need to be targeted in order for a business to remain relevant.

These ranking factors allow SEO practitioners to ensure that their business as a whole and services are maintaining their rankings and receiving increased online traffic.

However, because of the vast number of ranking factors, those who are unaware of their importance may find the process to be overwhelming.

Luckily, SEOs don’t use all ranking factors to get the desired results. Read on to find out what you need to focus on, and how you can invest in strategic optimizations to improve your site.

Google’s Ranking Factors in 2020

Backlinks

concept illustration of the process of link building

It’s no surprise that link building (the process of receiving high-quality backlinks) remains one of Google’s most important ranking factors in 2020.

The search engine uses backlinks to connect topics with relevant data to provide searchers with specific results. As such, it has become quite adept at weeding out bad links from ones that matter.

To bring traffic to your website, it’s important to create content that uses various diverse domains.

When you link your content to other reliable authorities, Google uses that backlink’s matching text as an anchor and regards your content to be more relevant.

So the more relevant your links, the stronger your website’s link authority. This allows you to hit not just one, but three important signals, namely link authority, link diversity, and number of backlinks.

How to Optimize

If you’re not sure where to start, try checking recent articles on your own website’s page. Consider the information provided and the backlinks added to make the content more believable. Diverse backlinks allow you to improve upon your content by backing it up with detailed information.

Consider blogs and articles related to health and medicine. Backlinks are added to the content to connect the information provided to proven studies. By adding backlinks to legitimate data, the website in question improves its ranking while creating a trusted base for the visitor to rely on.

What to Avoid

  • Spammy or low-quality links
  • Adding too many links that compromise the quality of the content

Content

a laptop, notepad, pen, smartphone, and coffee mug sitting on a teakwood table

The SEO adage “content is king” is more relevant now than ever. In recent years, Google has shifted its focus from keyword addition and link spamming to premium content, focusing increasingly on lengthy content and natural language.

In fact, it was observed after the latest updates to Google’s algorithm that content with keywords in the title tag and the landing pages were being favored more over content that had little relevance to the keywords in question.

This clearly shows that Google evaluates content according to its direct connection with the related keywords now, ensuring content quality is one of the most important Google ranking factors.

How to Optimize

Using keywords in the title is crucial. The closer to the beginning they are, the better it is for your ranking. Meta descriptions also need apt keyword placement to boost relevance for Google’s algorithm; however, it does carry less weight.

adding Keywords

Length is important. Search quality guidelines rank the amount of the page’s content as an important component in addition to overall quality. Of course, there is no ideal length. It depends on the topic and the purpose of your business and surface.

Finally, comprehensiveness must be emphasized in order to maintain user satisfaction. For example, if you were to search for the places to see in New York, you would get results like Time’s Square, Central Park, etc. Add terms and phrases that would be connected to the search term in question.

What to Avoid

  • Thin content
  • Similar topics in detail on the same page
  • Lack of information on a niche topic

web content

Mobile-First Optimization

concept illustration of an individual navigating mobile-friendly webpages

In recent years, mobile-first optimization has become Google’s primary focus. Google’s index now primarily directs searchers to mobile versions of the website, rather than the desktop version. As such, mobile friendly solutions are considered to be crucial ranking factors in terms of SEO ranking.

Google requires content that is mobile-friendly and accessible on the same platform as it would for desktop websites, so as to create ease for anyone searching for information. However, if you are in the process of building a mobile version of your website, be advised; only launch it once it’s finished.

mobile version

How to Optimize

Page speed ties in heavily with a good user experience.

Google expects pages to load in less than three seconds, and confirms that slower speed can cause a downgrade in terms of ranking.

Usually, uncompressed resources are the causes for slow speed such as images, CSS files and scripts. Use auditing tools to fix uncompressed content.

Also, use Google’s search console for adding and verifying the mobile version when you’re ready to release your site’s mobile version.

What to Avoid

  • Different structure markups on desktop and mobile sites

Technical Factors

laptop screen displaying SEO analytics and important Google ranking factors

Technical factors are also a part of the Google ranking factors. There are various technical factors that play a major role in improving your website’s ranking such as encryption, anchor texts and H1 and H2 headings.

Let’s look at encryption first. Google ranks HTTPS encrypted websites in its top search results. In fact, Google even confirmed that websites that have HTTPS encryption rank better than HTTP counterparts.

In addition, Google Chrome marks sites with HTTP as unsafe to visit. As for anchor text, matching texts work best since they have a greater influence on rankings. However, if the links are spammy, that puts you at risk of a penguin penalty. Make sure that the anchor text is diverse and useful for the content related.

As for H1 and H2 headings, there is a clear correlation between keyword placement in landing pages with H1 and H2 headings, since it provides an easier mode of information for visitors.

How to Optimize

Firstly, switch to HTTPS encryption. Aside from Google Chrome, there are various other internet platforms that require sites to have HTTPS encryption for them to appear on the first page. In addition, having HTTPS associated with your website allows the visitor to feel safe with their search result.

Use anchor text that is diverse and relevant so that Google’s algorithm is able to weed out bad texts from the good ones. And make use of keywords in your H2 headings, particularly if you’re not able to use them in your H1 heading and URL.

What to Avoid

  • Overstuffing keywords in H1 and H2 headings
  • HTTP encryption
  • Similar backlink anchor text

Now you just go through your Google ranking factors SEO checklist 2020 right now to ensure that you are fully in compliance with all of these factors Google loves.

On page

Conclusion

Google’s algorithm has created a complex system for those using traditional SEO practices to bring more customers to their website.

Nevertheless, by using quality links and providing mobile-friendly rich content, we can use Google ranking factors to our advantage and prioritize elements to bring our website ahead of the crowd.

If you cannot follow all the above instructions by yourself, we suggest that you hire a website link building service to assist you.

Hire Search Berg for Expert SEO Services!

As one of the leading local SEO companies, Search Berg is qualified to provide white-hat link building and pay-per-click advertising services.

In today’s online world, staying ahead of the competition is imperative. We help businesses do just that by offering winning SEO services at affordable prices. We focus on providing our clients with quality content to ensure their website can satisfy all the factors presented by Google’s algorithm. Our SEO experts will use a combination of Google ranking factors, on-page SEO ranking factors, and local search ranking factors to help your business climb SERPs and tap into the Google 3-Pack.

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Aaron Tylor

Aaron Tylor

Aaron Tylor is a Senior Account Manager at Search Berg, a full-scale SEO and WEB Agency.

He brings more than 15 years of practical, hands-on experience in Lead Generation, Web Development and Digital Marketing. Starting out as a junior link builder right out of college, Aaron has expanded his career to deliver quantifiable results for some of the most demanding, high-profile campaigns. He regularly contributes to the SearchBerg Blog and on other web and digital marketing platforms. His goal is to get published on Moz and give a presentation at PubCon.

In his spare time, Aaron can be found golfing or binge-watching on Netflix. You can follow Aaron on Linkedin here.