What makes a great SEO quote

Google Ranking 2020: What is really important this year

Google ranking in 2020. Which ranking factors are important for my website?

What are ranking factors for a good Google ranking?

Ranking factors are the factors from which Google calculates your ranking in the search engines. In this article, we explain to you which ranking signals are particularly important this year. Then it also works with the Google ranking.

Google Ranking: Ranking signals until today

Every year Google delights us with several new ranking signals for our websites, shops, landing pages and co. Who else should keep track of things?

  • 2014 it was SSL encryption with HTTPS
  • 2015 Usability was a top priority on mobile websites
  • 2016 Google relied on machine learning and the Rankbrain algorithm was born
  • in the year 2017 HTTPS was weighted more heavily and
  • in 2018 Load times on mobile or responsive websites are the next big thing.
  • 2019 and 2020 Scheme and featured snippets are at the top of the list

Ranking signals 2020:

But apart from all the new ranking signals, good, relevant content is and will remain the key to top placement in Google search results. But with over a billion websites in the Google index, how do you create good, relevant content?

What I definitely know is that all of these ranking signals are there to ensure an even better user experience (and to increase your ranking on Google):

  • SSL encryption ensures secure communication between the user and the website.
  • Usability on mobile websites it helps us to get the desired content quickly and easily everywhere
  • Rankbrain also helps Google to answer unknown questions for us quickly and accurately
  • Optimized loading times Save time, nerves and data volume on all end devices

I know it seems almost impossible to keep track of all these old and new ranking signals and at the same time not lose sight of the goal of the SEO strategy. The good news, however, is that ranking signals will continue to adapt to user behavior - and we can work with that. For happy users and a good Google ranking.

This means that we can at least guess which SEO trends will come our way over the course of this and next year: namely those that force us to offer an even better user experience on our websites, blogs and shops.

While there are of course more ranking signals than those already mentioned, it is the following 7 ranking factors that will catapult us to the top of the search results this year.

So here are the factors that are really important in 2020 to achieve a good Google ranking:

1. Publish only high quality content

The times in which you could score points in the search engine with a few short news on the blog or extremely short texts on your product and service pages are long gone. Nevertheless, there are still many website operators who try exactly that and then wonder why you only appear on page 10 on Google - if at all. Also in 2020 (maybe even more than before) the following applies: Content is king.

As Rand Fishkin, the SEO pope, emphasizes over and over again, content that is also optimized for the respective search queries is still the best tactic for good Google rankings.

The content on your website must be relevant and valuable for the visitor, i.e. prepare a purchase decision on the website. And that requires relevant and in-depth content. ‘Thin content’, i.e. short content with meaningless marketing talk, is more harmful than it helps. We would like to thank Google's Panda and Fred algorithm updates for this. For many websites it said: Goodbye to Google Rankind.

Even big names like Apple and eBay are not spared. Content that is too thin also hurts big brands. High-quality content is pages that invite you to linger, reduce the bounce rate and are helpful for website users. They answer questions, solve a problem or enable the right action at the right time (e.g. to make a booking).

But pages with high-quality content have to be able to do a little more than just be well-written and be of sufficient length. You also need to consider the following factors to be at the top of the list:

Search Intent: You need to know in advance what is being searched for

You can only serve him a perfectly coordinated landing page if you know in advance what the website user is going to do with the posted information.

However, in order to understand what users are looking for and for what reason, you have to deal with your web analytics software in detail, e.g. with Google Analytics.

Reports such as Site Search (for what page visitors have used the search function) or UserFlow (the navigation route taken by users through the website) give you good clues as to what is really of interest. You can also use the search analysis report in the Google Search Console to see exactly which keywords your website is clicked on.

Armed with this data, you can tackle the second, essential step for the optimal alignment of your website: The keyword analysis.

Keyword analysis: you need to know beforehand how much is being searched

Sure, you can rank without a keyword analysis, but that's a special case. By keyword analysis of the search volumes for relevant keywords or also from the websites of your competitors, you can determine very precisely which information is required.

However, traditional keyword analysis is not enough in 2020: at best, it provides indications of attractive keywords for you and your website.

In 2020 you need to go a step further. Take the keyword analysis as a basis and identify relevant topics from your industry or your niche. You can now effectively use various sub-pages to cover these topics - under one umbrella term.

Little by little, you will develop a content hub that covers all of your core topics with high-quality content.

Voice Search: It is not only searched on the Internet

According to a Google study, up to 72% of all people use voice control on their mobile phones every day. And primarily for searching. It shouldn't surprise anyone that in the age of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana, search behavior will also change permanently.

The good news: You can handle optimization for voice search in a similar way to optimization for the Rankbrain algorithm. Formulate natural questions and answers on your website - always as high-quality content, of course. A good Google ranking is therefore no longer only possible or desired in text form.

I have put together a few facts and figures about voice search for you:

  • PageSpeed is a crucial factor in voice search. The average top result for voice search loads 52% faster than the second-placed page.
  • HTTPS is a must to get good voice search results. Top results are 70.4% HTTPS-secured pages.
  • Short, crisp answers are essential for voice search. The average answer is only 29 words.
  • Awarded schema.org do not play a statistically significant role in voice search (but they do with normal Google searches).
  • Domain Authority is also a decisive factor in voice search. The average ahrefs ranking of the top results is 76.8 points.
  • Social signals are also an important indicator of good content in voice searches. The average top result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 tweets.
  • Simple language is still in demand. Short, concise sentences also dominate the voice search.

The entire study by backlino is available here [https://backlinko.com/voice-search-seo-study].

Rich snippets: use Google tools

Use rich snippets with Schema.org awards to present your website content prominently in search results. This can be, for example, photos, star ratings or short excerpts that are visually more appealing than the rest of the search results. This not only gives you a good Google ranking, but also a visually appealing one.

Rich snippets not only increase the click rate on search results (the eye ultimately clicks too), they also reduce the bounce rate on your website. This is because site visitors already get a brief overview of what is hidden behind the search result.

If the search results are a door to your home page, then rich snippets are a peek through the open window. And for this look to be worthwhile, the content has to be right. So treat each subpage like your home page - as a figurehead.

2. Make your website mobile-friendly

Remember when the mobile web was in its infancy and there were two versions of every website? A desktop page where everything was written on it and a stripped-down mobile page (m.meinewebseite.de) that was always pretty ugly?

In 2020 these times will be over for good, at least if you want to be at the top of the Google search results. The trend has been towards responsive design since 2011, but will definitely become a Google ranking factor from July this year.

While separate mobile pages were tolerated for a long time, it is of course a gigantic effort to maintain them from the company side, as well as to index them separately from the Google side.

So if you are still the proud owner of a separate mobile site, you should definitely get rid of it this year and go for responsive design.

3. Use SSL encryption (HTTPS)

It is no coincidence that as early as 2017, 30% of all top rankings on Google were achieved by SSL-encrypted websites. For the US scuba giant, SSL encryption plays a key role in the user experience. SSL was introduced as a ranking signal in the Google algorithm for the first time in 2014, and its importance has only increased since then.

Regardless of this, the GDPR (European General Data Protection Regulation) presupposes the existence of SSL encryption on websites with e.g. contact forms as a legal basis. Otherwise, warnings may be issued at a sensitive level. You can find out more about the GDPR from our colleagues at t3n /

If those aren't good reasons for SSL encryption, then I don't know either 😉

4. Offer an excellent user experience (UX)

A good user experience (UX) is much more than just a ranking factor on Google: Good UX helps you as a website operator, as well as your visitors. Those who find their way around and find exactly what they are looking for not only like to buy but also like to come back. Of course, there are tricks to increase the conversion rate, such as artificial scarcity, but a good user experience is much more important.

This includes, among other things, that it is unmistakably clear what happens when you click on a menu, a link or a button. This also means that your texts do not promise anything that your products or services cannot deliver.

Search engines such as Google and bing also include the time spent on your website in the ranking. A good user experience also aims to keep your visitors on your pages long enough until they either convert or continue surfing. A high bounce rate is usually a sign of gross UX errors.

It is also crucial that information is clearly and logically arranged, not just on sub-pages or landing pages, but in the entire page structure.

Information architecture

The information architecture of your site is one of the crucial pillars of successful search engine optimization and is reflected directly in your Google ranking. A well thought-out and easy-to-understand page structure not only helps your users to find their way around better (and increases the length of stay by up to 74%), but also helps search engine crawlers index their page more easily and efficiently.

So-called Cornerstone Content (from Eckpfeiler, or better: Grundstein) is the basis for placing good content correctly for Google, the colleagues from Chimpify have put the whole thing together great.

In short: Your website should be structured in such a way that even a child can find their way around it. Navigation and sub-pages should be structured in such a way that a user needs a maximum of 3 to 4 clicks to reach any sub-page.

While this is not always that easy on extremely complex pages, there is also a remedy here: A mega menu or a search and filter function can make navigation extremely easy. Make it easy for your customers and visitors to find exactly what they are looking for.

Internal links

Internal links are everything that connects one of your subpages with another subpage. These can be links in blog posts, call-to-action boxes, related articles or the popular up- and cross-selling in online shops.

But have you ever thought of using these internal links strategically for search engine optimization? With cleverly placed links, you can give certain subpages more weight than others.

Do you have a long blog post, guide or something similar on your website? Link your most valuable subpages in as many places (where it is logical, of course) as possible. In this way you not only get more through traffic (click throughs) but also show the search engine that this subpage is particularly important.

5. Optimize the loading times of your website (Page Speed)

Google has announced that page load times on mobile devices will be one of the key ranking factors from July this year.

But page speed is also one of the decisive factors for website operators when it comes to conversions (i.e. deals) or the length of time spent on the page. For the industry giant Amazon, for example, just one second of additional loading time means a loss of 1.6 billion US dollars. Each year.

The British newspaper ‘The Telegraph’ has found that a page load time of just four seconds can reduce the number of visitors by over 11% percent.

Why should you take this risk? I don't know either 😉

There are many tools available to help you determine the average page load time. One of them is Google's own tool ‘PageSpeed ​​Insights’ - try it out, you will be surprised.

If your important sub-pages score below the critical 80% mark, you should act immediately. Every additional day will cost you visitors and therefore customers.

Many of the improvements can be made directly by a developer with relative ease (or do you know what "minify JavaScript" means?).

6. Rely on on-page optimization

The sum of your SEO efforts is only as good as its weakest link: This means that efforts should always start on the sub-pages of your website. Because there is a lot to do there: metadata, microdata, internal links, ALT tags for images and many more construction sites that can help you in your efforts.

Meta data: title, meta description

This information includes the title tag and the description, i.e. what is displayed by your page in the search engines. The Search Egninge Journal reported last December that Google had extended the length of the excerpts in the SERPs. When asked, however, Google announced that these page excerpts did not have a fixed length. Oops.

Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, though slightly longer than before a change we made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.

- Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 14, 2018

Be that as it may, the titles and descriptions of your website in the SERPs (search results pages) largely determine how likely it is that your website will be clicked. Therefore optimize all relevant titles and excerpts so that searchers know exactly what to expect on your page.

Schema.org: Structured Data

Structured data is another hidden element of your website that tells search engines more about the content of the page. Schema.org was founded in 2011 and now contains over 600 different types of metadata that you can add to your company website.

These so-called schemes help search engines to recognize and correctly process the really important data on your website (such as company information, opening times, ratings and much more). Without microdata, everything is just text in the end. Because these schemes are what helps Google to show rich snippets in the search results pages.

Success through microdata

Rotten Tomatoes was able to achieve a 25% higher click rate and an improved Google ranking through strategically placed microdata.

The Food Network was able to increase its Google ranking and increase its traffic for pages with recipe schemes by over 35%.

Schema.org - that's how it works

Either your website (if it was created with BrainBox, for example) already contains the correct schema markup, or you can use one of the many generators to generate microdata for your websites.For example the JSON-LD Schema Generator For SEO from Hall Analysis (in English).

Internal links

The information architecture is not everything, at least if you do not link your important pages to one another. Strategically well-placed, internal links can lift weaker sites and additionally push sites with strong content.

The internal links on a page can be divided into 5 different categories:

  • Help website visitors
  • Manage link flow (i.e., where do visitors navigate when they're on your page)
  • Define core topics (Conerstone-Coontent).
  • Canonicals (e.g. redirecting category pages to a landing page on the same topic)
  • Prioritize the indexing of certain pages

For your internal link strategy, this means: First concentrate on your users (which pages are interesting?) And only then concentrate on driving traffic to your most important pages.

A well thought-out, internal link structure also helps with conversion optimization, as it organically guides visitors to a deal.

Alt tags

Alt tags are a factor for a good Google ranking that is often and often forgotten. Either it is too much work to adequately describe each of the many pictures, or one does not know about the potential that is hidden behind well-described pictures. In the code example below you can see an alt tag:

These alt tags are not only important for people with visual impairments, as they describe images on the website, but also for search engines. Machine image recognition is currently still in its infancy, so it is important to help search engine robots to recognize images correctly - this is where the alt tags come into play.

Ranking factor alt tags

Neatly named and tagged images help you to be found in the Google image search for your keywords, among other things. Especially if you have a lot of visual content (for example infographics) on your site, this is a not insignificant source of steady traffic that you should not ignore.

7. Earn relevant backlinks

Links will be one of the most important ranking factors for Google this year and next. So if you want to rank well in 2020 and beyond, you can't neglect link building. And with these six tips, it will be easy for you to get hold of relevant BAcklinks:

Case studies

Case studies are a good way not only to present your skills and services using a specific example, but also to get relevant backlinks from your customers or industry magazines. In this way, you not only show concrete results of your work, but also satisfied customers. And that is not only noticeable in backlinks, but also in a solid Google ranking.

Expert opinions

Put together an article on a hot topic in your industry with (if desired, different) expert opinions. These can be Facebook posts, tweets or quotes from relevant specialist articles. The experts will be happy about the publicity on your blog and will be happy to link to it. But don't forget to inform the experts beforehand and, if necessary, ask for permission 😉

Infographics

Infographics are a great way to illustrate difficult-to-understand facts. With a good infographic you not only convince customers, but also create content that is gladly and often shared via social media, including a backlink, of course.

Tip: Make it easy for your visitors to share the infographics by providing a link or by optimizing the infographics for various social networks.

Industry surveys

In many industries it is already common practice to conduct annual surveys among customers or cooperation partners. For example, the Content Marketing Institute's report on B2B and B2C marketing is a popular and frequently linked representative. And of course extremely good for the Google ranking.

Free content or tools

Avarice is cool, said MediaMarkt at the beginning of the century. Avarice is not only awesome, it is also a good means of generating publicity and backlinks. eBooks, white papers or free tools that are of interest to your target group not only generate new audiences, but also backlinks and thus traffic.

Now it's your turn

Which of the 7 ranking factors for a successful Google ranking have you already mastered? Which ranking factors give you headaches? How can we help you with your Google ranking? Write to us and we will be happy to help you.

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Jan Wambach

Transforming coffee into amazing products and solutions, every day. All about that hustle 👌 German, English, French, HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, SEO, PPC. 🐵