Google ranking factors in 2018 and beyond

Trying to boost your site’s online visibility, and help content rank higher in Google search results can be a tiring and confusing task.

Things aren’t helped by an increasing number of Google ranking factors and algorithm updates.

It gets worse:

You can expect even more changes throughout 2018, including structured data, RankBrain, SERP features, mobile-first indexing and voice search.

This can be either good news or bad news depending on the way you look at it.

Here’s the deal:

You can get confused by these upcoming changes, or instead, you can seek to get ahead of the curve and make 2018 the year for your site to rise up through the Google rankings.

We’ve put together a useful guide to help you do just that.

First off, what are the core SEO signals?

There are 4 core SEO signals that Google takes into consideration when looking to reward a website with higher rankings:

  1. Relevancy.
    How relevant is your content to your focus keywords? When you publish new content is it genuinely serving the purpose of answering the searcher’s query?
  2. Authority.
    How authoritative are you within your niche? Are other websites regularly linking to you as a useful resource?
  3. Popularity.
    How many people actually view your site and read what you have to say? Once people find your content, are they sticking around to read all of it, or do they leave straight away?
  4. Technical.
    Is your website and the content technically sound? Does it load responsively across all devices and offer a good user experience for everyone?

All of the above signals have one clear purpose, which is to help provide searchers with the best experience possible and to get accurate answers to their problems.

As discussed in one of our previous posts, a good user experience should be integral to your SEO efforts.

SEO Takeaway: Check everything you publish against the 4 core SEO signals

Where should you focus your SEO efforts in 2018?

Did you know that the entire ranking process can be condensed into just 4 major SEO processes?

It’s true!

When you are trying to find out why Google won’t rank your site, it’s because you’re failing in one, or likely more, of the following 4 crucial processes.

Take a look at our SEO guide to the 4 major SEO processes below and find out where you need to focus your efforts to achieve good search engine ranking in 2018 and beyond.

1. Technical SEO ranking factors

Technical SEO refers to how well your site functions for Google bots and for a variety of different devices. It also relates to how secure and trustworthy your site is.

You should focus on:

  • A sitemap to help bots crawl and index your site
  • Having a truly mobile-responsive site
  • Fast page loading speeds
  • A clear internal content hierarchy
  • SSL certificate
  • Server location
  • Maximum site uptime vs. downtime

2. On-site SEO ranking factors

On-site SEO is all about how well your site is optimised as a whole, as well as at an individual page level. This means properly following all SEO best principles regarding keyword research and having an easy to navigate website.

You should focus on:

  • Targeted keywords
  • Optimised meta titles and descriptions
  • Ease of navigation
  • Descriptive URLs
  • Engaging and optimised multimedia
  • Social sharing capabilities

3. Content ranking factors

Your focus should be on delivering amazing, targeted content that your customers actually want to read. Properly answering these questions, and optimising all copy to be found will help build your reputation as an authority figure.

You should focus on:

  • Long form, high-quality and relevant content
  • Suitable keyword density
  • No duplicate content
  • Fresh and regularly updated content
  • A few relevant outbound links to authority domains
  • Quality internal linking to other relevant content

4. Off-site SEO ranking factors

The results of all of the above 3 steps should help you to start to build effective off-site SEO, meaning that other sites want to link to you and that you are more popular on social media and within the search engines.

You should focus on obtaining:

  • A good quantity of relevant links from other sites
  • A good amount of links from authority domains
  • A large number of social shares
  • Relevant anchor text on sites linking to you
  • Increasing the number of links referencing your domain name

An awareness of each of these 4 SEO processes and following the Google best SEO practices will allow you to start to build your authority and relevance within your niche.

It’s time to get to work!

Hopefully reading the SEO Guide has given you a much more thorough understanding of what goes into making a truly well-optimised website in the eyes of Google.

Following the 4 major SEO processes in 2018 and optimising your site accordingly will ensure that your site is in the best position to succeed.

A Free SEO Checklist to help you create a website that Google and your customers love

It’s a lot to take in, so to help you remember all of the above and to build an effective SEO strategy for your site, we’ve created a Free SEO Checklist which you can download.

Be sure to join me in the comments section below, and let me know your thoughts on anything discussed above, and to help answer any further questions.

Alternatively, check out our SEO service – the perfect way to help you get great SEO results and implement all of the Google ranking factors.

11 thoughts on “Google ranking factors in 2018 and beyond”

  1. Hi Hazel,

    According to Google, they have 200+ ranking factors that decide if the site or content is going to rank or not. I must say that all type of ranking factors work together. All you need to do is improve the user experience even when you are doing SEO. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Hi Hazel,
    Liked your article, the way you broke it down in 4 sections.
    I went thru them all and was ok but I did check my plug-ins and found that I had the site map on off for some reason. Now fixed
    thanks to your check list. Very helpful article.

    Reply

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