Ranking in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) isn’t what it used to be. With Google’s continual algorithm updates and their push towards social media, traditional on-site SEO practices are losing their effectiveness.
What does this mean for your business? It means that you need to rethink how you approach ranking in the SERPs. Yes, optimizing your on-site content is still important – but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
If you don’t have a proven strategy for reaching potential customers through social media and other off-site SEO activities, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Want to know what you can do now in order to rank well today?
Here are 3 Google ranking factors that will still be effective in 2021:
Ranking Factor #1: Search Intent
Google wants to connect users with the best results possible. One way they measure quality is by looking at the searcher’s search intent. In other words, what keyword did a user search for and how likely are they to convert?
Search intent is typically measured using Google’s Autocomplete feature. For example, if you type in “I want to buy…” into the search engine then you’ll notice a list of suggested searches that are related to this topic. When autocomplete is executed well, it can show us exactly what the searcher’s intent is.
Search Intent keywords will continue to be important SEO ranking factors in 2021 because they demonstrate that you understand your customer’s needs and that you can provide a solution. For instance, if your business is related to travel, then listing your top destinations in the autocomplete suggestions would be an effective way to generate traffic and conversions.
In 2021, Google will also likely use artificial intelligence to determine and measure intent. For example, if you search for “Alexa” then an image of an Amazon Echo smart speaker might immediately appear. This would demonstrate that the searcher’s intent is to purchase a smart home device like the Echo.
Google has already started using AI to provide more relevant suggestions. If this trend continues, then you want to be one of the businesses that is using intent-based keywords today in order to rank well by 2021.
Takeaway: Think about ways to tailor your content and business operations around the needs of your potential customers. If you do this effectively, Google will see that you’re providing a valuable service or product – which can result in a higher ranking. This is the most important tip out of the 3 Google ranking factors.
Ranking Factor #2: User Experience
At the top of every Google search page, you’ll see a list of links to results. These results are ordered based on how well they satisfied a searcher’s query.
This is why it’s so important for your business to develop an effective User Experience (UX) strategy. If you can create content that provides users with what they’re looking for, then you’ll be ranked higher in the SERPs – and have a better chance of converting that traffic.
These days, people don’t want to spend time navigating through pages of content before they can find what they’re looking for. They’ve got short attention spans and need to get their answers quickly. That’s why it’s important that websites are streamlined and easy to use.
A great way to get started is by following Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. When you run this test on your own site, it will provide a list of recommendations for making your website more user-friendly.
If you’ve noticed that your website isn’t being ranked as high as you would like it to be, then you may want to take a look at your UX and check off any of these recommendations. For example, if your site takes too long to load then try using an optimized hosting company or a CDN service.
Takeaway: Having an effective UX is one of the top ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. This means that it’s essential for your business to have a positive user experience – whether this means optimizing your website for mobile devices or offering quick responses to customer support inquiries.
Ranking Factor #3: Content Depth
Google wants to connect its users with relevant and high quality content. That’s why they give prominence to long-form content that contributes valuable information to their users.
That’s not to say that short content is no longer relevant. It still will be used in a variety of applications – from direct answers, to social media posts, and even image captions. But for the most part, Google favors websites that provide their users with lots of content.
More than length, it’s about depth. The goal of the content should be to connect with your users and provide them with value. This can be in the form of entertainment, information, or a solution.
Users will want more than just an answer – they’ll want to be engaged and entertained. If you have something valuable to offer your audience (in any format) then you can be confident that Google will help distribute your content further.
The depth of your content will depend on your target audience and business model. For example, if you’re a content marketing agency then it makes sense to have more depth than simply providing quick answers to common questions. But even in this case, you should be making sure that every piece of content you publish is high quality and informative for the reader.
If you’re a local service business then your content might be different. For example, if you’re a plumbing company then people will want to know more about how you can help them with their problem. They’ll expect to see demonstrations as well as images of your work or before and after shots. To find ideas regarding what users might be searching for, use tools like answerthepublic.
Takeaway: The depth of your content should be measured by the amount of value that it provides your viewers or readers. More than just a simple solution, you want to create content for your users. The more valuable you can make it, the higher Google will rank it.
3 Google Ranking Factors Conclusion
Ranking in Google’s search engine results page is not an exact science – there are no guaranteed formulas that will work for everyone. However, many successful companies have found a winning formula by incorporating these three ranking factors.
The important thing to remember is that the ranking factors in Google’s algorithm are continuously changing and adapting to their users’ ever-growing needs. As long as you can stay on top of changes to the algorithm it will be easier for you to adjust your own website and keep up.
We hope that you took away something from our 3 Google ranking factors post. If you need help crafting and executing an SEO strategy for your business, send us an email. We have helped a ton of local businesses land on the first page of Google.