On January 10, 2017, Google rolled out the latest of their algorithm updates that affect how they rank sites. This always worries site owners and businesses because they wonder if the updates will somehow penalize their site or cause them to lose standing in the rankings.
In this post, we will take a look at the various components of the latest updates so that you can focus of what Google feels is the most important to keep your site high in the rankings and comply to their policies.
We have listed the different characteristics that are involved, along with the percentage of importance according to Google with their updates release.
One of the most important aspects of the new updates is the issue of links. Inbound links are what Google uses to determine the level of trust of a website. This has been the case since the early beginnings of Google in 1998. Naturalness and organic and relevant search results are what are the most important here. The link should come up for searchers based on their search terms and whether your URL actually is matching with what searchers are looking for in the results.
This means that you should never use paid or traded links that are added by your company to influence the results. You should also never try to defeat or influence the search results to your benefit.
Consistent output of thought leadership content: 24%
Thought leadership is a term that refers to the ability to provide consistent excellent content on your niche area. Part of the goal of this is to connect your articles and high-quality content with your brand. High-quality content is always going to be the most important aspect of your rankings, along with valid and relevant links. You should focus on providing some of the best content possible in your niche area. This helps you market yourself as an expert in your field with your content. Google considers this one of the most important things you can do regarding your content to help your rankings.
Keyword-rich meta titles: 10%
Meta titles are still important, despite the fact that keywords have basically taken a backseat to the other components of creating content for your site. Skillfully-chosen meta titles tell the search engines what kind of traffic to send people to. Think about what words people are using to search for your products and services and use these words in your meta title. Your meta title tags should be a total of 80 characters or less.
Mobile-friendliness / responsiveness: 8%
Mobile-friendliness is extremely important, even though it only ranks 8% in terms of the changes we are seeing in the January 2017 updates. The reason this is only 8% of the total changes is because it echoes the previous reminders of Google to make sure your site is friendly to mobile users.
You should continue to optimize your site for mobile users and make sure it meets the requirements for users who come to your site with mobile devices.
Highly specific landing pages : 7%
Consider your landing pages and make sure they fit the information that searchers are wanting to find. The Google search engine is highly specific so you should follow this idea when you create your landing pages. This way, people will see the results they are wanting to see that are more highly specific to their desired search rather than a general result.
Google rewards sites that follow the idea of specificity in landing pages so keep this in mind as you work on your site.
Site speed (including the use of AMP pages): 6%
Does your site load quickly for visitors? Google gives ranking preference to websites that load more quickly than others. You should check your site’s loading speed periodically to see how fast it loads so that you can optimize it. The general rule with Google is that it should load in 3.5 seconds or less when possible. Every half second loss after that may result in loss of ranking with Google.
Google also has recently come up with the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technique that codes mobile pages so they will load faster.
Clear labeling of information on page: 5%
Another topic that you should know about is the clear labeling of information within your site. This includes the topics and subheadings and all other elements of your page. Your graphics, topics and any descriptive information such as names, numbers, and addresses should be apparent and obvious on your site so that people can find the information they need.
Schema markups: 4%
Scheme markups are a new way to have your site stand out and help you gain a boost in search ranking. You must identify the type of content on your page that you want to add and include the type of content that you are including. Then you fill out the descriptions of each element on the page. There is a tool that Google offers called the Structured Data Markup Helper to generate markup code to add to your pages.
Social signals: 3%
Social media is a key component to the success of your websites. Social signals were an indicator of site strength in the past and Google used it as a way to track site relevance and success. However, the past seven years, Google has backed away from using social media as a ranking factor. They have used artificial intelligence and natural speech search to improve rankings in regards to social media. YouTube is the only social media platform that Google uses now to rank sites and it is only around 3% in significance.
So, when it comes to social media as a ranking factor, you shouldn’t worry about it too much. Just keep your social media up-to-date for your own branding purposes, but not for any real standing in the rankings with Google.
Age of site: 2%
The age of the site is important in ranking but not near as important as the other factors. The importances of site age has been gradually decreasing since 2000 and continues to dwindle in significance with these latest updates.
Keywords in URLs: 2%
Having your meta words appear in your site title is not as important as your meta title itself. So, when it comes to key words, use them in your meta tags and not your site title. This makes perfect sense when you think about the fact that many search terms may be different than your brand name of URL when it comes to search terms.
All other factors: 1%
Other factors that account for rankings account for only 1% of the ranking process. So follow the above ranking insights and don’t worry about the rest.
Keep up with the latest algorithm changes at this site.(Webmaster.com)
Check your website
Now that you know which qualities Google is using to rank sites in 2017, you’re ready to go. Or are you? Are you prepared to handle these latest updates? If not, maybe your website needs an overhaul.
Webdesignteam.com specializes in offering high-quality web design that takes into account of the recent ranking factors that Google released on January 10th, as well as the ongoing updates from Penguin and other ranking engines. We can create a dynamic, beautifully-designed website that will attract the right people to your site and help you to maximize your impact on the web with real people who are searching for your products and services.
Let us know how we can help!