Google has made a lot of changes to search criteria, and these changes have made gaining rankings on Google more challenging each year. Starting with the Penguin Update, which mainly affected spam link building practices, through RankBrain and now BERT, Google continues to refine their search algorithms. While there continue to be updates from Google (as judged by SEMRush Sensor), we do not expect 2020 to bring the sweeping changes that we have seen in the recent past.
The fact remains that Google Search Quality Guidelines do regularly update – these guidelines reflect how Google wants you to work within a website and the process the algorithm will take to evaluate the relevance of the website page(s).
These guidelines are centered around 3 main factors:
- E-A-T – The Expert, Authority, Trust of the website in relation to the target subject. This is at the center of the standards for Page Quality and Needs Met.
- Page Quality – How the page is laid out, how it works and whether it has the user’s best interests at heart. Factors considered include the placement of text, the wording and quality of the content.
- Needs Met – Factors around whether the page ANSWERS the needs of the query. Meeting needs is roughly defined as the content be “more specific than the query, but would still be helpful for many or most users because” the company is reputable in the area.
Top On Page SEO Factors
On page SEO is still very relevant to ranking in search results in 2020. Below are the most important factors based on analysis of recent search results.
|Landing Page URL||URL of the landing page (after the website name)|
|Meta Title||This is the blue link that shows in Google|
|Meta Description||The text that shows under the blue link in search results – to draw a user to click|
|Heading 1 Tag||A title that shows at the top of a page|
|Heading 2 / 3 Tags||Additional titles which are placed within the content of a page|
|Content||The physical content on the page needs to meet particular criteria|
|Keyword Density||The percentage of keywords to total text ratio on a page|
|Images||The size, name, and title of an image on the page|
|Internal Links||Links which point to other pages on the website|
SEO Professional Is A Relevant Term-Again
As previously stated, Google is not currently making sweeping algorithm changes, but they are making changes that can affect rankings on a weekly or daily basis. Improving or even just maintaining rankings requires a team that includes website developers, content creators, SEO technicians and Marketing experts. The tools required are sweeping, from analysis tools like SEM Rush and Ahrefs to Google Search Console to Google Analytics and beyond. All of these requirements make the term “SEO Professional” relevant again, although I do not believe that the term applies to an individual, but rather to a team of professionals from different disciplines.