What does your SEO agency believe will be the most important ranking factors in 2024

What does your SEO agency believe will be the most important ranking factors in 2024

December 16, 2023

 

Written by: Ryan Walsh

Date: 16/12/2023

Search Engine Optimisation

You may have heard that Google’s algorithm as being described as a “secret sauce”- well, it’s true no SEO agency on the planet has the actual blueprint stating how their algorithm works.

Some companies may claim they know, but in reality, well, it’s only Google that knows how they have configured their algorithm for that month.

Things change; Google’s algorithm is constantly improving and being altered by Googles staff. So trying to figure out how algorthim works, well its bit like trying to solve a Rubix cube while someone is still shuffling and changing the layout of the squares.

This keeps search engine optimisation interesting because things change quickly. Look at all the various updates over recent users the Google Panda, Hummingbird, Bert, these are just some of the major updates.

Yet, we all know the factors that Google considers when determining where a business should rank. Yet, what we don’t know is precisely the level of importance that they have assigned to each ranking factor- for example is RankBrain now more important than backlinks. However, here are some of the more important ranking factors:

  • Content relevance
  • Content Marketing Quality
  • The uniqueness of the content marketing
  • User experience, such as the website bounce rate
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Link quality

 

And many more, which we will talk about later in this article

What are the most important ranking factors for 2024?

Well, if you were to ask for our penny’s worth on the matter, we would say these three ranking factors will still be the most important in 2024:

 

Publishing high-quality content marketing

 

There are no fundamental changes here. We think Google will continue to do two things: reward businesses that publish really useful and high-quality content marketing. They will also be working hard, as always to detect spam, such as content marketing, which is “content-thin”, and Google will push those pages off page one of Google.

Backlinks

Despite what some SEO agencies say, we think backlinks are essential and still a very important ranking factor. But we believe it’s more important than ever in the future that the backlinks are earned and not bought.

So, what do we mean by that? Well, we think Google’s algorithm will get even better at detecting whether an author has linked to that work because they have read it, approved of it, and want to link to help the readers who read that page find that page because they are likely to also find it useful.

And we think Google will get better at detecting whether the link exists because the company has taken payment for it to be there.
Let’s be clear: don’t ever pay for backlinks; it’s a one-way street to an algorithmic penalty and your business being moved down Google’s ranks.

However, if you publish such good quality work that people find the page so useful, they want to link to it, well this can help improve your SEO; it’s a clear signal that other businesses approve of your work and want to link to it.

User experience signals

Have you ever heard of Google’s RankBrain? Well, now you have, its an artificial intelligence system that’s part of Google’s algorithm. Many SEO consultants think it is used to look at engagement signals, such as dwell time and your business bounce rate.

So, for example, let’s say you want to buy an item, a business which only gets your attention for, say, less than 3 seconds, as opposed to a company where you spend 40 minutes on that site; well, it’s obvious you are more engaged with the latter business and the items for sale there.

So, dwell time and bounce rates are all thought to be calculated by Google’s Rankbrain and can ultimately decide where a business should be ranked in Google’s ranks.

 

Google’s EEAT
So Google’s EEAT, which stands for “experience”, “expertise”, “authoritativeness”, and “trustworthiness”, gives us a good understanding of what Google looks for when evaluating the SEO quality of a page. So, in a nutshell, we would say this: This is only going to become a more and more important ranking factor in the years ahead. So, each page, whether its written text, an infographic or a YouTube video, must be created by an expert on the matter.

Anything less, well, is not going to work. Content marketing must be created by someone who knows their stuff and therefore offers valuable, useful and helpful work to the shopper.

So, whether it describes how a mild hybrid system works on a car or which vacuum cleaner offers the best suction and why, the content marketing needs to be written by an expert—someone who really knows their stuff.

Then, you have difficulty balancing offering helpful information and make the page interesting, and aiming to keep shoppers on your website for as long as possible. There’s no point in being the number one expert in the world on a subject, yet you can’t communicate to customers in a way they will understand because the bounce rate (You can monitor this on Google Analytics) will go through the roof, and your SEO will be adversely impacted. So, ensure the work is practical, well-written, and enjoyable to read.

Web Core Vitals and Page Speed

So, everything today is fast, including fast checkouts and trains, and your company website can’t be any different. You will therefore need to pay more for fasting hosting and have a fast company website. Because if you don’t, the bounce rate will increase, which means that

Google’s RankBrain may rank your company lower in the SERPs.

Fast hosting today is not that expensive, so we recommend paying for ultra fast website hosting.

 

Easy-to-use mobile design
So, it’s highly likely that over 50% of shoppers on your company website today will use a smartphone to buy products or services from you. So please don’t go for a design that you think looks great, but is making it hard for your customers to find the products and services they want to buy. For example, a “minimalist” design is excellent, but if the shopper can’t find a page they deem relevant to what they want to buy, they will likely leave your company website.

So, the website sure, it must look good, but also make it a piece of cake for shoppers to find what they want to buy.

So, instead of focusing 100% on design, also think about “usability” to make it easier for your customers to find what they want more simply. Amazon is the absolute master at this; millions of products are for sale, yet the main menus are so cleverly designed, you can find any item in seconds. So think about useability and making it easier for your customers to find the right product.

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