Eight Google Ranking Factors That Could Impact Your Website in 2023
8 Google Ranking Factors That Will Affect Your Website in 2023 …
1. Mobile-First Indexing
Did you know that Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking in 2023? Yes, this is a process known as mobile-first indexing. In previous years, it used the desktop version to determine relevance to a user query. But with the growing number of people using smartphones, Google has decided to give priority to mobile-friendly sites.
For business owners and influencers who wish to maintain or enhance their Google rankings, now is the time to optimize your website to be mobile-friendly. If neglected, websites may experience a drop in traffic due to lower rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).
If your website isn’t already optimized for mobile, don’t worry – it’s not too late. The first step is to have a responsive website design, which ensures that your website layout adjusts suitably across different devices, be it a smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Let’s suppose your e-commerce website sells artisanal coffee and it’s primarily desktop-optimized. You notice a decrease in website traffic and after analyzing, confirm that a significant amount of potential customers are accessing your site via mobile. You decide to redesign your website to ensure it’s equally engaging and functional on mobile platforms. After implementation of the responsive design, you start noticing a steady rise in mobile traffic and increased visibility on SERPs.
Here are ways to prepare for mobile-first indexing:
Ensure your mobile site contains the same valuable information found on the desktop version.
Structure data on your mobile site should match the desktop version.
Verify both the mobile and desktop versions of your site using Google Search Console.
Add the necessary meta-data to your mobile site.
Remember social media metadata as they should be present on both versions of your site.
Make sure that both versions of your site have the correct language tags.
2. User Experience (UX)
In this digital age, user experience is a crucial factor that influences your website’s Google ranking in 2023. The kind of experiences users have while interacting with your website greatly affects your SEO performance and could potentially make or break your online presence.
Offering flawless UX should now be part of your SEO strategy right from the get-go. After all, what good is getting traffic to your site if users find it hard to navigate or if it loads too slowly? You want your visitors to find what they need easily and quickly.
For instance, let’s assume you run a travel blog. Initially, you had a simple design with a lot of engaging content. But due to poor navigation and slow page load times, your bounce rate began to increase. You then took corrective actions by optimizing your website’s speed and improving its navigability with clear menus and categorization for all your posts. Consequently, your site’s dwell time increased, bounce rates decreased, and your rankings improved.
Here’s how you can enhance your website’s user experience:
Create clean and intuitive navigation.
Improve your website’s load speed.
Make sure your website design is attractive and modern.
Invest in a responsive design.
Post high-quality, relevant, and valuable content consistently.
Use eye-catching but relevant visuals throughout your website.
3. Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are becoming an essential part of Google’s algorithm update in 2023. They’re a set of three specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Largest Contentful Paint reports on how long it takes for the main content on a page to load. With First Input Delay, the speed between user interactivity and the site’s reaction is measured. As for Cumulative Layout Shift, it tracks unpredicted layout shifts that occur while loading a webpage.
Lets imagine that you have an online store selling handmade crafts. Visitors find the products intriguing, but they face an issue; the site has a slow response to every action they take, which is extremely frustrating. To fix this, you switch your hosting to a faster service provider, optimize your images, and streamline your site’s coding process. As a result, not only did user engagement improve, but so did your ranking.
Pay attention to these valuable tips:
Monitor your website’s Core Web Vitals using Google’s tools like PageSpeed Insights and Search Console.
Optimize your website’s speed.
Limit the use of custom fonts as they can delay LCP.
Use size attributes for any media (video, images) to minimize CLS.
Prioritize seamless user experience as it’s key to excellent Core Web Vitals scores.
HTTPS usage is another factor that Google seriously considers for its 2023 ranking factors. HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, is the secure version of HTTP. Websites with HTTPS means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted and therefore secure.
Google confirmed back in 2014 that HTTPS is a ranking signal. This move was primarily done to promote internet security. However, it’s interesting to note that only sites with proper HTTPS implementation will benefit from this ranking factor.
Just think about a financial consultancy firm’s site that deals with clients’ sensitive information. By moving their site from HTTP to HTTPS, they not only demonstrate that they care about their clients’ confidentiality but also reap SEO benefits.
Here’s how you can use HTTPS for your advantage:
Start by purchasing an SSL certificate.
Make sure all your URLs are changed to HTTPS after the migration.
Update your sitemap to reflect the new HTTPS urls.
Monitor your site for mixed content issues.
Edit your robots.txt file to replace all HTTP URLs with HTTPS ones.
Check out Google’s guide on how to secure your website with HTTPS correctly.
5. Original High-Quality Content
Google will continue to reward original, high-quality content in 2023. This involves creating compelling and unique content that provides real value to readers. These efforts do not go unnoticed as Google’s Panda algorithm is designed to rank worthwhile knowledge first.
Spammy or copied content will not take you far in your SEO journey. Rather than just repeating what others have said, try giving a new spin to existing topics or explore less-trodden areas in your field.
For instance, you run a health and wellness site. Instead of focusing on generic blog topics such as ‘tips to stay healthy’, you dive into underrepresented areas such as mental health, providing comprehensive guides with expert opinions. You realize that this approach pulls more traffic, reducing bounce rates, and eventually, improves your ranking.
Steps to create original, high-quality content are:
Address the needs and interests of your target audience.
Keep it relevant and up-to-date for maximum engagement.
Create long-form articles once in a while as they generally perform better in terms of SEO.
Fact check every piece of information you provide.
Give your unique perspective and draw from personal experiences.
Avoid plagiarism and respect copyright laws.
6. Optimized Visual Content
Another factor that has been gaining increased importance in Google’s ranking algorithm is the optimization of visual content. Internet users nowadays are heavily influenced by images, infographics, gifs, videos, and other forms of visual content.
A simple block of text can become more engaging if it’s paired with relevant images or stats plotted in an infographic format. Videos are predicted to account for over 82% of all internet traffic in 2023, making them extremely relevant for SEO.
Consider your website that provides online tutoring for programming languages. You realize blog posts weren’t enough; therefore, you introduce video tutorials and interactive sessions. This addition dramatically boosts your overall site engagement.
How to optimize your visuals:
Add unique and captivating images, videos, or infographics to your website.
Never compromise on the quality of your visual content.
Make sure visuals are optimized for fast loading.
Always include relevant alt tags and descriptions for your images/videos.
Apply appropriate file names to your images.
Ensure that you have the rights to use the images or videos on your site to avoid legal issues.
7. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Google introduced the RankBrain algorithm back in 2015, marking its first significant venture into AI for search. In 2023, AI is expected to continue as a major player in Google SEO. It helps analyze user behavior and make decisions on which sites best answer a user’s query.
RankBrain understands and learns from previous historically searched terms and tries to guess what the searcher meant to search. No new keyword insertion or link build-up can manipulate this ranking factor, making pure, high-quality content necessary more than ever.
Imagine you are running an AI-based platform providing data solutions to businesses. With an AI-optimized SEO strategy, you simplify complex jargon and focus on visitors’ behavior and responses. You adjust your content according to the data-driven insights collected. As a result, your search rankings start improving.
To utilize AI in your SEO strategies:
Work on personalizing your content for your target audience.
Understand and execute predictive searches.
Improve user experience based on data-driven insights.
Incorporate AI-powered chatbots for better engagement.
Analyze and understand customer emotions/passions using AI data.
Invest in AI tools to automate SEO tasks.
8. Local SEO
In 2023, Google will continue to prioritize local SEO as it is keen on providing users with more local and personalized search results. This includes optimizing your website for “near me” searches and ensuring your business’s online listing information is correct and updated frequently.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar store trying to compete with large corporations, leveraging local SEO can boost your visibility amongst potential customers in your immediate geographic vicinity.
Let’s say you run a small pizza joint in Seattle. By claiming your business on ‘Google My Business’, using local keywords across your site, and gathering positive customer reviews, you elevate your local SEO resulting in higher foot traffic through your front door.
A few ways you can bolster your local SEO strategy are by:
Setting up your ‘Google My Business’ account properly.
Optimizing your site for local searches and mobile users.
Delivering high-quality, valuable content on local issues/trends.
Gathering and managing both positive and negative customer reviews.
Using local keywords throughout your site.
Establishing local partnerships and sponsorships.
Google Ranking Factors for 2023
Tips to Optimize
Have a responsive website design, ensure valuable information is available on the mobile site
User Experience (UX)
Create clean and intuitive navigation, improve website’s load speed
Core Web Vitals
Monitor your website’s core web vitals, prioritize user experience
Migrate to HTTPS, purchase an SSL certificate
Original High-Quality Content
Produce unique and compelling content that provides real value
Optimized Visual Content
Add unique and captivating images or videos, optimize them for fast loading
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Incorporate personalization, invest in AI-powered chatbots
Set up your ‘Google My Business’ account, use local keywords
In conclusion, as we move forward to 2023, it’s important for all webmasters, business owners, and influencers to pay attention and adapt to these Google ranking factors. After all, understanding and leveraging these search signals will be critical for maintaining your website’s visibility and drawing in your target audience effectively.