Every year Google introduces new ranking signals to try and make each user’s experience a positive one with the search engine giant. It is important for businesses to keep up to date with these new ranking signals as it has a major impact on your digital marketing and search ranking!

Google likes to drop hints here and there about what their ranking factors are and we have more confidence in some then others. As well as this, the ranking factors have different weights of importance. While we may not know all of Google’s ranking factors for sure, we can still have educated guesses.

The biggest issue website owners are facing is the level of competition. No matter what industry you are in, there are so many similar businesses targeting the same keywords and working hard to gain that number one position in the rankings.

A while ago SEO Shark digital marketing agency mentioned that with so much up in the air, it can be difficult to understand exactly where to start when developing quality digital marketing in 2018. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though, ranking signals will continue to remain focused on the user and what makes their life easier.

So have a read below at some of the most important rankings signals for 2018. While this list certainly doesn’t cover all, these factors are thought to be the most vital for website owners:

1. Mobile Friendly Website

The mobile friendly website ranking factor has been floating around for a little while now, you are probably sick of hearing about it! But it has never been more important to focus on getting your website responsive for all devices, and the longer you put it off, the bigger the negative impact it will be.

It is recommended that instead of having two different versions of your website, you just have one that is responsive. This is because Google has actually come out and said that a responsive website assists their algorithm in properly indexing a page.

So while Google doesn’t publicly favour one over the other, it is probably a good idea to use the method that helps Google to index. To top it all off, with mobile first indexing taking place, the mobile site needs to have just as much (if not more) of your attention then desktop.

2. High Quality Content

You have probably sick of hearing about the fact that you need high quality content. But at the end of the day, if you don’t have original content on your website, you will not see the results you are looking for.

Creating high quality content, or really any content for that matter can be daunting for business owners. It can be time consuming and difficult to think of the right things to say to win over a potential customer. There are, however, a number of online content marketing tools, like Buzzsumo, that can assist you.

The most important thing to remember is your keywords. You should have an idea of what keywords you are looking to target on which pages. Your focus keyword should then be included in essential areas, like the heading tag. This gives the hint to Google you are looking to see a good ranking for that keyword.

Content has been king for a while now, and this doesn’t look like it is going to change anytime soon. If you don’t already, adding a blog section to your website can be a good option to continuously inject new content onto your website, as it can be difficult to update landing pages regularly.

3. Secure Website

Having a secure website is a must, especially for e-commerce websites, or any websites that take a users personal information. Having a secure website is more to keep users happy (which does in turn keep Google happy).

Last year, Google stated that Chrome would flag websites that aren’t secure in the URL bar. This clearly showcases to users that they are not safe on your website and could lead them to bounce off.

4. Page Speed

With more and more people using their mobile phones, speed has never been a more important aspect of your website that you need to investigate. Mobile users are known to be impatient and will leave a website if it doesn’t load fast enough.

If you are looking to improve your page speed, Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights Tool shows you what the desktop and mobile speed is, as well as optimisation. To add icing on the cake, they also give you tips to help improve your speed.

These ranking factors are just four of many. But it is important to start with the most impactful first. Once you get these four Google ranking factors down pat, then you can move on to other factors that will help you get into Google’s good books.