Top 10 SEO Ranking Factors for 2019

What are the primary factors for ranking a website highly in search engines in the year 2019? Based on research and personal experience, these are my forecasts:


I. Canonicalization & Security of Domain (HTTPS)

Canonicalization has to do with reconciling multiple website URLs with a final, single URL. In other words, HTTP://, HTTPS://, HTTP:// and HTTPS:// should all be the same website, but Google has to be instructed for the correct, uniform result. HTTPS:// stands for a “secure site,” with the SSL certificate in place. In this day and age Google is basically requiring this for ranking.


II. Mobile Sites/Responsiveness, Site Structure, Crawlability & Site Speed
Today’s websites must be mobile friendly or mobile responsive. The website structure and architecture must be easily crawlable by search engine bots – especially for mobile in Google’s current mobile-first-indexing world. Site speed also plays a part – especially for mobile. Search engines want fast websites and mobile platforms require fast download speeds.


III. Content is (still) King (size of site & freshness of content)

“Content is king” has been a statement about the web and SEO for forever. It’s still true. The bigger and fresher the website and its content, the better for SEO ranking.


IV. Keyword Relevance & Integration (quality of content, voice search, searcher intent, etc.)

Keyword research is still important because it determines website keyword relevance and identifies the best content for a website. And quality of content/relevance of verbiage is very important to Google. But today additional factors play into keyword and search, such as voice search, and the importance Google places on ‘searcher intent’ (the purpose of a user’s keyword phrase search) as opposed to ‘exact match’ keywords.


V. Longevity (history)

How long has a company owned and had a website on its domain? How long a period in advance is the domain registered? Has the primary domain been used and not just redirected? Longevity factors like this still play a role in ranking.


VI. Rich Snippets/Schema

This is hard to explain in a few sentences, but it has to do with the display of search engine listings as opposed to just pure ranking at the top of SERP (search engine results page) via keywords. Rich snippets are commonly displayed with rich content such as videos or photos on the primary SERP and even star ratings for articles or recipes. These added results’ display characteristics are valuable, impact clicks and even can impact ranking.


VII. Google Search Console Setups, Robots.txt & Sitemap.xml

Google Analytics is common, but Google Search Console is its partner for SEO. A correct SEO setup requires Google Search Console be properly setup, which includes robots.txt file, sitemap.xml file and search engine error fixes.


VIII. Backlinks

Quality and quantity of backlinks (or inbound links; links from a different website to your website) matter for a website and search engines. And they help boost ranking.


IX. Tags/Meta

On-page factors such as traditional keyword page and image tags and meta descriptions still matter to Google – they tell search engines what a specific web page is about and the keywords/content included.


X. Additional Traffic Boosts (from advertising, social, etc.)

This is slightly controversial, but basically the more traffic a website gets (even from non-organic/SEO sources), the better it ranks for SEO. Search engines definitely talk about the value of social media-based traffic and links. And I would say SEM/PPC (search engine marketing/pay-per-click) advertising traffic helps as well.


BONUS: Localized SEO (if applicable)

Geo-local directories are critical to local businesses. They are off the website since they are channels such as Google Maps (Google My Business), Apple Maps, Yelp, Bing Local, etc. But when setup correctly they provide links to the website (and Google Maps should actually be placed on the website), and they come up high in search results for local searches. But of course local directories don’t apply to every business.