Google SEO Ranking Factors 2020: Agreed by John Muller on Twitter

seo ranking factors 2020

Who doesn’t want to rank on the first page of Google? If you want to know the secrets of how to rank on the first page of Google, then you should know what it takes to do so. As the Google algorithm updates keep evolving, the need for SEO always keeps changing. Though it’s quite a daunting task to cope with the latest changes in Google algorithms, it’s cardinal to stay up on top of SERPs to drive significant traffic to your website. Here are small stats showing what happens if you don’t rank on the first page of Google:

A good search engine optimized website receives more traffic resulting in more reach, leads, and eventually sales. Without SEO, Google may not be able to consider crawling a site often, thus putting all your efforts in vain. So, in this article, I am going to give you some of the most vital SEO updates, to rank your site better (some of which are approved by John Muller, the Google search expert, himself) and to deploy your site so that you can dominate the SERPs.

High-Quality Content is More Important Now

As every digital marketer says, content plays a significant role in the digital marketing world. Google, the search engine giant, is processing more than 4 billion searches each day. Sergey Brin and Larry page cofounded it in 1998 with the mission of assembling the world’s information and making it accessible and useful for people. Till date, the purpose remains the same.

Google has been strenuously working to provide, as they say, “useful and relevant results” to the users by launching Google algorithm update. After Hummingbird Update and Rankbrain Update, (both of which are focused on ranking quality content on SERPs), recently Google announced Google BERT update to give search results by understanding the context of each word entered in a query.

These algorithms crawl through web to provide results to the users based on their usefulness and relevancy. So, how can you make a stellar content piece with excellent SEO 2019 updates, to push it on the first page of SERPs?

Well, for that, Google recommends considering a few points while creating content:

When you develop content based on these, you can improve the SEO value of the content, thus influencing Google to rank your content at a good position.

Sweet Niche Edits

Most (if not all) of you may have been hearing about ‘Sweet niche edits’ or ‘niche edits’ recently. You may wonder, what are these niche edits? Do they work well for SEO? If so, how to get some niche edits? Relax, niche edits have been present for a long time, just that they have been begun to be called as ‘niche edits’ from a year or two. Yes, they were present prior, with the name ‘Contextual Links’ and were a perennial part of link building strategies.

A niche edit is a process of placing a link in an already existing content, rather than publishing new content on another site for the sole purpose of getting a backlink. By this, you are just editing an article and not writing thousands of words for just getting a link.

Niche edit links are considered more potent than any other link, and as you are adding it on an existing page, it’s more likely to receive more link juice to your website.

How to gain sweet niche edits?

A popular method which I used for niche edits is Skyscraper technique.

  1. Check for websites who have provided links to others on the topics relevant to the site.
  2. Contact webmaster through email, telephone, and social channels to know if they’d interested to add a link of your article.

Niche edits is a good part of the SEO 2019 strategy and coupling it with PBNs, and other links will have a humongous impact on Google about your site.

Build Better PBN links

PBNs is the acronym for Private Blogging Network involving a website or set of sites that are used to provide links to another site ranking them on top in Google rankings. These domains are the sites which, previously existed as real sites, but later were left to expire or got sold.

More than 90% of the SEOs have assumed it as Black Hat SEO, thinking that Google penalizes sites with PBN links. But that’s not TRUE! Yes, you heard that right. John Muller, Google’s search expert, suggests building a moderate number of links from PBNs is fine. Here’s what he said for my query regarding the same:

The reason you should link from PBNs is, they represent authoritativeness. Hence, these sites can be repurposed to pass link juice (authority) to the sites it links out to. So, the PBNs are valid as long as you don’t build them in abundance. However, you may check everything you need to know about PBNs and then start building PBN links to avoid damaging your website.
Also, you can buy PBN links instead of building them yourself. But, ensure that you’re getting it from a reputable site.  Mostly because many Black hat SEO experts are selling links at low prices from less reliable sources. It may surely harm your sites to the core.

Mobile UX Will Have a Major Role in Ranking

As the number of smartphones is increasing drastically, the websites which don’t have a mobile version are going to lose most users. And also, they are eventually going to lose out on the SERPs as mobile web pages are becoming desirable in 2020. The facts say that 4 out of 5 local searches done by users are through their smartphones.

However, the technologies and the ways of people finding information on mobiles is evolving swiftly. These swift changes require websites not only to have mobile web pages but also to develop it for rendering better UI, easy to read, and ability to provide answers or at least entertain them in some way.  Hence it’s cardinal to have better UX designs of websites for mobiles. To support this, here’s a pic depicting the fact that 88% of the searches happen through mobile devices while both tablets and desktops combined have just 84% searches.

To keep up with ever-growing businesses and competition, it is cardinal to make sure that your website is designed for mobile devices. Remember that higher the Google mobile index page, more acclaimed your page will be.

Technical SEO

I see a lot of sites are plagued with technical SEO issues, and people without fixing them, complain that they are not ranking on SERPs. So, I suggest performing in-depth technical audits frequently to ensure that search engines are crawling and indexing your web pages without a setback.

Here are some of the major aspects that you should focus on technical SEO:

  1. When a search happens, Google first looks in page titles for relevancy. Hence, use keyword phrases in the search query.
  2. Use hierarchical heading structure. Your title is considered as heading h1, so add subheadings with h2, h3, etc. as per the content. Doing the same also helps in getting on top of SERP as a featured snippet.
  3. Add a Meta description to the pages which includes focus keyword phrase and LSI keywords (if you can contextually add). It further helps in convincing users to click through to your web page.
  4. Modify image Alt Tags with a focus keyword phrase to show images in the search query. Google has an image search which is also a widely used search form.
  5. Use Schema Mark up to feed your website information to search engines in a structured manner. It also helps in appearing in Knowledge Graph and featured snippets.

Bonus Ranking Factor:

Dwell Time and CTR Is Going to Be Vital:

People are becoming habituated to faster internet connections and getting information within no time. It has influenced Dwell time (the time that a user is spending on a web page before bouncing) and CTR (Click Through Rate) to become an essential part of SEO ranking factors in 2020.
Both the metrics provide great insights into web page and satisfaction of a user. The length of the time a user stays on a web page or the links that he is clicking on it lets you assess how interested S/he is in the content of your web page.
The more a user spends time on your site means that you have provided them precisely the information they need.  Yes, it’s expected that dwell time and CTR will play a significant role in search results of 2020. Also, according to research by Jumpshot, here’s the image showing how the flow of CTR is on mobile and desktop until 2018 and so far.

It’s critical to focus on CTR factor as a whopping 97% of the people don’t click past the first page of search results. So, I suggest you develop content and suitable web pages that intend to rank on top of SERPs or get featured in Knowledge graph or Featured Snippets.


Irrespective of industry niche and sector, there’s a need for every business to focus on the SEO ranking factors as mentioned above. If you are already familiar with these, then double-down to acquire more organic traffic from search engines. But, if your website is lacking to pull up its ranking or suffocating in second and later pages of Google, then our SEO experts are here to guide you.

Digital PR & Online Media Planner at

An Online PR and outreach specialist working in the digital marketing sphere from the 4 years. Currently, works at Wolftain with the vision of supporting clients from various niches to out-beat their contemporaries. He is keen about every Google algorithm update that rolls out each day, thus, constantly participating in major SEO forums like Webmasterworld and localsearchforum to find out the its consequences and help clients recover from it. He also loves to read novels and is a great admirer of Agatha Christie. You can reach out to him through Twitter or LinkedIn