ANALYZING RANKING FACTORS IN SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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PORTFOLIO

Global link popularity of sites that link to the site.

Topical relevance of inbound links.

When one web page links to another, the anchor text used for that link is also used as a strong signal by the search engines. Webmasters and publishers who choose to link to other .

It is also generally accepted that search engines place the most weight on the words that appear at the start of the title. For that reason it is always a good idea to put your most important keywords at the start of the title tag, but make sure to avoid keyword stuffing (a concept that we will discuss more in Keyword Targeting in Chapter 6).

The title tag was clearly considered the #1 ranking factor. The words in the title tag say a lot about the topic of a page (or they should), and it is a useful element for the search engines to key on. One reason is that it is a highly visible element on the web page and therefore is likely to be used, well, as a title for the page.

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Link popularity of site in topical community.

Link popularity within the site’s internal link structure.

Keyword use in body text.

SEOmoz conducted a survey of leading SEOs to determine what these SEOs thought were the most important ranking factors (http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors). Here is a high-level summary of the top nine results:

Anchor text of inbound link.

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Global link authority of site.

There’s also live online events, interactive content, certification prep materials, and more.

Here is a brief look at each of these:

Anchor text of inbound link.

Keyword use in title tag.

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Another way to tell the search engines what a web page is about (so they rank it accordingly) is through the use of structured data. Structured data, or Schema Markup, is microdata added to the backend of a web page that tells search engines how to classify and interpret the content (such as identifying a business address, book title, recipe, or another type of information).

The good news is that not all of the 200+ ranking factors are equal. Some ranking factors are more important than others. As you plan your SEO strategy, pay special attention to these 12 factors that impact rankings the most.

Don’t go blindly into content creation. Strategically create content by performing keyword research to tell you what keywords to target and topics to cover. Keyword research is the process of identifying popular keywords that can drive traffic to your site.

Next to content, backlinks are often considered to be the second most important SEO ranking factor. If you want your site to rank, you need a plan for building high-quality backlinks for your site through practices such as guest posting, link acquisition, digital PR, and other link building strategies.

Search engines can’t rank a site if they can’t find it. Click & Tweet! That’s why site crawlability is such an important SEO ranking factor. Crawlability allows search engines to scan a website and review its content, so they can determine what the page is about and how it should rank.

9. Structured Data.

Search engine and Google ranking algorithms are constantly changing. Some factors become more or less important, and some factors are introduced or removed. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest ranking factors and regularly use an SEO audit tool to scan your site to ensure that you’re following the most up-to-date SEO best practices.

Business listings, sometimes referred to as citations, are primarily a local SEO ranking factor. But all brands should perform basic citation setup and management and:

Use an on-page SEO checklist to optimize your page, and then check to make sure you didn’t miss any optimization opportunities by using Alexa’s On-Page SEO Checker.

To see if your site is responsive, submit your site to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. It will report back any issues with the mobile version of your site.

Now that you know what SEO ranking factors are most important, it’s time to optimize your site.

Search engines rank the brands they believe are the most credible, authoritative, and trustworthy. The more established a brand appears online, the more likely it is that search engines will increase their search visibility. This is why consistent business listings are an important ranking factor.

If your site is slow, take steps to speed up your site by implementing website caching, compressing files, reducing the number of redirects, and taking other steps to speed up load time.

As far back as 2014, Google has discussed site security as a ranking factor. Now, it’s one of the most important Google ranking factors on this list. Site security refers to the use of HTTPS encryption. Sites with HTTPS encryption have SSL certificates that create a secure connection between a website and its users. It adds an extra layer of security that protects information exchanged between users and the site.

So if you launch a brand-new site, know that it will take time for your SEO efforts to kick in. With time and continual SEO work, your site will improve its search ranking, but it won’t happen overnight.

Mobile-friendliness refers to how a website looks and performs when someone views it on a mobile device. Mobile-friendly sites provide good user experience by using a responsive design that adjusts the content so that it looks good on every screen size. Because more searches are conducted on mobile devices than desktops (52.2% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices and the number is on the rise), mobile-friendliness is important to both search engines and users.

The Top 12 SEO Ranking Factors.

Search engines look to users to help them determine which pages they should promote in search rankings. They consider how users interact with results to determine which pages are better and more useful to searchers. Google does this through an artificial intelligence tool called RankBrain. User engagement factors include:

There are 200+ SEO ranking factors that help search engines determine which sites should show in search results and how they should rank. If you want your site to claim the top spots on SERPs (search engine results pages), you need to optimize your online presence to cater to these factors.

Search engines want to drive users to the most trustworthy sites, and HTTPS encryption shows them that a site is secure. If your website URL begins with HTTP, not HTTPS, your site is not secure, and you should add an SSL certificate.

To make sure that your site loads quickly, use a site speed checker. Try Alexa’s Speed Analysis tool, which is a part of our full Site Audit or Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Here are the top 12 SEO ranking factors (not ranked in order of importance).

Fresh content attracts search crawlers and boosts search visibility while giving you something valuable to share with your audience, so it’s a win-win for your marketing strategies.

These metrics help search engines determine if a search result is valuable to users, so optimize both your site content and search snippets to boost user engagement.

7. The Right Target Keywords.

The final ranking factor might not be something you can control, but it’s worth mentioning. Domain age, or how old your website is, is often considered a ranking factor. While Google doesn’t clearly state this as one of its SEO ranking factors, research has found that older domains tend to rank better.

Assign one unique keyword to each page on your site. (Never assign the same keyword to more than one page on your site as this can confuse search engines and cause keyword cannibalization). Then, optimize the content for on-page SEO best practices.

Whether you’re creating new content or optimizing existing content, use this guide to make sure you cover all your SEO bases: 50 Best Practices for SEO That Will Ignite Growth.

To attract search engines to your content, you also need to consider on-page SEO factors. On-page SEO is the process of optimizing each individual page on your site for a target keyword. By optimizing your content for one specific keyword, you tell the search engines what the page is about and what it should rank for.

Backlinks are another signal that tells search engines that a website is credible and authoritative. The number and quality of links pointing to your site is an off-page SEO factor that has a significant impact on your search rankings.

Another way to boost user engagement on your site and appeal to search engines is by consistently publishing high-quality content on your site. Content is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. Search engines want to provide the best results possible, so they give top rankings to sites that have well-researched, in-depth, and well-crafted content.

If you want Google to rank your site, allow search engines to crawl your site properly.

Get started by using content mapping to outline a plan for your website that includes creating landing pages and ongoing blog content.

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