Who is the BEST SEO MASTER?
We happened to talk to a set of SEO experts for their takes on the most important ranking factors. They’re not listed in order of importance, because not all of the experts agreed on the degrees of importance for factors. However, the consensus is all digital marketers, SEO experts and other search pros should focus on the following six SEO ranking factors.
6 key search-ranking
- Inbound links and SEO, Google made a number of tweaks during the past year, including the rollout of RankBrain and a second mobile-friendly update, but the core ranking factors remain much the same, according to Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a content- and social-media marketing firm. “The quality of inbound links pointing to your domain or page is still the most important ranking indicator.”
- Content relevance and SEO rank, Google ultimately became the dominant search engine because it is adept at displaying, on the first page of search results, the most relevant content that matches a keyword query.
- Technical issues and SEO, Like content relevancy, technical issuesare sometimes overlooked in SEO ranking factor studies. Technical issues, however, can prevent a site’s content from ranking as highly as it could for relevant keyword queries — or keep it from ranking at all.
Common technical issues include duplicate content, dubious inbound links, poor navigation, and improper redirects. Google’s goal is to deliver a positive user experience, so content on sites with architecture problems won’t likely earn high ranking. “You have to solve those problems if you want to play the SEO game,” Enge says.
- Content quality and SEO rank, Google wants to deliver not only the most relevant content, but also the highest-quality search results. And quality can be measured in a variety of ways, according to Enge, including proper grammar and spelling, reading level, comprehensiveness — how well the content covers the spectrum of user needs related to the query — uniqueness, and a lack of negative signals, such as excessive keyword repetition. (The Content Marketing Institute’s blog offers more information in, “How Google judges quality and what you should do about it,”and, “What quality content is, and how to help your clients create it.”)
- User engagement and SEO rank, Does your content truly engage website visitors? If so, Google may reward you with a higher search ranking. Unfortunately, it’s unclear how exactly Google measures user engagement. “I don’t think anyone in the industry has a good handle on what user engagement measurements might be,” Enge says, adding that he doesn’t think click-through rates are a direct ranking factor.
For some pages, high bounce rates are a positive signal, according to Enge. When visitors land on contact pages in search of phone numbers and then click away, for example, that’s a satisfactory user engagement. “But I do believe Google is looking at user engagement in some ways,” Enge says. Google software engineer Paul Haahr confirmed as much in a March 2016 presentation, in which he said Google leverages user engagement to evaluate the quality of its ranking algorithms.
Searchmetrics lists user experience as its No. 2 ranking factor, based on elements such as the number of internal links and images, responsive design — when a website adjusts to both mobile and desktop screens — and time spent on site.
- RankBrain and SEO, In March 2016, a Google search executive said RankBrain, links and content are the three top ranking factors, according to Search Engine Land. RankBrain uses AI to help Google “interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were researched for,” Search Engine Landsays.
But some SEO professionals aren’t convinced RankBrain is such an important factor. Google has said many times that RankBrain has a larger impact on long-tail queries, according to Enge. (Long-tail queries are highly specific search phrases with multiple words.) RankBrain runs on all queries, he says, but it doesn’t impact broad or generic keyword search terms at all.
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