SEO Ranking Factors

Introducing SEO Ranking Factors.
What will make my top? Or more precisely “What are the factors that determine my position in the natural listings for a specific key phrase and what is their relative importance?”

Those are the questions that everyone involved in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is asking, from agencies to clients, wants and needs to know. So let’s work through some answers.

Unfortunately, the small number of people who can definitively answer these questions by explaining the hundreds of factors and risks, and the way they work with one another, is strictly limited to the engineers who work for the search engines like Google and Yahoo.

However, through combining the experience of the authors, disclosure from the search engines, the review team and experienced commentators, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the most important factors which determine the position in the search engines.

What determines the ranking position in the natural listings?
The position or ranking in the natural listings for a particular keyword is dependent on a search engine’s ranking algorithms.

For the search query entered into the search engine, the algorithm identifies the most relevant pages, based on the page’s text content and its context (which can be indicated by links from other pages and websites).

Each search engine has a different set of algorithms created by engineers experts who strive to produce the best relevance for its users.

However, the ranking of natural listings has evolved as a science over the past 10 years, based on an even longer history of document indexing and retrieval history. As with all sciences, there are fundamental principles which apply in SEO. So to deliver relevance search engines tend to use common search engine ranking factors like Google and Yahoo.

Enough with the science: get with the ranking factors…

We will soon enough. But before we do here is a word to the smart: understanding some of the most common ranking factors is straightforward. Keyword: straightforward.

Applying simple ‘house style’ rules can help generate visits from qualified visitors. In fact let’s coin a phrase: ‘house strategys’. You need to develop a ‘house strategy guide’ for your authors and editors.

So I can ditch my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) agency, right?
It depends on, is the honest answer. You might be able to, but it is more likely that this guide will inform your search strategy and techniques, with you making the calls. But you will still need somebody to manage it. Ultimately this guide to search marketing is about increasing ROI and maximizing rankings, not about saving costs.

There remains a great need for solid, ethical SEO (Search Engine Optimization) agencies. Management and optimization is an ongoing task. The bigger your company/market / web-site, the bigger that task is going to be. High volume search terms and intense competition mean that applying specific optimization techniques is required to rank well. Ethical SEO agencies can help you with this.

The holy grail of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to achieve a high, stable and long-term presence at the top of the SERPs for phrases which have both high volume and which convert well.

Agencies can also help by putting the brakes on your own enthusiasm, as over optimization is a leading cause of search engine penalties and bans. Equally, after reading this guide, you should be able to determine if your existing agency is over-egging the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) cake, or feeding you unsound advice.

Remember that search engines also use ranking penalties for web-sites/pages. They employ filters within their algorithms that penalize web-sites for search engine spamming (such as over-optimization of a phrase or non-natural links from other sites ).

Now for the six key ranking factors…

1. Planning and strategy including setting performance targets for your business.

2. Index inclusion and coverage.

3. On-page optimization.

4. Link-building (internal and external).

5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) process.

6. Conversion efficiency.

Of these 6 areas, those at the heart of search engine ranking are success factors 2, 3 and 4. Why? Well, if your pages are not included in the index then you cannot expect to gain any search engine referrals. Once included, results are dependent on the combination of on-page optimization and link-building.

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