SEO Ranking Factors – the future of SEO and Google Adwords
At this point in the game it should be no secret that the visibility that Google provides is extremely valuable to almost all types of businesses. The ability to become visible in a Google search is an ever-changing art and science. So the question we get asked the most is “What exactly are the SEO ranking factors and how to I focus on the keywords that are important to my business?”
While there is no simple answer – I wanted to take a moment to outline some of the most important rankings factors currently, and the direction that Search Engine Marketing is headed into the next year. Many things are changing and FAST! Google is one of (if not the) largest corporations in the world that has rooms full of PH.D’s working on how to monetize the extremely valuable online assets they have created over the years.
Also, you must remember that one of the single most important elements that plays into almost all rankings factors, both organic and paid, is the end experience of the user. There are other search engines out there and Google knows that if the experience is lacking like other search engines (cough cough : Yahoo) – that it will ultimately be to the detriment of their platform. This is why the algorithm is constantly changing, at least that is what they tell us.
With this in mind – lets review some of the most common Google ranking factors as they related to SEO and then hit quickly on the future of Google and how you should be positioning your business.
Section 1: ONPAGE SEO Ranking Factors
Onpage SEO – If you have any experience with SEO you have probably heard this term, but what does it really mean? Well in the most basic of terms it means, does my website speak Googles language effectively? Are you communicating to Google what your page is about in a way that it understands? If not – this is the FIRST thing you must fix! Here’s what you should immediately pay attention to with Onpage SEO.
- Tags –
- do I have all my tags in order to quickly tell Google what my page is about?
- Is my page over optimized? Yes this is a thing!
- Content –
- Is my content quality – or did I do some old school keyword stuffing?
- Do I have enough content? We recommend 1000+ words for any page you want to have a viable long-term chance of ranking.
- Am I using keyword research to steer my content or just guessing what people are searching for?
- Images/videos –
- Are my images./videos too BIG? (Hint: do not host videos on your WordPress site – link them to Youtube or somewhere else and just embed them)
- Do I have enough images?
- Are the images optimized?
- Links –
- Do I have quality outbound links?
- Are there broken links on my site?
- If there are old pages that are not in use do I have proper redirects set up?
Of course, there is a TON more to take into account, but this is a great place to start.
Section 2: Citations/Links/Social/Maps
This is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to link building activities, this could be an entire book, and those exist if you have a deep interest. The general concept is that you need HIGH QUALITY links pointing to your site and a lot of outbound links as well. In addition, you need to make sure there is consistency across the web with your business/brand. If there are discrepancies you are not set up for success and many of the other activities may be fruitless because of these types of setbacks.
- Citations (Local SEO)
- Where is my business listed online/ Is it listed in enough places?
- NAP – Name Address Phone consistency. Is name business name address and phone number listed EXACTLY the same across the web?
- Do I have enough links?
- Do I know if I have any links from other sites?
- Do I have a link building strategy in place?
- Am I linking from social media and other high authority sites to mine to create social signals etc?
- Google Maps (Local SEO)
- Do I have my entire Google my business profile setup
- Do I have multiple Google my business profiles?
This is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to link building activities and how they relate to seo ranking factors, this could be an entire book, and those exist if you have a deep interest. The general concept is that you need HIGH QUALITY links pointing to your site and a lot of outbound links as well. In addition, you need to make sure there is consistency across the web with your business/brand. If there are discrepancies you are not set up for success and many of the other activities may be fruitless because of these types of setbacks.
Section 3: Blogging
While blogging is an important aspect of a quality SEO effort, if it is not done correctly it can big a huge time suck and generally a waste of time. First off, for every single post you must take into consideration all of the ONPAGE SEO concepts that I previously mentioned. Using site plugins for SEO is a good idea to make sure you are on the right track (we prefer YOAST https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/) but there are always differences in option there. Here are a few basic considerations when it comes to blogging.
- Am I working from keyword research or just guessing?
- Am I using unique content and keywords for every post?
- Am I providing valuable content or just blasting out nonsense?
- Do I have 1000+ words of QUALITY CONTENT?
- Is my keyword density correct? (Can be too high and too low) Here is a good thread on that topic. https://moz.com/community/q/how-much-keyword-density-for-google Generally if you are creating naturally written content that uses keywords in a readable way you should be good to go. Although some certainly believe in percentages as it relates to keywords.
- Am I linking from social back to my content for social signals?
- Am I creating VIDEO content and unique images/infographics?
Section 4: Where is Search Engine Marketing Headed in 2017?
Two words could sum up this section “Paid Advertising”. While a solid Search strategy should involve both organic and paid listings, the wave of 2017 will be an increase in paid positions. Google are no dummies and they will fully monetize their platform so long as it does not compromise the experience of the user.
With this in mind, if you haven’t noticed the first position on Google Maps – is already going to paid listings and my prediction is over the next year they will all be paid positions. Also, you will likely see some other changes in the traditional paid positions as well. We saw about half way through this year Google got rid of the side ads that had been there for years. This is bound to make the advertising more competitive and likely drive up the Cost per Click – good for Google bad for you if you don’t have that advertising expense forecasted and budgeted for in 2017.
Long story short – SEO is VERY important for Search Engine Marketing – but businesses should get used to a combination of both paid advertising and SEO moving into 2017 as the landscape is changing quickly and you don’t want to get left behind!
Best of luck planning for 2017 – hope this helps!