If we can understand what search engine ranking factors are, we can better plan and implement our online strategies. Without getting too technical, I want to talk about what we (SEO professionals) do know. The knowledge, BTW, is generally learned from search engine PR pieces, research, and experience.
Search Engine Ranking Factors
Google uses 200+ search engine ranking factors in their algorithm. We know this because it’s what Google told us, along with the additional information about these 200 factors. That they are simply different ways of measuring 3 primary things: Relevancy, Authority, and Quality. So let’s talk, in brevity, about each of these things.
How well does a page match someone’s search? It seems easy enough but there’s a LOT of math going on under the hood to provide these results. Google happens to be extremely accurate, nearly perfect, in their search results, because of how good their algorithms are. Let’s try a search for one of my favorite things to shop for.
In .14 seconds, Google scanned through hundreds of millions of website page data to deliver me with the results of my search for “PlayStation 4 games.” The first page generated results for gaming reviews, game & developer information, and where to buy these games. That’s very accurate results. No PlayStation 3 data, no PlayStation 5 news, no Xbox games. Only the exact parameters of my search were returned. This is what Relevancy is.
How much does the search engine trust the content on the page? They make this assumption by looking at how much authority the page itself has. So it’s like saying you trust advice given by a particular person you trust, who other people trust as well. Same principle. Google says that you can Rank Without Link Building, but it does have a factor in how much authority is given by each search engine. Once Relevancy has been established, Authority is then used to help rank positions. The more links pointing to a website, the more authority. So what retail options were given to me on the front page when searching for “Playstation 4 Games?”
- Sony’s Direct Store
- Best Buy
Large, well-known vendors that get a lot of backlinks, and affiliate links. So they’re relevant, and they have authority.
This is the most perplexing of the search engine ranking factors, at least to me, because the algorithms would have to be so complex. I’m guessing this is where half, or a little more than half, are used. This is where things get technical, but a coding standpoint, because the structure of your site here can make a difference. Search engines give your website a reputation based on user data. Traffic, bounce rate, session time, pages per session, etc. There’s a lot of factors here and we can’t even begin to understand them all. If we look at the search results given for the above two paragraphs, you can see these are also quality results.
How Do These Factors Apply To Me?
Well, you want to strategize a system that, over time, provides you with good Relevancy, Authority, and Quality. Some of this can’t be fast-tracked, at least without a big budget. This is why it’s important to have the right people on your team leveraging their experience and skills to strategize and implement this work. Here are some things you’ll need in order to take advantage of search engine ranking factors:
- Consistent, quality blogs
- Organic SEO
- High-level copywriting
- Click Funnels (not necessary but they’ll help)
- Strong social media strategy (not necessary but it will help)
- Co-op blogs, Medium posts, and other backlink building opportunities
- Good website architecture and coding structure
If you want some tips on generating website traffic for beginners, you can find a good read here.
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