Top 10 SEO Ranking Factors
Website optimization can seem tedious, and to be honest it can be.
Unfortunately it looks like the foreseeable future won't be getting any easier for marketers .
Not knowing where to focus, or even worse inexperience guessing at factors can weigh heavy on a budget, as misinformation can often send marketing teams running in circles in an effort to boost and optimize their online brands.
In this article we'll discuss what we believe are the top SEO ranking factors that every business interested in organic traffic should be focused on in an effort to optimize and grow online.
Where should I focus on improving for better search ranking results?
The number one thing you can do to help improve your rank is to publish content that is of value to your user. The days of posting to post has long been gone within the serp's. A easy way to determine your content quality is to simply read it and identify the value points. Your thoughts, opinions, research data, video content etc can all be valuable assets when used in the right context. You may have the right information but how is it presented on page? Feel free to get a little creative and try presenting information in a variety of ways as each industry typically has a favored form of media and from person-to-person digesting information is different.
Core Web Vitals (CWV)
It's the common beat of the Google marketing drum. Create a better experience for your users. There are three Core Web Vitals that all websites are encouraged to keep track of and improve.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Becomes an important, user-centric metric for analyzing page how quickly the content of your webpage has been loaded. A fast loading webpage is a useful webpage for users needing answers.
Most Common contributors to long LCP: Java and/or CSS that is blocking page rendering, slow server response time, client side rendering
First Input Delay (FID)
FID analyzes the time from when users first interacts with your webpage to the time the browser is able to begin processing event handlers. The larger interactivity issues on the web occur during the page load. Improving this area paints a clearer picture to search engines of improved interactivity.
The biggest interactivity issues we see on the web today occur during page load. Therefore, we believe initially focusing on improving site's first user interaction will have the greatest impact on improving the overall interactivity of the web and a better user experience.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift is a metric that measures and evaluates a websites experience by how much your webpages shift unexpectedly during page load. Often caused by ads, dynamically injected content, iframes without dimensions and/or cookie banners and notices.
Make sure these key page load metrics are monitored and improved where needed.
Website Speed/ Performance
Google announced back in 2010 that site speed would begin to be factored into their search engine algorithm. As technology and media advancements have been made so has the focus on website speed and page speed performance. Site performance affects user experience and for a website to have a good user experience, performance plays a key role.
Publishing frequency does play a role in SEO but there are not any definitive guidelines on how often you need to be creating and publish new content. Focusing on quality posts over quantity will perform just as well and you can reduce the risk of higher than necessary workloads and possibly publishing content which could do more harm than good for your brand. Best advice is to create a content calendar, put some ideas down highlight the topics you feel hold the most value to the end-user, then develop a timeline around those topics. Make sure you're comfortable the team can meet your timelines and get to work.
Number of Indexed Pages
This is an interesting topic, the number of total indexed pages and how it affects SEO. Search the web a bit and you will quickly find conflicting answers. The number of pages you have indexed really does not appear to hold any value on rank. The number of quality pages that are indexed most certainly does affect page rank. It makes sense, the more content you have ranked well the more authority your site is likely to acquire. Once again a common theme for SEO, create better user experiences.
User engagement has become a hot topic across many online channels. Google's new GA4 makes event tracking a bit simpler for the user and helps to monitor performance. User engagement can be really anything someone would do that interacts with a website, scrolls, clicks, comments, video watches, sign ups, shares, purchases are all events and ways users can engage online. Providing your users with simple ways to engage with your content can go a long way to improve user engagement and is simply good practice. After all you're building a space for people to learn, interact or simply entertain.
Structured Data, Schema & Snippets
One of the latest tools added to today's modern SEO is the ability to better organize and connect data points. Schema allows us to connect relevant information about a product, reviews, service, recipe, how-to etc. By incorporating these data points and validating them you will be eligible for additional advantages within the serp. If you currently have well ranking pages leveraging these can add a significant boost.
Missing or Duplicate page Metadata
Duplicate or missing content across your meta tags is certainly a no-go zone for most experienced SEO's and as a rule of thumb these should never be disregarded. Depending on the search and how well you descriptions are written google may or may not use what you have provided, but you have a better chance if they are completed and optimized for the given intent.
Image Optimization & missing or incomplete metadata
Images are an easy stop to improve several factors on your website. Most commonly images are the primary culprit for slow page load. Utilizing lightweight images can not only help page load but by properly completing the alt="" tags, captions and even filenames can all help toward your ongoing SEO efforts and if they can be used they should be. If you have an image heavy website leveraging a CDN (content delivery network) can hemp improve your page speed.
With good content comes great backlinks. The two just go together. While there are many ways to attempt to gain backlinks chances are future updates will be able to identify these and future penalties could hurt the work you have already put in. Focus on creating great content, if you have great content there is nothing wrong with reaching out to relevant website, topic experts, news outlets etc. If they find it of value chances are they will link to it. Purchasing links or acquiring lots of links quickly is never realistic and it is against Google policy, content is king but value accelerates online growth.