Ranking well in search engine results pages is not a matter of luck. If you do not know which factors are significantly affect a page’s rank, then you can bet that your site won’t make it to the first page any time soon.
If you’re new to SEO or just want to have an overview of the most important SEO factors so that you’ll have a better understanding of what your SEO team is doing for you, then our short list essential factors is a good way for you to learn the critical stuff without getting overloaded with information. Note that the list was compiled from the 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors, which used correlation data and survey results to present its findings
So just what are the ranking factors that every SEO and website builder needs to consider?
- Page Authority – According to the study “Page Authority correlates higher than any other metric we measured.” That said, there’s really not much you can do to immediately increase your page authority. However, you still need to work on this by improving on your overall SEO, particularly by getting inbound links from quality (high page authority) pages.
- Link metrics – As mentioned above, it’s not just about getting links, but about getting high quality links from diverse sources. And yes, this is true for both page-level and domain-level links.
- Keywords – On-page keywords are still important, with keywords in titles, body text, headers and meta descriptions all showing positive correlation. Keywords in anchor texts also remain useful, but only if they don’t appear spammy, showing an organic keyword distribution for all links pointing back to your page. In fact, the study shows that “Despite Penguin, anchor text correlations remain as strong as ever.”
- Social signals – Correlation data and survey results do not agree on the importance of social signals, with the SEOs surveyed not believing that it factors in largely in ranking algorithms. Whether this is a case of correlation not leading to causation, it is still important to have a social campaign aspect in your strategy if only because social sites have become an important gateway for visitors. So even if it does affect your SEO efforts positively or not, you can be sure that a solid social media campaign will help you increase traffic to your site.
- Structured Data Implementation – Though correlation data for various structured markups were all close to zero (e.g. schema.org = 0.02, Open Graph markup = 0.01, Google+ Publisher markup = 0.01), survey results showed that SEOs believed the influence of structured data in SERPs is increasing and continue to do so over time.
- Authorship metrics –Again, correlation data does not show that an author’s reputation or rank has any effect on search rankings, but with most SEOs agreeing that such metrics will be invaluable in the future, it wouldn’t hurt to start building your personal brand and that of everyone else working/collaborating with your on your site and blog. Networking to get reputable guest posters is a great idea as well.