Did you know that Google actually uses over 200 different factors within its algorithms to determine how relevant and useful your website is to users? That’s a hell of a lot of things to try and keep track of on a blog! This is especially true when you might have thousands of different posts that all need to be optimised.
However, did you also know that there are 8 specific factors that hold the most importance? If you get those right on every page and post on your blog, then it can really help boost your Search Visibility for SEO.
By addressing these 8 factors, you don’t have to mindlessly go through every single aspect of Google’s algorithms… In fact, that’d be a waste of time really! Just focus on these and you’ll be on the right track!
This is the oldest part of SEO, but it’s still one of the most important things to get right! Actually… Their the most important aspect! So you need to make sure you’re getting it right!
But how do you do this? Well, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to link building, because that would take ages! Instead, we’re going to look at how to review the backlinks you already have. Why? Because having low quality backlinks is just as bad as having none (and actually, probably worse).
So whilst you can generate backlinks from directories, guest blogging, being featured in content on other sites and a whole myriad of other methods, cleaning up the trash is just as important.
To begin with, I export all of the backlink data from both. Then using either Excel or Google Sheets (I prefer to use Google’s tools because they auto-save), I compare the list of domains from each of them, removing duplicates, to make sure I have a definitive list of which sites are linking to my, or my clients’ site.
From there, I go back to Majestic and use the Bulk Backlink Checker to get data on the Trust Flow and Citation Flow of the domains. This gives me my first indicator of quality. I then check the domains again in Ahrefs and collect the Domain Rating score from there. By comparing these two sets of scores, I am able to determine which sites are actually negative!
Then, the final step is to open all of those with low Trust Flow and Domain Rating in the browser, and use Moz’s toolbar extension to look at the DA of the sites. If the site doesn’t meet the following criteria, then I add it to a disavow file;
- Trust Flow no lower than 15 below Citation Flow
- Domain Rating no lower than 15
- DA no lower than 10.
Now, these figures aren’t the be-all and end-all, as you should probably manually review what type of sites are on these domains. Why? Well, if your blog is about gardening and you have a bunch of florists linking to you, even if their metrics are low, they are relevant links and should be kept!
All irrelevant links like low metrics should be disavowed. This protects you from any negative equity that they may be pushing to you.
For those not sure what anchor text is, it refers to the actual text used on the link. This can be anything from “click here” to “visit website”, or actually anything else.
In the past, anchor text using a specific keyword was considered the only go-to method of writing anchor text. For example, a link to a fashion blog with the words “best UK fashion blogger” or “top blue jeans” would be considered a keyword-focus piece of anchor text.
This, however, is no longer the way. As shown by the following pie chart, the best way to build links is to have a large amount of branded links!
Once again, when you want to review your anchor text, either Majestic or Ahrefs can help. Both tools will give you a breakdown of the anchor text pointing towards your site, as well as the number of times it is used.
This sort of information is invaluable as a website owner, as it also allows you to see how people are linking to you and what content you should think about creating next time.
Even today, the Page Title of a blog post or page can seriously effect the SEO performance on that website. The is the same for the H1. On top of that, you need to make sure bigger. So, definitely make sure your keyword for a page is in both of them! And when it comes to the Page Title, you want it as close to the start as possible!
Oh, and don’t forget about your Meta Description! Whilst it may not be an actual ranking factor, it gives you a good place to mention your keyword! It also allows you to craft a message to make people click through to your blog from Google – Click Through Rate is a ranking factor.
You’ll hear a lot of people talking about the “ideal” length of a piece of content… I’ve heard things like “no less than 200 words but no more than 1,000″… Well, that’s utter rubbish. Yes, length is important, and Google themselves stated that “the amount of a page’s content is important for it’s overall quality”.
However, there is no hard and fast rule as to how much content you should have. Make sure that what you are writing is useful to people, and covers off what it needs, and you’ll probably be fine! Just don’t go throwing out a load of 100 word posts and expect to reach the top of the search results. Make sure your content has enough detail for the user!
One of Google’s more amazing algorithm updates was Hummingbird – this allowed Google to understand the actual sentence or question you were asking, rather than just breaking it down and looking at individual keywords.
A part of this update was the inclusion of RankBrain, which gives Google the ability to identify and understand metrics and data on user satisfaction when they visit a website. It’s pretty damn amazing stuff! This, in turn, means that Google is able to rank websites for contextual searches far better.
For example, if you were to search for “landmarks in London”, you would probably find articles about the London Eye, the Shard and Buckingham Palace. That’s what RankBrain is doing. Although, sometimes it can be a bit funny… As Search Engine Land shows in the following image, the top 10 results for “best new york bagels” all revolve around “cream cheese”.
But how do you take advantage of this? Well, you should take a look at how your content is written and structured. That’s where tools like Website Auditor come in. Through the tool’s Content Analysis section, you can find a wealth of information on what you need to optimise to take advantage of RankBrain! And don’t worry, this tool is free… It just means you can’t save the audit, so I would recommend working through it page by page so you don’t get lost.
With Google moving more and more of its focus to mobile usability (we’ll get to that), Page Speed is becoming an increasingly big ranking factor. It is so important that you get your website to load as fast as possible on all devices!
It’s been something that us in the SEO industry have been banging on about for a couple of years now, but your website really needs to be fully mobile-friendly! Not just responsive, but mobile-friendly. What does that mean? Well, text has to be big enough to read; menu items need enough spacing to be easily touched with a thumb; images, banners and ads need to stay within the screen on smaller mobile devices. There’s loads of things that you need to consider.
But the best place to start is Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test. It will tell you whether the (individual) page you are testing passes as mobile-friendly. And if not, then it tells you why.
Then, with that information in hand, it’s time to start optimising!
Whilst there are a number of things that factor into user experience, such as Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration, one of the biggest is the Click Through Rate, as mentioned earlier.
Click Through Rate
This specifically refers to the amount of people who see your website in Google’s search results and then proceed to click on it and visit your website. The more people who show and interest in your website, the more likely Google is going to want to show it to them! Oh, and this is the same for both SEO and PPC!
So you want to make sure you get as many clicks as possible! But how do you do that? Well, that’s down to how your website looks in the search results! Here are some things you can do to help boost your CTR:
- Use a Page Title that is user friendly, explaining what they can expect to find, and drawing their attention by letting them know that there is a solution to an issue, and not just a rant!
- Use the Meta Description to add even more detail about how the post or article can help the user, and include a Call To Action like “read this article to learn how to stop cheese from going off”.
- Add Schema tags to your reviews, so that star ratings show up in the search results. There are hundreds of other types of Schema too (aka Rich Snippets), and on average, a site sees a 30% increase in Click Through Rate when they start using Schema!
With those things in place on your articles, you should start to see an increase in click through rate, meaning more visitors and better rankings! It’s like a spiral! Awesome, right?
And That’s All Folks
Those are the 8 major ranking factors that you should be looking at on your blog! By addressing and optimising them, you’ll almost certainly gain more traction in Google’s Search Results! And let’s face it, SEO traffic is awesome, because you don’t need to pay for it with money or the time it takes to share posts!
If you have any questions about these ranking factors, or SEO in general, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it for you!
And whilst we’re here, I might as well throw in a completely shameless plug for my Blogger SEO MOT! It’s a maximum price of £200, but if it takes less than 10 hours to complete, you only pay £20 per hour for the amount of hours it took! If it goes over 10 hours? Well, you still only pay £200!
Jacqui from Mummy’s Little Monkey had this to say about the Blogger SEO MOT report I did for her:
I commissioned him to do a full SEO report on my entire blog, and the information he sent over (in easy to understand, Jacqui-proof language) has already paid for itself twice over – and I’m only partway through his report!
So, if you’re interested, you can find out more about the Blogger SEO MOT report by clicking that big button, and see what I can do for you and your blog! Hooray for shameless plugs!