Latest Factors That Affect Your Organic Rankings

Contributed By:  Vanessa Humes   |   @VanessaICND  |    Vanessa on LinkedIn
As an Account Executive for a InterCoastal Net Designs, an Internet Marketing Firm, I often get the question, “What are you doing with the time we’re paying for SEO”.  Many times, when we tell them everything we’ve done, they look at me with their eyes crossed and head spinning, wondering, “What does this all mean and will it help my rankings?”  Recently, our SEO Director passed around the link to Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Elements to explain the different factors and how each affects your site’s organic rankings.
In this table, they’ve identified 34 SEO elements or “signals” that are divided into groups.  Just like in chemistry, there are elements or “signals” out there that are yet to be discovered, but can be predicted based on what’s currently been discovered and latest trends.

The three major groups of SEO are On the Page SEO, Off the Page SEO, and Violations.  The Search Engine Land Periodic Table weights each signal from -3 to -1 and 1 to 3.  3 having the most positive influence, and -3 having the most negative impact.

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On the Page Factors include:

Content – Big surprise.  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “Content is King”.  As the most identifiable element in the SEO formula, many people can feel confident in identifying these signals that help your content rank well:

Quality – Is your content unique to your brand and worth reading or is it just generic gibberish that anyone in the world could of written for you?
Research – Do you have research to back the keywords you are using are still being searchedfor in the search engines? Are they relevant to your brand and content?
Words – Does your page contain the right words people are searching for and you wish to be found for?
Engage – Are you leading your reader to additional pages or down a path of what you are trying to get them to do on your site?
Fresh – Is your content up to date and relevant?
Thin – Is your content bland, generic, and only touching the surface, or do you feel like an expert and an authority on your topic?
Ads – Are you selling used cars?  Or do you have too many ads above the fold?

HTML – Going a little deeper, if you know how to view source on a website you can pretty much analyze this area of your site. But, unless you like to look through a bunch of code, it may get a little boring. None the less, code is very important!

Titles – Does your site have Page Titles?  I once had someone tell me titles weren’t important in SEO before.  That’s incorrect and they rank +3 on the periodic table.
Description – Does the description tell you what the page is about or what the SEO person wants for it to be about?

Headers – Do a CTRL+F and look for h1 and h2 tags used on the site and do they have keywordphrases on there that match the titles and content?
Structure – See there’s one you need an expert for!  Does your page have the proper structure to enhance the listing in the search engine?
Stuffing – Are you using the keywords too many times?  Another thing only experts can tell you.  But really you want to sound genuine.  So more than a formula, it’s an art of writing.
Hidden – Are you putting light grey keywords on a white background?  That’s a HUGE no no!  And if you are paying someone to do that, you would pretty much cut the ties…now.

Architecture – OK I had to go grab one of the specialists to finish this one for me:

Crawl – Are your pages easily accessible to crawl?  Or is your site always down and pages load realllllllyyyyy slllllooooowwww.
Duplicate – I thought this would come under content, but do you have duplicate content issues.  Like you built a page for /blue-crayons and then built ano

ther page for /crayons=ID4 but they have the same content?
Speed – Just like you like fast cars, you need fast loading sites.  Have you checked how long your pages take to load?  This is in your W
ebmaster controls.
URLS – Are you URLs optimized containing the keyword phrases you are optimizing for?
Mobile – Is your site responsive and ready for someone to find you on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone?
Cloaking – Has your site been hacked and showing something yucky?

Off the Page Factors Include:

Links: You’ll have to get your magnifying glass out for these ones and turn yourself into the little social butterfly you always told yourself you were.  Links show what an authority you are on a subject and the popularity you can gain amongst your peers and affiliates.

Quality – Are you linking from a spammy blog or from a truste

d authoritative website?
Text – Are the links pointing to you say you are crumby or chummy?  Using keywords n the links back to your site mean you are the bomb.com
Number – Are you popular or not?
Paid – Are you selling your website to the Search Engine Devils or building good organic links back to your site?
Spam – Goes back to quality, but are you talking about Beyonce and linking to a restaurant or do you have a good authoritative link back to your site?

Trust: Do you trust me?  Why do you trust me?  If you were looking at a new employee wouldn’t you want to check them out a little bit to get the scoop?

Authority – how many people link to your content, share you content, engage with your content and what are they saying?
History – How long has the domain been around?
Identity – Do people know who you are on your site?
Piracy – Has your site been hacked and flagged for pirated content?

Social: As the new kid on the block only ranking a +2 and +1 months  ago, but now thought to be much more.  Many other specialists argue that it’s a direct correlation between good site content and Social aspects.  A good site is just going to have good social engagement.  This is one of those elements that we can look at and say there’s a lot more in the other groups, so we may see more elements pop up in the future.  But right now we focus on:

Social – Are people coming to your site sharing your content and linking your
 content?
Shares – Does the content on your site get shared?

Personal: This intertwines with the Social aspects and local aspects.  As Moz.com reported this week, a site’s number of Google +’s can be directly correlated to their search rankings.  How much of your content has been shared on Google +?

Country – What country is the person searching from?
Locality – What city or local area is the person searching from?
History – Has the searcher visited your site before or shared/commented on any of your content? THIS IS THE BIGGIE!  Factor is now a +3
Social – Have the friends or connections of this searcher favored your site?  This is one I would think would get more importance next as social is possibly integrated more and more into the search results.
Hopefully this information can help you better understand why your SEO team spends so much time on your organic search engine optimization.  Print it, book mark it, keep it on hand for your next SEO meeting.   All aspects are important, but as the client you can really help us with providing information for good content.  Content that is unique and important to your visitors.  A good writer and an SEO team that has good content ideas for your site has been, and continues to be, a paramount part of your online marketing strategy.

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