Friday, February 24

2017’s Four Most Important Ranking Factors, According to SEO Industry Studies

1. Content

Content is one of the most important Google ranking factors, according to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google. This shouldn’t be news — content has been an important ranking factor for a while — but in recent years, we’ve seen a shift away from keyword-focused content towards more relevant content written in natural language. Expect to see more of that as 2017 unfolds.
In fact, the SearchMetrics study cited above found that just 53% of the top 20 queries have keywords in their title tag, and less than 40% of landing pages have keywords in their H1. This number is dropping year-over-year, which “clearly demonstrates that Google evaluates content according to its relevance—and not by the inclusion of individual keywords.”
So what exactly does “relevant” content look like? The short answer is: comprehensive.
Consider the top result when you Google “Golden Retriever”:
google results for Golden Retriever
DogTime’s article on Golden Retrievers rings in at almost 3,500 words, and it covers everything including breed characteristics, history, personality, health, care, and even rescue groups. The page also includes multiple images, infographics, and embedded videos — it’s everything you could ever want to know about Golden Retrievers on one page.
This supports what Backlinko found: Semantic search is here to stay. Algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain place intense value on semantic relevance and optimization, meaning that an in-depth examination of one topic in easy-to-understand language will always beat out unreadable keyword-dense drivel.
Backlinko also found that long-form content ranks better than short-form content, probably because it allows articles to consider their subject in more detail. That said, SearchMetrics found that mobile content is usually only 2/3 the length of desktop content, and mobile use is on the rise.
How to optimize:
Content influences a variety of other ranking factors, such as bounce rate and CTR. So for best results, make sure your content is both comprehensive and relevant to your audience — an in-depth examination of flamenco dancing probably won’t do much for your auto-repair business.
I recommend you use content auditing software to:
  • Find and fix thin content.
  • Explore fewer topics in greater detail on each page.
  • Improve your Topical Authority in your niche

2. Backlinks

Backlinks remain an important Google ranking factor, but over the years, Google has learned to weed out the bad links from the good. More links will still result in a higher score, but only if they’re from a number of diverse and authoritative domains.
The key to a strong link building campaign in 2017 is to create content people crave, and then to promote that content relentlessly. When other industry authorities read and link to your content, Google will read your backlink’s matching anchor text and consider your content more relevant.
When your content earns a lot of these high-quality backlinks, you hit three important ranking signals: number of backlinks, link authority, and link diversity.
Note that one of the main roles of social signals is to win you more high-quality backlinks. SearchMetrics found that ranking position and social signals strongly correlated across all social media channels — though Facebook is still the platform with the highest concentration of user interactions.
How to optimize:
There are many different ways to approach link building, but what they all boil down to is content marketing. Step one: Create high-quality content. Step two: Promote.
If you’re having trouble coming up with original content, consider using the Skyscraper link building technique: Find someone else’s relevant content with lots of backlinks, improve upon their content with a more detailed article, and then share your content.
I also recommend you use link auditing software to get a better picture of your link profile. Use this software to:
  • Monitor how many links your content has and the quality of those links.
  • Reach out to high-quality partners for backlinks.
  • Eliminate spammy and low-quality links; disavow them if you can’t get them removed.

3. Mobile-First User Experience

One of the biggest changes we saw in 2016 was Google’s shift towards mobile-first indexing. This means that Google’s index will now primarily crawl the mobile version of websites as opposed to the desktop version.
Mobile optimization is an extremely important ranking factor. All of the top 100 most visible domains have mobile-friendly solutions, according to SearchMetrics.
In 2017, it will be more important than ever that your content is responsive on all mobile platforms and identical to the content on your desktop site. Mobile-friendliness is now the norm, and with 85% of all websites now meeting Google’s criteria for being mobile-friendly, it’s time to improve your website even more — think mobile-first, not just mobile-friendly.
A word of warning: according to Google, if you are in the process of building a mobile version of your site, don’t launch it until it’s finished. Releasing a broken or incomplete mobile version of your website might wind up hurting your ranking more than helping; it’s better to keep your website desktop-only until the mobile version is ready.
Page speed is another important ranking factor that ties heavily into a good user experience. Desktop websites should load in 3 seconds or less, while mobile websites should load in 2 seconds or less (according to SearchMetrics, the top-ranked mobile websites are approximately one second quicker than their desktop equivalents).
How to optimize:
  • Use Google Search Console to add and verify the mobile version of your website.
  • Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to ensure that the same structured markup exists on both your desktop and your mobile site.
  • Ensure that your mobile site is accessible to Googlebot using the txt testing tool.
  • Test your page speed using PageSpeed Insights. If your page is slow, use an auditing tool to find and fix uncompressed content, page errors, and other elements slowing your website down.

4. Other Technical Factors

There are many other technical factors which might play a big role in your website’s rank. These factors include:
Encryption: Backlinko still finds a strong correlation between HTTPS websites and first page Google rankings, and SearchMetrics confirms that 45% of the top websites all use HTTPS encryption (up from 12% in 2015). Google confirmed back in 2014 that websites with a strong HTTPS encryption will rank better than their HTTP counterparts, and, as of 2017, websites that have not switched to HTTPS are now marked as unsafe in Google Chrome.
H1 and H2 Headings: There are more landing pages with an H1 and H2 in the source code this year. SearchMetrics found a strong correlation between the use of at least one H2 and a higher rank.
Anchor text: Exact-match anchor text still has a strong influence on rankings, but you risk a Penguin penalty if your links appear unnatural or spammy. Make sure your backlink anchor text is diverse and organic.
anchor text distribution
Interstitials: In keeping with Google’s emphasis on mobile-first optimization, as of 10 January 2017, they’re cracking down on intrusive interstitial pop-ups. That means any page with an ad or CTA that covers the main content or whisks users to a new page upon clicking might suffer a penalty. Exceptions to this include login dialogs, small banners that are easy to dismiss, and legally-required interstitials (e.g. age verification).
How to optimize:
  • Switch to HTTPS encryption.
  • Make use of H2 headings, especially if the top URLS in your niche don’t.
  • Ensure that your anchor text is diverse and semantically relevant.
  • Remove all intrusive interstitials from your mobile website.


SEO is an ever-evolving industry. In the past few years, we’ve seen Google make a steady push for rich content, quality links, and a perfect mobile experience. Other ranking factors are certainly important and will play a role in your rankings, but if you prioritize improving elements of your website related to these factors, then you’ll come out ahead of the competition.

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Thursday, February 2

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Wednesday, February 1

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Friday, January 27

A LinkedIn company page helps you network and prospect for quality sales leads, but it also establishes your public image on a global scale as a reputable and trustworthy organization. A LinkedIn company page provides your business with the opportunity to tell your company’s story, engage with followers, share career opportunities, and scale your word of mouth marketing.

Some benefits of using LinkedIn Company Page to grow your business:

Increased Exposure – Having a LinkedIn Company Page is a great way to gain attention for your business. The page has the potential to show up when people search for you in Google, as well as showing up for searches within LinkedIn.
Higher Level Of Credibility – LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your business products & services and gain trust amongst customers/prospects. 
Creating shareable content that benefits your audience - By producing content that your viewers want to see and share with others, your viewers become engaged advocates of your company and expand your global reach and influence. Make your content available in different formats such as Slide Share business presentations, blog posts, Infographics, webinars, podcasts and videos to suit the viewing preferences of your target audience. According to LinkedIn, your company should post as many status updates as your content supports. You will reach more of your audience and extend your reach as you post more often. Companies that post 20 times a month, on average, reach 60% of their followers with 1 or more updates; and 20% of followers are typically reached with one status update.
Introducing new products or services you’ve developed - According to the Marketing Tech Blog, the top 5 reasons why people follow brands on social media are: promotions and discounts, latest products information, customer service, entertaining content, and ability to offer feedback. More than half of vendors say they have generated sales through LinkedIn. With LinkedIn company pages, you can introduce new products or services your company developed and explain how they will help customers to achieve their professional goals and meet their business needs. You can also provide links to your website to enable readers to easily find more information and convert your website visitor traffic into warm business leads.
Finding job candidates who can make a significant contribution to your business success - LinkedIn profiles reveal valuable information about people seeking jobs at your company, including their stability, their record of successful accomplishments and their passion for what they do. By hiring and retaining these employees, your company will benefit from their expertise and energy. When social media communication is done properly by your existing employees, it has the potential to create powerful relationships. By developing these relationships with current and prospective customers, employees and referral sources, your employees can significantly enhance your company’s bottom line.

Improving your ranking in search engines - Google and other search engines rank LinkedIn company pages and posts highly in the search engine results pages, so adding updates to your company page and optimizing posts for SEO helps to improve your performance in the search results pages. As a result, your website may see an increase in visitor traffic, especially if links back to your company’s website are embedded in your posts.
If you’re a page administrator, you can view analytical data about your company page to help you gain deeper insights into your page performance by:
  • Seeing how engaging your individual posts are
  • Identifying trends across key metrics
  • Understanding more about your follower demographics and sources
  • Understanding more about your page traffic and activity

Attract New Talent - LinkedIn company pages include a dedicated "careers" section that allows you to showcase your employment brand to those users who may be looking for new job opportunities. Under careers you can post job openings, but you can also do much more. With an upgrade to a silver or gold careers page, you can add videos and other recruitment tools that tell LinkedIn members more about your company, its culture and employees. The careers section can also be used to direct traffic to your website and Facebook page as a way of helping interested job seekers learn more about what you offer.

Connect With Top Prospects - LinkedIn company pages can help you attract new talent, but they can also make it easier for you to reach out to candidates that interest you. With a company page, you have the ability to find out more about your followers to determine who might be a good fit for your open positions. LinkedIn allows you to see detailed analytics about your followers including who they are and what they do. You also have the ability to directly message them and establish a connection.

Establish Credibility - Your company overview on LinkedIn is your space to share status updates, blog posts and your Twitter feed to help followers and visitors learn more about what you do and how well you do it. A company page also gives you the ability to interact with LinkedIn members in other areas of the site including groups and the answers section. In both groups and answers, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your company's expertise by participating in discussions related to your industry and answering questions from other LinkedIn members.

Expand Marketing - Each LinkedIn company page has a dedicated section for you to promote your products and services. In this space you can provide detailed information about your offerings and provide links to your website for more information. To better target your audience, LinkedIn allows you to create custom campaigns based on industry, title, location and other segments. You have the ability to add rotating banners as well as coupons and discounts, videos, and recommendations from customers, peers and colleagues.

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Thursday, January 19

Google says crawl demand and crawl rate make up GoogleBot's crawl budget for your website.



Gary Illyes from Google has written a blog post titled What Crawl Budget Means for Googlebot. In it, he explains what crawl budget is, how crawl rate limits work, what crawl demand is and what factors impact a site’s crawl budget.
First, Gary explained that for most sites, crawl budget is not something to worry about. For really large sites, it becomes something  to consider looking at.
“Prioritizing what to crawl, when, and how much resource the server hosting the site can allocate to crawling is more important for bigger sites, or those that auto-generate pages based on URL parameters,” Gary said.
Here is a short summary of what was published, but I recommend reading the full post.
  • Crawl rate limit is designed to help Google not crawl your pages too much and too fast where it hurts your server.
  • Crawl demand is how much Google wants to crawl your pages. This is based on how popular your pages are and how stale the content is in the Google index.
  • Crawl budget is “taking crawl rate and crawl demand together.” Google defines crawl budget as “the number of URLs Googlebot can and wants to crawl.”


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