Basic SEO Ranking Factors

SEO is an ongoing project that requires Web designers to continuously refine processes in response to new information. Top-shelf SEO techniques of three years ago might lead to penalties today, and the techniques of tomorrow may be very different from what works now.

Page RankingHowever, there are some aspects that are persistent: The basic SEO ranking factors.

Ranking factors are inputs that compute your pages’ “score” versus the scores of other pages and sites on the Internet, ultimately determining where you fall for a specific keyword in a given set of search results. While some of these may have changed over time, the basic factors are fundamental – they have persisted since the advent of search.

Until the day search engines are completely re-imagined with new technology and a new mathematical basis, basic search engine factors will always matter. So, it’s key for both SEO experts and those who wish to maximize benefits from search engine optimization to know these factors well.

Let’s look at some of the top ranking factors:

1) Content Quality & Keywords

For many years, Google has made it clear that “content is king” in its ongoing effort to architect better search results. “Content” means media and pages that are timely, engaging, and informative for Web users. A site that consistently provides strong content in response to users’ needs will see SEO gains over time. Still, it’s crucial that all content management work together with a cohesive keyword strategy: Using keywords relevant to your site in titles, headings, and text helps to clue the search engines in about the areas where you are an expert. 

2) Backlinks

Backlinks have remained a decisive factor when it comes to effective SEO for several years. The original Google algorithm considered a backlink tantamount to an “editorial endorsement” from another site, improving the linked site’s respectability and overall score. In recent years, quality and relevance have become vital when improving a site’s portfolio of backlinks: A large volume of backlinks from irrelevant sites can damage SEO results, while a handful of top-quality endorsements can ignite rapid improvement.

3) Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can be looked at as the opposite of “quality” content. As the name implies, duplicate content is content that is identical to other content – either in whole or in part, from your site or elsewhere on the Internet. Duplicate content can arise thanks to a dishonest approach to SEO, but it’s also an unintended side effect of certain methods of managing and organizing your site. In e-commerce, for example, duplicate content can arise accidentally due to similar products. Special steps have to be taken to protect sites from incidental content duplication.

4) Website Loading Time

Search engines exist to provide the best content to users at the moment they need it. Even if a site has excellent information, poor technological fundamentals can make it impossible for users to appreciate it. Search engines constantly gather information about website performance as they “crawl” sites and update each page’s information in their databases. They know when a site is running slowly and can respond accordingly by penalizing it. Luckily, there are many methods – from caching to image compression – that can reduce load times instantly.

To maintain excellence across the spectrum of dozens of ranking factors, consider partnering with SEO strategists who can deliver consistent results while freeing you to focus on what you do best.