Search engine optimization is one of the most important long-term projects in digital marketing. Done well, SEO drives organic traffic and strengthens your other initiatives.
The challenge: SEO is constantly changing, and the rate of change has only accelerated over the last few years. It’s essential to continuously evaluate results and realign techniques with best practices.
Although it’s useful to have a comprehensive SEO strategy, it’s even more vital to start somewhere. If you have a good grasp on the key metrics that influence SEO results, you can always make improvements in your approach.
But which SEO ranking factors are most useful? Where should you focus?
According to the latest research, these are the top SEO ranking factors to look for:
Although content’s direct impact on SEO search rankings is debatable, it provides every one of the other elements that lead to success. Helpful, informative content written in natural language adds to your total site visits, site and page view time, backlinks, and much more.
Just as critical, it helps build rapport and trust with your prospective customers. In general, longer content has been shown to rank better and get more social shares than shorter content.
For all the effort Google has taken to persuade businesses that links shouldn’t be a focus, they still stand head and shoulders as one of the top SEO ranking factors. It’s crucial to focus on high-quality backlinks from relevant, authoritative sites, but you should never stop building them.
Direct Site Visits
Direct visits to your site – those from people who type your URL directly into the browser’s address bar – have more pull in search engine rankings than referred traffic from links, ads, or even social media shares. Direct visits demonstrate familiarity and commitment to access your content.
Time on Site / Pages Per Session
The longer a visitor stays on your website and the more content they consume, the more valued that traffic is in Google’s analysis of your performance. Of course, it also helps you capture higher conversion rates and greater engagement with everything you have to offer.
Bounce rate is the percentage of your traffic where users arrive on your site, fail to interact, and leave within a few seconds. Typically, these users don’t even scroll the page. You can reduce bounce rate by ensuring more visitors find answers relevant to them on the first page they see.
Although there are dozens or even hundreds of factors that go into every rank calculation, there are a few with major impacts on SEO and they tend to be under your direct influence. With time and consistency, you can make progress in even the most competitive keyword rankings.