The Most Significant Ranking Factors In 2013 By Emma Julie Fox, Pitstop Media
Since 2011 the international SEO community has been rocked by significant, instantaneous, and far-reaching updates in the ranking algorithm for Google. It seems that a new era has come to light after the implementation of the Google Panda, Penguin and EMD, among others—an era that is marked by increased priority and regard for content and website quality over “black hat" SEO methods that were nevertheless considered the norm for a short time.
If you kept track of the official announcements released by Google in the last year, you'll be aware that the search engine is all about producing the best results for users—and by best results, they mean excellent websites with related, useful, and valuable content.
However, that alone cannot guarantee that a website will rank high in the SERPs. Everybody already knows the importance of content marketing these days, so you can expect that your competition will also endeavor to produce well-written articles and content.
That's good news for search engine users, but not so much for SEOs and websites. It means they have more competition to deal with. Situations like this tend to even out the playing ground, too. It would take something more extra for a website to break past the status quo and edge forward ahead of its competition.
So, as the competition for excellence (and SERPs rank) becomes stiffer, what should you or your SEO company do in order to pull more weight in the search results? Gain more points with the other primary ranking factors, of course.
What ranking factors can help you move up the SERPs fast
What are Ranking Factors?
Weightiest Ranking Factors Today
It is important to note that even though high-quality content is what Google looks for, the search engine still have to consider the presence/absence of certain criteria that will help it determine which websites or webpages contain high-quality content that Internet users are looking for.
Based on the updates Google implemented on its ranking algorithm these past years, it is apparent that the following ranking signals have been given the biggest weights:
- Link Profile (Backlinks)
Before the Penguin update was rolled out, SEOs had a habit of collecting links from all over the place. It didn’t really matter where they came from as long as there are many of them. Today though, with the introduction of the Google Penguin in particular, quality trumps quantity when it comes to link profiles.
Even if you have thousands of backlinks, they won’t do your website any good if they come from low-quality websites (link farms, bad neighborhood sites, web pages with very poor content, etc). They will even cause your website to get penalized by Google. Surely, you’ve read stories about websites that had crashed and burned because of this and Google Penguin.
In Order to Rank: Improve your link profile by earning backlinks preferably from high-ranking and authority websites. Quality over quantity, but quality and quantity will be so much better.
- Authority Factor
One of the things that can make your website zoom up the SERPs is the authority factor. If your website can prove both to visitors and the search engines and their personnel that it is an authority in its niche, it will greatly improve its page rank and its position in the SERPs.
In Order to Rank: Start with two important things: content and presentation. Your website’s articles and page content should be accurate, have an air of authority, and be backed by credible authority figures (which could be you if you own the website, or the company, organization or individuals who own the website and write its content).
The website’s structure must be sensible and easy to navigate. Its appearance should be suited to the theme/topic/niche. It shouldn’t look mediocre or obviously designed by somebody inexperienced.
Contributing to reputed websites and blogs in your niche and getting inbound links from them will also help you build credibility.
With Author Rank likely to become a crucial ranking factor in Google this year, it will help to secure Authorship for all your published content too.
There are aspects of SEO that will not change, and keywords are one of them. Search engines will always look to keywords and phrases in the title, subheadings, meta information, and content body to determine if it matches the search queries. Keyword stuffing is of course a huge no-no (cue in Penguin!) but using too little will also limit your chances of appearing in the SERPs.
In Order to Rank: Use a variety of related keywords (including local keywords) and phrases in your articles, especially in titles, subheaders, and anchor texts. This way you won't be flagged for keyword stuffing but still reap the benefits of having many of these little search magnets in your site.
For example, let’s say you are Canadian company and your target keyword is ‘App Development’, the related keywords could be—‘Mobile app development’, ‘app development services’, ‘app development Canada’, ‘Canadian App Development Company’, etc.
• Social Signals
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