2018 Google SEO Ranking Factors

2017 Google SEO Ranking FactorsThe August 2018 Google SEO update once again changed the face of SEO as this was a major core update from Google. We’ve seen several SEO updates in 2018, this guide will be in compliant with that fact.

Where do we begin? Local SEO saw a huge update, known as “Possum,”  that was reported to include 64 percent of SERPs.

For 2018, we know mobile is going to be big. Last year, mobile took over desktop to become the the most used devices for using Google search.

it’s the perfect time to release my new top Google SEO ranking factors for 2018. SEO in 2017 saw a lot of changes, 2018 is going to likely see more changes then we have in the past few years.

Before I start discussing the top Google SEO ranking factors list, let’s talk about my go-to SEO tools.

Google Analytics is great, some of the free SEO software programs are ok at best. You can take out an engine without the right tools, the same for SEO. My favorite, Ahrefs. You won’t find a better SEO tool.

2017 SEO Ranking Factors: Backlinks

1. Backlinks Are Still A High SEO Ranking Factor

Your top SEO ranking factor is no other than the most important SEO ranking factor, backlinks. Off-site that is. While backlinks are enough to nearly rank the most competitive keywords in the world, there is some important elements you need to know before you get backlink happy.

Relativity is still important, look at Moz’s domain authority as a guide to who you link to and receive links from. Forget pagerank, you do know PR is dead, right? Even though Google pagerank is flat lined, it still can be used as an indicator to quality websites. But you have to evaluate it and look at the link metrics to determine if the site is high quality.

How Can A Website With 123 Referring Domains Outrank Your 256 Referring Domains?

How many articles have you read that told you go to build more backlinks to outrank your competition? Ever wonder why site A is ranking higher than site B with 50 percent less backlinks? Remember, link building has changed, Google has changed, quit thinking quantity and start thinking quality.

How many of you are building backlinks to your ranking URL as soon as it drops 2 spots? You think,”oh boy, she’s dropping down, got to get some authority links pointing to her.” And then you do and it drops even more, right? Sound familiar? It’s not about quantity anymore, it’s all about quality and relative backlinks.

So if you have a dropping keyword, wait it out. Start focusing on pointing backlinks elsewhere. If you’re using Ahrefs or SEM Rush, I know you’ve seen global keywords increasing though out your backlink campaign. If you’re building backlinks and they look un-natural, you’re going to see keywords continue to fall. Focus your efforts elsewhere.

CTR SEO Ranking Factor

2. CTR Is A Major Google SEO Ranking Factor

CTR, also known as click-through-rate, is also an important Google SEO ranking factor. Case point, how did you find this article? Most of us knew CTR had SEO influence, but to what extent? CTR is a major ranking factor. Look at your top ranking keywords in Google Webmaster, just like we did above. We rank high (first page) for the search terms above. When we look at the CTR, 4 of our top SEO keywords have click-through-rates above 20 percent. That’s a good mark.

Now, if you look at yours, you’ll see the pattern I’m talking about. Higher CTRs usually represent higher keyword rankings. Think about your on-page SEO, the page’s design, content flow, all of these elements are important to SEO. While we don’t rank number one, we do rank number 5 on the first page. And to be with the likes of Backlinko, Moz and SEM Rush, that’s pretty good. Especially when you consider our own web metrics compared to those. Point? What I’m telling you works!

3. SEO In 2017 Takes Over Mobile

As I mentioned earlier in this guide, mobile has become the top used device for searching Google. Mobile has been trending for several years.

Google has repeatedly told us that mobile is going to become a part of the SEO ranking equation and we’re seeing it evolve right in front of our eyes. If your website and web properties are not mobile friendly, your site can have problems ranking high.

Now, today is January 24th and I have a high ranking site that is not mobile friendly. While I’ve seen a little fall over the last month with 2-3 keywords, all of my main targeted keywords are still ranking high. Due to this, I can’t say confidently that sites are seeing big changes, at least not yet.

I have nothing to lose with the website, let me make that clear. It’s one of my testing sites. What should you do? Get mobile friendly, my site can be shot down at any time. I don’t want that for you, get mobile ready.

4. Relevancy Has Become A Major SEO Ranking Factor

Your backlinks can work magic but you need relevant links, not quantities of them. I use Ahrefs.com (by far the best software for analyzing backlinks) to determine keyword phrases that myself and other websites use. I’ll list a few hundred websites and begin outreach to see what type of opportunities I can come up with.

So you need to target websites in your niche, websites that are focusing on the same content topics as you. Use your backlink tools to determine the key link metrics that will determine who you target. Again, pagerank is dead, but you can use it to find authority sites. Look at domain authority, URL ratings, Domain ratings and Alexa rank.

Now, any advanced SEO knows that you don’t need all of your backlinks to be from niche relative websites. While the content needs to be related, the website theme does not. That’s right, a high authority baking site can link to a site about clothes, as long as the content in that page is relevant.

5. Social Media Shares And Signals Can Ride Your Keyword To The Top

Social media can be one of the most powerful SEO resources you have (when the activity is there). I’ve had (5) client pages that went viral on social media and everyone of their main keywords ranked in the top 3 first page. Each one went viral on Facebook, that matters. We saw good movement on Twitter also, so keep that in mind also.

We all know content is important for SEO. Sure, a top tier ranking factor. But as it pertains to social media, people don’t share boring content. You may be in a boring niche, per “online rules.” Not many people going to care about installing the JLX mechanical toilet seat, right? So if you want social shares to weigh in on your SEO (and it does now) you’ll have to get creative with your content.

Update 1/27/2016 – I’m seeing less and less social media influence directly increasing keywords. However, if an article gets enough shares, it still has the ability to pull first page. That doesn’t mean it’s safe there. When the traffic and signals die off, so will your keyword rankings. So if you see that big boost, get over to the article and get prepared to do your SEO. Naturally, this page can gain natural backlinks due to the exposure. But if it doesn’t, time to play SEO doctor.

SEO Expert Tip for boring niches: Try infographics, they work great for social shares and backlinks (win-win).

6. Give The Pages You Want To Rank High A Makeover And Update

In SEO, you can underestimate the value of a good looking website that is user friendly. A lot of so-called SEOs and webmasters take “fresh content” the wrong way. While you think you may need to publish new content daily, that’s not the fresh content you want. Rather, you need to revamp the content you already have published.

SEO Expert Tip on revamping content: ALWAYS map out your content. Nothing worse than having to go through hundreds of articles, cleaning them up, ect. Before you write ANYTHING, get it mapped out.

Design and speed matter. Not only for SEO, but for conversions, lead generation, sales and everything in between. Content can become outdated in as little as a few weeks. If you haven’t yet, go back through your best pages and make some edits.

And quit writing for SEO. Google’s system can pick up on your over-optimized SEO content. Google wants you to think about the user, not SEO. While I’m not telling you to forget using keywords, but add your metadata and links.

7. Speaking Of Speed, Boy Does It Matter

Didn’t someone one say, “speed kills?” Well, in your SEO, the same can be said. Except you want your loading times fast as possible. Less code, more content. Google really stepped this up in 2015, as well as mobile friendly needs. Designs, graphics and images are great, images are good for SEO. However, it can bite you in the ass if it’s slowing your site down.

Keep your images as progressive jpeg. Keep them in the same format size. Content management system users, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, plugins and extensions can kill your load times. The more you add, the slower you go in most cases.

You can check your webpage speed here.

8. One Page, One Main Keyword – Get It Right Now

This is something you’ll hear me preach over and over and over some more. SEO Site evaluations are often in my workflow and I don’t know how many times I get into content and see the same keywords being used in articles. You only need one URL to rank a keyword. If your content is in this nature, your own pages are likely fighting one another.  I don’t know that I should list it as this, but man if I don’t see it a lot.

Here’s your strategy moving forward, one page, one main focus keyword. It works. Works great. You don’t need 20 articles targeting the same keyword. Now, you may list other secondary keywords to the topic. You want this to open up your internal linking strategies.

9. User Metrics Are Playing A Bigger Role Than Ever

Many of us saw this coming with Google’s algorithm changes in 2015. User metrics and user engagement is becoming a main stream SEO ranking factor and look for it to grow in 2016.  Your content is everything. The topics you cover, the personality in your writing, the average time users spend on a page, genuine comments, social shares, all of these can influence the keyword rankings on any given page.

Point back to writing great content, the type of content that gets people to talk, share, interact and engage. Political topics are always great, if you have a political site, news site, government blog. Religion is another. Somehow, someway, your content has to make it happen if you want to rank first page for your keywords.

10. Since Content Is King And We’re Already Talking About it

I can’t write about SEO ranking factors without mentioning content. On-site SEO ranking factors, your content is the most important. Let me put this out there “like it is,” your content needs to be great. Too many articles are being published every day for mediocre content to rank or go viral. Out of everything you do in SEO, high quality content should be your main goal.

When you write high quality content, users find it useful. They become engaged. They talk about it, they share it. In return, this builds natural backlinks. The “natural cycle of SEO” begins to come full circle. Spread your wings and fly high kinda of stuff. In all seriousness, this is what you’e looking for.

Here’s how you evaluate your content. When you’re done, read it and ask yourself, “is this the best article online for the topic.” If your answer is no, “make it to be the best article online for the subject.” Period.

11. Go Make Some Bromance And Get You Some Friends

What the hell? Yeah, I about erased that. But I have a point. I’ve been doing SEO for over 9 years. I still don’t have enough online friends in my industry. Do you know how valuable friends are when you need a backlink, guest post, a web favor? Damn near priceless. We’re all shooting at the same cow, just a different black spot. Bad analogy, sure. But we all have common goals and we can help one another achieve success.

I’m always open to new business relationships, new friendships and you should be too. Don’t view everyone as the competition as I did early in my career. I didn’t have no friends back them and having an awesome resource list is a nice go-to when you need a favor.

All I’m saying, be open to it. Quit being stuck up. (LOL)

12. Keyword Domains Are Worth Their Weight In Gold

How many times have you read about keywords in domains don’t matter? What bullshit! Don’t believe that, they matter. Anytime you can add a keyword specific in your domain, you have at it. It matters, always has.

Keyword specific domains are worth their weight in gold. And you can find them all the time, likely cheaper than what you think. I hit GoDaddy Auctions up all the time. And for those of you looking to achieve long-lasting first page rankings (everybody), finding a keyword specific domain with some age is like winning the lottery.

Don’t redirect it though, build it up. Give it some authority and grow it. It has more value to your network this way. If you ask, “well Ricky, that will get you in trouble.” Tell it to WebMD whom at least has a few hundred of these. Literally.

13. Traffic Is Becoming A More Important Google SEO Ranking Factor

16 days into January and our team is noticing that clients with traffic are ranking better across the board. 21 total and all 21 have seen increased Google SEO rankings. Luck of the draw? No, I really doubt it. We know that user metrics count as a SEO ranking factor. Over the last few years, Google has been valuing user metrics higher we feel. But traffic really never fell into this class, at least not as a very valued indicator. But with what I’ve seen over the first two weeks in 2016, there’s no question that it’s playing a role and maybe one higher valued than we previously imagined. Popularity drives traffic anyway, so that makes sense.

If you had some high SEO rankings in Google prior with little traffic, you may have noticed your keyword rankings falling. From our client base, I’m afraid I can’t call that for sure because I’ve seen mixed results. Adding to that is the fact that most of our clients that have low traffic are start-up websites, so we couldn’t get clear indications. But there’s no question that traffic is very valued in Google’s eyes and maybe more now than ever before. If you’re struggling to get traffic, check out these online traffic resources.

14. Anchor Text Diversity Has A New Value In SEO

Anyone stuck on page 2 of Google? I know, it bites. But have you been seeing it a lot more? Two of my latest SEO case studies did just this. It was a strategy that I’ve been using for some time. After initial analysis and a full workup, I feared over-optimization of anchor text was to blame. It was not PBNs, only relative websites. It had some natural data backlinks, a few local citations. Trust flow and domain authority for both were good. Both over 20.

These anchor text SEO values just recently changed, not even a few weeks ago. I think Google is now fully evaluating anchor text and root words. It may be different link types, branded URLs, naked URLs. We typically see this from exact match keyword URLs. You will always have an issue with that, sites linking using your domain name. That’s one of the rare downfalls of a main keyword in the URL.

Now, back to my point. You need to make sure your backlink profile isn’t over-optimized. Long-tail keywords shouldn’t be used as anchor text a lot, only a time or two. (Every situation is different). Let’s look at a quick example.

  • West Virginia SEO Services
  • SEO Services West Virginia
  • SEO Service WV
  • Logan WV SEO Services

 

We see different anchor text in this example, but we see the same root words. SEO, West Virginia, SEO Services. Natural or not, we see the same root words appearing. Most people think this is ok because the root keywords are different. From what I’m seeing, this can be viewed as being over-optimized. So what do you do?

  • West Virginia SEO
  • search engine optimization wv
  • online marketing
  • search marketing logan

 

The answer is diversify. Notice that the anchor text is all unique, root words are unique and it looks more natural. I see this being a growing trend. You have to be careful with your anchor text in 2017 or you’re going to be on the outside looking in. Go do some research, pull up some keywords from 11th place, 12th place. Check out their backlink profile and look at their anchors. Granted, there’s a lot more things that can cause you to be stuck on the second page of Google, but this is one of them.

Perhaps Google is just adding more value to this part of the SEO equation. I’m fine with that too, but we’re seeing more focus on anchor text and we already know Google pays a lot of attention to anchors anyway.

15. Video Is Blowing Up And Google Knows It

There’s no question that video plays a role in SEO. The question, how much?

Your videos need to be targeting the same keywords and appropriate variations. Make sure you’re including videos in your content. Now, that can depend on your content format or the SEO plan for any given page, but video is going to give you the upper edge for sure.

Live video plays a big role too, especially when you can get some awesome engagement on that video. Live video hasn’t been around that long, so I’m still running test and gathering data. I have seen live videos with great engagement benefit a content piece targeting specific keywords.

Then again, I’ve seen them not move the needle too. For marketing purposes alone, I’d highly suggest it and if you can get those videos in your content, more power to you.

SEO In 2018

SEO is always changing. My SEO ranking factors don’t come from others, they come from my own experiences and case studies. Some of you may know these all, others may not. I do suggest that you be different, try new things. Google doesn’t tell you everything and why would you believe them anyway?

Do your own case studies and document it. You’d be surprised at what works and what doesn’t. There’s thought to be over 200 ranking factors for SEO. I say much more because Google is complex. We only know a small percentage of what really counts.

I’m sure 2018 in SEO will bring new documented changes. I do wish us all high rankings. Of course, mine a little higher than yours.

Join the conversation. One of the things I enjoy about my job is meeting new people. So I welcome your thoughts, ideas, questions, suggestions. So I hope you’ll leave me a comment. Thanks for taking the time to read our article, I hope it has helped you and you can start applying these tactics to your own domain.

 

 

 

SEO Results – Complete SEO Services

Your business needs SEO, we can agree on that. There’s a number reasons why, but ultimately, the early investment pays off later as you’re receiving free web traffic from Google.

Every company wants SEO results. What you really need is complete SEO services and there’s a difference. My partners come to Hale Web Development for (2) main reasons, they either received no results or bad results.

Most of you have heard about SEO, also known as search engine optimization.

SEO definition, It’s the tactic and strategy used to help your business and website grow organic traffic, free traffic, Google traffic.

SEO is so popular, nearly everyone that does online marketing or development uses it as pitch, an extension of their services.

How many claim to be 1st in SEO, utilizing the best SEO tools on the market and delivering top tier SEO results.

SEO is used to rank keywords on top of Google. Dealing with converting traffic, organic traffic is the top converting traffic in most industries, even higher than paid advertisement. SEO is a strategy that every business should be using because it works.

I define complete SEO services as the following: SEO services that include CRO. SEO is used to drive organic traffic. That’s half of the work, you still need to convert that traffic. Remember, it takes most buyers 6-8 visits before they make a purchase.

That’s just one example why you need a complete SEO solution and not just SEO. You need the works, the whole SEO and CRO combination.

SEO Services

An expert SEO consultant is extremely valuable to a business. A SEO expert with (CRO) conversion rate optimization and online marketing is extremely valuable.

SEO services vary from one agency to the next. Cheap SEO services are often cheap for a reason. Some SEO agencies charge upward of $10,000 a month. These are often the SEO agencies that are getting results.

There’s a lot of people out there that label themselves as SEOs. Most of you have likely had a bad experience or two, over 80 percent of our clients had bad search engine optimization experiences.

You should never use SEO pricing as a way to determine the quality of work at hand.

I always practice what I preach and our results speak volume to our talents and abilities to help your business grow using search engine optimization.

SEO Results Growing Traffic And Sales

SEO Results (6 Month Case Study)

We have seen consistent SEO results with this client over the past 180 days. Competitive industry where 16 out of 30 keywords rank 70 percent competition or higher.

42 Percent Increase In Sales, 18 Percent Traffic Growth

This client has seen continuous growth from high targeted traffic over the last 6 months. The business is in a competitive industry with 16 out of 30 targeted keywords are ranked at 70 percent competition rating or higher. SEO traffic growth alone is up 18 percent over that span and now accounts for 50.3 percent of the company’s total traffic. On top of that, sales have increased 42 percent during that span, 63 percent year over year.

SEO Used To Stop Declining Traffic

This business had declining traffic when we were brought on. We stopped the traffic from falling and the business has seen consistent growth over that span.

26 Percent Increase In Sales, Stopped Company From Failing

This business was hurting when they came to us. Our SEO results show consistent growth when we took over the account. The business lost a lot of traffic and money at the end of 2014. We had to make a lot of changes due to bad SEO. It took 3 months of changes but once completed, the traffic took off. Using white hat SEO techniques only, the company is now mirroring the amount of traffic they had prior to falling organic traffic and rankings. Sales are up 26 percent and the company is back to expanding.

SEO Results Show Organic Traffic Growth

These SEO results reflect the results of growth in organic traffic and keyword rankings. 20 of 47 ranking keywords are 60 percent competition rating or higher.

455 Percent Growth In Sales, Traffic Up 68 Percent

This business came to us in July 2015 seeking SEO results. The company’s prior SEOs had failed. We started on this SEO project in July and the website had a low Domain Authority score of 14. Despite that, traffic surged after 30 days to levels the business had never seen. The company saw 68 percent growth in organic traffic, up from only 14 percent prior. More importantly, sales grew 455 percent! This SEO project was local, only targeting traffic from the state the business operates in. 20 of our ranking keywords were at 60 percent competition ratings or higher. In total, 9 ranking keywords were over 90.

Traffic Growth From SEO

In one of the most competitive industries online, we helped this company grow traffic and sales.

41 Percent Increase In Revenue

This business came to us after losing more then 72 percent of their online revenue. To makes things worse, the company operated in a highly competitive market online. Bad SEO and black hat tactics are to blame. We were able to get the bad links cleared up. And shortly after making changes, we started seeing growth spurts. But at the time, organic SEO traffic wasn’t consistent. It took a full month of work, over 80 SEO hours to see more growth and the consistent growth we like to see in the early stages. While we’ve only recovered around 41 percent of revenue, the company is well on their way to restoring revenue and seeing growth after.

High SEO Rankings On Google

Two things to look at on this screenshot is keyword competition ratings (in RED) and keyword rank to the right. These are very competitive keywords ranking high on Google.

945 Percent Growth In Traffic, 300 Percent Growth In Sales

SEO results for this client have been off the charts. Look the screenshot above, these are highly competitive keywords and we have them ranking very good. This clients has seen sales grow over 300 percent and traffic grow an impressive 945 percent! Very competitive keywords can rank high in Google, you just need a SEO company that can bring SEO results.

SEO Results From Complete SEO Development

I get asked all the time, Ricky, what’s complete SEO? Fair question since I used the terminology myself. What most SEOs offer is simply that SEO. In most cases, this is basic SEO. No where near what I call complete SEO. And on top of that, 9 out of 10 SEOs you cross are going to fail. Not good stats. The issue I’ve seen over the years is SEOs not relying on case studies and proven SEO techniques that work. You simply can’t grow a business online without complete SEO.

Complete SEO refers to using all known SEO techniques and their counterparts. We’re talking about strategies and techniques that work with SEO. We’re talking about social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, conversion optimization and so much more. You HAVE TO HAVE AN SEO EXPERT THAT CAN DO IT ALL. Without question. And if not, your business either fails or sees insufficient growth. Period.

What Are Search Engine Optimization Results To You?

Here’s the best question to ask. And I hope it changes your view on SEO forever because this is the truth. You need SEO results, right? What are SEO results? Think about it….

What was your answer? High ranking SEO keywords? What about highly targeted SEO traffic? For sure, someone guessed this. If you chose one of these two, you’re WRONG.

SEO results are NOT about high SEO keyword rankings or high traffic to your website. If this was the case, I’d be rich! No, SEO results are all about sales, revenue and profit. You can do everything in the world right, but if you fail to grow sales, revenue and profit, you’ll be out the door running or you’ll have a failing business.

Why You Need Complete SEO

See, SEO revolves around every tactic, techniques and strategy used to grow an online business. If you don’t know outreach, conversion tactics, landing page optimization, you’re going to be out of business. Bottom line, you need complete SEO and that’s the definition.

I’ve been fortunate enough to learn this very young into my SEO and Marketing career. See, you can’t have one without the other. SEO has evolved and new-age SEO is what works. I have the SEO results to back my claims. I’m not being self-centered because I can rank, grow and build revenue for any business. Rather, I feel bad for the small business owners that get crooked into unfaitful SEO services. If you’re a SEO, don’t be like this. Because if you’re are, you will fail.

Our reputation and my own, I hold this to the highest degree. My SEO results speak volume, but it’s my knowledge, experience and strategies (All White-Hat SEO) that gets me true SEO results, the results that build and grow a business.

If you’re ready to seriously grow your business and want REAL SEO results, we can help. Contact us today for a free evaluation and quote. Don’t pay out your hard earned money for SEO results that don’t matter and results that don’t bring in revenue. We can help with every area of your online marketing needs.

 

How Much Does Social Media Influence Play A Role In SEO And Keyword Rankings?

Social Media Working With SEO

SEO, Social Media Influence And How It All Works

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 10 years performing and consulting for SEO projects, it’s the fact that SEO ranking factors are always changing. While that’s so true, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’ve seen some SEO ranking metrics stand the test of time, such as backlinks and publishing high quality content. In the same breath, we’ve seen design, user metrics evolve to add more weight to your SEO value.

But what about social media influence? How much does social media influence play a role in SEO and keyword rankings? The truth may just surprise you. Is social media signals enough to take a 10th page SEO rank to the first page of Google? The answer is yes.

Social Media And SEO

Truckers Logic is a platform that delivers useful topics to truck drivers. Naturally, the keyword “deaf truck drivers” would be a term they wanted to rank for. While they did target the keyword, it was never higher than 6th-7th page. That changed when the article went viral for a few days.

Social Media Influence On SEO

Once the article caught fire on Facebook, it went straight to page one, position one. As you can see now, the page has over 7K Facebook signals. 2.4K when the page first appeared on the top spot of page one.

Facebook Is The Top Social Media Signal

While we see so many people say Google+ is the top social media signal, our case studies and experience tells us Facebook is. We’ve seen Google+ carry weight but off and on. Facebook remains consistent and most certainly the social signals you want to push to increase SEO rankings.

My team and I work on a variety of different SEO projects over the past year. From hands-on SEO strategies to search engine optimization consulting, we’ve worked at every end of the spectrum. I’ve seen social media influence peak and I’ve seen it fall. With our case study, it’s important to note that the domain had decent web metrics.

At the time, it had a 22DA. Over 23,000 backlinks. So we know that if website A has more backlinks and authority, social media influence is going to be higher. That’s probably more natural than influenced, but worth noting.

Social Media Marketing Success

Social Media Influence Heavily Among Top Ranking Factors

Going back to the information in that article, we find that 7 out of the top 10 SEO ranking factors were related to social media influence. 4 social media platforms that drive results are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. I believe LinkedIn will certainly be included in 2016. The company is taking a great approach that I feel Google likes. LinkedIn has become a publisher and you’re hearing it now, in 2016, LinkedIn will have something to say about that as they try to become part of the big 5.

But right now, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are the four social media platforms that play a role in your SEO efforts. Why is Google giving social media such an impact on SEO and organic results? I have a theory. I think it all relates to another major SEO ranking factor, “backlinks.” For years, backlinks have been a ranking factor for SEO. Not just a notch in the algorithm, we’re talking about a major contributor to how your website ranks in Google’s search engine results. Think about this, backlinks are often very questionable, they are no longer a trusted ranking factor due to spam and link building strategies. Does backlinks still have major SEO weight? Absolutely, but we’re seeing backlinks play less of a role in SEO and we’re seeing social media influence and social media signals reigning supreme over backlinks.

Why Trust Is Important To Google

There’s one major reason why social media influence is ranking above backlinks, “trust.” Social media influence is more authentic. If a webpage is being shared thousands of times, Google knows that the content is likely good. Before, Google would look at the backlinks to that domain. Now, social media signals can be enough to pull first page ranks in Google depending on the level of competition for the keywords associated to the page. But no matter what market you’re in or what type of niche you operate, social media signals is a strong ranking factor for your search engine optimization.

See, it’s much easier to get a backlink than to fake a social media share, like or tweet. Backlinks can be created on autopilot with the right software. But social media signals are often authentic and a much higher trust rating than backlinks. Authority backlinks are still important, so don’t get me wrong. Backlinks are still a strong ranking factor, but social media is pushing ahead because for the most part, Google can trust the data given.

Google Favors Social Media As A Ranking System

I thought carefully about this, but I feel confident that this is fair enough to say, Google favors social media as a ranking system. In SEO, we’re taught that backlinks were like a rating system. Popular content gets backlinks, these backlinks are like a positive vote for a website. Think about it, if you’re publishing content on your website, do you link to just anyone? Perhaps back a few years ago, but now? You don’t. Unless, you know the link you’re sending is going to a trusted website. Why? Well, if you link to bad websites, sites that Google view as spam, it can hurt your rankings. And this still holds true today, you can’t link to just anyone.

The subject of link building, we can go on and on for days. But we’ll leave that for another article. Now, SEO 2015, we’re seeing social media signals as votes of trust. Why? Because we just don’t share anything, unless we’re marketing for someone. We only share things we like, things we find an interest in, articles that we feel connected with. We’re not the only ones that know that, Google does too. And due to this, Google can measure a large percentage of the quality of any given webpage by social media metrics alone. This is due to the fact that Google views social media influence as a heavy weight SEO ranking factor.

Finding Success On Social Media

The Keys To Success On Social Media

For those of you that have played your hand in social media marketing,  you likely have some insight into how social marketing works or doesn’t work. And keep in mind, every social media platform is different, markets are different, there’s no one approach or solution to successfully making a webpage go viral. There’s a lot of strategy and techniques that go into the process of marketing on social media. But none the less, there’s a lot that is in your control and you can make your website successful on social media. And in return, you get that extra SEO benefit.

If you’re selling a product or service, you just can’t approach your social media platforms expecting people to buy. It doesn’t work. You have to build your social media platforms and following with real authentic users. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Let’s take Facebook for example. When you get on Facebook, are you looking to go shopping? While some of you may be thinking “or course I do,” the majority of people don’t visit Facebook to buy. Yet, Facebook is full of potential prospects in all markets, age groups, classes. The key is turning a non-buyer into a prospect, lead or sale.

Again, think about how you use Facebook. How many times have you been looking through your Facebook feed and see something that catches you eye, catches your attention? This is where we make our living. Your content has to be interesting enough to capture the attention. Once you have them, you can control where they go, send them to a offer, a product, or landing page. What ever it’s you do. But the hardest part is the first step, getting that click, gaining the attention of another.

What about emotions? We’re taught in marketing that emotions do play a role in the buying process. Those who promote on social media successfully knows this. So in the end, there’s a lot of different ways that you can see success in your social media marketing efforts. Companies have seen great results with polls, free giveaways, engaging content and other techniques. The key is finding what works. And in turn with SEO, you want to make sure you use your hashtags. You should be using the same keywords you want to rank for in your hashtags.

Social Media Influence And Signals Matter

If you don’t have social media sharing buttons on your website, the time is now to add them. This is going to give customers the opportunity to share your content. If you’re on WordPress, there’s a ton of great social media plugins that can give you these features. Make sure you make a genuine effort on all of your social media accounts.

If you’re an active reader to my blog or have read other articles onsite, you may have read me talking about one of the biggest mistakes I made in social media marketing. I failed to make real connections to others. I failed big when I first started my career in SEO and Web Development years ago. Connecting with authority social accounts and influencers is very important. Building last-longing relationships is important to anyone trying to grow and develop a name or brand.

 

SEO Is Only One Piece Of The Puzzle

For those that truly don’t understand SEO, search engine optimization alone will not get you where you need to be. Can you see good results from our SEO efforts? Sure. However, it takes a total effort of all online development phases to see a high level of success online. Working both SEO and SMM is a good start to achieving maximum results. Social media and SEO work together, and the better you understand that relationship, the better off you’ll be.

Learn how to grow your online business, learn all the different strategies and techniques that can be applied to your development plans. If you’ve struggled online with your SEO rankings, this may be the reason why. Those who are achieve the highest level of success online are the companies that have the complete package, working SEO, SEM, SMM, SMO, PPC, online marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, email marketing and all the other strategies that can be used to grow an online business. When you

If you want to see the best results in terms of both SEO and social media, the two have to work together. It doesn’t matter if you want to choose one or the other, you now need them both. And as we’re quickly approaching 2016, don’t be surprised if social media influence, signals and engagement have more value as a SEO rank factor. I just can’t see why anyone would not want the added value of SEO and SMM working together.

Don’t Forget Your Social Media Tools

Lastly, it’s so important that you respond to your engagement. Look for genuine conversations. Try to answer questions in a reasonable time. Treat your social media as a form of your customer service. You ALWAYS want to keep customers happy, so do make that effort.

There’s a lot of great tools out there to help you with your social media marketing. I’m not referring to a tool to help you post, but rather a tool or SMM software that allows you to know engagement, social signals, social media mentions and so on. This is for those of you that want to make a serious effort on social media. Take the time to do your research and find the needed tools and software within your budget. You won’t regret it.

 

Google SEO Ranking Factors For 2015

 

Google SEO Ranking Factors

Every webmaster wants to know Google SEO ranking factors, more then anything. Every SEO has a need to know SEO ranking factors, although many of us will tell you we know. The truth of the matter, only Google knows and this billion dollar answer will likely ever be leaked. Thanks to the efforts of SearchMetrics and their credible research, we do have a great idea of all the SEO ranking factors that matter the most. SearchMetrics released their 2014 Google SEO Ranking Factors Report in September 2014. Based on their own results and our own studies over the last few weeks, we’re proud to release our first Google SEO Ranking Factors for 2015.

Official SearchMetrics SEO Ranking Report

Content Is Still A Leading SEO Ranking Factor

Every new SEO ranking factors report always has “content” near the top of the heap. All of us have heard the term “Content is King.” We feel that content is more important then ever. High quality content is more valuable then ever and the length of that content is also important. One element that continues to grow is relative content.

Content SEO Ranking Factors

  • Sitespeed *0.11
  • Keyword Position in Title (Characters) *0.10
  • Length of URL *0.10
  • Keyword Position in Title (Word) *0.10
  • H2 (Sub-Title) *0.07
  • H1 (Sub-Title) *0.05
  • Description *0.05
  • Video Integration *0.05
  • Keyword in Title *0.02
  • Keyword in Description *0.01
  • URL is no Subdomain *0.00
  • Keyword in URL *-0.01
  • Flash *-0.02
  • Keyword in Domain *-0.02

Social Media SEO Ranking Factors

Social media and social signals continue to become more of a SEO ranking factor. While we didn’t see much growth in this sector, moving forward we believe social media will continue to become more of a dominant SEO ranking factor. And for those that know, Google+ is the leading social media SEO ranking factor, followed by Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

As social media growth continues and Google counts social signals as trusted votes for all domains, we’ll continue to see the importance of social platforms continuing. We don’t expect social media growth to falter anytime soon.

Social Signal SEO Ranking Factors

  • Google+ *0.33
  • Facebook Shares *0.28
  • Facebook Totals *0.28
  • Facebook Comments *0.27
  • Pinterest *0.27
  • Facebook Likes *0.25
  • Twitter Tweets *0.24

Link SEO Ranking Factors

Links have been a relatively long-time ranking factor for SEO and expect no different in 2015. We did see that quality backlinks are important and the total quantity of links are still an important SEO factor. However, links with exact-match keywords are becoming less of a ranking factor.

When another website links to your website, Google views this as a trust ranking factor. You can view it as if it is a vote for your website. This is why you should only link to authority websites, websites that you trust. Backlinks are always going to be important, that is likely to change anytime soon.

Link Ranking Factors

  • Total Backlinks *0.31
  • SEO Visibility of Backlinking URL *0.26
  • Percentage of Backlinks rel=nofollow *0.23
  • New Backlinks *0.20
  • Backlinks from New Domains *0.20
  • Percentage of Backlinks with Keyword *0.17
  • Percentage of Backlinks with Anchor=domain.tld *0.16
  • Percentage of Backlinks with Stopword *0.16
  • Word Count in Anchor Text *0.11
  • Percentage of Backlinks from same Country *0.07

On-Page SEO Ranking Factors

Every webmaster should start in this area, there’s a number of ranking factors that are of importance on-site. Relevant internal links and external links in your text are both important. Site speed is becoming more of a top ranking factor for on-site SEO. Titles, sub-titles, body text, H1 and H2 are all important. Site navigation and site architecture as well.

On-Page Ranking Factors

  • Relevant Terms *0.34
  • Proof Terms *0.21
  • Number of Internal Links *0.16
  • Keywords in Body *0.15
  • HTML Length *0.14
  • Text Character Length *0.13
  • Word Count *0.13
  • Keywords in External Links *0.11
  • Sentence Count *0.10
  • Keywords in Internal Links *0.10
  • Number of External Links *0.08
  • Image Count *0.07
  • Keyword in H2 *0.02
  • Flesch Readability *0.00
  • Title Character Length *-0.01
  • Flash *-0.02
  • AdSense Blocks *-0.03
  • Keyword in H1 *-0.03
  • Adlinks *-0.03
  • AdSense *-0.03
  • Adlinks without AdSense *-0.03
  • TF IDF *-0.06

 User Signal SEO Ranking Factors

We’re seeing user signals and experience more relevant then ever. Three areas that you need to focus on moving forward is (CTR) Click-Through Rate, Bounce Rate and Time On Site. You don’t need fancy software to track a majority of these three areas, Google Analytics should be enough of a tool to set a foundation.

All three of these areas are important, as well as user experience. If your website struggles in these areas, you need to think about;

  • What type of traffic you’re targeting
  • What type of keywords are being targeted
  • Which keywords are bring traffic in to the website
  • Pagespeed, 404s and errors
  • Site Navigation

All Google SEO Ranking Factors

  • Relevant Terms *0.34
  • Google+ *0.33
  • Total Backlinks *0.31
  • Facebook Shares *0.28
  • Facebook Totals *0.28
  • Facebook Comments *0.27
  • Pinterest *0.27
  • SEO Visibility of Backlinking URL *0.26
  • Facebook Likes *0.25
  • Twitter Tweets *0.24
  • Percentage of Backlinks rel=nofollow *0.23
  • Proof Terms *0.21
  • New Backlinks *0.20
  • Backlinks from New Domains *0.20
  • Percentage of Backlinks with Keyword *0.17
  • Percentage of Backlinks with Anchor=domain.tld *0.16
  • Percentage of Backlinks with Stopword *0.16
  • Number of Internal Links *0.16
  • Keywords in Body *0.15
  • HTML Length *0.14
  • Text Character Length *0.13
  • Word Count *0.13
  • Keywords in External Links *0.11
  • Sitespeed *0.11
  • Keywords in External Links *0.11
  • Sentence Count *0.10
  • Keywords in Internal Links *0.10
  • Keyword Position in Title (Characters) *0.10
  • Length of URL *0.10
  • Keyword Position in Title (Word) *0.10
  • Number of External Links *0.08
  • H2 (Sub-Title) *0.7
  • Percentage of Backlinks from same Country *0.07
  • Image Count *0.07
  • H1 (Sub-Title) *0.05
  • Description *0.05
  • Video Integration *0.05
  • Keyword in Title *0.02
  • Keyword in H2 *0.02
  • Keyword in Description *0.01
  • Keyword in Description *0.01
  • Flesch Readability *0.00
  • URL is no Subdomain *0.00
  • Title Character Length *-0.01
  • Keyword in URL *-0.01
  • Keyword in Domain *-0.02
  • AdSense Blocks *-0.03
  • Keyword in H1 *-0.03
  • Adlinks *-0.03
  • AdSense *-0.03
  • Adlinks without AdSense *-0.03
  • TF IDF *-0.06

 

Credit Source: SearchMetrics