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SEO Ranking Factors


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SEO Ranking Factors

  1. 1. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010
  2. 2. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Who Am I? My name is Craig Parker, I work for the Soula Digital Marketing Agency, a related company to MoreNiche <ul><li>I have worked in Search Marketing for 5 Years </li></ul><ul><li>I have a degree in Psychology & Sociology and studied a huge range of advertising and social computing topics inside my course including virtual/material culture and IT advertising. </li></ul><ul><li>I manage a small SEM team who work on a massive range of sites from weight loss to groceries to property, in the past I have worked in personal and retail fields </li></ul><ul><li>You can get in touch with me on Twitter with @craiglparker </li></ul>
  3. 3. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 What are We Going to Look at? This short presentation will cover what my team and I feel are the most important search engine ranking factors in 2010 and how to effectively change your site for the better. We will examine; <ul><li>What is a ‘Ranking Factor’? </li></ul><ul><li>Old ranking factors and which ones still apply </li></ul><ul><li>New ranking factors and what they mean </li></ul><ul><li>A few recommended tools and resources </li></ul>
  4. 4. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 What is a Ranking Factor? Ranking Factor is a catch all term used to described potential attributes of the Google (or any search engine) Algorithm. There are some basics facts about Ranking Factors you may or may not already know; <ul><li>Google claims to use over 200 different Ranking Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Not all Factors are equal </li></ul><ul><li>No one person knows all the Ranking Factors, not even the Google Engineers! </li></ul><ul><li>They are always in flux, being tweaked, augmented and replaced </li></ul><ul><li>Most SEO’s agree what most rankings factors are but disagree with which ones carry more weight </li></ul>
  5. 5. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Established Factors Many basic ranking factors you are already familiar with, they are the SEO bread and butter you have heard about 100x before however you should never take things for granted in the world of SEO. Here’s some basic ranking factors you will have heard of; <ul><li>Domains </li></ul><ul><li>Page Speed </li></ul><ul><li>Link Count </li></ul><ul><li>PR or PageRank (or even Toolbar PageRank) </li></ul><ul><li>Titles </li></ul><ul><li>H tags </li></ul><ul><li>Meta Tags </li></ul><ul><li>Alt attribute </li></ul>We’re going to take a closer look at these and more attributes and highlight which ones are still relevant and why as well as which ones are becoming obsolete.
  6. 6. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Understanding Consistency & Relevance While analysing the different ranking factors you will hear me reference consistency and relevance a lot. Consistency is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked aspects of SEO. On a basic level maintaining SEO consistency and relevance means accurate keyword research applied in a systematic way to the site with easily connecting themes and expected content. It also means keeping your entire site at one quality level, whatever level that may be. Consistency is about more than your site though. It is about the links you gain and your competition as well as the standards you set for adhering to on your own site. Users like consistency too. Consistency does, without a doubt affect rankings but it is not a ranking factor itself, more the thread that ties them together. Consistency also has a part in branding which for larger site SEO is extremely important. Use keyword tools like the Wonder Wheel, Google Insights and Wordtracker to connect subjects on your site and find related keywords.
  7. 7. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 What Consistency Isn’t <ul><li>Copy and Pasting header data or tags between pages </li></ul><ul><li>Using the same keyword every time </li></ul><ul><li>Copying someone elses website word for word </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding thinking of new ideas for your site </li></ul><ul><li>Making every one of your sites the same </li></ul><ul><li>Making 1000’s internal or external links with the same anchor </li></ul>
  8. 8. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Domains & TLDs Strong Importance <ul><li>Aim for shorter domains without hypens </li></ul><ul><li>Better to go for than </li></ul><ul><li>No domain will give you automatic good rankings, they just help </li></ul><ul><li>Domain history is very important, always check before buying </li></ul><ul><li>TLDs are also very important </li></ul><ul><li>Use local TLDs for regional targeting boost but remember this works for and against you! </li></ul><ul><li>Google says that no other TLD gets auto boosts or penalties </li></ul><ul><li>Remember you domain ties storngly into website theme try to keep it on topic </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used to gain anchor text for url links </li></ul>Keyword rich domains are still a strong ranking signal, but they can effect you both ways
  9. 9. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 URLs Medium Importance <ul><li>Used to be slightly more important than it is today </li></ul><ul><li>Be consistent! Choose either or but don’t flit between them </li></ul><ul><li>Generally keep URLs short (3 words or less) after the TLD </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can break this for specific long tail targeting, especially with CMS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ensure you manage dynamic URLs correctly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Webmaster Tools “Ignore” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Htaccess where needed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use WMT to ensure they are being indexed. </li></ul>URLs and Domains are not the same thing, always remember this!
  10. 10. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Title Data Strong Importance <ul><li>Still a very important factor, especially when paired with others such as domain </li></ul><ul><li>New evidence suggests the earlier in a title a keyword is the more influential it is </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re including brand or boiler plate text do it at the end </li></ul><ul><li>You title should appeal to users, remember it’s your CTA in the SERPs </li></ul><ul><li>Keep them below 60 characters even if Google expand indexing to more </li></ul><ul><li>Home page title is most important weapon, choose it carefully and pick dual use keywords, symbols are OK but don’t over-use </li></ul>The ever important title tag, keep it short and to the point but remember your CTR’s
  11. 11. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Meta Tags Medium Importance <ul><li>Remember consistency and keyword themes! </li></ul><ul><li>Meta description should be around 100 characters and completely unique, use WMT to weed out short/long/duplicate entries. </li></ul><ul><li>Meta description very important for CTR, not so important for ranking (in Google) </li></ul><ul><li>Include keyword themes from the page but keep keyword tag short </li></ul><ul><li>Caffeine update likes storing extra information so we may find meta tags become more useful in the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Rich snippets have a lot to offer in the future, look into it </li></ul>Historically important, recently used a lot less but may be picked back up in the future.
  12. 12. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Images & SEO Medium Importance <ul><li>Always fill in the Alt. Attribute (it’s not a tag!), keep it as short as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember consistency and keyword themes when choosing alt text! </li></ul><ul><li>Surround images with consistent themed copy. </li></ul><ul><li>Image file name has a small effect, just keep descriptive </li></ul><ul><li>The title attribute is for accessibility not SEO </li></ul>Alt text can effect main rankings and image SEO can bring in valuable traffic
  13. 13. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 H Tags Medium Importance <ul><li>Still worth using the first 2-3 levels of H tag as long as you do the correct hierarchical design </li></ul><ul><li>Remember consistency, relevance and keyword themes! </li></ul><ul><li>Keep short and focused </li></ul><ul><li>No need to pursue 6 levels of H tag, just be natural </li></ul><ul><li>All H tags remain useful for page structure, especially with advent of HTML5 </li></ul>A recent hot topic H tags were historically a strong factor but more recently have been thrown into doubt
  14. 14. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Keyword Density Medium-High Importance <ul><li>There is no such thing as the perfect page length or keyword density </li></ul><ul><li>Remember consistency and keyword themes! </li></ul><ul><li>Copy is your most effective conversion tool, remember to cater for conversion as well as SEO (although never instead of) </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrate on your page’s general keyword density not the density of one keyword or phrase. </li></ul><ul><li>Strongly links with image SEO and be time consuming to perfect </li></ul>A much disputed ranking factor that does make a difference but there is no magic answer
  15. 15. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 PageRank Low Importance <ul><li>Short answer is PageRank is nowhere near as important as it used to be </li></ul><ul><li>PageRank 0 sites rank 1 st ALL THE TIME you don’t need PR6+ to rank high </li></ul><ul><li>Link buying killed PageRank like stuffing killed meta tags this is why Google can’t rely on the metric anymore. </li></ul><ul><li>Still has a value but it is more about over quality of a site, most valuable for link prospects </li></ul><ul><li>PageRank comes and goes a lot quicker these days, don’t worry if you lose a little. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t try and manipulate internal PR </li></ul>One of the most important ranking signals of yesterday has little relevance in modern SEO
  16. 16. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Page Speed Low Importance <ul><li>The quicker the better but is not used as a factor in all queries </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be used on larger, established sites </li></ul><ul><li>Use GZIP via htaccess to compress Page, CSS and JS </li></ul><ul><li>Keep scripts minimal (including plugins on WP) </li></ul><ul><li>Keep code clean where possible. </li></ul>A low importance signal that may grow in strength as time goes on
  17. 17. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Internal Links Medium Importance <ul><li>Remember first link counts internally too, try to focus early nav links with relevant anchor text or position nav down page with CSS. </li></ul><ul><li>Use articles, blogs and other content features to link out to relevant resources on your site. </li></ul><ul><li>Think back to consistency, keep a consistent amount of internal links in content and ensure you link from a range of related keywords. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep scripts minimal (including plug-ins on WP) </li></ul><ul><li>Keep code clean where possible. </li></ul>Internal links are still an important ranking factor but ensure you don’t misuse them or try and manipulate internal PR
  18. 18. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 External Links Strong Importance <ul><li>Remember first link counts, always link to a variety of pages with a variety of anchor text from one theme. </li></ul><ul><li>This means 20 links to your homepage from another page are not worth much at all </li></ul><ul><li>As the links go down the page they pass less “juice” </li></ul><ul><li>Home page is most important but deep pages need love too </li></ul><ul><li>Keep link growth consistent with site growth and site history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use Majestic SEO to monitor this </li></ul></ul>External link building is still an important factor, quality and relevance still outweigh quantity.
  19. 19. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 External Links (cont.) Strong Importance <ul><li>Be careful with paid linking, this is become more and more risky </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try more friendly approaches to authority link building like Guest Posting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google spiders written URLs too, worth remembering. </li></ul><ul><li>Gaining a range of links from different domains is as important as link count in general </li></ul><ul><li>Use search operators to find highly relevant directories and article directories and even social networking sites </li></ul>External link building is still an important factor, quality and relevance still outweigh quantity.
  20. 20. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Freshness & Authority Strong Importance <ul><li>Authority is the reach and power of your site, usually boosted by being tied to famous brands from both the on and offline world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It often tied into relevance to keyword field </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Freshness is about how new or “fresh” your site information is, Google doesn't want to server out of data info to users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Especially important now caffeine is live </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relates to QDF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration of Jazz interface and real time search results </li></ul></ul>Freshness and Authority are two more qualitative site metrics that interact with other ranking factors
  21. 21. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Tools I Recommend <ul><li>Webmaster Tools – Simple but reliable, Google’s is still the best </li></ul><ul><li>Bing - </li></ul><ul><li>Google - </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo - </li></ul><ul><li>Google Analytics – Best free tracking software available but be sure to use asynchronous tracking code. It doesn’t harm rankings but can slow site down. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Majestic SEO – Great free links analysis, cumulative graphs and history are especially useful </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  22. 22. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Tools I Recommend GZIP Tester – Find out if you enabled GZIP Correctly Google Insights – Find search volume patterns and related keyword information Google Rich Snippets Testing – If your site can use them, test it here XML Sitemaps – Best sitemap script and even generates small ones for free
  23. 23. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Tools I Recommend Header Status Checker – Make sure your redirects and 404 pages are working correctly! Search Based Keyword Tool – More Volume focused keyword research Wonder Wheel – Find Google’s opinion on related topics for your sites and new content ideas
  24. 24. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Other Resources SEO Htaccess Template – Here is an annotated template htaccess file, remove # to remove comment status and activate sections and remember to replace etc with your own domains. You still need to know what you’re doing though! - A great SEO Blog with reliable information on almost every aspect of SEM – Often simple but great for keeping on top of frequent changes or when big shifts happen, always watch the whiteboard videos - Official Google WM blog, always keep on top of news. - Great for general industry news
  25. 25. Search Engine Ranking Factors 2010 Any Questions?