I remember being awestruck back in 2013 by Brian Dean’s list of more than 200 Google ranking factors.
My first thought was, “Wow! Think of the work and research that went into this!” followed by, “This will be so useful!” and finally, “Oh god, there aren’t enough hours in the day for all of this.”
Fortunately, not all ranking factors are created equal — you can maximize your SEO efforts by focusing on a few specific ranking factors.
Of course, Google’s algorithm is always changing, and we can’t rely on yesterday’s ranking factors as we step into 2017.
These top four ranking factors are based on the most recent studies by SearchMetrics, Backlinko, and my colleagues at SEO PowerSuite.
Read on to discover how to optimize your site for today’s important signals.
Content is one of the most important Google ranking factors, according to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google.
This shouldn’t be news — content has been an important ranking factor for a while — but in recent years, we’ve seen a shift away from keyword-focused content towards more relevant content written in natural language.
Expect to see more of that as 2017 unfolds.
In fact, the SearchMetrics study cited above found that just 53% of the top 20 queries have keywords in their title tag, and less than 40% of landing pages have keywords in their H1.
This number is dropping year-over-year, which “clearly demonstrates that Google evaluates content according to its relevance—and not by the inclusion of individual keywords.”
So what exactly does “relevant” content look like? The short answer is: comprehensive.
Consider the top result when you Google “Golden Retriever”: