Top 5 Search Ranking Factors and How to Improve Them

Cracking search engine algorithms is both the holy grail and the windmill chase of search engine optimization. These algorithms are fiercely guarded secrets that constantly evolve. Just when absolute clarity seems within reach, the search for answers begins anew. That said, we’re far from clueless about how these algorithms work.

Cracking search engine ranking algorithms is both the holy grail and the windmill chase of search engine optimization. If the algorithms behind Google, Bing and other search providers were revealed, then optimizing any website for a top page ranking would be easy. But these algorithms are fiercely guarded secrets that constantly evolve. Just when absolute clarity seems within reach, the search for answers begins anew.

That said, we’re far from clueless about how these algorithms work. In 2015, the marketing company Moz conducted a survey to find the most important factors in search engine rankings. More than 150 search marketers contributed, offering opinions on more than 90 possible ranking factors. Moz also partnered with other data companies to examine correlations between websites and webpages with higher search positions.

The survey’s findings don’t tell us exactly how search engines work, but they definitely shed light on key elements of SEO. Here we’ll review the survey’s top five search ranking factors and how you can improve these factors on your website.

1. Domain-Level Link Features

Domain-level link features encompass the quantity and quality of links to your website that help to establish its authority in your field of expertise. The more inbound links you have from other quality sources, the more your site is viewed as a trusted authority that’s worthy of a higher page rank.

Building a network of links to your website has always been a critical element of SEO. It’s not difficult, but it takes time. Start by asking customers and business partners to link to your site from their websites, blogs and social media pages. You can also start a blog yourself; eventually, your interesting and helpful content is likely to be shared. In addition to registering your site with Yelp and other business directories, you can also leave comments on relevant forums or do something special to get noticed by the local media. All of these things can help you earn links that can boost how your website is perceived by search engines.

2. Page-Level Link Features

Page-level link features are the same as domain-level link features, only this references the volume and quality of links that point to specific pages of your website. You can improve this factor just as you would with domain-level link features, by slowly building up a network of inbound links from other reputable sites.

One page-specific link feature to keep in mind is the phrase used in the hyperlinks, also known as anchor text. When possible, hyperlink a few important keywords on your webpage to relevant pages deeper within your site, which helps to establish authority for those keywords. Don’t hyperlink more than a few keywords, though, because that’s a red flag for Google that you’re gaming the algorithms and it could result in a penalty.

3. Page-Level Keyword & Content-Based Features

From the search engine algorithm’s perspective, the nuts and bolts of your content is slightly more important than the content itself. Yes, you want each of your webpages to be unique and compelling, but you also want each page to be properly optimized. The most important keywords for each webpage should echo through your content, headers, images and meta tags. Otherwise, the search algorithms may deem your pages as poor sources of information.

Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Blogging to Generate Leads

Blogging to generate leads can feel overwhelming. We’re being bombarded with “must dos” from content marketing experts who make it seem effortless. What’s their trick? It’s a practical, refreshing approach to blogging. Here are three pitfalls to avoid and a proven system to create leads. Let’s start with busting a popular myth: Blogging to generate leads demands LOTS of blog content.

Blogging to generate leads can feel overwhelming. We’re being bombarded with “must dos” from content marketing experts who make it seem effortless. What’s their trick? It’s a practical, refreshing approach to blogging. Here are three pitfalls to avoid and a proven system to create leads.

Let’s start with busting a popular myth: Blogging to generate leads demands LOTS of blog content.

No. 1: Writing Frequently at the Cost of Proper Form
Yes, we need to blog frequently and “have a rhythm.” However, the pressure to crank out a tons of blog posts causes problems. In the rush to “just do it” we often forget effective blogging fundamentals. We forget to:

  • start with customers pains, goals, fears, ambitions or cravings and
  • structure blog posts to teach, guide or answer in ways that
  • creates hunger for more of what we have to offer (a lead generation offer).

Beware: Investing too much time and energy in writing frequently can torpedo you. Tired of the stress of wondering, “Am I blogging enough?” Give up the habit!

Focus on following the structure outlined above. Form the habit. Start putting this process to work for you.

No. 2: Losing Visibility by Forgetting Google Authorship
In its effort to clean up the Web, Google launched Authorship. The essence of becoming a recognized Author with Google is all about one thing:

Giving authors of high quality blog articles (you) more exposure.

Here’s how. Google gives maximum attention to registered Authors by including a photo next to ALL blog posts appearing in its index. This grabs eyes. This beats out competing writers who aren’t Authors.

This drives more leads to your page!

You’re losing visibility if you’re not aligned with Google via Authorship.

No. 3: Investing Too Much Time Writing ‘Epic Content’
For a long while, I invested time writing blog posts that convert leads really well. Every single post I made “counted.” However, Google would only rank them on page 1 sometimes.

This wasted my time. I was literally writing great articles that nobody would ever read. Ouch.

Even more frustrating, sometimes Google does rank our articles—yet nobody clicks. Ugh!

So here’s the fix: Invest time in getting ranked on page 1 or 2 first. THEN, monitor for visitor traffic … and THEN tweak to optimize lead generation from your post.

I don’t recommend writing total crap. However, take the pressure off. Write, first, for search engine ranking. Use an effective blog post writing template (that generates leads) but don’t over-invest your precious time.

Here’s how to get into the habit. For example, let’s assume you:

  • completed keyword research—you know what customer pain, fear or goal you’ll address in your post;
  • understand and practice the 3-step system summarized in No.1 above; and
  • know how to make an effective call to action and are ready to earn leads.

You know how to get prospects to your site and what to do with them once there. You’re armed and dangerous. You can earn attention with magnetic headlines, get prospects to read and act on your post.

This blogging system is quality-intensive. But it can be a trap!

It’s very easy to over-invest time in a post that nobody will ever read. So write to get found in search engines first. Be diligent about structure (for search engine and human discovery). However, don’t over-do it. Wait.

Protect your time investment. First, write to be discovered. Don’t neglect proper form but don’t over-invest in polishing … optimizing it for peak lead generation performance. Good luck!