There is always a lot of talk about how SEO is changing all the time and to a degree this is true. It is however more about the change in quantity of each part of the ‘SEO Recipe’ than the addition of new factors. However saying that, new factors do arise and in 2015 three have been added to the list of factors that affect the rankings of a site, these being ‘Vertical Search’, ‘Direct Answers’ and ‘HTTPS’.
Positive SEO Factors
The changes in the recipe are reflected by ‘movements, both positive and negative’ in the amount that each item is likely to affect any rankings. There is no doubt some truth to much of this, but the fact of the matter is that Google only uses any of its own rules as a guide to how it will rate a site, and often seems to list sites that, based on the rules that we know simply do not deserve that high page ranking.
It must also be said that the experiments / research that have led to the publication of the data and table below cannot be said to be totally scientific, for the simple reason that there are too many variables influencing the rankings gained. However, saying all this, the data is useful and for my part seems to be following the path / trend of Semantic SEO.
Quality Content is Good for SEO
The first indication that this is the case comes in the very first part of the SEO Periodic Table, the ‘Cq’ (for Quality of the Content’) being give an +3 factor, the ‘symbol’ below, for Research into the Keywords that you want to rank for, also being given a +3. The latter I feel really relates to the fact that this research leads on to the inclusion of the ‘right’ words on a page, words that are relevant to the search term targeted AND ones that Google ‘expects to see’.
The latter point is an interesting by the way, as it is all about the ‘Reverse Engineering’ of web pages. The process is simple enough. You decide upon the target phrase, then discover the top sites on Google for that phrase and what words are found on the majority. It stands to reason then, that using the same words (as far as is possible and looks right) on a page on a site will increase the possibility of that page being ranked for the target phrase.
This is all music to the copy writers ears, as now, besides the target words, they are also provided with a list of words to use as well as an indication to which are the most important.
However, to get back to the SEO table, we can see the words on the pages actually has its own symbol, the with a +2.
Other factors are ‘old’ ones, but with their ‘power’ updated to take into account how much they appear to affect rankings today in 2015. One that is especially interesting is the ‘Hd’ symbol (for Meta Description). This is indeed a factor that has been around for many years now, but today, it has another way of altering the rankings of its page.
This change stems from the ‘SEO Feedback Loop’ that Google is now suspected of running. Here the CTR (Click Through Rate) % of all the links on a Google SERPS result are checked, the idea being that if a page is listed but only gets a low CTR there must be something wrong with the way it is listed and this of course is the owners fault.
The owner can of course monitor low CTR by checking on Webmaster Tools (Now Google Search Console) and then make some changes (to the Meta Description) in order to boost the CTR. However, if they don’t and the pages CTR continues to be low, the page may lose it’s SERP’s listing (or at least be demoted), thus the need to make sure it is right becomes obvious and why the power of the Meta Description has been increased.
Mobile Friendly Sites
Another change is that of the symbol ‘Am’ for mobile. This has increased by 2 points as well, and of course refers to the need for all sites to be Mobile Friendly.
On the other hand, we have those factors that have a Negative effect on rankings, all the old favourites like ‘paid links’ (Vp) , Keyword Stuffing (Vs) and Spammy links (VI) being present.
As I say, it is the quantity of each component of recipe that changes, not the (for the most part at least) the actual components.
The article (and table) is a good read though and I’d recommend it, and thank the hardworking staff at SearchEngineLand for it too.
The latest version of Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors is now out. This is the third edition since we first launched our search engine optimization framework in 2011. Below, a rundown of what’s new and changed, as well as a reintroduction to the table.
The Table’s Goal & Philosophy
Our goal with the Periodic Table Of SEO is to help publishers focus on the fundamentals needed to achieve success with search engine optimization. This means it’s not about trying to list all 200 Google ranking factors or detail Google’s 10,000 subfactors. It’s not about trying to advise if keywords you want to rank for should go at the beginning of an HTML title tag or the end. It’s not about whether or not Facebook Likes are counted for ranking boosts.
Instead, the table is designed to broadly guide those new to or experienced with SEO into general areas of importance. Title tags are generally important. Think about making sure they’re descriptive. Social sharing is often generally seen as good for SEO. Aim for social shares, without worrying about the specific network.
If you want to understand more about the philosophy of the table, read our posts from when the table debuted in 2011 and when it was updated in 2013.
What The SEO Table Covers
There are two major classes of factors:
On-The-Page: factors that are largely within the control of publishers
Off-The-Page: factors are influenced often by others or not directly tied to a publisher’s site
Within these two classes are seven categories of factors, which are:
Content – factors relating to the content and quality of your material
Architecture – factors about your overall site functionality
HTML – factors specific to web pages
Trust – factors related to how trustworthy & authoritative a site seems to be
Links – factors related to how links impact rankings
Personal – factors about how personalized search results influence rankings
Social – factors on how social recommendations impact rankings
Overall, there are 37 individual factors, which range from making use of descriptive HTML title tags to whether a site has success with visitor engagement. Here’s a close-up of the table, focusing on just the factors: