Now in its third edition, Search Engine Land's Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, remains one of my favourite resources and tools to explain the various factors of search engine optimisation. The 'infographic' view coupled with the distinct sections makes it easy to understand and follow.
Search engine optimisation is an important aspect of inbound marketing, most especially in attracting traffic to your site. When applied correctly - and consistently - SEO can raise your site's visibility in search engine results. This in turn can lead to more traffic. And more traffic means more opportunity to convert leads and make sales. So let's have a look!
Search Engine Land’s periodic table highlights the 37 primary factors (and the relative weighting of each) that have a direct impact on success in search engine results. They are categorised into the 2 'sides' of search engine optimisation, namely on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO factors include those that you have - for the most part - direct control over. Off-page factors, on the other hand, are a bit trickier to manage. Let's have a look at each in more detail.
On-Page Factors Impacting SEO Success
Gain favour with the search engines by regularly creating high quality content that's topical, engaging and optimised for the keywords and terms your audience use to find your product, service or solution.
The 2015 update also includes a push to include vertical content, such as images and videos, as well as content created to answer direct questions people are asking.
Your site's architecture should ensure that search engine spiders can easily access and crawl your site. It's best to avoid large images, files or code that slows your site speed down.
Apply user-friendly URL structure and make sure the words used are relevant to the page topic.
Good structure: www.sitename.co.uk/topic/keyword
Poor structure: www.sitename.co.uk/category?1/pageid&=45
You also want to take care with how your site deals with duplicate content, which is a particularly troublesome issue for ecommerce or 'catalogue' type sites, where searches and pagination can create problems if not handled correctly.
Mobile-friendliness has increased in weighting (as a result of Google’s mobile search algorithm change earlier this year) and while not a heavily weighted factor, we note that a secure site (https) now features as a SEO success factor.
Add keywords to your page title, meta description and include them in your heading tags, especially H1, to increase your chances of ranking well. Structure of HTML has seen a bump up in terms of importance, reminding us to apply schema tags to our content for quick referencing and accurate indexing.
Negative On-Page Factors:
The most serious violations of on-page SEO cloaking, meaning that you show users something different to what the search engine spiders 'see' in the code. You also want to avoid thin content, void of substance and relevance, or excessive use of keywords as these have a negative impact on search engine success.
Off-Page Factors to Consider for SEO Success
Your site's authority is built up by the the number and quality of the links and shares it recieves as well as the age and consistency of the domain. Although not a heavily weighted factor, a site that takes steps to verify its identity and that of its authors will be trusted more than one that doesn't.
A new factor included this year, with a relatively high weighting, is the level of engagement your site receives. Search engines look at the bounce rate of your site to determine whether visitors are leaving instantly or moving beyond first-page interactions. Apply good design and content practices to keep visitors engaged and drive deeper and longer page visits.
The number of links to your page from external sources play a role in SEO success, but the quality of links and the anchor text being used to hyperlink to your page are far more important than the actual quanity. 1 quality inbound link from an authoritative source, with your page's keywords used as linking text is still more valuable than 100 'click here' links from mediocre sites.
Personal factors take into account the demographics and behaviour of your site's visitors. Where they are located geographically can give an indication of how well you're optimising for local search enquiries.
Their historical engagement, i.e. whether they frequent your site, also comes into play, as well as whether people in their social circles like your site.
Social signals are important to search engines to establish how much people value your content. It's a goal to have as many people sharing your content as possible, but the big SEO brownie points are scored by having well-followed and well-respected (social influencers) people posting about you.
Negative Off-Page Factors:
Spammy links (e.g. where you've linked to your site excessively and irrelevantly in blog and forum comments) or links that are paid for are distasterous for SEO.
Other off-page violations include site domains that have been flagged for hosting pirated content, and loading your site with advertisements, most especially above-the-fold.
Ready for search engine success?
Search engines are constantly changing and enhancing their algorithms that result in shifts in organic rankings. You can, however, safeguard your site from any significant impact by following a few basic guidelines as highlighted in the period table.
Have you optimised your content and site for search engines? What kind of results did you see? Let me know in the comments.photo credit: Element Pad via photopin (license)