Understanding the Weight and Impact of Search Ranking Factors

As a business owner or marketing professional, you know the importance of competing for the top positions in SERPs (search engine results pages). For years, I have explained how important it is to mix relevant, targeted content with well-constructed pages and sites that load quickly (among other things) to achieve favor from the search engine deities (i.e., algorithms).

Search ranking factors are complex. They also change all the time. This is one of the most frustrating parts of this industry.

However, I’m here to help and demystify the ever-changing ranking factors for you. Remember, the search ranking factors are essentially a minimum bar you need to cross. This doesn’t mean your site is guaranteed to rank.

Achieving Search Engine Success

Now it’s time to figure out what will help you achieve the success in search engines you are hoping for.

There’s no question that Google is the top authority when it comes to search results. It also offers guidance and guidelines on the “Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines” page. Here you can find a selection of tips that, when combined, impact each piece of ranking content.

What are these principles? Glad you asked.

The Top Principles Used for Search Ranking Results

Google makes it clear what the search engine’s intent is. These principles help to clarify this even more:

  • People are searching online for several purposes. They may want to accomplish something quickly or dive deep into a specific topic.
  • It’s the role of search engines to provide a diverse array of high-quality, helpful search results in an order that makes sense based on quality and helpfulness.
  • Different search types require different search results.
  • Search engines are used worldwide, which means diversity in search results is a must to satisfy the diverse people using search fully.
  • Search results need to be helpful to people who are searching for something. The results need to provide trustworthy and authoritative information rather than leading people off-topic by presenting misleading information.

When you understand the guiding principles related to search quality, it is pretty clear what Google is saying.

Any given webpage may be ranked uniquely for a specific search. The search engine will determine ranking for keywords differently based on (along with other external variables) the intent and location of the person who is searching.

What does this mean for you?

Well, it means that the ranking factors you are trying to optimize for aren’t always applied equally.

Understanding The Search Ranking Process

At the very heart of SEO, the goal is to maximize the main opportunities. This begins by knowing where these opportunities are and then creating content that helps you capitalize on these opportunities.

While it can be challenging to grasp, understanding this important concept (and the principles used by Google) will help you create content that better serves search intent.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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