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20 SEO Ranking Factors to Improve For Better Content Performance

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Mo Shehu

Table of SEO ranking factors - ColumnContent.com

Learn about the crucial SEO ranking factors that impact your website's success. Find out how to optimize for better rankings and increased traffic.

Table of contents

TL;DR – The top 20 SEO ranking factors are: direct website visits, star rating occurrences, featured snippets, time on site, pages per session, bounce rate, total referring domains, total backlinks, total referring IPs, total follow-backlinks, content length, website security (HTTPS), total anchors, keyword in anchor, keyword in body, keyword density, keyword in title, keyword in meta, video on page, and domain occurrences in image search.

Source: SEMrush

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for increasing your website’s visibility and attracting more visitors. 

Many factors affect your website’s ranking on search engines like Google. In fact, there are over 200 of them.

This article will explore 20 SEO ranking factors that affect content performance and how to improve them.

In summary:

  1. Direct website visits – The number of users who visit your website by typing the URL directly into their browser.
  2. Star ratings – How often your website’s pages display star ratings in search results.
  3. Featured snippets – Short pieces of information that appear at the top of a query’s search results.
  4. Time on site – The average duration that users spend on your website during a visit.
  5. Pages per session – The average number of pages viewed by users in a single session on your website.
  6. Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
  7. Total referring domains – The total number of different domains that have links pointing to your website.
  8. Total backlinks – The total number of external links pointing to your website.
  9. Total referring IPs – The total number of unique IP addresses linking to your website.
  10. Total follow-backlinks – The total number of backlinks that pass on SEO value from one site to another.
  11. Content length – The word count or length of the content on a webpage.
  12. Website security (HTTPS) – The use of HTTPS to ensure that your website is secure and can gain user trust.
  13. Total anchors – The total number of anchor texts used in links pointing to your website.
  14. Keyword in anchor – The presence of specific keywords within the anchor texts of backlinks.
  15. Keyword in body – The use of specific keywords within the main content of your webpages.
  16. Keyword density – The frequency of a specific keyword or phrase appearing in the content relative to the total word count.
  17. Keyword in title – The inclusion of specific keywords in the title of your webpage.
  18. Keyword in meta – The inclusion of specific keywords in the meta descriptions and tags of your webpage.
  19. Video on page – The presence of video content on your webpage to enhance engagement and complement the content.
  20. Domain occurrences of images in search – How often your domain’s images appear in search engine results, particularly in image search. 

Let’s dive in.

Direct website visits

Direct website visits are when people type your website URL directly into their browser or use a bookmark to get to your site. 

This ranking factor is important because direct website visits indicate brand awareness and user trust. 

Search engines like Google see these visits as a sign that your site is popular and valuable. 

The more direct visits you get, the better your site can rank in search results.

How to increase direct website visits

  1. Build brand awareness
    • Use social media to promote your website and engage with your audience.
    • Participate in online communities related to your niche.
  2. Use offline marketing
    • Include your website URL in all marketing materials like business cards, flyers, and brochures.
    • Sponsor local events or participate in community activities to spread the word about your website.
  3. Create memorable content
    • Produce high-quality content that people want to return to and share with others.
    • Use easy-to-remember URLs for your most important pages.

Example

Imagine you run a website about healthy recipes. 

You create a memorable URL like “HealthyDelights.com” and use it in your social media profiles, email signatures, and printed materials. 

Over time, more people start typing “HealthyDelights.com” directly into their browsers because they remember your brand and trust your recipes.

Domain occurrences of star ratings

Domain occurrences of star ratings refer to how often your website’s pages display star ratings in search results. 

These ratings can come from reviews or ratings for products, services, or content and are usually marked up with structured data (schema).

Star ratings can improve your click-through rate (CTR) in search engine results by making your listings more attractive and informative. 

They provide social proof and can increase user trust, which can lead to more traffic and higher rankings.

How to increase domain occurrences of star ratings

  1. Implement structured data
    • Use schema markup to add star ratings to your web pages. This helps search engines understand and display the ratings. Tools like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper can assist in implementing this.
  2. Encourage reviews and ratings
    • Ask your customers or users to leave reviews and ratings for your products, services, or content.
    • Make it easy for users to rate and review by providing clear, accessible options on your site.
  3. Use rating plugins
    • For websites using platforms like WordPress, utilize plugins that facilitate adding and displaying star ratings.
    • Plugins like WP Review or Schema Pro can help integrate star ratings seamlessly.
  4. Display ratings prominently
    • Ensure that the star ratings are visible on your web pages, especially near the top or alongside key information.
    • This visibility can encourage users to leave ratings and reviews.
  5. Monitor and manage reviews
    • Regularly monitor the reviews and ratings to respond to feedback and manage any issues.
    • Addressing negative reviews constructively can improve your overall rating and user perception.

Example

Suppose you have an e-commerce site selling electronics. 

You start by adding schema markup to your product pages to display star ratings in search results.

 You encourage your customers to leave reviews by offering a small discount on their next purchase. 

You also use a WordPress plugin to manage and display these ratings prominently on your site. 

Over time, these efforts lead to more star ratings appearing in search results, which attracts more clicks and increases traffic.

Featured snippets are short pieces of information that appear at the top of Google’s search results in response to a query. 

These snippets are designed to provide users with quick, concise answers to their questions and often include content from one of the top-ranking pages.

Being featured in a snippet can significantly increase your page’s visibility and click-through rate (CTR). 

How to optimize for featured snippets

  1. Identify snippet opportunities
    • Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Search Console to identify keywords that trigger featured snippets and for which your pages already rank.
    • Focus on questions, comparisons, lists, and “how-to” queries that often result in snippets.
  2. Structure your content effectively
    • Use clear and concise answers at the beginning of your content to match the format of featured snippets.
    • Use bullet points, numbered lists, tables, and short paragraphs to present information clearly and accessibly.
  3. Answer common questions
    • Create content that directly answers common questions related to your industry or niche.
    • Use headers (H2, H3) to format these questions and answers within your content.
  4. Optimize your content for clarity and brevity
    • Ensure your answers are succinct and directly address the query.
    • Aim for answers to be around 40-60 words for optimal snippet length.
  5. Use high-quality visuals
    • Include relevant images, charts, and infographics that can appear in featured snippets.
    • Ensure all visual content is properly optimized with descriptive alt text.
  6. Monitor and refine your strategy
    • Regularly track your performance for featured snippet keywords.
    • Adjust your content and formatting based on what is being shown in existing snippets.

Example

Suppose you have a blog post about “how to bake a chocolate cake.” 

To optimize for a featured snippet, you start by identifying keywords like “chocolate cake recipe” and “how to bake a chocolate cake.” 

You structure the content to include a concise, step-by-step recipe at the beginning of the post, using a numbered list for clarity. 

You also answer common questions such as “What ingredients are needed for a chocolate cake?” and “How long does it take to bake a chocolate cake?” using headers and short, direct answers. 

You include high-quality images of each step in the baking process. 

These efforts increase the likelihood of your content being featured in a snippet, driving more traffic to your blog.

Time on site

Time on site measures how long visitors stay on your website during a single visit. 

Search engines consider time on site as a signal of content quality and relevance. 

If visitors spend more time on your site, they probably find your content valuable.

How to increase time on site

  1. Create engaging content
    • Write informative articles, use high-quality images, and include videos.
    • Break up text with headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to make it easy to read.
  2. Improve website navigation
    • Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for with clear menus and internal links.
    • Use a search bar so users can quickly locate specific content.
  3. Add interactive elements
    • Include quizzes, polls, and interactive infographics to keep visitors engaged.
    • Use comment sections and forums to encourage visitors to interact with your content and with each other.
  4. Optimize page load speed
    • Ensure your website loads quickly to prevent visitors from leaving out of frustration.
    • Compress images and use a content delivery network (CDN) to speed up your site.

Example

Suppose you have a blog about travel tips. 

You can write detailed guides, add stunning photos of travel destinations, and embed videos of your trips. 

By making your content engaging and easy to navigate, visitors are more likely to stay longer on your site, reading multiple articles and exploring different sections.

Pages per session

Search engines view high pages per session as a sign that your website is engaging and relevant. 

When users visit multiple pages, it shows that your content is valuable and worth exploring, which can positively impact your SEO rankings.

How to increase pages per session

  1. Use internal linking
    • Link to related articles and pages within your content to guide visitors to more information.
    • Create a logical link structure that helps users find relevant content easily.
  2. Create a content series
    • Develop a series of related articles or posts that encourage readers to move from one page to the next.
    • Use cliffhangers or teasers at the end of each post to entice visitors to continue reading.
  3. Add a “related posts” section
    • Include a section at the end of each article that suggests related posts based on the content the visitor is currently viewing.
    • Use plugins or widgets that automatically generate related content recommendations.
  4. Enhance website navigation
    • Ensure your menu is clear and well-organized so visitors can easily find different sections of your site.
    • Include a sitemap or a “popular posts” section to highlight important content.
  5. Create engaging content formats
    • Use slideshows, galleries, and other interactive formats that encourage users to click through multiple pages.
    • Provide downloadable resources or additional content that requires navigating to different pages.

Example

Imagine you run an online store selling handmade crafts. 

You write a blog post about DIY craft ideas and include links to your product pages where readers can buy materials. 

You also add a “related posts” section at the end of each article that suggests other craft projects. 

By doing this, visitors are more likely to view multiple pages, increasing your pages per session.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page, and is a crucial Google ranking factor.

A high bounce rate can negatively affect your SEO because it suggests that your content is not meeting visitors’ expectations. 

Lowering your bounce rate can improve user experience and signal to search engines your site is valuable and engaging.

How to reduce bounce rate

  1. Create engaging content
    • Write informative, interesting, and valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs.
    • Use a mix of text, images, videos, and interactive elements to keep visitors engaged.
  2. Improve page load speed
    • Ensure your website loads quickly to prevent visitors from leaving due to slow performance.
    • Optimize images, use a content delivery network (CDN), and minimize the use of heavy scripts.
  3. Enhance content relevance
    • Create content that matches the intent of your target audience. Make sure your headlines and meta descriptions accurately reflect the content of your pages.
    • Use engaging, high-quality visuals and multimedia to complement your text.
  4. Optimize for mobile
    • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, as 60%+ of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
    • Use responsive design to ensure your site looks good and functions well on all screen sizes.
  5. Improve navigation
    • Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for with clear menus, a search bar, and internal links.
    • Use breadcrumbs to help users understand their location within your site.
  6. Use clear calls to action (CTAs)
    • Guide visitors to take the next step with clear and compelling CTAs.
    • Place CTAs in prominent locations and use action-oriented language.

Example

Suppose you have a digital marketing blog. You notice that visitors often leave after viewing just one page. 

To reduce the bounce rate, you start optimizing your content for mobile devices (fewer paragraphs, easier navigation), minifying your website images to speed up load times, and improving your internal linking. 

You write articles that match the search intent of your audience, such as guides to optimizing Google Business Profile listings and Google Map results.

You use clear CTAs like “Download Our Free Technical SEO Guide.” 

As a result, visitors stay longer and explore more pages, reducing your bounce rate.

Total referring domains

Total referring domains are the number of unique domains that link back to your website. 

Search engines see multiple referring domains as a sign of your website’s authority and credibility. 

When many different websites link to your content, it indicates your site is a valuable resource, helping to improve your rankings.

How to increase total referring domains

  1. Create high-quality content
    • Write comprehensive guides, original research, and compelling stories that attract links naturally.
  2. Outreach and relationship building
    • Reach out to bloggers, journalists, and influencers in your industry to share your content and request links. 
    • Build relationships with other website owners through networking and collaboration.
  3. Guest blogging
    • Write guest posts for reputable websites in your niche. Include a link back to your site in your author bio or within the content. Ensure your guest posts are high-quality and provide value to the readers of the host site.
  4. Participate in industry forums and communities
    • Join forums, online communities, and social media groups related to your industry. Share your expertise and link to relevant content on your website when appropriate.
  5. Create linkable assets
    • Develop resources such as infographics, eBooks, and case studies that others in your industry might find useful and want to link to.
  6. Conduct original research
    • Perform surveys, studies, or data analysis related to your industry and publish the results on your website. Other websites are likely to reference and link to your original research.

Example

Imagine you have a website about paid ads. 

You create an in-depth guide on Google Ads and include original research and data. 

You then reach out to popular marketing blogs like Search Engine Land and offer to write guest posts on related topics. In these posts, you link back to your guide. 

Additionally, you share your guide in marketing forums and on social media. 

Over time, various blogs and websites start linking to your guide as a valuable resource, increasing your total referring domains.

Total backlinks refer to the total number of links from other websites that point to your site. 

Backlinks act as votes of confidence from other websites and are one of the foundational Google ranking factors to focus on.

When numerous sites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your website is a valuable and trustworthy resource. 

This can improve your search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to your site.

While many of the same rules apply as with ‘total referring domains’ (create valuable content, guest blog, etc.), there are a few other ways to manage your backlinks that you might consider.

How to increase total backlinks

  1. Engage in outreach
    • Reach out to bloggers, journalists, and influencers in your industry to share your content and ask for links.
    • Personalize your outreach messages and highlight the value of your content.
  2. Leverage ‘broken link building
    • Find broken links on other websites that point to content similar to yours.
    • Reach out to the site owners, inform them of the broken link, and suggest your content as a replacement.
  3. Leverage social media
    • Promote your content on social media platforms to increase visibility.
    • Encourage your followers to share your content, which can lead to more backlinks from other websites.

Total referring IPs

Total referring IPs refer to the number of unique IP addresses from which your website receives backlinks. 

Having backlinks from a diverse range of IP addresses suggests that your website is widely recognized and respected across various locations and hosting environments. 

Search engines view this diversity as a positive signal of your site’s credibility and authority.

How to increase total referring IPs

  1. Target diverse websites
    • Aim to get backlinks from a variety of websites across different industries and geographical locations.
    • Avoid relying too heavily on backlinks from a single source or network.
  2. Create content for different audiences
    • Develop content that appeals to various demographics and industries. This strategy can attract backlinks from a broader range of websites.
  3. Participate in international forums and communities
    • Join forums, online communities, and social media groups from different countries. Share your expertise and link to your content where relevant.
  4. Guest blogging on diverse platforms
    • Write guest posts for websites across different niches and regions. Include links back to your site in these posts to gain backlinks from diverse IPs.
  5. Leverage multilingual content
    • Where appropriate, create content in multiple languages to reach a wider audience. This can attract backlinks from websites that cater to different linguistic groups.

Example

Imagine you run a technology blog. 

To increase the diversity of referring IPs, you start by creating content that appeals to different industries, such as articles on how technology impacts healthcare, education, and finance. 

You also reach out to international tech blogs and offer to write guest posts. 

Additionally, you participate in global tech forums and social media groups, sharing your content. 

By targeting a wide range of websites and communities, you attract backlinks from various IP addresses, boosting your SEO.

Total follow-backlinks refer to the number of backlinks that pass on SEO value from the linking site to your site. 

Unlike no-follow backlinks, follow-backlinks contribute directly to your site’s authority and search engine rankings.

The more high-quality follow-backlinks you have, the better your site will perform in search results.

You can increase total follow-backlinks with many of the same tips as above: create valuable content, engage in outreach, build relationships (seeing the trend?), monitor and reclaim links, and participate in relevant communities.

Where possible, explicitly request or negotiate do-follow backlinks from sites that link to your website or content.

Content length

Longer content tends to rank better in search engines because it usually covers a topic in greater detail and provides more value to the reader. 

It also has the potential to include more keywords and related terms, which can help improve your search visibility.

How to optimize content length

  1. Write comprehensive content
    • Cover topics thoroughly to provide readers with all the information they need in one place.
    • Break up long content with headings, subheadings, bullet points, and images to make it more readable.
  2. Focus on quality over quantity
    • Ensure your content is informative and engaging. Don’t add unnecessary words just to increase length.
    • Provide value with actionable insights, examples, and detailed explanations.
  3. Use a mix of content types
    • Include detailed guides, how-to articles, case studies, and listicles.
    • Varying your content types can help keep your audience engaged and cater to different preferences.
  4. Update and expand existing content
    • Regularly review and update your older content to keep it relevant and accurate.
    • Expand shorter posts by adding new information, examples, or related sections.
  5. Include multimedia elements
    • Add images, videos, infographics, and interactive elements to enrich your content.
    • Multimedia can help break up long blocks of text and make your content more engaging.

Example

Suppose you run a blog about gardening. 

Instead of writing a short post about planting roses, you create a comprehensive guide that covers everything from choosing the right variety, planting techniques, care tips, and common problems. 

You include detailed instructions, photos, and videos. This longer, in-depth content is more likely to rank well in search engines and provide greater value to your readers.

Website security (HTTPS)

Search engines prioritize secure websites because they protect user data. 

HTTPS ensures that data transferred between the user’s browser and your website is encrypted and secure.

Google has confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking signal, meaning secure websites are more likely to rank higher in search results.

Additionally, users trust secure websites more, which can improve your site’s credibility and user experience.

How to secure your website with HTTPS

  1. Obtain an SSL certificate
    • Purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted certificate authority (CA) or get one for free from providers like Let’s Encrypt.
    • Most web hosting companies offer SSL certificates and can help with installation.
  2. Install the SSL certificate
    • Follow the instructions provided by your certificate authority or hosting provider to install the SSL certificate on your server. This usually involves generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and completing the verification process.
  3. Update your website to use HTTPS
    • Change your website’s settings to use HTTPS instead of HTTP.
    • Update all internal links, scripts, and resources to their HTTPS versions.
  4. Redirect HTTP to HTTPS
    • Set up 301 redirects to automatically redirect users from HTTP pages to their HTTPS versions. This ensures all traffic is secured and helps maintain your search engine rankings.
  5. Update your sitemap and robots.txt
    • Update your XML sitemap to include HTTPS URLs.
    • Ensure your robots.txt file does not block search engines from accessing your HTTPS pages.
  6. Check for mixed content
    • Mixed content (HTTP elements on an HTTPS page) can cause security warnings and negatively impact user experience. Ensure all elements on your website, including images, scripts, and stylesheets, are served over HTTPS.

Example

Imagine you run an e-commerce website. To secure your site, you purchase an SSL certificate from your hosting provider and follow their instructions to install it. 

You update your website settings and internal links to use HTTPS, set up 301 redirects, and update your sitemap. 

You also check for mixed content (or use a plugin) to ensure all elements are secure. 

As a result, your website is now protected, and you notice an improvement in your search engine rankings and user trust.

Total anchors

Total anchors refer to the number of unique anchor texts used in backlinks pointing to your site. 

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. An example is if I link to a landing page for LinkedIn ghostwriting (see how I used matching anchor text there?).

A diverse range of anchor texts helps search engines understand the context and relevance of your content. 

It also reduces the risk of appearing manipulative, which can happen if too many backlinks use the same anchor text. 

How to optimize anchor text diversity

  1. Encourage natural linking
    • When reaching out for backlinks, let website owners choose their anchor texts. This approach often results in more natural and diverse anchor texts. Avoid providing a set anchor text to every site linking to you.
  2. Use a mix of branded, exact match, and long-tail keywords
    • Ensure your backlinks include a mix of your brand name, exact match keywords, and long-tail keywords.
    • For example, if your brand is “Tech Solutions,” use anchors like “Tech Solutions,” “best tech solutions,” and “top IT services provider.”
  3. Create content that naturally attracts varied anchors
    • Produce diverse content types and topics that can attract different anchor texts.
    • For example, a blog post, an infographic, and a case study on related topics will likely attract different anchor texts.
  4. Monitor your backlink profile
    • Use SEO tools to analyze your backlink profile and identify anchor text patterns.
    • Aim for a healthy mix of anchor text types and address any over-reliance on a particular type.
  5. Avoid over-optimization
    • Ensure your anchor texts appear natural and not overly optimized for SEO. Avoid using the same exact match keywords repeatedly across multiple backlinks.

Example

Imagine you have a blog about digital marketing

You create a variety of content, including blog posts on SEO, infographics on social media strategies, and case studies on successful marketing campaigns. 

When other sites link to your content, they use a range of anchor texts like “digital marketing tips,” “SEO strategies,” and “social media infographic.” 

This diversity in anchor texts helps improve your site’s SEO and makes your backlink profile look natural.

Keyword in anchor

Keywords in anchor text provide context to search engines about the linked page. When done correctly, this can improve your rankings for those keywords. 

However, as with the ‘total anchors’ ranking signal, it’s essential to use this strategy naturally to avoid penalties for over-optimization.

How to effectively use keywords in anchor text

  1. Use relevant keywords
    • Ensure the anchor text accurately reflects the content of the linked page. Avoid using generic phrases like “click here” or “read more.”
  2. Maintain diversity
    • Use a mix of exact match, partial match, and long-tail keywords in your anchor texts.
    • For example, if targeting “digital marketing,” vary the anchors as “digital marketing strategies,” “effective digital marketing,” and “learn about digital marketing.”
  3. Prioritize natural usage
    • Integrate keywords into anchor texts naturally within the content.
    • Ensure the text flows well and makes sense in the context of the sentence or paragraph.
  4. Avoid over-optimization
    • Do not excessively use the same exact match keyword in anchor texts.
    • Diversify your anchor text to include branded terms, generic phrases, and variations of your target keywords.
  5. Monitor your backlink profile
    • Regularly check your backlink profile to ensure a healthy mix of anchor texts. Use tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush to analyze and adjust your anchor text strategy.

Example

Suppose you have a website about home improvement. 

Instead of repeatedly using the anchor text “home improvement tips,” you diversify with variations like “DIY home improvement,” “top home improvement ideas,” and “home renovation tips.” 

This variety helps improve your site’s relevance for multiple related keywords while keeping your backlink profile natural and diverse.

Keyword in body

Including keywords in the body of your content is essential for SEO. 

It helps search engines understand the topic of your page and rank it appropriately for relevant search queries.

It’s easier to know what keywords to include with sufficient keyword research.

How to effectively use keywords in the body

  1. Integrate keywords naturally
    • Use keywords where they fit naturally within the content.
    • Avoid keyword stuffing, which can lead to penalties from search engines.
  2. Use variations and synonyms
    • Include variations and synonyms of your target keywords to make the content more readable and comprehensive.
    • For example, if your target keyword is “SEO tips,” you can also use “SEO strategies,” “search engine optimization tips,” and “SEO techniques.”
  3. Focus on primary and secondary keywords
    • Identify primary keywords that are central to your content and secondary keywords that are related and support the primary topic.
    • Ensure both types of keywords are used throughout the content in a balanced manner.
  4. Utilize headings and subheadings
    • Place keywords in headings (H1, H2, H3) to emphasize the main topics and help search engines understand the structure of your content. This practice also improves readability for users.
  5. Maintain a good keyword density
    • Aim for a natural keyword density that helps search engines understand your content without appearing spammy.
    • Tools like Yoast SEO can help you monitor and optimize keyword density.

Example

Suppose you run a website about web design. You write an article on “Web Design Tips.” 

Instead of overloading the article with the phrase “web design,” you use variations and related terms such as “website design,” “web page elements,” and “how to design a web page.” 

You naturally integrate these keywords into the content, ensuring it reads well and provides value to your readers.

Keyword density

Keyword density refers to the percentage of times a keyword appears in your content compared to the total word count. 

Proper keyword density ensures that your content is relevant to your target keywords while maintaining readability and user experience. 

Overusing keywords can lead to penalties, while underusing them may result in lower relevance and rankings.

How to optimize keyword density

Many of the same tips from the ‘keyword in body’ section apply, but here are three more:

  1. Avoid forcing keywords into sentences unnaturally
    • Focus on writing naturally and incorporating keywords where they fit seamlessly within the content.
  2. Monitor keyword density
    • Aim for a keyword density of 1-2%, which is generally considered optimal.
    • Use SEO tools like Yoast, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to monitor and optimize keyword density.
  3. Focus on user experience
    • Prioritize creating valuable, informative, high quality content that meets the needs of your audience. Let keyword usage support the content rather than dominate it.

Example

Suppose you have an article about “local seo.” 

Instead of repeatedly using the exact phrase “local seo,” you use variations like “local seo tactics,” “local seo ranking factors,” and “local search.” 

You aim for a keyword density of around 1.5%, ensuring the content reads naturally and provides useful information without appearing spammy.

Keyword in title

The title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors.

A well-crafted title with relevant keywords can improve your rankings and attract more clicks from search results.

How to effectively use keywords in titles

  1. Place keywords at the beginning
    • Include your primary keyword at the beginning of the title to give it more prominence.
    • For example, instead of “Tips for Effective SEO,” use “SEO Tips for Effective Website Optimization.”
  2. Keep it concise and descriptive
    • Make sure your title is clear, concise, and accurately describes the content of the page. Aim for titles that are 50-60 characters long to ensure they display fully in search results.
  3. Use power words and numbers
    • Enhance your titles with power words (e.g., “ultimate,” “essential,” “guide”) and numbers (e.g., “10 tips,” “5 strategies”) to make them more compelling.
    • For example, “17 SEO Ranking Factors to Improve For Better Performance.” 😉
  4. Avoid keyword stuffing
    • Use your keyword naturally in the title without forcing it or repeating it excessively. Ensure the title reads well and makes sense to users.
  5. Match user intent
    • Craft titles that match the search intent of your audience. Think about what users are looking for and how your content addresses their needs.
    • For example, if users are searching for how-to guides, a title like “How To Write A Great Blog Post Introduction” would be appropriate.

Example

Imagine you have a blog post about improving core web vitals.

Instead of just titling it “Core Web Vitals,” you use “How to Improve Your Core Web Vitals: 7 Proven Tips You Need To Know.” 

This title includes the primary keyword “core web vitals,” is descriptive, and uses numbers to make it more engaging.

Keyword in meta

Including keywords in your meta descriptions and meta tags helps search engines understand the content of your page.

Although meta descriptions may not directly impact rankings, they can influence click-through rates (CTR) by making your page more appealing in Google search result pages.

A well-crafted meta description with relevant keywords can attract more clicks, signaling to search engines that your page is valuable and relevant.

How to effectively use keywords in meta descriptions

  1. Include primary keywords
    • Ensure your primary keyword is included in the meta description to highlight the main topic of your page. Place the keyword naturally within the description.
  2. Write compelling meta descriptions
    • Create meta descriptions that are clear, concise, and compelling. Aim to describe the content and its benefits to users.
    • Keep the description within 150-160 characters to ensure it displays fully in search results.
  3. Use action-oriented language
    • Encourage users to click on your link by using action-oriented language and highlighting the value of your content. Phrases like “Learn how,” “Discover,” or “Find out” can be effective.
  4. Match user intent
    • Craft meta descriptions that match the search intent of your audience. Think about what users are looking for and how your content addresses their needs. Ensure the description aligns with the content on the page to avoid misleading users.
  5. Include a call to action (CTA)
    • Add a CTA to encourage users to take the next step, such as “Read more,” “Find out now,” or “Get started today.” A clear CTA can improve your CTR by guiding users on what to do next.

Example

Suppose you have a blog post about recipe development

Instead of a generic meta description, you use: “Learn about the steps involved in recipe development and how to create successful recipes that are delicious and marketable.” 

This meta description includes the primary keyword “healthy eating,” is concise, and matches user intent.

Video on page

Videos are engaging and can help convey information more effectively than text alone. 

They can reduce bounce rates and increase time on site, both of which are positive signals to search engines. 

Additionally, videos can attract backlinks and social shares, further boosting your SEO.

How to effectively use videos on your pages

  1. Create high-quality, relevant videos
    • Focus on topics that add value to your audience and complement your written content. This improves the page experience for your readers.
  2. Optimize video titles and descriptions
    • Include relevant keywords in your video titles and descriptions to improve search visibility.
    • Make your titles compelling and your descriptions informative.
  3. Use video transcripts
    • Provide transcripts of your videos to make the content accessible to all users and improve search engine indexing. Transcripts can also help with keyword optimization.
  4. Embed videos strategically
    • Place videos near the top of your page to capture attention early. Ensure the video is relevant to the surrounding content and enhances the user’s understanding.
  5. Encourage engagement
    • Use CTAs within your videos to encourage viewers to take action, such as subscribing to your channel, visiting another page, or sharing the video.
    • Engage with viewers in the comments section to build community and encourage further interaction.
  6. Ensure fast load times
    • Slow-loading videos can negatively impact user experience and SEO. Optimize video file sizes and use a reliable hosting platform to ensure fast load times. 

Example

Imagine you run a cooking blog

To enhance a recipe post, you create a video demonstrating the cooking process. 

You title the video “How to Bake the Perfect Chocolate Cake” and include a detailed description with relevant keywords. You also provide a transcript of the video. 

You embed the video at the beginning of your recipe post and include a CTA encouraging viewers to subscribe to your channel for more recipes. 

This approach keeps visitors engaged, improves your SEO, and provides additional value to your audience.

Domain occurrences in image search refer to how often your domain’s images appear in search engine results, particularly in image search. 

Appearing in image search results increases the chances of your content being discovered through visual searches, which is especially important for industries like e-commerce, fashion, travel, and food.

This can drive additional traffic to your website. 

How to increase domain occurrences in images

  1. Optimize image file names
    • Use descriptive, keyword-rich file names for your images.
    • Instead of “IMG1234.jpg,” use “red-running-shoes.jpg.”
  2. Use alt text effectively
    • Provide descriptive alt text for each image, incorporating relevant keywords.
    • Ensure the alt text accurately describes the image content and its context.
  3. Compress images for faster loading
    • Optimize your images to reduce file size without compromising quality.
    • Faster loading images improve user experience and SEO performance.
  4. Create and share high-quality images
    • Produce high-resolution, visually appealing images that attract clicks and shares.
    • Infographics, charts, and unique visuals can perform particularly well.
  5. Utilize image sitemaps
    • Create an image sitemap to help search engines discover and index your images.
    • This can improve the chances of your images appearing in search results.
  6. Leverage social media and image-sharing platforms
    • Share your images on social media and image-sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
    • Encourage sharing and linking back to your website.

Example

Suppose you run a travel blog. 

To increase your domain occurrences in images, you start by renaming your travel photos with descriptive, keyword-rich file names like “Eiffel-Tower-Paris.jpg.”

 You add detailed alt text and compress the images for faster loading. 

You also create an image sitemap and share your best travel photos on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. 

Over time, more of your images start appearing in search results, driving additional traffic to your blog.

Recap of key SEO ranking factors and how to improve them

  1. Direct website visits – Build brand awareness and encourage repeat visits.
  2. Star ratings – Request reviews and use schema markups to add reviews to your website.
  3. Featured snippets – Add clear, concise answers at the start of your content and use bullet points.
  4. Time on site – Create engaging content and improve site navigation.
  5. Pages per session – Use internal linking and related content to encourage exploration.
  6. Bounce rate – Improve page load speed and enhance content relevance.
  7. Total referring domains – Aim for backlinks from a variety of sources.
  8. Total backlinks – Focus on high-quality content and outreach strategies.
  9. Total referring IPs – Diversify your backlink sources geographically.
  10. Total follow-backlinks – Prioritize valuable content and relationship-building.
  11. Content length – Provide comprehensive and valuable information.
  12. Website security (HTTPS) – Ensure your site is secure to gain user trust and improve rankings.
  13. Total anchors – Use diverse and relevant anchor texts.
  14. Keyword in anchor – Naturally integrate keywords into anchor texts.
  15. Keyword in body – Use keywords naturally and in context.
  16. Keyword density – Maintain an optimal keyword density to avoid penalties.
  17. Keyword in title – Craft compelling, keyword-rich titles.
  18. Keyword in meta – Optimize meta descriptions and tags for relevance and click-through rates.
  19. Video on page – Use videos to enhance engagement and complement your content.
  20. Domain occurrences of images in search – Use descriptive, keyword-rich file names for your images.

Other search engine ranking factors

This article contains a non-exhaustive list of Google ranking factors. 

There are over 200 ranking signals Google and other search engines use to rank various types of content marketing.

One SEO factor the Google algorithm factors in is domain authority, which is how authoritative your website is considered to be online.

Other search engine ranking factors include the country TLD extension, the presence of a sitemap, content recency, and whether or not your content contains affiliate links.

But trying to game the Google SERP is a fool’s errand. There’s a much easier path to success:

Write helpful content for users.

Google’s algorithm tries to approximate what users will find useful. 

This means that if you write to help users first, and only then try to optimize your content through on-page and off page SEO, Google’s algorithm will notice and rank you accordingly.

By all means, hire a technical SEO service provider to help you optimize every web page.

Have them dig into your Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and set up your Google My Business Profile.

Try to acquire backlinks, work on internal linking, and boost your local search rankings.

But in the end, the single biggest impact you can make is by investing in high quality content marketing that serves humans first.

Final thoughts

Implementing these strategies requires ongoing effort and adjustment. 

Start by identifying the areas where your website can improve and create an action plan to address them. 

Continuously monitor your website’s performance, analyze your metrics, and adapt your approach based on the results. 

As you prioritize these key SEO ranking factors, you will improve your site’s visibility, attract more organic traffic, and achieve better search engine rankings.

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Grow your business through content.

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