Factors That Cause Changes in Organic Search Engine Rankings

There are many factors that can affect your page’s search engine ranking. Fortunately, you can control most of them. Although all major search engines keep their algorithms private, there are factors that have remained true over time no matter what changes are made to the algorithms.

Certain factors, such as social media presence and online reviews, have been gaining importance while others, such as buying domains with your keywords and using keywords in your links, are losing relevance.

Some brands, due to their popularity and clout, defy algorithms and have success with little text and few keywords, but for most of us, a number of quality backlinks, great social buzz, and solid on-page optimization will, for the discernable future, continue to be our bread and butter.

Here is a breakdown of The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors  from Search Engine Land, summarizing what you can do to help your site and what can hurt it:

Positive factors for Organic Search Engine Rankings

Content: If you have done adequate keyword research to determine the best keywords to include in your content and that content is  high quality, this is generally regarded as one of the all-time top factors that contribute to a high search engine ranking.

HTML: Well-structured page titles and accurate meta descriptions and image tags on your site will contribute to a higher search engine ranking.

Structure: A well-structured site loads quickly and doesn’t have any duplicate content. It also provides XML sitemaps for search engine spiders to crawl so the site can be easily indexed.

Links: Quality links from high-ranking, trusted websites are a huge asset to your site. The Anchor text, meaning the text that contains the link to your site, should be your keywords and the more, the better.

Trust: A secure and/or verified site that has been operating for a long time and has many connections to other high ranking, verified sites will be seen as a trustworthy and safe to do business with. You can verify that you own a website with search engines directly through services such as Google webmaster tools.

Social: Your content being shared by those with lots of social clout and the overall number of shares will correlate to an increased Organic Ranking.

Negative factors for Organic Search Engine Rankings

Content: Pages with very little content, pages that are not engaging or have misleading titles and pages that are full of ads are sure to contribute to a low search engine ranking for your site.

HTML: Keyword Stuffing, or hidden content full of keywords, is generally regarded as something that search engines will dock you site for, decreasing your ranking.

Structure: If you employ a tactic known as “cloaking” that shows different content to search engines and the people reading your page, you will be penalized with a lower ranking.

Links: If you pay for inbound links, you the risk of being flagged by Google as a spam or untrustworthy site and losing rank. Be sure that if you do buy links, they come from a reputable and organic source. Avoid spammy and pirate sites at all costs.

Trust: Anything to do with spam or piracy at all will diminish your trust and get you unlisted.

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