2015 SEO Ranking Factors
In June of 2015, a group of recognised SEO industry gathered to geek out about one thing: SEO ranking factors. It was known as the SMX Advanced, the Search Marketing Expo. One of the most significant outcomes was maybe the SMX Ranking Factors for 2105.
The 2015 SEO Ranking Factors Included:
Understand User Intent, and Satisfy It
As you set out to “optimise” a the content in a web page, although it is important to consider keywords, you should also consider the user’s intent.
•What questions is the user asking?
•What information does the user need?
•What is the user’s main purpose in searching?
Then, seek to answer those questions. You can connect the user’s questions to their intent. Then, you can connect the intent to your topic. And that topic will naturally use the correct keywords.
Get a Backlink from a News Site
Back links are still effective but, as we all know, not all links are created equal. As is well documented, some links are more important than others?
One of the most conclusive findings from SMX was “successful pages have more news links than non-successful pages.” If you want to get backlinks from authoritative news websites, I recommend the following:
•Press releases, to stay current and visible in front of news sites
•Help a reporter out (HARO), to get direct access to reporters
•Personal branding, to be a go-to authority and spokesperson in your niche
•Industry forums, to maintain a presence where news networks will be sure to look
•Activity community involvement, in order to get mentions and links in local papers
•Blogging about current events, in order to be a source of research and quotation from news sites
Link Building is still very much on the agenda. Since the Google reviews of 2014, many SEOs have been predicting the end for link building. There was a form of link building that was black-hat and spam based. But link building is still important. Just as long as you’re doing it carefully.
Use Relevant Keywords
As we have said – Keywords Still Matter. Always include reference to your targeted key phrases in page content. As has been well documented – don’t Keyword Stuff or spam – the Search Engines are clever enough to see this strategy and you are likely to get penalised!
There has been so much written about key words / phrases that we will leave this one here.
Create Interactive Elements
The findings also indicate that interactive element are correlated with higher ranking sites. Here are some additional interactive content ideas:
•Interactive infographics (example)
•Social sharing widgets
If you don’t have the time or talent to make smart interactive pages, don’t worry. Great navigation, a clean interface, and a well-designed site are interactive enough for improved ranking.
Create Content that is Easy to Read
You may not know how to pronounce “Flesch Readability,” but you know good content when you see it. So does Google. The Flesch Readability scale is a measure of how easy it is for people to read your content. The easier it is to read your content, the better you’ll probably rank.
Over the past 18 months, SEOs have noticed content with the following features tends to rank better:
•Long form: The power of 300-word posts just isn’t the same.
•Readable: Google employs human graders to determine how readable and useful your content is.
•Expert: People can tell if your content is authoritative or weak.
•Layout: Even the way your website is laid out makes a difference in ranking.
Use Lists – Search Engines Love Them
Lists are great. Search engines love them. Users love them. Here’s what the SMX experts said:
Presence of unordered lists: If a user is searching for something in a hurry or is on their phone, as SEOs we have to care about this. Structured content allows users to get to their answers as fast as possible. Tober says it is important to view this factor as a hint: “Users enjoy structured content”.
Adding a bulleted list to a blog or page is a great way to juice up your content with a little extra usability and optimal experience.
HTTPS as a Ranking Signal
Since Google announced that HTTPS is a ranking signal (August, 2014), we haven’t seen huge ranking changes. Searchmetrics has done the most research on the subject. Their verdict is that “secure connection should be considered.” Is it advised? Yes. Is it critical? Not yet.
Bigger sites have more to lose and therefore, more to gain, by implementing HTTPS. However, it’s obvious that HTTPS is growing in importance. Some brands and businesses appear to have increased their visibility by small percentages since the HTTPS algorithm was released. If you can implement HTTPS, it’s a good idea to do so.