Google Shares Top 3 SEO Factors
Google’s SEO Myth Busters episode #1 recently debuted. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Martin Splitt, answered what the top 3 SEO factors are to focus on. Near the end of show, Martin answered an unexpected and shocking question that was asked by the guest.
Looking at Google’s Top 3 SEO Ranking Factors
The first question was about relevance. “How do you know which… results are more relevant to a given user?”
Here is the answer:
“We have over 200 signals to do so. So we look at things like the title, the meta description, the actual content that you’ve got on your page, images, links… All sorts of things.
It’s a very complicated question to answer what ranks you best, but yeah… we look at a bunch of signals.”
SEO Factor #1 – Content
The number one SEO factor makes sense:
“So… us being developers, originally, you probably want me to say, oh use this framework or use that framework… that’s not how it works. You have to have really good content. And that means you have to have content… that serves a purpose for the user. It’s something that users need and/or want. Optimally they need it and want it, like ice cream.
So, if your content says where you are, what you do, how you help me with what I’m trying to accomplish, that’s fantastic.”
This is good advice. There’s more nuance in that answer than is readily apparent. “Content that serves a purpose” is a fantastic way of describing what the highest ranked content tends to be. For example, if someone is looking for a King Size Widget, Google tends to rank product pages that are exact matches for King Size Widgets.
Make Your Content Relevant
Something else Martin discussed was understanding what phrases users use when searching, and using those in content. This is basic, but sometimes there are nuances to how people use a word that are worth investigating.
Here’s what Martin said:
“So you want to make sure to serve the purpose of the people who you want to attract and get who you want to interact with your content and you want to make sure that you’re using words that I would be using.
If you use a very specific term for your ice cream… let’s say like Smooth Cream 5000… I’m not going to search for that because I don’t know about it. I’m just going to like, I need ice cream.
It’s good to mention it somewhere so that I know if I look for that trademark I find it as well.
But I’m exploring ice cream around me, I don’t know what particular ice cream there is. If there’s like a specific brand, fantastic, but that’s not what I’m looking for. So speak the language that I’m using.”
That’s a great way to describe relevance in content, “Speak the language that I’m using.”
SEO Factor #2 – Meta Data
“So content is the number one priority. Could you mention another two things that are important for this?”
“You’re going to love them because they are technical.
So the second biggest things is make sure that you have meta tags that describe your content, so have a meta description because that gives you the possibility to have a little snippet in the search results that let people find out which of the many results might be the ones that help them the best. And have page titles that are specific to the page that you are serving. So don’t have a title for everything. The same title is bad.
If you have titles that change with the content that you are showing, that is fantastic. And frameworks have ways of doing that. So consult the documentation but there’s definitely something that helps with the content.”
SEO Factor #3 – Performance
Google’s Martin Splitt described performance as a top 3 SEO factor to consider. Performance has long been a top SEO factor. As a ranking factor, it was most recently described by John Mueller as a ranking factor that does not override other factors. This is what Google’s John Mueller said about speed as a ranking factor:
“…the good part is that we have lots of ranking factors. So you don’t have to do everything perfect.
But that also means that you run across situations like this where you say, Google says speed is important but the top sites here are not so fast therefore it must not be important. So for us it is definitely important. But that doesn’t mean it kind of overrides everything else.”
This means that Google will overlook poor performance and rank a site if the user experience would be harmed by not showing the site.
Read the Complete Search Engine Journal article on Google’s Top 3 SEO Factors can be read here.