In the previous article, we introduced you the Periodic Table of SEO Factors version 2019. In the new version, the weights of the actual ranking factors are recounted, new factors, verticals, as well as negative factors that should be avoided in every way have appeared.
There are four main groups included in the Search Engine Success Factors Periodic Table:
- on page
- emerging verticals
As we already mentioned, the first version of the table was published in 2011. Since then, it has become an internationally recognized source of information on relevant ranking factors. Over the past two years, the table has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.
The previous version of the table mainly listed success factors - those site parameters and metrics that determined successful ranking in the search. The new version reveals the fundamental factors, toxic components, and verticals of promising factors that are only gaining weight.
Table elements are organized into groups by value, the weight of each factor is determined by its overall impact on SEO. The weight of the item is displayed in the upper right corner. For positive ranking factors, the weight can take values from +1 to +3, for negative factors - from -1 to -3. In a group, items are ranked from most important to least important.
The main table consists of 6 groups of factors - Content, Architecture, HTML, Trust, Links, Behavioral. Two subgroups are displayed on the right side. The Toxins subgroup has gathered practices that can significantly harm the site or lead to search engine penalties. Under the Toxins there is a subgroup of promising verticals - these are factors whose significance is gradually growing.
Key ranking factors 2019
Content Factors Group
This group displays factors that determine the quality and depth of the content. The group is led by Quality (content should be well written and valuable to users).
Keyword research as a fundamental SEO practice will show what users are looking for and how. This will determine the content strategy. This factor takes the second position.
Actually the keywords and their use on the page. This is a less significant factor, gaining weight of 2+.
Freshness (relevance) as a ranking factor means the creation of time-relevant content, updated and supplemented by fresh data. Practice shows that publications updated by fresh information rank better.
The multimedia factor gained a weight of 2+. Images and videos help improve the quality, value, and relevance of content to the end-user. Especially when mobile communications allow you to view multimedia content on the go.
The table presents a new factor, Answers, which means that the page directly answers the user's question. Pages with clear, correct answers are appreciated by search engines and often fall into answer blocks at position 0.
Instead of the negative factor of Thin content (low-quality content, useless), the new table was replenished with positive factor Depth. It is better to concentrate efforts on achieving positive goals than on working with negative factors.
Architecture Factors Group
These factors display the simplicity and consistency of the site structure: URLs, download speed, accessibility for indexing, security.
The most important element of this group is Crawl with a weight of 3+. If the search engine cannot check, crawl and index pages, the site will not appear in the search results.
The next factor is Mobile with a weight of 3+, which means optimizing the site for gadgets so that mobile users see as much content as desktop ones.
Duplicate content and the correct definition of canonical pages - helps to not give rankings to sites that are illegally copying content.
Speed is also important for ranking, although its weight is less (2+). Slow loading annoys users. And Google has already confirmed that it takes into account the speed factor in the ranking.
HTTPS is an important factor determining the security of user data.
URLs - SEL recommends using the main keyword in the page address.
HTML Factors Group
This group contains HTML tags that inform the search engine about the content of the page and help to process this content faster.
On the pages of the site is mentioned schedule and users ratings? Does the content have a headline? All this is reported to the search engine using tags.
Search engines rank simple tags like Title and Headline to correctly interpret page content.
Structured data and meta descriptions are also taken into account as signals about the meaning and purpose of the page.
This year the table was replenished with such a factor as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) - the use of accelerated page format informs the search engine of your desire to provide users with content as quickly as possible. Although Google denies the impact of AMP on ranking.
Trust Factors Group
Google’s website quality assessment guidelines have introduced E-A-T (Expertise - Authority - Trustworthiness) into SEO. Based on these metrics, Google determines the value of a site. This group includes factors of Reputation, Authority and Engagement.
Reputation factor is explained as the long stable operation of the site. Reputation is not a quick metric.
Authority consists of other signals: links, likes, reshares and others.
Engagement is standardly explained as time and user activity on the site, low bounce rate.
Links Factors Group
This is the oldest SEO group because the ranking began with links. Here we find three ranking factors:
Value (usefulness) - it is important to choose authoritative, reliable sites both for obtaining links and for citing. As a rule, high-quality, authoritative sites refer to their own kind and avoid mentioning sites of dubious quality and content.
Anchors - here the recommendation of the SEL team is somewhat non-standard and does not relate to the anchors themselves, but to the content of the donor site page. It’s important to get links from pages that use the same keywords as the page or site you are promoting.
The volume of the link mass - the more quality links in a site’s profile, the better.
Behavioral Factors Group
This group has collected factors that one way or another are depending on the behavior or location of users. There are two factors Country and Location with a high importance value (2+), however, they are outside the competence of the webmaster, although they determine how the site will be ranked in a particular country or area.
In this group we find:
UX is how users interact with the site. For example, when a user goes to a website page and then goes back to the search results, search algorithms regard as a negative signal, indicating a bad User Experience.
Intent also plays an important role, indicating to the search engine how much the site meets the user's intention and solves its problem. Compliance with the intent also determines how the site will be ranked by related queries.
History takes into account how often the user interacts with the site, although the significance of this factor is gradually decreasing.
Every SEO specialist knows about dubious optimization methods, black and gray SEO. Previously, these methods were guaranteed to promote the site to the top, because ranking algorithms were simple, and the competition was often low. They can also give a short-term effect today until the search algorithm sees unnatural links and methods and applies penalties.
Previously, negative ranking factors were integrated into the main table. The release of 2019 for the first time displays them in a separate column.
Cloaking is the organization of a site in such a way that search bots see completely different content than users.
Three other toxic ranking factors are link schemes, re-optimization with key queries (stuffing) and masking of keywords (hiding) when the queries are invisible on the page. Links and key optimizations are legitimate and welcome. But if you cross the line, you can easily get the penalty from the search engine.
Another interesting negative ranking factor presented in the table is piracy, which means publishing borrowed content. This can be either text content copied from other sites, or the ability to download pirated copies of the licensed video and audio products.
An additional negative factor in the table of toxins is intrusive ads that block access to content, pop-ups and other ad formats that worsen the user experience.
Emerging Verticals Group
This group reflects factors that, according to the SEL team, increase the impact on SEO. These ranking factors are not new and well known to webmasters, just new verticals offer a fresh look at familiar concepts.
These factors are determined by consumer behavior. According to the latest statistics, 77% of Americans use smartphones, 89% of them go online at least once a day with a smartphone, and 31% say they are online almost the whole day. Therefore, promising ranking factors include popular online functions and content.
Local - maps, lists, reviews of local restaurants, hotels, museums and more.
Voice search - on the go is more convenient than manual input.
Images - are displayed all higher in the output.
Video is a very popular content format for an active user audience.
Optimization of these factors does not harm SEO, on the contrary, it improves existing content and the weight of the emerging verticals will be observed by all SEO experts in the next years.