So Google uses over 200 ranking factors, but what's most important for SEO? In this video, I'll show you exactly what you need to focus on. And don't worry, I won't bore you with patents or geeky SEO terminology. Instead, I'll show you the 20% of actions that drive 80% of results in an SEO campaign. So if you're excited to start improving your Google rankings, then like this video right now, and let's dive right in.
1. Crawlable (indexable)
Okay, so the most important Google ranking factor is, is your website crawlable and indexable. Now, probably not what you expected, but none of the other Google ranking factors matter if Google can't crawl and index your pages. It is a prerequisite for ranking. And the easiest way to know is to download the detailed Chrome extension
and then look under the robots tags section. As long as you don't see no index, you're good to go. You should also set up your website on Google Search Console
, because it'll notify you if you're having crawling and indexing issues. And it's the first place you should go to diagnose crawling problems. Now, there are many other factors that dictate how well Google will crawl and index your site. But the good news is that the other factors I'm about to share will take care of it.
This brings me to Google ranking factor number two, which is, is your website's structured to maximize crawling and indexing. So there are four core elements you need to focus on. Number one, your site wide navigation. This is particularly important for E commerce, but it applies to every website. The site wide navigation is the single best tool for improving crawlability. In short, you're giving Google an entry point on almost every page on your website. And in general, your goal should be to have all your pages on your website no more than three clicks deep. And that's why in the case of E commerce, it's best to place category or collection pages in the navigation.
Number two: internal link coverage. If a page isn’t ranking well, one question you should ask is does this page have enough internal link coverage? And in our SEO campaign process we classify any page with less than five unique internal links as not having enough internal link coverage. That means you'll need to find pages to build more internal links, or we'll need to create more content to support those assets. Now here's how to find these pages with Screaming Frog
Okay, so all you have to do is just run to your target website through Screaming Frog and once the crawl is completed, you just need to go and scroll over all the way over here to the right until you see unique in links. Okay, this column right here, and then you can sort it to see the pages that have less than five unique inlinks. Now, five is a big number. We just want to make sure that we're really hitting that page well with internal links and giving it the maximum internal link coverage, but you could lower that even to three if you wanted. But regardless, you need to find these pages that have poor internal link coverage and then need to figure out a way to drive more internal links to these pages either by finding existing assets where you can add internal links. Or if you don't have any relevant existing assets, then it's an indication that you need to create more content to be able to support these pages. And this is one of the best ways to not only build topical authority but increase internal link coverage, improve crawling and indexing, and ultimately just build the authority of your site. So it has a cascading effect. And so you absolutely need to identify these pages. And when you drive more internal links to these pages, they will perform better.
3.Optimizing Internal Link Anchor Texts
And then number three, are you optimizing internal link anchor texts. Almost all of your internal links should use exact match or partial match anchors to describe what you're linking to. Now keep in mind this rule does not apply to backlinks but sometimes modifying internal link anchor texts can produce big gains. For example, we worked with a supplement company that sells protein powder, but their anchor text within the navigation was just protein. And the problem with this is that it sends confusing signals as far as intent. Now look at the search results for the head keyword protein versus protein powder. The protein results are informational and focused on the macronutrient itself. While the protein powder results are specifically about the supplement. That means that we're optimizing for the wrong keyword variation and intent. So we simply switched it to protein powder in the navigation, and it shot the rankings up.
4.Core Web Vitals
So the next Google ranking factor to focus on is, ‘Is your website optimized for core web vitals?’ Now Google has confirmed that core web vitals is a ranking factor, but for now, just ignore the technical jargon and it just means how fast your page loads
and the overall experience. Now there are two primary ways to see how well your site is doing. First is: Lighthouse
. You can download it as a Chrome extension and generate a report. You can also just right click on any page and inspect element. Then go to the lighthouse tab and generate a report. Number two, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights
once you've benchmarked your scores. You'll just need to work to improve them. In most cases, you'll need to work with a developer and in addition to core web vitals, you should also make sure your website has an SSL certificate (Ranking factor number 5)
because it's another confirmed ranking factor. And there are many more micro technical and UX activities. But focus on these first and you'll be ahead of most websites.
Now let's tackle content. So the first question is, is your content different and better than what's currently ranking? Now while it's true that longer content tends to rank better, some people have taken this idea the wrong way. The goal shouldn't be to create a long, regurgitated piece of content. The goal should be to create something new and unique for the keyword while continuing to satisfy the intent of that keyword.
Now speaking of intent, it's the most important ranking factor in regards to your content. If you get it wrong, you will not rank and that's why it's critical to understand the different types of search intent
and how it fits within the context of a sales funnel
. So at the top of the funnel, you have informational keywords and these are keywords like how to dribble a basketball. In the next stage of the funnel. You have investigative keywords like best basketball shoes, further down the funnel, you'll encounter comparison keywords like Nike Air Jordans, versus Kobis. And lastly, at the bottom of the funnel, you'll find transactional queries like Nike discount code. Now understanding and 10 is critical for how to develop the target page.
For example, let's say you're targeting informational keywords like how to dribble a basketball well first go to Google and enter the keyword and then right away we can see that Google is delivering informational content. But it's also determined that this keyword has video intent as well, meaning Google has enough data to know that people prefer videos to learn how to dribble a basketball. And that's why Google is prioritizing video in this case. So in this case, you'd want to try to rank on both Google and YouTube for this keyword. And now let's look at the keyword Nike discount code which has transactional intent. Look at this page. From retail me not that's ranking. It's structured to satisfy the intent perfectly. In other words, it's giving the searcher exactly what they're looking for, which is the discount codes.
Now notice when you scroll down to though, they still have content built to feed Google's algorithm, in most cases, no matter the intent, you'll still need copywriting to rank in fact, I tested this theory when I create a blog content around different colored YouTube Subscribe buttons for example, I wanted to see if I could rank for keywords like yellow Subscribe buttons by just satisfying the intent perfectly, but having very little copywriting and as you can see from the page, it was just a title, Intro sentence and then the designs and it was enough to rank number 26 But it's stuck there. So then I tested the same strategy across seven different colors and pages and the results were exactly the same. It ranked okay, but it got stuck. So then I executed the second part of the test and added some copywriting to each page. And guess what these pages now rank consistently number one, and two. So in theory, this page satisfied the intent perfectly. But in reality, Google still gives tons of weight to the volume of words on a page, so you'll need to do both. For now.
Now the only nuance here is where the copywriting should live on the page. In the case of informational keywords, it should be at the forefront above the fold. But for transactional keywords, the focus of the page should be on conversions. Now I can dedicate an entire training series to content quality, but there's one principle that will help you dominate your competitors. It's a concept that I call the SEO content moat. In short, your keyword driven content should find an angle that makes it difficult for any competitor to be you. For example, look at the search results for keyword research services. Gotcha SEO floats around number one and number two for this keyword. And notice that my page is the only one that's taken a unique angle and it's a true Purple Cow situation. And that should be your goal. Create something that's so unique that people A, have to pay attention, B, want to click on it and C, want to link to it. Now the good news is that it's easy to find unique angles in almost every vertical because most people creating SEO content are creating nothing more than regurgitated nonsense. So focus on being different and finding that unique angle while continuing to satisfy the intent of the keyword.
Now you might be wondering, how do you create unique content on category or lead generation pages on the local level? Well, the content that lives on a given page should be 100% Based on the intent of the keyword. For example, if someone searches St. Louis personal injury lawyer and lands on your page then the content should emphasize why they're the lawyer that you should work with. In other words, the content should persuade the searcher to become a lead. So content that will achieve that goal or testimonials, client case studies, client stories, frequently asked questions or even hiring guidelines like five steps to hiring a personal injury lawyer without getting burned.
The goal of content on transactional pages is to drive conversions. So don't treat these pages like informational content. Now once you've got the content all squared away, you need to optimize the page itself. To feed Google's algorithm at a bare minimum you should place your primary keyword in the URL, title, h1 tag, and first sentence, and sprinkled a couple times naturally throughout the page. You should also optimize the content using servers NLP tool, here's how.
Alright, so let's say I wanted to improve my SEO performance for this keyword SEO for florists. So we put it into Surfer
in the SERP analyzer and then we go down here and we can look at a few things. First, we can look at the averages for various variables, but in this case, it's just looking at workouts so what I recommend doing is actually looking at the top five this way you can get a better understanding of what you're going to be up against because at the end of the day, we need to beat the top five we don't need to beat the number eight guy we need to beat the people in the top five to really see the impact of our ranking. So based on this, we need to get to about a little over 1000 words. So before you even think about optimizing for NLP or natural language processing, you need to make sure you hit your minimum word count. That's absolutely critical. So go down here and you'll see I put gotcha SEO in here, there's a brand new page.
So I would recommend putting your page in here and then we can go over here to the audit section. And then based on this before we even do the true density, we would just want to make sure that we've hit the word count based on what surfer is telling us so in this case, we've definitely hit the word count at least the minimum word count we need now we may need more words, but this is just enough for us to optimize it ultimately see how far we can go with this. Now go up here. Now we want to start to optimize based on the true density. So look at these various key words and see if there are opportunities to add these keywords to that page. So in this case, it looks like we haven't really hit many of the important keywords that we would need to to ultimately really optimize this page for search. And in some cases, we've actually been a little over optimize. So there's plenty of opportunity to improve here and I've never seen a page that doesn't have room for improvement. The question is how far do you need to go with this optimization and we aim for at least a 70 by in a case like this where you see that the top five or so pretty much everyone is below 70 Except for one competitor that's a 72 So in this case, we want to beat the top competitors score. So in this case, a 75 beats that top competitor. So then we know at this point that we can at least mark it off the list as far as being having that minimum optimization or at least putting it in the best position to succeed. So we're not looking to jam a bunch of keywords in there over optimized we're just looking to beat the top competitors in this specific instance.
Now the next big Google ranking factor is organic CTR
. Now this only applies once you're actually ranking but it's critical for maintaining your rankings and getting further up the results. First, I recommend benchmarking your current CTR so go into Screaming Frog
, connect the Google Search Console API
and then run across then export the results and filter the position column to only show positions less than 10. change the formatting in the CTR column to percentage and then filter all pages to show only those that have a CTR of three or less and now you're only looking at pages that are ranking well, but have low organic CTR. Now keep in mind there are many variables that affect organic CTR for example, once again, the intent matters a lot. We rank for the keyword Blogspot and the CTR is super low because it's a navigational keyword for a brand that isn't ours. As a general rule CTR will be very low for these types of keywords and should be avoided in most cases. Now the question is how do you improve organic CTR when short? you need to test and there are only a few variables that are possible. the title tag, the meta description site links and microdata, I recommend testing each individually with a tool like Seotesting.com
So now you can do everything I've mentioned well, but the next ranking factor plays a huge role in your long term SEO performance, and it's as simple as, have you built enough topical authority
. In short, you need to create more keyword driven content to support your existing content. Do this and you will compound your topical authority. Now think in terms of clusters. For example, if I wanted to rank for the keyword backlinks, I would need to build content to support that primary mother asset. So I would create pages targeting keywords in that cluster that have different intent like how to get backlinks, buy backlinks, free backlinks, or do backlinks still matter? So if you aren't ranking well, focus on creating more content to support those existing assets. Just be careful and don't create pages that are targeting the same keyword. With the same intent because it will cause keyword cannibalization.
9.Website Authority (backlinks)
And the final ranking factor is no surprise. But if you aren't getting the SEO results you really want. It's because you likely don't have enough backlinks
and website authority
. So your overall website authority is one of the biggest ranking factors and it's why websites like Forbes Amazon Wikipedia rank for so many keywords. In fact, they can publish a brand new page and rank in the top 10 without a single backlink hitting the new page. That's the power of website authority. But for the rest of us, you'll need to focus on two things: acquiring backlinks to build your overall authority and acquiring backlinks to specific pages that you want to rank.
Now the best thing to do is just be scientific about your link building. First identify the link and authority gap between you and your competitors on the domain level. Here's how. Alright, so just open up SEMrush
and go into the bulk analysis tool under link building, and then just enter the domain that you're competing against. So in this case, I'm just using SEMrush as an example because I would never dare to compete with them. But when we look at the main thing I want to look at here is the total authority for the entire domain, not just one page, but the entire domain. So a couple key things you want to look at here is the authority score. So we see that there's a clear gap. Okay, there are an 81 I'm at a 51. So there's a big gap asked me narrowed here. And the way that we narrow that gap is by acquiring more links we look at you know 80,000 backlinks first 324 million backlinks, we got quite the gap to narrow and then we're also looking at the total domains as well. So this is how many unique domains are linking to our website. So they have 120,000 unique domains linking to their domain, and I only have about 4000. So clearly a lot of ground to make up. But this is important to establish because then you actually can put a quantifiable number and a target to ultimately work towards. Now, this is assuming that they're going to stop acquiring links, which is not true, but it also what we need to do is we need to accelerate our link growth so that hopefully we can start to make up ground on them or at least try to make a dent.Second, identify the link out on the page level for the keyword you're trying to rank for. Here's how to do that. Okay, so the best way to identify the link gap on the page level is just to go into SEMrush and go to the keyword overview tool and then put what keyword you're trying to rank for and then click search. Now if you're ranking the top 10, you can see right away the gap between you and the competitors. But if you're not, you may need to find your page. In this case, we're looking at Gotchseo at about number 12, this keyword and we only have about 40 referring domains. So we'll go ahead and look back and we'll look at the top result. And we're looking at about almost 500 domains. Okay, so this gives us a good indication of what we need to do and ultimately a target to go after. And in this case, you can of course grab the average top 10. But at the end of the day we need to get into the top three so even looking at the top three into these first two competitors have a massive amount of referring domains. So we're gonna have a lot of link building that's going to be required to make a dent for this keyword, but this is the gap these are the gaps you need to be looking at because you can actually estimate how much of an investment it will be from a link building perspective just by looking at these numbers and it makes it very quantifiable. So then all you have to do now just start acquiring backlinks to narrow those gaps and ultimately improve your rankings.
So those are all the most important Google ranking factors that you need to focus on. If you liked this video, please like it and subscribe right now because I have a lot of cool stuff coming out very soon. So thank you so much for watching, and I'll see you in the next video.