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Search Engine Lands: The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors


I just thought this was incredibly brilliant. I love looking at things in a completely new way.

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors

Make sure you read more about The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors @  Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO: Top Tips & Tutorial

I initially put this post up last month without any content, other than that I loved what Search Engine Land had done with this infographic (see above). Now that it’s been sitting here for a while I thought I’d dive further into the details of what this graphic is really trying to say and provide further insight into the SEO industry as a whole.

Isn’t it funny how a periodic table immediately brings you back to High School science class? That big old Periodic Table of Elements used to scare the heck out of me. I wasn’t a big science nerd if you couldn’t tell.

This periodic table is awesome though. It takes a little while to read but it really provides great information. The table is split into four. There is On Page SEO, Off Page SEO, Violations, and Blocking. On Page SEO is broken down even further into Content, HTML, and Architecture; while Off Page SEO is segmented into Links, Social, Trust, and Personal.

It’s important to note that Google has over 200 signals and over 10,000 sub-signals that determine search ranking results. This infographic isn’t the end all and be all of SEO. It’s just a great illustration that shows some of the top issues SEO specialists need to handle but it does leave a lot of the fine details out.

Image representing Search Engine Land as depic...

Image via CrunchBase

On Page

On Page optimization deals with ranking factors that the publisher owns and has control over. It really comes down to the quality of content, code, and architecture. Content quality asks if the content your site provides is valuable enough for a visitor to stay on the page and possibly return when new content is provided. Content research, will incorporate keywords to produce quality content. This hopefully will help gain an audience, and along with utilizing proper SEO techniques, should begin making its way up the rankings.

It’s important to include QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) into this article as it is part of the Google algorithm. I tend to disagree with Search Engine Land’s view of QDF as they believe it is only triggered when a search is requested in mass from the society (ie. Michael Jackson Dead). I believe instead that QDF gives precedence to websites that produce content and is slowly disregarding static sites that haven’t been updated.

Architecture is the last of the trifecta for on page optimization. The infographic tends to place site speed and descriptive URLs under architecture. I would argue that site speed has more to do with server capability and code. Either way each of these elements can interfere with a search engines ability to read and index pages on a site.

Off Page

Off Page optimization includes ranking factors that the publisher doesn’t have direct control over. One of the most powerful off page techniques is link building also known as backlinks. When the Internet was simpler, backlinks was a sheer volume game. Now the quality of where the link is coming from is just as important as the number of backlinks a site gains. That’s not to say that a massive amount of links won’t help a site. For example if Site A has 10,000 links from low grade sites and site B has 500 links from high quality sites they end up being nearly identical to Google. Of course a million links doesn’t mean anything unless it’s with the right anchor text. This is especially difficult to control but gaining a backlink that uses a specific keyword phrase as the anchor text is absolutely golden.

A more recent addition to off page optimization is social media. Google has subtly stated social media is a ranking factor but has placed a watchful eye over the results. Now with Google+ rolling out and attempting to have as much impact as Twitter and Facebook Likes it’s very possible this factor will hold more weight in the future. The downside to social media dictating the rankings is that it’s too easy for anyone to create hundreds of twitter accounts thereby generating their own buzz and affecting the rankings.

The larger question comes down to does Google trust your website enough to send it thousands of visitors. Many of our clients are puzzled by this question. They feel like one day they went off to sleep having put a shingle out by building a static website and the next morning woke up to be asked ‘are you an authority in this industry and if so prove it’. In the end though Google is the gorilla in the room and if they want to see you dance for top ranking, you’d better dance.

Violations

Now the bad news, there are a lot of shady companies out there trying to sell you a bag of magic beans. They mystify you with tales of success. They spellbound you into believing top ranking can happen overnight. All they are is a bunch of what we call in the industry ‘black hat’ companies. Believe me these guys want their money up front because they know a couple of months down the road your site is probably going to get banned.  Fortunately, with Google’s recent Panda updates, these guys are losing the battle fairly quickly. That’s not to say they aren’t still trying to sign up new clients.

In fact one of my clients recently received this email and asked me if I thought it was a good idea:

Dear Mr. XXXXX,

XXXXXXXXX Technologies agree to provide XXXXXXXX with Strategic Marketing Services as follows:

Option 1: $100,000.00 Cost For 1 Year.

1. 20 Million Visitors Targeted & Untargeted (High End Buyers).
2. 8 Million Offline Users.
3. Strategic Marketing Services which include XXXX Proprietary Software.
4. Real Estate Development Branding and Exposure.
5. Celebrity and Sports Branding. (A List Actors & N.F.L., N.B.A., N.H.L. and M.L.B.).
6. Social Networking of Real Estate Development.
7. Affiliate Marketing to over 100 additional Worldwide Buyer Sites.
8. Analytic Data – Improved Alexa Ranking & Monthly Progress reports.
9. Search Engine Marketing including Google Analytics, Yahoo & Bing Analytics.
10. (1) Visit to location in XXXXXXX for more additional Analysis included.

Option 2: $48,000.00 Cost For 7 Months.

1. 10 Million Visitors Targeted & Untargeted (High End Buyers).
2. 8 Million Offline Users.
3. Strategic Marketing Services which include XXXX Proprietary Software.
4. Real Estate Development Branding and Exposure.
5. Celebrity and Sports Branding. (A List Actors & N.F.L., N.B.A., N.H.L. and M.L.B.).
6. Social Networking of Real Estate Development.
7. Affiliate Marketing to over 100 additional Worldwide Buyer Sites.
8. Analytic Data – Improved Alexa Ranking & Monthly Progress reports.
9. Search Engine Marketing including Google Analytics, Yahoo & Bing Analytics.
10. (1) Visit to location in XXXXXXX for more additional Analysis included.

*This proposal allow 2 options to exist with different prices. However, you may not need some of these services in both options, but we will still provide these services as a standard package.
*XXXXXXXXX Technologies, LLC guarantee their services or your next 2 months are “Free”.

You may contact me directly with any questions that you may have at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. XXXXXXXX Technologies, LLC look forward to working with you and increasing your sales.

Now here is what really amazes me about this email. Well it’s the fact that it’s an email. Nothing says spam like a proposal written in an introductory email. Believe it or not though I actually had to justify to the client why I thought it was spam and not a good idea to pursue. Of course when I pointed out that both options provided this guy with a vacation to their location (point 10) my client started to see where this was going.

There are other ways to tell if the companies you’re using are actually spammers. The Search Engine Land infographic points out some pretty elementary techniques like keyword stuffing, hidden text, cloaking, paid links, and link spamming.

There is a not-so fine line between keyword density and keyword stuffing. Keyword density naturally fits into the conversation you are having whereas keyword stuffing is more like someone with Turrets syndrome. Let’s say I’m having a ten minute conversation with you about ‘milk’. In that time span you’d probably expect me to use the word ‘milk’ about 6 or 7 times. What would happen if I used it 50 or 100 times? You’d think there might be something wrong with me, right? That’s what keyword stuffing is. It’s the guy with Turrets on paper.

The funny thing about black hat techniques is that they all started during the wild west of the dot.com era. And back then they actually worked. It’s not like one day someone woke up and said ‘I think today I’ll hide all my keywords by making them the same color as the background. Let’s see how that goes.’ It’s just there was so little control within these engines that anything goes.

I’ll even admit to having used cloaking for the HomeTown Hearth and Grill website. In fact Suburban Propane bought me an application to make it easier for me to cloak. Cloaking is when you show one set of information to humans and another completely different set of data to the search engine spiders. The program was so successful that the website was still on the first page results for ‘gas grills’ years and years after the company stopped selling online. I had to write a letter to Google explaining what I had done and ask them to take the site out of the rankings.

Finally, I would be doing this section a disservice if I didn’t mention paid links. This is truly a technique I never tried. In fact I liken paid links to crack. Once you start, it’s really hard to stop. All you have to do is look at the embarrassment placed on J C Penney when it was revealed in the New York Times that they were buying links. Every once in a while one of these large corporations believe they are above Google’s laws and flagrantly violate policy. Just don’t do it.

Blocking

The newest area of ranking optimization is based on an individual’s ability to block a web site from their personal search. Blocking is absolutely impossible to control but most certainly sends the message that content is king. Everyone signing into Google has the ability to block any website from their future search results. For example, let’s say I really hate Best Buy, and I do a search for an iPod and Best Buy comes up on the first page results. I can choose to tell Google that I never want to see Best Buy as a result for iPod. Now here’s the tricky bit. If multiple people block Best Buy from the iPod search, Google is going to reconsider placing it on the first page.

That’s the power of the crowd and that’s the future of Search.

 

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