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Ranking Factors

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Top three factors

And so let’s just have a look at Google’s official top three ranking factors. Now, this isn’t something that Google normally reveals, its ranking factors, it does occasionally.

However, we do know the top three ranking factors:

  • Links: By links we actually mean backlinks. This is when a website and external website links to yours, that’s a backlink, and we believe that this is the top-ranking factor.
  • Content: It’s thinking about having relevant content that targets the keywords that you want to rank for.
  • RankBrain: This is a sub-algorithm of Google’s overall algorithm and it’s really the artificial intelligence behind Google and it’s a lot to do with trying to understand the underlying meaning of any given keyword.

But interestingly there is actually over 200 ranking factors so there are a lot of them but fortunately, we can group these into categories so when we looked at technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO, all of these 200 ranking factors fit somewhere within those three.

White hat and black hat

Another phrase you may have heard of if you’re familiar with SEO is black hat and white hat SEO.

Black hat SEO

Black hat SEO is the name given to people that intentionally and sometimes unintentionally break Google’s guidelines. So Google has a list of guidelines that you can find online and it encourages webmasters to follow those guidelines. If you do break the guidelines, you run the risk of getting a search engine penalty and that means that you’ll lose a lot of SEO progress that you’ve built up.

White hat SEO

White hat SEO is the complete opposite. It’s essentially when you abide by Google’s guidelines and that’s what we’re going to be focusing on today is what you need to do to abide Google’s guidelines to make really good SEO progress, but we will also highlight some of the black hat techniques that you’ll want to keep an eye on and make sure you’re not doing.

Top technical ranking factors

Now, in the top three ranking factors, we didn’t mention any technical SEO factors and that’s because it’s not quite as important when it comes to ranking a page but what we will quickly review now are the top three technical SEO ranking factors.

  • Mobile SEO: That’s making sure that your website offers a very good user experience on mobile devices and tablets.
  • Https: When you go onto a website sometimes, you’ll notice that some web pages are secure and have https and some don’t. In recent years, Google has encouraged web webmasters to move to https. They want a more secure web and it’s a slight ranking factor at the moment.
  • Site speed: If you’ve been on a slow website you probably know it’s not the best experience and that also is a ranking factor. We’ll talk about site speed in more detail later in the module.
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Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

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    SEO Workshop
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    Skills Expert

    This module covers the basic concepts that underpin SEO. It introduces methods for improving technical SEO and on-page optimization of a website. It explains how to plan and implement a strategic SEO campaign and also covers the best practices for successfully building and maintaining backlinks to a website.