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The Most Important SEO Factors (An Updated List)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

(This article has been updated as of 5/13/2020 to hold even more helpful information about search engine optimization.)

Ranking factors for search engine optimization have been shifting since search engines were available. Some have only changed slightly, while others have gone away completely (and for good reason). One thing is certain, even in uncertain times like those affecting our country right now: SEO will always be important for a website’s success.

Having strong search engine optimization (SEO) means working on a variety of “moving parts” that are subject to change based on many factors. Each step you take needs to be done correctly and completed at the right time. With all of these factors in mind, here are just some of the most important parts of SEO you should know.

1. Industry and audience

Your specific industry and audience will affect your SEO. In fact, this should be the first thing you look at when starting an online marketing strategy. Consider the industry you are in, all of your audiences, your competition, where you do business, and how your competitors do their SEO. Your answers to all of these considerations will affect your strategy and how it evolves over time.

2. Mobile friendly-websites

business man smiling and using his smartphone

Search engines, especially Google, are now focusing on mobile websites first. This is because a large portion of searches are now done on mobile devices. But, you should keep in mind that desktop search results are not excluded from SEO standards. Your industry and unique audience will still matter when it comes to desktop SEO.

Your best option to help your audience on both desktop and mobile find you in search is to have strong SEO for both. This doesn’t mean you should have two separate websites, but a responsive design that fits all screen sizes. This prevents duplicate content issues and helps website viewers know they are still on your site no matter what device they are using.

3. Technical SEO

This SEO factor encompasses many areas of your website including the coding, plugins, links, and site speed. All of these and more can affect SEO value positively and negatively. If something is wrong with your coding, your links are broken, or your images and videos take too long to load, your website could rank lower in search results.

Crawling is another important technical aspect of SEO. You must allow search engines to crawl your website using their spiders (bots) so that they can return search results that are relevant to a user’s query. It is vital to do this as well as keep a healthy linking structure and architecture.

4. Keywords and phrases

Part of your research when you plan your SEO strategy should be dedicated to keywords and keyphrases. This can take place during your research on audience and industry or separately. Doing research will help you figure out the following information and more.

  • The intent of people visiting your website
  • How people search for your website, including keyword variances
  • Keywords and phrases that won’t do much for your SEO
  • Trending searches that can enhance your SEO
  • Long tail phrases that answer questions and help you develop long-term SEO value

Keep in mind that all of this information can and will likely change over time, at least to some degree. This is why the next factor for SEO is so important.

5. Voice search

young woman speaking into phone

For at least a few years, industry experts have predicted that voice search will increase and this has been true. People use voice search to get information fast and you can answer their need for urgency. Here are some tips you can use to optimize for this type of search.

  • Don’t use keywords too much. Natural language is better.
  • Sometimes a natural question can actually be a key phrase. This can be a great opportunity to increase your website’s SEO value.
  • Search engines are getting better at understanding context, so be sure to research alternative searches.
  • Smartphones and voice assistants have more features than ever before. Take advantage of this by doing some research and making content that can be accessed by all of them.

6. Analytics and other data

analytics data on laptop screen

You will need to regularly compile accurate data about your SEO, whether it is good or bad, and what can be changed. You may not see drastic changes too often and that is okay. Many industries don’t experience major SEO variances. Monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly reports should work for you. Pay attention to the most-searched keywords and phrases, popular pages on your website, conversion data, advertising information, and pages that could use some tweaking.

7. Content marketing

Experts agree that having strong content and content marketing based on keywords and analytics will enhance your SEO. Great content is more likely to be linked on other sites or on social media, which can show Google that your website provides high-quality trusted information. Having authoritative content allows search engines to rank your website higher in search results as long as it is relevant to a query.

Here are some tips for using content marketing in your SEO strategy.

  • Content marketing isn’t always easy and it can be time-consuming. It can be helpful to work with someone so you can focus on running your business.
  • All content should be original (not copied from another site), whether it is written by you or someone else.
  • Content doesn’t just include words. Website pages should have videos, images, and other features to enhance SEO value.
  • When someone tells you “just make good content,” this isn’t enough information to be successful. Factors like keyword targeting, meta descriptions, good grammar and spelling, and optimized images are important.
  • Some content will work and some will not. This type of marketing is never cut and dry.
  • If your SEO and content are not working to your expectations, see what can possibly be changed. A & B testing can help you find out what is best for your specific audience.
  • Don’t give up! Celebrate your content successes and learn from the content that doesn’t do so well.
  • Update your content. Creating new content is great, but you can go back into old posts, videos, and graphics to freshen up the information (like we have done here). Fresh doesn’t always mean new.
  • Answering questions and providing useful information are also vital. You should supply something that meets a demand.
  • Make sure that whatever you are supplying to your website visitors is linkable. Backlinks (healthy ones) can give your website a boost in rankings.
  • Be specific with your content. Focusing on too many subjects may confuse readers and search engines.

Do you need help with search engine optimization?

To learn more about SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media Management, or Websites in general, contact UCI Digital in Amarillo, Texas today! Our Team is dedicated to helping you succeed online by providing a variety of Services. You can also check out parts One and Two of our basic SEO guide for more information about helping your website rank well in search engines. You can call us at (806) 553-5332 or Contact Us by Email.