Our Top Five High Impact Ranking Signals for 2018

We talk about SEO (search engine optimization). We talk about SEO a lot, as you’re probably aware if you’ve either explored the site or maybe read some of our other articles.

As we tend to harp on, SEO is not a static art. The most- and best-optimized SEO is derived from diligence, research, knowledge, and professionalism. The SEO world consistently changes with technology, so to adapt, your SEO should constantly change to meet the needs of customers while simultaneously satisfying what algorithms and search engines seek. Sounds like a lot to cope with, right? Well, it kinda is, if we’re honest.

But we’ve got something for you.

Here’s a way to make your transition to improved SEO even easier (well, after you’ve read our Intro to SEO article, that is): know what are the most high impact ranking signals in 2018. Some of these are overlooked Google ranking factors.

Note: These factors are derived from an incredible study performed by SearchEngineJournal. The article can be found here. Based on our professional experience, we’ve selected what we personally feel are the Top Five high impact ranking factors.

2018 High Impact Ranking Factors: Getting Fancy

Parent Taking Children Trick Or Treating At Halloween

Doesn’t get much fancier than Halloween costumes!

Before we dive right in, let’s quickly review what ranking factors actually are: signals to algorithms on how highly your site should be ranked in a SERP (search engine result page). This means if you perform poorly on a certain ranking signal, you’re likely to be ranked much lower than if you’ve catered to the demands of all of the major ranking signals.

That should help provide some enlightenment to why these factors can carry such a heft with them.

Now: heels together, toes in, let’s dive in!

1 – Staying On: OnPage SEO

Closeup of male hands using modern digital tablet at night outdoor, technology and social networking concept, hipster guy typing on touch screen of portable computer, bokeh light in blurred background

It’s time to get at it.

As we recently discussed in this article, OnPage SEO has become remarkably relevant in the past year or so. What is OnPage SEO? Here’s a quick review from our previous article:

Are we not already “on the page?” What exactly do you mean “OnPage?”

An astute point, but no, we’re not already on the page: merely visiting a website is not exactly what is meant by “OnPage SEO.” “OnPage” means what it sounds like, though: it’s SEO that deals within the content, copy, and pages of your site.

So what precisely does this mean? It means that what’s on your site content wise is always a driving factor in how your page is ranked by algorithms. Keep that evergreen content at the top of your priorities, maintain fresh copy, and make sure your (easily accessible) pages are appropriately concise.

2 – Content Will Always Be King

content is king handwritten on blackboard

Bow down.

New and persistent content should function be treated as one of your most valuable resources.

Treat your content with the emphasis it deserves by employing evergreen content, or content that doesn’t go void after warranty. Snark aside, what we mean here is that you produce evergreen content by staying relevant and timeless, regardless of what year you’re in. Produce content that is vivacious, easy-to-read, and informative without dating. From our evergreen content article (linked above):

Evergreen content is the art of creating articles and blog post that will remain valuable to readers for extended amounts of time. It’s an excellent content marketing strategy that can increase your brand’s awareness and profits. Take these tips and go forth to produce evergreen content that we can read about tomorrow, next month or three years from now.

3 – Backlinks Are Supreme

Linkbuilding - illustration with street sign in front of office building.

Step right this way, please.

Backlinks are the equivalent of getting Facebook likes in the SEO world.

Essentially, the more (credible) backlinks you have, the more credence algorithms award to your site and content. As an even stronger reminder, backlinks are when your site has been linked to by other sites. The more domain authority the site has that has linked to you, the higher you’re likely to rank. Collect those sonofaguns! You want all the backlinks you can collect. Whether through guest posts or even affiliate posting, backlinks are highly sought after in the SEO game.

In that same study we noted at the very beginning of the article, SearchEngineJournal reported that the first ranked page on a SERP has 2.2x more backlinks than the second-ranked page. That’s data that’s hard to argue with.

How do you check the status of your backlinks, though? What if your competitor has been attaching scammy links to your name (sadly, this does happen)? Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of helpful backlink checkers.

Staying on top of your backlinks to ensure that you’re getting the right kind of attention can mean the difference between ranking up and ranking down. If you find your brand has been sullied by a competitor, we also have help on how you can disavow said links so algorithms overlook them.

4 – User Behavior Signals Mean Business

Document concept between hands of a woman in background

Behold, the power of users.

User behavior signals are one of the more recent additions to the SEO community. This high impact ranking signal has many connotations. Overall, though, user behavior signals indicate how a user interacts with your site. Do they bounce after 2 seconds? Are they waiting around for a slow page to load but decide to leave? Basically, how your users interact with your site indicates to algorithms how preferred your page is.

If you’re finding that your site has issues with high bounce rates, perform a site audit to uncover what is causing users to leave so abruptly. Once you’ve corrected the issues, this is yet another signal that can contribute greatly to a kickass ranking.

Often, user experience (UX) influences or is the solution to improved user behavior. Fix the UX and you’ve generated better behavior.

NOTE: If you don’t want to perform an audit yourself, we here at Dominate with SEO specialize in audits. Give us a call or contact us via the Discovery Form and we’ll enlighten you and get you back on your way.

5 – Be Dense: Keyword Density

Man using a laptop with keywords search concept on the screen

But stay balanced. Not too dense, of course.

Keyword density is a topic that is occasionally a hotly debated topic amongst SEO professionals. But let’s back up. Before we give you numbers, let’s talk refreshers on what keyword density is.

Keyword density is the culmination of how many times you’ve used your keyword or keyphrase in your content. This number is percentage-based and calculated by dividing the total number of words by the number of times your keyword or keyphrase was mentioned in your content and multiply that result by 100. If you have 500 words and your keyword was used 3 times in the piece, your keyword density would be 0.6%, or a little on the low side.  

500 / 3 = 0.006; 0.006 x 100 = 0.6%

In general, WordPress add-ons like Yoast calculate these for you in their sleep (read: automatically).

So what is the perfect keyword density? In the opinion of these SEO professionals, 2-3% is optimal, but natural keyword placement should be the driving force. Unnatural forcing (or keyword stuffing) is a black hat practice that we don’t suggest.

Turn of Phrase: 5 out of 17

While there’s definitely more to high impact ranking signals than just the top five, you should give these signals the respect and attention they deserve. If you work for them, they can work for you. Get the ranking that you deserve and can achieve by pouring into these five in particular, but also the others that arose in the SearchEngineJournal study.

Looking for More?

Here at Dominate with SEO, we have cumulative decades of experience in the field and dedicate ourselves to our clients. Whether you’re looking for help improving social media, figuring out evergreen content or in need of a site audit to figure out where you’re going wrong, we’re here for you. We even cover those overlooked Google ranking factors. Contact us today via our Discovery Form and let’s get this party started. When you work with us, we can help you dominate your competition.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.