Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO ranking factors is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their SEO ranking. This valuable resource has received a refresh for 2019 with all the latest changes to on and off-page SEO.
So, what’s new in the SEO Periodic Table 2019, and how does it affect your business’ SEO strategy?
How content impacts SEO ranking
The SEO Periodic Table 2019 update didn’t bring big changes here. It should be no surprise that the 2019 update shows that the focus remains on quality content that answers your audience’s questions.
Ideally, your content should do that in a way that Google can convert it into an answer in the search results. That way, you have a higher chance of your content featuring as a snippet in the SERP.
Your content also needs well-researched keywords that occur naturally in the text. Ideally you should make use of multi-media content with images, infographics, and video.
Finally, keeping your content refreshed keeps it relevant to both your audience and the search engines.
How architecture impacts SEO ranking
The way you set up and maintain your website can have a big impact on how search engines rank your site. Again, not much has changed here for 2019.
The most important factors remain crawling and mobile optimization. If the search engines can’t crawl your site for any reason, then they aren’t able to identify and index all of your content. If mobile users can’t easily navigate your website then you’re losing potential customers.
Search engines are heavily prioritizing pages that perform well on mobile devices, but not all local businesses have taken full advantage of mobile optimization.
People frequently use their smartphones to search for products, services, and information. Because of this, search engines prioritize mobile-optimized webpages. Making sure your site is mobile-optimized is a great way to give your local business the edge over competitors with desktop-only websites.
Speed has gained one weighting point. Slow websites provide a negative user experience, and search engines will penalize sites with slow loading speeds.
Duplicate content can cause SEO issues, but you can remedy that by setting canonical URLs for any necessary duplicate content on your site.
Secure HTTPS connections have also gained a weighting point, making user security an important factor in SEO ranking. Getting an SSL certificate for your site will make it more attractive to the search engines.
Less important, but a simple way to give a small boost to SEO ranking is to incorporate keywords into your page URLs.
How HTML tags impact SEO ranking
The only real change here is the addition of Accelerated Mobile Pages as the lowest weighted factor. In fact, whether AMP affects the ranking is still a little unclear, and so while it’s worth some consideration, it need not be a key part of your SEO strategy.
The biggest factor here is still creating strong titles that contain keywords. Your content should have a clear structure using H1 and H2 tags, with keywords contained in those. Your page description meta tags should also clearly describe the content on the page.
The structure of your content is also important. A frequently underused feature is structured data or schema mark-up, which gives search engines a clear way to define your page content. It’s less complicated than it sounds and is currently a highly underused tool by most businesses.
How trust impacts SEO ranking
The main change in the SEO Periodic Table 2019 is the addition of reputation and the removal of history and identity. Reputation incorporates the older factors of identity and history and rewards sites that have high traffic and a long history.
Authority remains the highest weighted factor. Authority considers the number of high-quality links, shares, and comments you have.
Engagement is a measure of how long people stay on your site. If your content is informative and engaging, then when people click through from the search engines, they should remain on your website a while. If they bounce right back to search again, your ranking is affected.
How links impact SEO ranking
This hasn't changed much compared to previous versions. Links have always been a crucial element of SEO. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that your links are from high-quality websites with a high trust ranking. The links should also be relevant and valuable to your audience.
Consider the anchor text that you use for links. Ideally, the links should be from pages with similar keywords to your page, to give you the highest rating. Additionally, your backlink strategy should be focused on building high-quality links.
Low-quality links, or buying links can lead to a drop in your ranking.
For local businesses, listing your business with reputable online directories that include your contact information and your website link can help you boost your local SEO as well as making sure that customers can find you on those websites.
For example, a local painter in West Philadelphia might list with Yelp, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Bing Places, and their local Chamber of Commerce to name a few.
How users impact your SEO ranking
This vertical is renamed for the SEO Periodic Table 2019, having been ‘personal’ in previous versions. Google’s top priority is providing users with the search results and user experience that they need so this is an important vertical.
Businesses need to take into account the country of the searcher and add the appropriate hreflang tags if necessary.
Locality is another key element. Your content should contain the neighborhoods and cities that you serve. Your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) information should be on every page of your website.
Setting up your Google My Business information is another crucial element, especially for local businesses and contractors. This will affect how you show up on Google Maps as well as the Local Pack in search results.
Finally, reviews from clients and customers also affect how you rank on searches. Encourage people to leave a review for your business if they were satisfied with your service.
User experience is another crucial element. When people land on your site, you want them to stay on your site and not be driven away by poor content, excessive ads and pop-ups, or speed issues. Your site should be easy to navigate and designed with the end user in mind.
History is still relevant, although less so than the other factors. People who visit your site regularly are more likely to be shown your site again higher in the search results. Finally, intent is a new addition that takes into consideration why somebody might search for specific terms. The closer your content matches to their expected intent, the better.
Let's take a look at how our local painter in West Philadelphia can put the information in this vertical to good use.
Including their business name, address and telephone number in the header or footer of every website page as well as on their ‘About’ or ‘Contact’ pages.
Filling out their Google My Business profile fully. They can maximize the impact of their listing by including images of completed jobs, their logo, and images of any business premises they operate from.
Making sure their website mentions the locations they serve. For instance, they might work in the phrase ‘West Philadelphia painter’ to any relevant pages.
Updating their blog with painting related topics that also includes locational keywords. For example Most popular bedroom paint colors in West Philadelphia, or an article about priming walls before painting. The latter could include a few sentences about how this local West Philadelphia painter primes and prepares walls for his customers and gets great results.
Encouraging clients to leave a review after a completed job. Reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other relevant websites help boost your local ranking and also builds trust with potential customers.
Keeping their website design clean and easy to navigate and avoiding the use of ads and unnecessary pop-ups. This can improve user experience and potentially improve the loading speed of the website.
Toxins: practices that can hurt your SEO ranking
In the 2019 update, the ‘Toxins’ have their own vertical. In previous editions, they were located within the other verticals but carried a negative weighting score. The ‘Toxins’ are practices that can seriously undermine your SEO efforts, and you should avoid them at all costs.
Buying backlinks, spamming blogs, and indulging in other schemes will hurt rather than help your SEO ranking. Similarly, the act of cloaking your site to display a different page to users than to search engines will harm your SEO.
Keyword stuffing and hiding keywords have been considered poor practice for a while, and these are included here.
Lower on the list, but still necessary to avoid is piracy. Hosting stolen content on your website will negatively impact your SEO efforts, whereas creating original content will boost it.
Finally, excessive use of pop-ups and advertising create a poor user experience, which is something the search engines are keen to avoid.
Emerging Verticals: a new addition for the SEO Periodic Table 2019
2019 saw the addition of ‘Emerging Verticals’ which are newer factors that are up-and-coming. These are voice, local, image, and video.
They’re not all entirely new. Images and video have been important for a while and also form part of the ‘multi-media’ block of the content vertical. There are strong indicators that search engines will be rewarding content that includes them more heavily in the future.
Let’s take our local painter example. Including images of completed jobs alongside written content, or a video explaining different rollers and brush types to accompany a related article can give their content a boost.
Voice is an up-and-coming element of SEO. The rise of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home means that businesses who optimize their content for voice search can get an edge over the competition. Including clear and concise FAQs in natural language can help here.
Optimizing for voice search also means understanding the different words people use when typing and speaking. People tend to use full phrases and more words, whereas they often use shorthand in text searches.
For example, a text search might be “painters in West Philadelphia,” whereas a voice search might be “Who is the best painter in West Philadelphia?”
Our local painter might choose to carefully incorporate answers to “Who is the best painter in West Philadelphia” by leveraging reviews and/or working an answer to the question into the text on their website. For example, on an appropriate page, they might include “our customers think Local Painter is the best painter in West Philadelphia. Here’s what Mrs. Smith had to say about our services….”
People are using their smartphones more and more frequently to find local businesses offering the services they need. Making sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices, encouraging customers to leave reviews, and ensuring that your Google My Business information is up to date are great ways to take advantage of this.
The lowdown on how businesses can get ahead with SEO in 2019 and beyond
There’s a lot of information in the SEO Periodic Table 2019, and there are elements of crossover within the different verticals, so we’ve outlined some key points to take away here.
These are the key things you should be incorporating into the SEO strategy for your business:
Content is still king when it comes to SEO ranking. Creating original, high-quality content that uses keywords naturally and appeals to high-quality websites for backlinking is crucial.
When you’re creating content, make good use of multimedia. Pay special attention to your keyword research and include keywords in your titles and header tags.
Make good use of structured data. With very few businesses using it to its full potential, it’s a great way to get a step ahead of the competition.
Regularly review old content and either remove or refresh it. Consider adding video, images, and brief FAQ snippets to boost older content.
Implement a good outreach strategy for creating high-quality backlinks
Regularly check and maintain your website for speed and crawling issues.
If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, make this a priority.
Keep your Google My Business information up to date and ensure that your NAP information is displayed consistently across your website.
How many of these are already part of your business’ SEO strategy?
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