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There has been some discussion within our web marketing group as to what the most important factors in SEO are. I’ve always contended that it comes down to two major factors, Relevance and Authority/Quality. Depending on how competitive the phrase is, the more authoritative your site needs to be to rank but you don’t stand a chance if your page isn’t relevant to begin with. So with any SEO program, we always start with focusing on creating relevance. This begins with keyword research to determine what your target market is searching for. From there, you know what to make your content relevant towards.
First things first…. Is the content indexable? If not, then don’t worry about anything else. This takes priority above all else. Once you can establish this then move on to how relevant your page is.
Factors that have Negative influence:
The interesting thing is that just one negative factor can negate all the other work you’ve done. If you have a penalty on the domain, no matter your efforts in producing authority or relevance, you may be pigeon-holed to below the first 3 pages.
You can submit a reconsideration request if this is the case, but this rarely has any effect. Google will not respond to your request directly to let you know whether your assumptions are correct or whether they will do anything about it.
Ultimately there are over 200 factors that go into the algorithm but you really want to focus on the ones that are going to produce the most for your time. It also seems as though Google is placing more emphasis on factors that are less controllable such as internal historical data such as CTR and secondary searches which indicate quality.
What should you take away from this post? Google is getting smarter, naturally. They are placing more emphasis on factors that can’t be manipulated. This gives them better control at fighting spammers and ultimately the quality of their search engine results. This also means bigger brands that have more recognition are going to be favored due to CTR and overall mentions. However, the small guy has an advantage as well when it comes to relevance. Often times, big corporations have extremely complex websites that make it much more difficult to manage the factors that influence relevance.