Is your website on the right ranking path?

I want to talk about ranking factors, because that’s what it’s all about, right?

I prefer to think of them as ranking paths. The things that Google has told us are ranking factors are things like internal links, external links, titles, HTTPS and other technical details. There’s also been talk about popularity, and Gary Illyes has talked about brand mentions and citations. People get hung up on all this because they’re trying to trick Google, and that’s where they get into problems.

There’s been talk about direct traffic being one of the major ranking factors for site growth, but one of the problems with that is figuring out which source it’s coming from. Direct traffic can be from people typing your address into the search bar, but it can also include links in email, an address shared in Messenger or in SMS, or a link in WhatsApp. Google tends to throw them all together and call them all direct traffic. It’s a catchall category.

I would say, in every one of these cases, the best way to build your traffic is to build your brand.

I don’t care about all those detailed ranking factors, because we’re not trying to trick Google. Look to your ranking path. How are you going to get the ranking you want for your site? Google rewards sites by increasing their ranking, but what they reward is key. And what Google rewards is a great user experience.

Sure, you have to make sure your technical SEO is right, but that’s all part of making your users happy while they’re on your site. Make them happy, build your brand and the traffic will come.

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NOW READ: How to get your website ready for Google’s “mobile-first” indexing


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