Ranking Factors You Should Care About

Are you a small business who is stumped by the three letters SEO? It’s okay to say yes, you aren’t the only one. Search engine optimization is the practice of maximizing the number of visitors to your website. There are a lot of factors that go into driving traffic to your website and SEO is one of them. Keywords are how consumers find websites on search engines like Google. The obvious question to ask is what can I do to increase my keyword rankings? There are a lot of resources online to guide you on how to make incremental improvements. 

In this blog, I want to review the top three ranking factors according to Moz. They are link signals, on page signals, and behavioral signals. There are activities you can start doing today to help improve your keywords. Let’s get started.

Backlink Like a Boss

Every year, or close to once a year, Moz asks the leading digital marketers what the top ranking factors are. Link signals are consistently the number one ranking factor. The pie chart below gives a general idea of how the ranking factors are distributed. The leading digital experts believe there are close to 200 factors. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that make up link signals and what you can do to improve your chances of moving up the rankings.

  • Anchor Text:  This is the hyperlink area in a blog post pointing to another domain. You can’t just add any old anchor text. You want to keep a healthy anchor text profile. One-third of your anchor text ought to be branded, another needs to be the keywords you want to rank on (plumber in Mystic Falls), and the other third should be generic. An over-optimized anchor text is one step closer to a Google penalty.
  • Link Domain Authority: Domain Authority is a metric that Moz gives to a website to determine how well it will rank on a search engine result page (SERP).
  • Link Domain Quantity: This is the number of domains linking back to your website. You would like to see an increased number of backlinks month-over-month.
  • Link Domain Relevance: Is the domain linking back to your website relevant to your industry? This sums up what link relevance is. If you’re a restaurant, it’d be great to have a link from the Food Network.

What Are On-Page Signals? 

The second-ranking factor we are going to discuss today is on page signals. Businesses have much more control over of on-page signals compared to link signals. On page signals assist link signals. When you have great content on your website, there’s a better chance other domains are going to want to reference that content in the form of a backlink. Let’s review some of the features of on page signals.

  1. NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number): This is the information consumers use to get in contact with your business. Google wants to see this somewhere on your website. Usually, you’ll have it on the bottom of your homepage and additionally on a contact us page. Remember if you change your phone number or business address to update this information on your website.
  2. Keyword in Title: Is the keyword that you are looking to rank for somewhere on your website? Having a dedicated page to those keywords will inform Google that you’re an expert on that topic. Add the keyword to your title tag, H1, marketing copy, and meta description. 
  3. Domain Authority: We mentioned Domain Authority in the link signals portion of this blog post. The higher your Domain Authority is, the better your chances of your website showing up higher in a search query. To improve your Domain Authority you’ll want to follow similar steps that impact your keyword rankings. It takes time to see a significant impact on your Domain Authority score.

Behavioral Signals

The final ranking factor that we want to review today is behavioral signals. This is third among the ranking factors, according to digital marketing experts. Behavioral signals can be greatly affected by what you’ve done with your on page signals. Having great content on your website will improve the behavior of end-users visiting your website. The three aspects of behavioral signals that I want to talk about today are click-through-rate, dwell time, and mobile click-to-call.

  • Click-Through Rate: When somebody lands on your website, do they go to a different page or eventually bounce off (leave your website)? If your content is engaging and you are following best practices, then the chances of somebody wanting to explore your website will increase. Do you reference other pages on your website with hyperlinks? This minimal yet effective practice will improve your click-through rate.
  • Dwell Time: How long is somebody on your website? This is what makes up dwell time.  Again, if you have engaging content or great calls to action then you should see an increased amount of time being spent on your website.
  • Mobile Click to Call:  I think everybody knows what mobile click-to-call is. While scrolling your website on a mobile phone, can you select the phone number and get a pop up to call your office? If you don’t have this feature, it is really easy to add. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, find a local marketing agency or web developer to help out. 


SEO is very challenging. Don’t let this scare you away from doing it, though. I always like to compare it to having a 401k. It takes a lot of time, you need to continue to invest in it, and you are always going to see ups and downs. If you follow some of the best practices listed above, then you should start to see incremental improvements in key performance indicators. I would suggest checking organic traffic, keyword ranking growth, and your two main rankings at least once a month to see if you are improving your digital presence. This will also give you an idea if you need to invest more into your SEO or to consider if you need additional help from a digital marketing agency. If you decide to ask a local marketing agency for help, they also often look for help in fulfilling their SEO services. Often they will use a white label SEO reseller who lives and breathes this industry.

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