What Are the 3 Most Important On Page SEO Factors in Google for 2022?
However, we all know that there are many different factors that help drive your web pages up the rankings. Google states there are hundreds of ranking factors that it uses to determine which pages to serve for various searches. As if that’s not enough, to make life more interesting, it keeps introducing updates to its algorithm.
However, despite this apparent turbulence, in my 25 years’ experience in SEO and Content Marketing, I still see that the “back to basics” philosophy and the primary cornerstones of SEO, which have all been the foundation of our SEO philosophy for our clients, still applies. In fact, that’s the case now more than ever. I thought that it would be useful to focus on the 3 most important on page SEO factors that, in my experience, still really matter when it comes to achieving the rankings our clients need in order to generate new leads for their businesses.
If you want people to think you’re a doctor, then you have to give out doctor signals. A white overall and a stethoscope around your neck might be a good start for the type of signals that might work.
The same applies to content on your web pages.
If, for example, you offer spa hotels in Marmaris, then you should probably have a page on your website that focuses exclusively on spa hotels in Marmaris. On this page, your headline at the top of the page should be something like “We offer amazing Spa Hotels in Marmaris” and, throughout your page, you should be using the phrase “spa hotels in Marmaris” a number of times (just don’t overdo it!).
We call this KEC, or Key Phrase Enriched Content. It applies not only to the headline text of each of your priority pages, but also to the sensitive use of phrases throughout the body content, your title tag, your meta description, your H1 tag (please, only one H1 per page), your alt texts for images, possibly even some anchor texts for links (internal and external), and more. KEC needs to be expertly and carefully deployed in multiple places on each important page. However, you must be very careful not to overdo it to avoid being deemed as “over engineered” and spammy by Google. Remember the dreaded Panda Update that got so many websites into trouble!
KEC makes the page relevant, and makes it clear to your potential customers (and also, importantly, to the Google algorithm) what each page is all about. So, coming back to our example above, KEC helps Google understand that this example page is all about “spa hotels in Marmaris”.
What I still find so exciting and rewarding is that, when done properly (see the section below on “Topical Authority”), this factor alone can boost rankings for our clients significantly in the initial stages of an SEO programme. As such, it still represents the best ROI for our SEO efforts. This is why all our SEO programmes start with, and are underpinned by, this type of onsite optimisation for the priority pages of a client’s website.
When I talk about KEC and teach this basic concept at my various workshops and seminars (which I have now been delivering for almost 20 years), everyone nods and says “yes, of course!”. But, sadly, I still see the majority of websites (large and small alike) where this powerful ranking factor has simply not been applied.It is, without a doubt, one of the top 3 most important on page SEO factors, and all I can say is “to get ranked, get relevant!”
In the real world, those who have a lot to say about a particular topic (writing books, penning articles, producing videos and appearing in interviews, etc) are seen by laymen and peers alike as experts in their field.
In the world of SEO this concept also applies and is a significant ranking factor for Google as well.
Translated into the online experience, it means that our content strategy needs to incorporate ongoing and sustainable content development programmes in order to add many more content rich pages to our clients’ websites.
However, in addition to adding more pages with more content, it’s vital that each page features long form content. Simply put, in the past, 400-600 words per priority page would have sufficed in order to be able to compete for rankings against the competition. However, today we often need thousands of words per page, not hundreds.
By producing targeted clusters of long form, well researched expert content pages, and by applying strong and very focused internal linking tactics (see below), we create topic-rich authority silos that perform particularly well for our clients in the rankings.
Be an expert, talk like an expert, produce lots of authority content, and both Google and your potential customers will reward you with rankings and conversions.
And this leads me very nicely to the next influential ranking factor on my list of the 3 most important on page SEO factors; internal linking.
There (rightly) seems to be a lot of attention and importance given to inbound links from other topically relevant third party websites. Yes, they are very important and, from where I am sitting in my SEO ivory tower, I see them remaining strong ranking factors for a considerable time to come.
However, internal links surprisingly get a lot less air time.
In our experience, an internal links strategy is extremely important and, when applied as an integral part of focused content clusters, actually often tends to outperform inbound links in so many cases.
The basic idea (as far as the Google algorithm is concerned) is that by linking certain pages to each other, it helps readers navigate to similar pages for a richer experience. These internal links also help Google understand the topical relevance of content pages to each other and, therefore, the importance of each of the pages to each other. Good for potential customers and good for Google.
As a result, all topically related and inter-linked pages on your site benefit by being banded together and experience collective ranking improvements over time. Because of this, we are not only able to achieve better rankings for our clients, but we also get multiple rankings for multiple pages – all ranked for the same or very similar phrases. This has strategic value for low volume, high value key phrases where we can’t increase the market size but can certainly increase market share for our clients.
Getting the Basics Done Right First
As mentioned above, there are just so many different considerations for improving rankings that it can sometimes be a little daunting for most business websites to keep up. This is why I find it far more useful and valuable to focus more of our time, budget and energy (at least in the first stages of any SEO programme) on the 3 most important on page SEO factors – the ones that make the biggest impact on the rankings and that represent the best ROI for our clients.
Looking for Help with Your Rankings?
If you’re looking to make sense (and dollars) from your website and your SEO efforts, feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you’re looking for and to arrange a free structured analysis and consultation.