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Mastering the dark art of search engine optimisation

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What’s the use of a shiny new website if nobody can find it?

Here at Nous Digital Gloucester, we know how to get you found using tried, tested and most of all trusted Search Engine Optimisation or ‘SEO’ techniques.

SEO is the process which affects the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s unpaid results also known as ‘organic’ results. Generally speaking the higher up and more frequently a page or website appears in a search result the more visitors that page or website will receive.

For those who are new to SEO, one of the key reference tools which we love is Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of Search Engine Optimisation Success Factors. The latest version of the table has just been released for 2015. This is the third version of the table since its initial launch in 2011 and this latest version includes some very important industry developments.

The objective of the table is to help new or inexperienced publishers to focus on the techniques most likely to result in success.

The table splits factors which influence a page’s ranking into on-the-page and off-the-page variables.

  • On-the-page: You (the publisher) can control these
  • Off-the-page: Largely influenced by others and out of your (the publisher’s) control

There are also 7 categories, which cover the 37 individual factors.

  • Content:  The quality of what is on your website (whether that’s words, pictures or video)
  • Architecture: The way your website functions
  • HTML: Factors specific to web pages
  • Trust: How trustworthy & authoritative your website seems to be
  • Links: The value and appropriateness of the content you have linked to
  • Personal: The influence of personalised search results
  • Social: Recommendations of your page from social media

Each factor has a two-letter symbol. The first letter represents the category which the factor is part of (e.g. C for Content) and the second represents the factor itself (e.g. q for Quality) making up the first factor Cq.

Each factor is also weighted according to importance in relation to the rest of the factors in the table. Those with a +3 are most important, +2 and +1 factors are of lesser importance.

No one factor will guarantee success but several factors together, even if only minor ones, can have a positive impact on your website’s search engine ranking so it is imperative to understand that the factors work together.

Violations, all beginning with V for easy identification, are negative factors that can harm your visibility. Avoid these things! Factors weighted -3 are considered worse than -2 and -1.

The latest version of the table includes three new factors which were not previously included.

  • Cv – Vertical Search: Rich Search results which pull in images, news, videos and local results
  • Ca – Direct Answers: When a search engine pulls answers to a question asked from a webpage
  • Ah – HTTPS: Secure websites

A few factors have been changed too such as Am – Mobile. This was previously a +1 weighting and has been changed to +3. This has now become much more important as both Google and Bing are looking at the mobile-friendliness of websites as a high ranking factor. For more on this change see last month’s post on mobile-geddon!

We love this table as an all-encompassing guide to what to focus on when working on your website’s Search Engine Optimisation. But what do you think? Have you noticed any of these factors having an impact on your page’s ranking?

(BIG thanks to Search Engine Land for this useful tool)