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Newest Periodic Table of SEO Factors Outlines What It Takes to Get Good Search Engine Rankings

The basics are simple – good content, careful coding, no sneaky tricks.

Search Engine Land has released the 2019 version of its Periodic Table of SEO Factors, a handy chart of the activities that can positively – and negatively – affect your website’s search engine rankings.

With 200+ ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, Search Engine Land distills all the known information about Google’s methodology into 35 elements, which cover multiple ranking factors.

Positive Attention

Twenty-nine of those elements represent positive ranking factors, those activities you can undertake to help improve your website’s position on the search engines. Seven of the elements dealt directly with content.

Content Elements

Research – Identifying the terms that prospects actually use is crucial to writing content that will be found on the search engines by your target audience. Using the wrong terms means your site is harder to find.

Quality – This directly reflects the content on your page. Google expects each page to be well-written and of value to your site visitors.

Keywords – Once you’ve identified the keywords, it’s important to include them in the quality content you’ve written. Without the keywords, Google won’ know what terms to rank the page for. You can’t rank for search terms that aren’t in your copy.

Freshness – The best-performing sites regularly provide new, useful, updated content. If your site stagnates, so will your search engine rankings.

Multimedia – Images, presentations and videos all add to the overall quality of a page.

Answers – Content that answers your prospects’ questions fares better on Google than generic, self-serving copy.

Depth – For a page to rank well, it needs to discuss its topic (or answer its main question) with in-depth information.

All of which underscores one of our main tenets: the websites that rank the best on the search engines are those that regularly publish, new, useful content that’s been properly optimized.

Other Elements

Proper optimization figures into several of the html elements cited in the report, including using keywords in title tags. These tags, which are invisible to website visitors, are the signposts that let Google know what the page topic is.

Of six architecture elements, one of the most important is “Mobile,” which reflects Google’s decision to move to a mobile first index. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to have a hard time gaining the traction you need in search engine results. Two other factors in this category bear mentioning:

Duplicate – Google expects each page to have its own unique content. Pages that have very similar or duplicate content end up being ignored in search engine results.

Https – Google just reconfirmed that having a secure site (one that starts with https, rather than just plain http) is a factor in search engine rankings. If two pages, one https and one http, rank the same for a term, the nod will go to the page that is secure. It’s as simple as that.


Aside from the positive SEO factors, Search Engine Land has created a separate area on the chart for six factors that will hurt a website’s search engine rankings. These include:

Schemes – Participating in link farms or spamming a competitor’s blog fall into this category.

Stuffing – Packing your content full of your content’s target search term is a good way to get your content dinged by Google. Your content should read naturally. Content that’s stuffed with the same search term (like the word “content” in this paragraph) doesn’t work for site visitors, who like easy-to-read content, and the same content doesn’t work for the search engines.

Piracy – Straight-up copying the text from another website is a major no-go and can result in serious penalties. Again, unique content tailored specifically for your target audience offers the best chance of success on the search engines.

Emerging Verticals

The chart also includes an area for emerging factors that are likely to play an increasing role in search engine optimization. This section of four SEO factors includes both video and images, which already provide good ways of ranking well. Search Engine Land sees that trend only continuing to grow.

200+ ranking signals. 29 positive elements. 6 toxins. 4 emerging verticals. It’s a lot to take in and process. The basics are simple – good content, careful coding, no sneaky tricks – but the execution can be complicated.

That’s why it’s good to have an SEO expert in your corner, a company that knows the ropes and can guide you through the best practices – and away from the worst pitfalls.

Pilot Fish has nearly 25 years of experience providing just that sort of expertise for a wide range of companies. Contact us today to take advantage of that expertise.


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