Many SEOs are still grasping and measuring the impact of Google’s most significant algorithm update this year, the Panda Update. To do this, Search Engine Land has published the Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors – it’s a clever way to illustrate the many “elements” (factors) that website owners should take into account in their SEO strategy.
Through this lens, I looked at the impact on SEO of the strategic use of UGC according to the best practices we’ve developed over six years in this space.
“On the Page SEO” is typically the most tangible of SEO activities – changes a website owner can make to their own site. In the Periodic Table, a category of On Page factors is Content, and specifically the degree to which a site’s content is “Quality (Cq +3)” or is “Fresh (Cf +2)”. Website owners can answer these questions:
Quality: Do you provide a reason for people to spend more than a few seconds reading your pages?
When NPR or The New York Times have a lead story, people listen – online and offline, at the water cooler or in an RSS reader. Search engines definitely value and want to boost sites like this because this type of authority can only be built over time.
Realistically, no infographic can completely illustrate all of the factors and weights that go into search engine algorithms because search engineers are literally tweaking them every week. Bill Slawski from SEO by the Sea points out in the comments of the post that the infographic “unintentionally may mislead people because of that simplicity.” Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz recently posted his hunch that “authenticity” of a page’s content is growing in importance – this could be yet another factor or could weigh into another factor such as trust or authority.
Personally, my favorite aspect of this table is that it highlights how SEO is no longer a “background” aspect of your website – the best SEO strategies have always been aligned with a business’ overall goals. SEO campaigns encompass social and interactive activities, along with a robust content strategy, because that is what users want from your website and therefore, that is what search engines want.