5 Key SEO Ranking Factors For 2016

Written by Kara Burns

Ranking at the top of search engine results is a goal for many digital marketers. However, with over 200 ranking factors to consider, it can be a challenge to rank high in organic search results — if you don’t know what to look for.  

In this post we’ve outlined the 5 key SEO ranking factors that - when properly optimized - can help get your website to the top of search engine's' organic results in 2016.

Google makes changes to its SEO ranking factor algorithm relatively often. However, there are a few update-proof SEO ranking factors you can implement now — in order to ensure your website has the best chance of ranking high in organic search results in the future.

5 key SEO ranking factors for 2016:

Relevant Content

Each web page should contain relevant and specific information, along with optimized keywords that align with the content users expect to find when they visit your website. Once a user conducts a search, Google automatically takes into account the content provided on each web page of your site, and then ranks your pages based upon the content most relevant to the search. Additionally, websites that utilize keywords in their meta descriptions and page titles will likely rank higher.

User Experience

The shift towards mobile has had a significant impact on mobile SEO. It’s now vital - in the eyes of Google and other search engines - to have a responsive / mobile-optimized website. Failure to provide an optimal experience to users on mobile devices can actually penalize your site in mobile search results. Additionally, having clear, concise content, fast-loading graphics, and an intuitive mobile navigation will also help your site rank higher in mobile search results.

Social Metrics

Although Google doesn’t directly count social metrics as an SEO ranking factor, there is a correlation between having a strong social media presence and high organic search rankings. Furthermore, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are beginning to serve as search engines themselves. In 2012, Facebook alone processed close to 1 billion search queries a day. Plus, social media profiles are often found atop search engine's' organic results. Keeping your social media profiles up-to-date with fresh, engaging content will help your SEO over time.

Link Quality

Search engines use links to determine how credible a page is, how high it should rank in search engine results, and to discover new web pages. Having quality links on your website can help boost your rankings — as well as provide credibility. Additionally, the type of external links on your website help search engines understand more about your business / content.

Page Load Time

In general, having a faster page load speeds goes hand-in-hand with providing a better user experience for your visitors. One study found that 51% of online shoppers will not make a purchase if the site load time is too slow. Similarly, 47% of users expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds. Taking the time to optimize your website’s load time has the potential to aid in the overall ranking of your website in the long term.