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There's way too much speculation about what moves the needle and what doesn't in SEO. Google only confirmed 10 SEO SEO ranking factors publicly in its history. I dug through the evidence to find them and lay out how they work. In this article, I narrow in on what's true and what's speculation, how important each SEO ranking factor is and the evidence we have for it.

  • NR

    Nikola Roza

    5 months ago #

    Hi Kevin. I read your monster article, and being the nerd I am- I highly enjoyed it:)

    I like your approach to ranking factors; Take those that are confirmed and most important and focus on those. The rest is just guessing, wishful thinking, and shooting in the dark (though sometimes with great success).

    I think that as time passes content and user signals will mesh into one major uber-signal that will overshadow all the rest, even links.

    And other factors will either become a waste of time to focus on, or that one more, just one more, ranking factor that will tip that scale in our favor. Damn that stubborn competitor!

    But is it really worth it to invest so much of time, energy, patience into one keyword phrase?

    I can't say because it will always depend on the keyword.

    Thank you for the great article!

    • KI

      Kevin Indig

      5 months ago #

      Thanks for the feedback, Nikola!

      > I think that as time passes content and user signals will mesh into one major uber-signal that will overshadow all the rest, even links.

      I'm curious: what do you base your assumption on?

      > But is it really worth it to invest so much of time, energy, patience into one keyword phrase?

      Doesn't it depend on the keyword in this case? If it's the #1 money maker keyword for your business... it might be worth spending an hour / day on figuring it out and optimizing for it :-).

      Cheers,
      Kevin

      • NR

        Nikola Roza

        5 months ago #

        Hi Kevin.
        1. I base my assumption on gut feeling since I don't know how Google thinks.. yet:)

        Anyway, I recently listened to Brian Dean as he was talking about how Google ranked his post "how to get high quality backlinks" for the phrase "how to get high".
        It happened thanks to the links he was building. But when people started landing on that page and didn't found what they were looking for- they quickly bounced.

        And Google noticed people hated it, so they sank it. Second page, third, fourth, fifteenth...
        I think that page authority will only get you so far, page "value" will get you where you want to be.
        My gut feeling, that is all.

        2. Of course, money keywords are exceptions.
        I was thinking more about endlessly tweaking a page so it ranks for anything that even comes close to first page of the SERPs, regardless of the search volume.
        I think it's better to publish a new post, which is a whole new world of opportunity, than to milk the old ones for every drop of value. That is scarcity model at it's worst;
        Cheers!

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