By Danielle Zilg
Earlier this month Search Engine Land put out the fourth edition of its “The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors”. The periodic table is a handy tool developed to help website owners make sense of what’s most important to driving SEO success. It’s a visual guide to the fundamental criteria that every site should be employing. Search Engine Land updates the table on occasion to reflect shifts in the importance of elements as Google tweaks its formula to drive better results and keep up with search behaviors.
In the 2017 edition, the mainstays of optimization like quality of content and site crawlability were still represented, and these are foundations that we here at DBE continue to stress as important as well.
We were not surprised to see extra weight being given to mobile in the new table. The POV we issued in May talked about the importance of mobile friendliness in light of the impending mobile-first index, and Search Engine Land and the readers it surveyed all agree that this is a highly important factor.
Extra weight was also given to site speed, so if you haven’t checked your site’s performance lately, you can check it here. This tool will also provide you with a mobile friendliness score so you can address both key elements at once. Don’t wait to make these updates – their increased importance on the table means that mobile and speed are ranking factors that shouldn’t be ignored.
The removal of site identity from the table was also not surprising given Google’s abandonment of Google Authorship. Google+ as a means of using personal social sharing to influence results was also dropped from the chart.
One thing the table doesn’t clearly get at is the importance of site usability. It’s indirectly referred to with individual elements like engagement, content, and page speed but the sum of those factors is much greater than the whole. While usability itself doesn’t have a direct impact on rankings, the factors that go into it – content, structure, speed – all affect both the engine and the user experience. Getting all of those pieces right and also having them working in concert creates an experience that not only brings visitors in, but keeps them there. But perhaps that’s a different periodic table…