You want your website to rank on top? There are three crucial ranking factors you must consider for Google to give your site rankings a boost. The highly-cited SEO study from Backlinko suggests that the top ranking factors are your backlinks, topical relevance and word count averages.

How Link Building Improves Ranking Factors

Google looks at your backlink structure to determine what ranking factors your site is an authority on and how trusted your site is across the web. For instance, a supplement shop will see a ranking boost from getting featured regularly in bodybuilding.com articles. The main way to figure out a website’s link value is by looking at the following statistics: domain authority, page authority, citation flow and trust flow.

You will also want to consider whether the links are do-follow or no-follow and how frequently the website links to others. For example, websites like HuffingtonPost.com (with many outgoing backlinks) hold less ranking value than sites of a similar site with more posting exclusivity.

For optimal ranking performance, you need to be strategic with your link building methods — one way is by getting industry influencers to guest post on prominent sites like CNN, Forbes, New York Times and TechRadar.

Your website also needs some healthy backlinks from .edu and .gov domains. The key here is to avoid any directory-style link opportunities. You want to offer something unique and receive a citation link from the school, police department, etc. There are two methods that work regularly: offering scholarships and providing proper solutions for dead links, a.k.a. building broken backlinks.

Note: Your anchor text matters just as much as the link itself. You should switch up your keyword usage to avoid getting a spam penalty. But don’t go too general or avoid hitting heavy keywords. Read Gotch SEO’s Anchor Text Guide for 2017 to learn more.

Topical Optimization for Better Search Rankings

People are turning from LSI keywords to topical optimization. The former focuses on hitting relevant terms in content surrounding primary and secondary keywords. The latter builds content around secondary keywords and naturally hits plenty LSI keywords. What’s the difference? With topical optimization, your website’s header tags will tell a specific story — depicting exactly what your website covers and making you look like an expert in Google’s eyes.

Of course, there will be a need to focus on your primary keywords too. The best approach is to create skyscraper pages for these — this is basically a fancy term for long-form content, typically in the 2,000 to 4,000-word count range. You can use these pages when linking to resources from within your site, instead of citing competing experts in your niche.

Internal linking is a major part of achieving proper topical optimization. The anchor text of these links and the URL slugs for the is sufficient indication of your website’s professional expertise. By driving backlinks to these big-money pages and building your site’s topical architect around them, the quality results will follow.

Best Word Count for Top SEO Ranking Results

The referenced Backlinko study came to the conclusion that the average Google front page result contains 1,890 words. This stat includes many other words, but it also looks at the site’s blog posts in general. Still, the one thing that’s definitely true is that higher word counts correlate with stronger rankings.

Your best bet is to create a structure of content with some long-form and some short-form writing. Build lengthy foundational pieces around your top-tier and mid-tier keywords. For your standard blog posts, take the opportunity to tackle long-tail keywords instead.

Conclusion

Getting your website to rank better is not rocket science — but that doesn’t mean there’s no science to it. From backlinks to topical dominance and content depth, optimize for these ranking factors now to start seeing real results!

Want to learn more about SEO? Read our guide:

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