1. Traffic yield of the URL
While “people” need keywords to find what they’re looking for, keywords are just a proxy for the people who use them. Keywords are bait on a hook. The hook is your quality resource which will attract and retain them. And that resource is best signified for SEOs by one thing: the URL. In SEO, the URL is where all the value is, not the keywords.
- What is the traffic quantity in total keyword searches?
- How much volume do those searches have?
- How much traffic does the URL see?
- And what is the quality of traffic, such as bounce rate (hopefully low), average time on site or pages per visit, and conversion rate (hopefully those are high).
2. Preserving the power of URLs
This is why it’s absolutely critical that URLs are preserved. Well-aged URLs will score best, unless they’re in News and QDF searches. Redirects greatly hamper SEO success. Any redirect.
3. Looking beyond links
It’s not only about links. However, especially prior to Panda Farmer, links tend to brute force top rankings on competitive SERPs (search engine results page).
I took the time to analyze several competitive SERPs to see what factors really mattered when it comes to links: the biggest four factors were;
- Domain authority,
- Total domain links and unique domains,
- Page-specific links uniques,
- Matching anchor text.
However, it was interesting to note that in several cases, prominence of exact-match anchors seemed to be very common in positions 7-10, possibly indicating up-and-coming competitors pushing hard for rankings using heavy anchor matching. Stronger competitors were benefiting from a more cohesive link strategy that also focused on sheer quantity, especially quantity of unique referring domains.
4. Link factors in search algorithms
There are many link factors that could be taken into account by any algorithm. These include:
- Recency (are links that “come and go,”)
- Transience (do links disappear after a time)
- Anchor text (how much exact match is there)
- Context (is the link contextual)
- Relevance (how related to the site’s content is the link)
- Prominence of placement (is the link in a spot that maximizes its CTR, or is it lower left or in a footer)
- Other links on the page (what quality are the other links on the page, and how well do they match)
- Trends (what is the trend of links over time)
- Co-citation (what kinds of links point to the page)
- Frequency of linking (how frequently do the domains exchange links)
4 Main link factors:
- The domain authority of the ranking URL
- The quantity and diversity of links into the domain
- The quantity and diversity of links into the URL
- The amount of matching anchors
(“Diversity” here meaning the amount of unique referring domains.