When many people think about SEO, something that immediately comes to mind is ranking. How does a page on a website rank on Google, anyway? What goes into the process? And how long does it take before the website finally shows up on a search engine?
At SMX Advanced, Cyrus Shepard of Moz.com shared the results of their ranking correlation study. These results revealed that the three most influential elements of website ranking for the year 2015 were page authority, links, and anchor text. And in that order, too, with page authority being the largest of the three factors associated with higher rankings.
Cool. So, what does this mean?
It means that SEOs managing a website (either a website of their own or a website that they manage for a client) have something important and interesting to consider in the name of the industry.
This article will focus on explaining these three factors in a little more depth—what they are and how they are used for SEO, and thus, their respective roles in ranking.
1. Page Authority (PA)
In a sense, page authority is pretty similar to domain authority. Whereas domain authority measures the strength of a domain and how well it will rank on a search engine, page authority only measures the strength and ranking capabilities of one page on a website. Both scores are ranked on a logarithmic scale from 1-100, with higher scores denoting a more powerful link profile, and both scores are tools that were developed by Moz.com.
Even though page authority is more or less a prediction tool, it is a powerful one that can be influenced by elements such as the amount of links on a page, the popularity of these links (MozRank), and the reliability or trust of these links (MozTrust).
When it comes to page authority, of course it’s a great idea to focus on your link profile. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect other elements of SEO in the process! You’ve heard us say it before, and we’ll say it again: content is king. Keep your pages updated with fresh and user-friendly content that is relevant to your industry. Make sure that your content is well-written and free of spelling and grammatical errors, and write with your readers in mind. After all, you are aiming to create an authoritative page relevant to your industry—so write like the authority you are.
Oh, good old link building. Some say it’s dead, some say it’s not. We are of the belief that it’s definitely not dead—and that as long as SEO exists, link building will also continue to exist.
Link building is the process of gaining a hyperlink back to your website. It sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot more to it than one might think. It’s not always easy to acquire those links. Sometimes, you might have to ask for one. Sometimes, people might find the content on your website engaging enough to link to without you having to ask. Different SEOs and experts agree that there are different methods of acquiring backlinks—and they will also agree that these backlinks are very important in getting a website to rank.
If Google notices that a website or a page has several high-quality websites linking to it, then there’s a good chance that this website or page might be deemed worthy of ranking higher. And if these websites that are linking to this website or page in question are websites that are authoritative and popular, then the “link juice” passed on will be very valuable. For example, a website ending in the .edu top-level domain can be considered some of the most coveted backlinks out there—the “holy grail” of backlink creation, so to speak. A backlink from a .edu website provides very precious “link juice” to the website it is linking to, thanks to the tendencies of .edu websites to be authoritative and strong in terms of link profiles and content.
Regarding links and SEO, tread carefully. Establish your company or brand as an authority in your industry by creating quality content that others will find engaging, useful, and worthy of linking to and sharing. Reach out to others within your niche with your content and ask for backlinks, if your content is relevant to what they post or if your content may be interesting to them and their readers. The way you acquire links must not violate Google’s webmaster guidelines.
3. Anchor Text
If you’ve seen a hyperlink, you’ve seen anchor text. In a hyperlink, anchor text is the visible and clickable text. Usually, anchor text is a different color from regular text so people will know that it is clickable. For example, consider the following hyperlink: GreatCircle Studios
The underlined blue text that you can click on is the anchor text. Anchor texts can come in a variety of different colors, depending on the website where it is featured. It might not always be blue and underlined like it is here, but in most cases–since blue and underlined anchor text is the standard–it is.
Anyway, what does anchor text have to do with SEO, you ask? Simple. Search engines look at anchor text to determine if it is relevant to the website it links to. This means that, when you choose anchor text for a link you want to make, you might want to choose something related to whatever you’re going to link to.
For example, let’s say you’re going to link to an article about Google’s Mobilegeddon. “Click here” is a pretty generic phrase to use for this anchor text, isn’t it? Instead, why not something like everything you need to know about Mobilegeddon? For one, it’s a lot more relevant to the article you are linking to, and it gives you an idea of what exactly the article will discuss about Mobilegeddon. Your readers might appreciate more specific anchor text—and search engines certainly will too!
Help search engines recognize what you’re linking to by utilizing descriptive and relevant anchor text, but don’t overdo it and stuff your anchor text full of keywords.
Don’t sleep on these three ranking factors. Page authority, links, and anchor text are all important elements to consider when you want your page to rank. And as you work to improve these three factors for your page, always make sure you keep your website’s visitors in mind. You want an authoritative page that your readers will find interesting, relevant, and engaging. You want links that are relevant to your website and your industry. And you’ll want to make sure that your anchor text in your links guides your website’s visitors properly by providing them information and context on where your links will take them.
We hope you found this resource helpful! If you still need help managing your web marketing mayhem, then we might be the right company for you. Feel free to drop us a line!