Why Content is King Among SEO Ranking Factors

SEO experts and content marketers are constantly searching for ways to improve their performance in search engine rankings. Even better — make it to the first page of search results. And, of course, the end goal is to be the first result for your target keyword. But one search engine optimization (SEO) ranking factor tops them all. Read on to learn why quality content unquestionably reigns supreme among SEO ranking factors.

But first, let’s get something straight: What is a ranking factor, exactly?

What are SEO ranking factors?

In SEO terminology, a ranking factor includes any variable a search engine might use to index results for a search. Important google ranking factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Domain authority
  • User experience and page speed (including optimization for mobile friendliness)
  • Inbound links, backlinks, and outbound links
  • Content length and quality
  • Social signals (are people sharing it on social channels?)
  • HTML code

For example, if someone looks for “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” on Google, they’ll first see on-page results from highly-respected domains. These will likely be sites like Wikipedia or IMDB that include his famous filmography. The top-performing pages will have high google ranking factors like evergreen content, trusted authority, and lots of relevant information related to his life.

Below that, you’ll probably see some top questions asked by fans on Google (answered by him in a video). You’ll also see other suggested questions people want to know, like “What does the Rock eat in a day?” Below those search results, you’ll see trending news from reputable sources and ads on similar topics.

Even if your website is perfectly calibrated with all the ranking factors listed above, there’s another important element to consider. The content needs to actually match the intended search results. Someone who is looking for a specific aspect of his career or lifestyle wouldn’t necessarily find what they need (your webpage) in a search query that broad. But that’s where you can use search intent and ranking factors to your advantage.

How do you rank an article?

For search engines, ranking begins with evaluating the quality of the content and the authority of the domain it’s on. High-quality content appears at the top of the results, whether an article, photo or video. After that, content from trusted domains usually gets high positioning.

Unfortunately, a keyword with as high volume as “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” will be nearly impossible to rank for. You’re up against Wikipedia, IMDB, and dozens of Hollywood news sources that are trusted domains with high-quality content. But there’s still hope — you just have to re-frame your content strategy toward a narrower search intent.

If you were to tweak your search and look up a long-tail keyword phrase like “Dwayne Johnson diet,” the top-performing results come from websites like manofmany.com. That isn’t an impossibly difficult domain to beat in search engine ranking. Both paid and free tools can help you determine key phrases that are possible to rank for in a google search. This crucial step is also part of rellify’s unique, all-encompassing approach to research and relevant content creation. Find out more about how rellify can help you produce relevant, high-quality content using keywords that rank well.

How to use ranking factors the right (Rock) way

How did manofmany.com get to the top of the google search results for the “Dwayne Johnson diet” search query? They used SEO tools to create optimized, quality content that includes other important ranking factors. Here’s a rundown of what it has:

  • This article provides definitive answers to the question of what The Rock eats in a day. It’s a relevant piece of content that answers the search queries.
  • It has a reasonably fast page speed.
  • This website has several articles on male celebrity diets and workout plans, so it’s an expert in this niche.
  • The photos in the article are optimized for SEO. The author has used best practices for image optimization — labeling them with words related to the article.
  • This page’s content goes beyond The Rock’s dietary patterns. It also delves into his workout, giving users a rich content experience.

Content as the definitive factor in higher ranking

Every aspect of digital marketing exists with some type of content . Even if you have an infographic, that’s content. Every photo, banner ad, blog post, or long-tail article is content. It’s the way consumers interact with your brand, for better or worse, in the digital age. So how can you make sure that users interact positively with what you’re producing? And how can you ensure that your content delivers the desired results?

Before we answer those questions, let’s look at the algorithm itself. Even back in 2011, Google clearly understood that prioritizing quality content is crucial for building high-quality sites. Today, artificial intelligence constantly refines Google’s algorithm. It prioritizes high-quality articles over bloated clickbait with too many unnecessary keywords and low-quality directory links.

This refinement provides two significant benefits to users. First, if you’re looking up a topic, the results on page 1 are more likely to provide you with web pages, articles, and blogs you actually want to read. You’re not stuck seeing five unhelpful articles with as many backlinks and keywords as possible. Artificial intelligence embedded in Google’s ranking algorithm can easily spot and weed out a cheap SEO shortcut.

Second, this change means your high-quality blog posts and articles can rank well on search engines like Google. That way, you can focus on creating compelling content that connects with your audience. No more thinking about SEO tricks and tips that will get you ahead. That said, you’ll still need to use some SEO techniques to craft your content so that searchers can find you. But if you focus on content as your primary focus, you’ll see great dividends on Google search rankings.

Key SEO ranking factors include social signals, backlinks, HTML, domain authority, page speed, mobile optimization, user interface, and most important content.
Ranking factors crucial for SEO.

Content creation guidelines

What are the key takeaways from our example, as it applies to your specific website and content marketing plan? Here are a few pointers to keep your content on top of SERPS, even after the next algorithm update:

List of pointers to add to your writing checklist for SEO ranking factors.
Pointers for SEO ranking factors.
  • Do keyword research before you start writing. Know what your target audience really cares about and how to address those issues. This first stage of the content creation process is the time to look at the search volume for specific topics. Many tools will offer that and a list of terms that might give you better results when searching for a quality keyword. That way, you can get better results on topics with similar relevancy.
  • Pay attention to the technical aspects of your writing. Even if you write great content, if you neglect some technical SEO components, it will be more challenging to rank on SERPs. So don’t forget to include a meta description, external and internal links, photos clearly labeled with your keyword, or even an illustrative infographic. All of these elements go a long way towards overall content creation.
  • Promote your article on social media.  Not only will social shares get more people to read your article, but they’ll also improve its ranking. Remember — readers will often share good content, but they won’t share junky articles.

What is the most important ranking factor?

In case you missed it earlier, to use the cliché, content is king! So if you want to increase your organic traffic, invest in SEO content that will bring viewers to your site. Creating blog content that people want to read matters. Even if a few of your technical aspects need improvement, if you can create the type of content your audience is looking for, you’ll see tremendous ROI on your content marketing efforts.

Get ready to create quality content that ranks well

Considering everything you need to create great content, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, you can have a secret weapon — rellify’s unique, integrative approach to content. The rellify platform guides you from the topic ideation process to writing, editing, and publishing. It even monitors your published article so you can see how your content is performing. Contact one of our experts to learn more!