Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a combination of art and science in building both a content and technical strategy to gain traffic from Google search results to your blog or website. And depending on the niche you’re focusing on, it can be higher bar to reach and exceed.
Topics such as health and wellness or personal finance, also referred to as YMYL, are notoriously known from being difficult rank on Google. The underlying theory with Weighted SEO is to focus on the ranking factors you can affect so that you can gain traction in relevant search queries.
Ultimately Google is a blackbox. Certain elements on the ranking algorithms are known based on the filed patents. You’re also able to experiment using the content you publish to see what happens. Sometimes we can estimate what will happen, and sometimes things don’t work out as expected.
What is Weighted SEO?
Weighted SEO is a holistic strategic approach to Search Engine Optimization to help build your approach to the content you publish based on the keywords you can rank for based on the current state of your blog or site.
The underlying theory is founded in the Google Algorithm itself. If we assume the ranking algorithm is a weighted scoring system, then when you approach your SEO strategy, you need to understand what positives about your site you can accentuate to overcome any ranking factor short comings.
What are ranking factors?
Ranking factors are the criteria used to calculate the order of a piece of content relative to other content for a specific search result. It’s the collection of variables used in a ranking algorithm or formula.
There are at least 200 ranking factors involved in Google’s algorithm calculation. The ranking factors have changed over time and their relevant importance within the algorithm also shifts. Some ranking factors have been retired such inclusion in the DMOZ website directory while others have been added including mobile-friendliness.
In addition, Core Web Vitals is a new signal that is rolling out over the summer of 2021. Originally scheduled to be baked in to the algorithm by May 2021, the rollout will be phased in over the summer.
It’s also important to consider that not all ranking factors are given the same weight.
How weighted scoring factors into search result ranking
If you’re familiar with a weighted average or average score, Weighted SEO is essentially the same concept. Each ranking factor (or variable) is given a score for a piece of content and then the added level of secret sauce is how much weight or importance each ranking factor is given in the overall ranking.
The other wildcard is that the weighting of the ranking factors is not the same across all topics or niches. Assume within the Your Money Your Life (YMYL) topics that the important of select ranking factors is higher.
In focusing on Weighted SEO, there will be ranking factors you can directly address and tune your site for. Others will require patience for time to pass.
Why understanding Weighted SEO Matters
When you’re thinking about new blog, there are certain ranking factors that are going to be a challenge to overcome. The newer the website typically the longer it takes for that site to start ranking for keywords (assuming those keywords are a) words people use in a search query and b) terms your site could reasonably rank for.
There are also additional reasons such as crawl budget which results in it taking time for both your site to be crawled and indexed.
Understanding Weighted SEO helps you focus your technical and content strategy on balancing as much as possible relevant ranking factors. Intentionally select keywords and tune your site as those are two categories of ranking factors that are currently out of your control, especially when thinking about a new blog.
What you can do as part of your Weighted SEO Strategy
Technical SEO and keyword selection are the two largest categories of ranking factors you can control when building your SEO strategy for a new blog.
Tune up your technical SEO as much as possible, especially taking into account mobile-friendliness given a large percentage of searches are mobile-based. If you assume your mobile visitors are using mobile data, site speed becomes a key factor. Mobile data isn’t going to be as fast as your home WiFi. Compound a slow website with a slower connect, your potential visitor’s experience not likely great.
And the slower the site appears to be, the more likely the potential visitor is abandon their attempt to access the site.
In addition, focus on selecting keywords that are low competition. You can gain traction sooner by filling the gaps in published content versus waiting to potentially rank for a keyword that has existing content that answers the query well. Unmet content needs are a great place for a new website to plug into search result universe with valuable, comprehensive content.
5 Ranking Factors You Can Control
The website you publish is within the ranking factors you can control. By presenting a level of quality. Five broader categories of ranking factors you can control include:
- Technical SEO
- Onsite SEO
- Select long tail, low competition keywords
- Onpage SEO
- Quality content
Technical SEO comes with tuning your site for speed and mobile experience. Finding the right theme and hosting will help as part of this ranking factor.
Onsite SEO improvements boost the quality of your site overall. Publish supporting “trust” pages to demonstrate the validity of the site.
Long tail, low competition keywords are opportunities for your site to provide valuable content to fill the gaps in the published content available on the internet. Instead of scrambling for a hard-to-get search result spot for one keyword, publish information to support other searches. There are more than 6 billion searches per day so there is plenty of opportunity to gain traction in Google even if your blog is newer.
Onpage SEO involves writing for your target users while optimizing for content and structure. Help the crawler and indexing programs understand your published content and recognize a specific piece as a great potential search result for the target keyword, or combination of keywords.
Quality content is a final example of ranking factors you can directly affect. Publish comprehensive, high value content your potential readers need. Demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the topic with a comprehensive blog post. While it’s possible for thin, shorter content to be ranked for a search result, comprehensive content provides the indexing algorithms with something substantial to work with rather that dismissing your site as a potential spammer.
3 examples of ranking factors you can’t directly control
With more than 200 ranking factors, there are some you’re not going to have direct control over.
- Age of your site: buying a new domain starts the clock on establishing a domain. Giving a site a “cooling off period”, essentially, limits the spammy sites that land in the index.
- Age of published content: fresh content is a good thing and weighs more in certain areas such as news or trending topics. Established content that’s maintained can also be a good thing especially if you’re aiming for evergreen organic traffic.
- Backlinks: while your site may receive links through natural linking or outreach, there’s no guaranty on how long it will take for those links to register with Google.
Time and patience is key to your organic traffic strategy. SEO rarely results in overnight results. As part of trying to weed out spammers, time is a factor in the ranking algorithms. While time is important for news articles, evergreen content is typically a slower process with longer results.
How are you approaching a Weighted SEO strategy?
Your approach and strategy for SEO can be affected by multiple factors. When you’re starting a new blog or website understanding Weighted SEO will help you focus your efforts on the ranking factors you can control. Balance the technical SEO and content strategy in tuning your site and choosing the keywords you want to aim for.
Publish high-quality comprehensive content to demonstrate your site should be taken seriously for search result ranking as it provides values to potential readers.
With Weighted SEO you accentuate the positive ranking factors you can control to help balance and overcome the ones you can’t.