This week, I thought I would share just a few of the more “not so obvious” ranking influences. Someone recently asked me why their competitor’s site was showing up with higher visibility in the organic rankings than their Web site, in spite of the fact they had better quality inbound links than that competing site.


It reminds me in the early days of SEO how some people who simply had bought the idea that rankings were only
based on the score that the Google tool bar reflected. The fact is that the score reflected in the Google Toolbar was a
very weak way to try and calibrate your Web site visibility.  At that time, many people did not realize that the toolbar
was actually about 3 months out of date.

For most people, although they didn’t know it, they were better off not focusing on what that toolbar had to say.

Let’s fast forward to today.

Understanding A Few Of The “Hidden Influences” of SEO.

Some people are still so obsessed with their competition that they never spend any quality of time focused on their own site. The whole aspect of being obsessed by rankings is a big mistake now for quite a while, ever since the search engines moved towards the personalization of search results.

So let’s talk about what some of the “not so obvious” SEO influences are and how they affect your visibility within your competitive search landscape.

Hidden SEO Influence #1.
How Long Has Your Web Site Existed?

This is commonly referred to as the influence of “aging.”

The reason I list this as a primary influence, is because it is one of the factors that you cannot overrule. There is no doubt that the longer your site has been online, the more benefit you will see based on the age of your Web site.

Even if you were to build loads of high quality links to a brand new Web site, it would be competing on the same level or attracting the same quality of traffic compared to a Web site that has been online for years.

Hidden SEO Influence #2.
The Level of Richness and Quality
of your Content.

Why this seems hidden is because it is a factor related to how well your audiences enjoys your content. Is it something that is comparable to 50 or even 100 other pages out there?

You will always do better with content that satisfies the actual reason why the user searched in the first place.  Make sure your content is fresh, original, compelling and that it engages your reader. Make sure that it delivers on all of the promises that you set forth in the Title.

Hidden SEO Influence #3.
How Busy Is Your Click Through Ratio?

Here we are reaching beyond the technical aspects of your link volumes and are actually talking about the success factor of how many people are clicking through to see your content.

You may not realize it, but if your click-through rate is much higher than everyone else’s click through rate, then Google slowly begins to start elevating you upward in its search results page. What is revealed by this algorithm is letting Google know that searchers actual prefer your listing because more people are choosing to click through on it.

Again, this goes back to writing extremely useful content and the benefit of top click through ratio is powerful.

Hidden SEO Influence #4.
Cross Linking is Not The Same as Reciprocal Linking.

Years ago, everyone talked about the benefits of reciprocal linking which we have not been recommending for years as a good strategy. However, there is some excellent value in learning to practice cross linking to other relative content within your own Web site. The key here of course is to cross link to other related topics that your readers will find helpful.  By adding in a few useful cross links in content throughout your site the act of cross-linking your pages, will often
increase in visibility most naturally.

Hidden SEO Influence #5.
Fair To High Search Volume With Much Lower Competition.

Unless someone is taught to look for these patterns, the standard seems to always be that people go after the more competitive phrases.

If you have ever attended a Search Engine Academy Hands-on SEO training Workshop, with Search Engine Academy, you’ll know that this strategy is one of the very first skills that you learn in the basic 2 Day SEO Workshop. We’ve been teaching this in detail since as early as 2002.

There is nothing quite as effective as being able to target the exact keyword search phrase that possesses fair to high monthly search volume while yet having only a moderate to low number of competing pages. This is one technique that will lower your stress factor every time you successfully tap into it.

Hidden SEO Influence #6.
Properly Balanced Back-Links

I saved this one for last since gone are the days when Google was mainly influenced by “link popularity” or in other words the volume of links pointing back to your Web site.

Link volume is no longer a major contributor but far more important is a proper balance of the right links from the right sources. Back linking was once considered to be one of the major contributions to SEO influence, and now it is still a helpful influence, but no longer the only influence.

There is still significant value in building inbound links to your Web site from other related sites. Ideally, you should look at link building over a period of time. Make sure and do your homework to find links that are relevant to your content and ideally links that are coming in from busy authoritative Web sites. When it comes to link building today, it has become much like a balancing act.

In Summary:

One of the smartest things that I can encourage you to do, is to try to stay focused on your own Web project. Too many people waste hours of time staring at their competition when they’d be far wiser to keep their energy and focus directed onto their own Web projects.

Do you need some fresh insight and help?

Check out the List of upcoming SEO Workshop Dates Globally.