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In the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) many want to know what is a ‘competitive ranking metric’. To answer this is to delve into the details of SEO and the competitive market place. Simply, a competitive ranking metric is one of the many attributes a web page will have that will determine where it will be ranked when its keywords are searched on. For each page of your website you will be aiming to target a type of visitor. You will have one or (preferably) more keyword phrases which you believe your target will use to find your pages. So the first important competitive ranking metric is:

  1. Each page is focussed on one keyword or keyword phrase. This will ensure your page has content which clearly shows search engines what your page is about. Then,
  2. Keyword Proximity: your keyword phrase should be placed close to the start of your page, again to show this is the focus of the page. Continue to use the keyword legitimately throughout the page. Finally, there is evidence to suggest that the last few words are heavily weighted for the search engines, thus, ensure you finish your page with a great, clear summary sentence including the keywords.
  3. Title Tag: The title that is seen on the list of search results must always include your keywords, not be duplicated on other site pages and be sensible to your human visitors.
  4. Meta Description: The details that show after the Title Tag in the search results should also be unique, contain keywords and make good sense to your human visitors.
  5. Alt Image Tags: Allowing search engines to ‘read’ an image is what alt-tags do in competitive rankings. Having keyword rich alt-tags on pictures allows these to show up quickly whilst the picture is slowly loading also improves your human visitor experience as well.
  6. Anchor Text: This is the text which has a hyperlink to another page. It is often the call-to-action text, so is very important. Ensure your page’s keywords are clear in the anchor text which will engage your users and clearly tell the search engines what to expect from those links and that the link is connected to the focus of that page.
  7. External Links: Search Engines look at the number and quality of links coming into your site. This metric effectively says, lots of quality links means you have lots of marketplace trust and credibility, thus your site will rank better. External links can be gained legitimately by creating excellent content and doing good marketing, both on and off line.
  8. Internal Linking: Internal links help search engines navigate you site more easily.
  9. URL: including the page name with keywords is a ranking metric which can put you ahead of the competition. An example could be a Sporting goods shop with a page about archery, the URL for the archery page would read www.sportinggoodsshop.com.au/archery-equipment

Should you work on these metrics for your web pages you will see your rankings improve for the keywords targeted. This is not an exhaustive list, but does include the most valuable competitive ranking metrics.

What is a competitive SEO ranking metric? was last modified: January 17th, 2012 by Sue Cooper