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Should SEOs Only Care About DIRECT Ranking Signals in Google? – Whiteboard Friday

February 18, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By randfish

Posted by

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about direct ranking signals versus indirect ranking signals. I see people ask questions like this all the time. Should I only care about the direct ranking signals? Do I even really care, as an SEO, if something indirectly impacts my rankings in Google, because I can’t really influence that, can I? Or I can’t be confident that Google is going to make those changes. The answer, from my perspective, is “Well, hang on a second. Let’s walk through this together.”

Direct ranking signals

Direct ranking signals are pretty obvious. These are things like links. You earn a bunch of new links. They point to your page. Your rankings go up. Now my page for bookcases ranked a little higher because all these people just linked over to me. Great, that’s very nice.

Direct ranking signal, my page takes eight seconds to load. Now I improve a bunch of things about it and it only takes three seconds to load. Maybe I move up. Maybe I move up a lot less. I put this from 3 to 2 and this one from 32 to 31. Page load speed, a very small ranking factor, but as Google says a direct one. All right, great. Page load speed, that’s improved.

Direct ranking signal, keyword and language usage. I go from having my page about media storage furniture, and then I realize no one looks for media storage furniture. They look for bookcases, because in fact the thing that I’m storing here, the media is books. Boom, I’m moving up for bookcases again.

These are direct ranking signals. They’re very obvious. We know that they are in Google’s ranking algorithm. Google is public about a lot of them. They talk about them. We can test them and observe them. They are consistent. They move the needle. Great.

Indirect ranking influencers

What about stuff like this? I go to a conference. I meet people, this friendly person with a hat. Friendly person with a hat goes home and they write an article. Friendly person with a hat’s article contains a link to my bookcase website. Well, Google would never say that going to conferences gives you higher rankings. That’s not a ranking signal. Even building relationships with friendly people who have hats on, also not a ranking signal. Did it move the needle? Yeah, it probably did, because it ended up indirectly influencing a direct ranking signal.

Maybe Gillian Anderson — she probably has better things to do what with “The X-Files” being back on the air, very exciting — Gillian Anderson: “Rand’s bookcases are my favorite thing in the apartment.” Wow, look. She sent thousands of people searching for Rand’s bookcases. Hmm, what happens then? Well, people pick it up and write about it. Lots of people searching for it. Maybe Google’s …read more

Source:: Moz Blog