The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors: 2015 Edition Now Released

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The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors: 2015 Edition Now Released

2015 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors from Search Engine Land

Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors 2015 by Search Engine Land

On June 1st, Search Engine Land released an updated version of its Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors (, a framework of essential keys to success in Search Engine Optimization. This marked the third adaptation since the framework’s launch in 2011. Search Engine Land’s Table is not a detailed examination of every influencer on search rankings or a listing of how many Google ranking factors there actually are. Rather, the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors is designed to provide an overview of SEO in its general areas of importance. Twitter bird icon

What Is the Periodic Table of SEO Success?

The Table covers two classes of factors: those that are within the control of publishers and factors that are not directly tied to a publisher’s site. Within those two classes are seven categories of factors, including content, architecture, HTML, trust, links, personal, and social. In all, there are 37 single factors, each of which has a two-letter symbol and a weight according to importance and influence on rankings. Search Engine Land emphasizes that the factors work together rather than independently. No one factor will lead to success, but stacking several factors together will increase the likelihood of higher rankings. Twitter bird icon Violations are also included in the Table, and these represent negative activities that can harm visibility.

What’s New?

In making the most recent update, the editors of Search Engine Land considered what new elements should be added to the Table and they questioned if there were factors that should be dropped or lowered in importance. They added three new elements and had four weight increases.

New Factors:

Cv: Vertical Search – Because rich search results pull in image, news, video and local results from vertical search engines, the Table now recognizes Vertical Search as an important success factor, and gives it a weight of +2.

Ca: Direct Answers – Search Engine Land determined that being picked to provide a direct answer signals trust, which may help a site for other types of searches. There is some evidence that being selected as a direct answer can actually result in increased traffic. The weight for this new factor was assigned at +1.

Ah: HTTPS – Google specifically added HTTPS security as a ranking boost last year, so this was a key factor to add to the Table. Google maintained that this is fairly minor, however, so the weight is +1 on the table.

Changed Factors:

Am: Mobile – Because Google and Bing are now looking at mobile friendliness as a ranking factor, the weight of this factor on the Table was increased from +1 to +2.

Hs: Structured Data – Previously weighted at +1, the importance was elevated to +2.

Te: Engagement – This factor used to be within Content, but it has now moved to the Trust area. This may be because engagement is not merely a sign of having quality content, but it signals that spammy tactics are not being used.

Vs: Stuffing – Previously -1, this violation was moved to -2 in weight. Search Engine Land used a survey to consult those familiar with SEO and the results suggested that stuffing has more of a negative effect than previously thought.

Vp: Spam – This violation used to be weighted at -1. Again, survey results showed that the weighting of this negative factor should be moved to -3. This goes along with a continued emphasis by Google on usability, quality, and steering completely clear of black-hat tactics.

Va: Ads – This violation was previously within the content category. It has now been moved to the Trust category on the Table. As with enagement’s move to the Trust section, Ads can show a user if a website is spammy or legitimate. An onslaught of ads dominating all content and interfering with navigation can limit user trust in that website.

Overall, the changes to Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors are reflective of Google’s own shifts and priorities in the last year. Following suit with Google’s most recent updates, the adjustments to the table focus on how a website can build trust, limit spam, and provide quality content for an excellent user experience. Twitter bird icon

Kate Lyman
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