There are a number of direct signals which influence the ranking of pages, most of them are very effective and work like clockwork however what about the other signals which are less obvious.

A direct ranking signal for example would include page load speed, let’s presume your page takes 8 seconds to load and you optimise it, change a few things and get the load speed down to 2 seconds, because this is a ranking influencer it will make an impact all be it a small one, it may improve a websites position from page 10 to page 9 in search results.

These direct influences are real, Google talks about them and allows us to measure them, and they move the needle and make a real difference to organic SEO results.

As an SEO these direct ranking signals are significant and with enough of these influencers optimised we can create measurable developments in organic ranking positions for our web pages; but what about less direct influences for example if we attend an event and do a small presentation on digital marketing for coffee shops, and at the event is a gentleman who runs a coffee blog, he is inspired by our talk and in his next blog links to our page. Would this shift the needle? Absolutely because even though it is an indirect influence it has resulted in the development of a direct ranking influencer.

At this fabricated presentation Richard Branson is in attendance, so impressed with the presentation he tweets something about the talk and mentions my name and all of a sudden thousands of people are searching for my website, sharing my content and writing their own content linking back to me. From all of this it’s likely Googles entity associations and topic modelling association’s algorithm starts to associate me with the term ‘coffee shop marketing’ and I begin to rank higher. Google says that tweets do not directly influence ranking but here we see how they can indirectly make an impact.

With all this new traffic I decide to write some content about coffee shop marketing and along with this a small video tutorial, this will improve the time visitors spend on the website and offer more value improving search rankings for that page. It all sounds great but their is a but!

What clients and managers will say?

Many will say this isn’t real SEO, Mr SEO man. It’s not targeting direct influencer signals and so shouldn’t be used and technically this is true but isn’t that looking at the small picture, if something gets results then it gets results, doesn’t it? Is it worth missing out on something because it’s not technically correct?

The other argument is that it takes time for these indirect signals to make an impact, and that is also correct. It’s not until these indirect signals impact direct signals that they make a measurable impact to rankings.

My Advice

As with most things it’s best to look at the big picture, simply saying that because something does not directly influence SEO so it should be dismissed is thinking inside the box. Many things impact search rankings and they should all be carefully considered. These things will all indirectly positively impact your SEO rankings and should all be taken into consideration.

  • Engagement
  • User experience
  • Amplification
  • Branding through memory
  • Relationships
  • Brand coverage
  • Saturation

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