Danny Sullivan reports, Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors has been updated, with its fourth edition now available. It sees factors related to mobile, direct answers and site speed increase in importance. Factors related to search history have decreased. Factors related to site identity and personal social sharing have been dropped entirely.
Below is a further explanation behind the changes, along with a reintroduction to the table, for those who are new to it. For those who just want the latest table to download, scroll to the end.
The table’s goal & philosophy
Our goal with the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors is to help publishers focus on the fundamentals needed to achieve success with search engine optimization.
To do this, the table doesn’t try to list all of Google’s 200 major ranking factors (most of which aren’t publicly known) or detail the search engine’s 10,000 subfactors. It doesn’t try to decipher if the keywords you want to rank for should be at the beginning of an HTML title tag or the end. It’s not about whether Facebook Likes count toward a ranking boost or not.
Rather, the table is intended to broadly guide both those new and experienced with SEO to focus on major areas of importance. Title tags are generally important; you should ensure they are descriptive. Social sharing is often generally seen as indirectly benefitting SEO. Aim for social shares, without worrying about the specifics.
To understand more about our philosophy behind the table, see our post from when the first edition debuted in 2011. You can also read how it changed with the second edition in 2013 and the third in 2015.
What the SEO table covers
There are two major classes of factors:
On-the-page SEO: These are factors largely within the control of publishers.
Off-the-page SEO: These are factors influenced by others or not directly tied to a publisher’s site.
Within these two classes are seven categories of factors, which are:
Content — Factors relating to the content and quality of your material
Architecture — Factors about your overall site functionality
HTML — Factors specific to web pages
Trust — Factors related to how trustworthy and authoritative a site seems to be
Links — Factors related to how links impact rankings
Personal — Factors about how personalization influences rankings
Social — Factors on how social sharing impacts rankings