3 Keyword Ranking Factors You Should Care About

Digital marketing agencies know that keywords are the cornerstone of a successful business relationship with their clients. Business owners understand that investing in digital marketing should mean an increased presence in search results. They’re able to do a basic keyword search and see if they are ranking. If they see themselves, they think it’s successful. If they don’t find themselves, they perceive the campaign as a failure. So what can digital marketing agencies do to increase their chances of a customer showing up in a Google search?

They can start by following Moz’s local ranking factors report that they publish every year. Moz asked the top digital marketing experts what they believe affect keyword rankings the most. In this blog, I want to review the top three ranking factors: link signals, on-page signals, and behavioral signals.


Over the last several years, link signals have been cited as the number one keyword ranking factor. Google’s algorithms take a lot of stock in what other domains think about your client’s website. Think of a backlink as a vote expressing confidence that your client is an expert in their particular industry. The more backlinks — and the higher the quality of the backlinks — the better your chances of seeing increased keyword rankings. Let’s review some of the ingredients that go into a quality backlink.

  1. Anchor Text: These are the words hyperlinked in the backlink to your website. You don’t want to pick just any old anchor text. There is a strategy behind it. You want some of the anchor text to be branded, another portion of it should be on money keywords (dentists in Hogsmeade), and the final portion should be generic.
  2. Link Domain Authority: This is a metric used by Moz that judges the authority of your website. Backlinks are obviously a strong signal to increase your domain authority. The greater the domain authority, the greater the chance your website will rank on money keywords.
  3. Link Domain Quantity: This is the number of backlinks pointing at your website. Ideally, you’ll have a consistent number of new backlinks each month.
  4. Link Domain Relevance: How relevant are the backlinks you’re acquiring? If you are a dentist, you want to see dental magazines or other dental practices linking back to you. This will showcase that you are an authority figure in your field.


The second ranking factor we are going to review today is on-page signals. This ranking factor is right behind backlink signals. It is much easier to improve your on-page signals. The reason for this is because you have control over all the content on your website. It is much more challenging to convince another business owner to link back to your website. Let’s review what makes up on-page signals.

  1. NAP: Name, address, phone number. Do you have a consistent nap? This is easy to add to your website. Typically you’ll see it in the footer and on the contact page. Remember to update this information if you ever move locations and to update the corresponding directories as well.
  2. Keyword in Title: Are the keywords you want to rank on located somewhere on your website? This seems pretty obvious; however, you’d be surprised how often webmasters forget to add keywords to the title tag, H1, and marketing copy.
  3. Domain Authority: Again, the higher your domain authority the better off you will be in your pursuit to rank on keywords. One way to increase your domain authority is by implementing a backlink building strategy for your website.

Behavioral Signals

The last ranking factor that we want to review today is behavioral signals. This is the third most important ranking factor, according to digital marketing experts. Behavioral signals can be greatly affected by the first two ranking factors. So if you are nailing those strategies then you should see improved behavioral signals. Let’s review what they are.

  1. Click-Through Rate: When somebody lands on your website, do they want to continue exploring? If you have great content, then the answer is probably yes. If they bounce off your website, this indicates they didn’t find what they were looking for.
  2. Dwell Time: When they land on your website, how long are they there? A high dwell time signals to Google that an end-user has found the information they need. You can increase your dwell time by improving the content on your website.
  3. Mobile Click-to-Call: This is a simple feature any webmaster can add to your mobile site. When somebody lands on your website, can they click the phone number from their mobile device to call you?


SEO takes time and patience to see really great results. Set expectations with your customers that it will take six to 12 months to see anything significant. If they aren’t willing to invest that much time into it, then point them towards a paid search campaign. Use this knowledge of how keyword rankings are affected to educate your customers as well. There are a few metrics you can review with your customers to show intermittent results. Review keyword movements, monthly organic growth, and phone calls. Good luck, and start backlinking!

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