[2023] Thorough explanation of 8 indicators to understand in order to achieve results in SEO

SEO is translated as “search engine optimization” and is a measure to increase natural inflow via search engines.

Currently, various SNS are emerging, and the number of channels that are sources of inflow is increasing. However, the presence of search engines remains largely unchanged (Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches per day).

What do you need for SEO to be successful? The more you look into it, the more information you will find, and the more you get lost, the more likely you are.

At HubSpot, we’ve been focused on SEO for many years and have consistently delivered results.

This time, after explaining the basics of SEO, we will introduce eight factors that are particularly important among the factors that affect search rankings.


Table of Contents

What is SEO?

First, let’s review the definition of SEO.

SEO is an abbreviation of “Search Engine Optimization”, which is translated as “search engine optimization” in Japanese .

It refers to measures that lead to an increase in traffic to your site by being displayed at the top of search keywords.

Let’s understand the basic idea

Google and Yahoo! account for about 90% of the market share of search engines in Japan.

Since Yahoo! uses Google’s algorithm, it is safe to assume that the “search engine” referred to here refers to Google. In other words, SEO can be said to be “measures for high-ranking display on the Google search engine” .

Google has an ad display frame and an organic search result display frame, and in SEO, we aim for organic and high-ranking display.For example, when searching for “HubSpot”, two links with “ad” notation are displayed at the top. This is one of the Google Ads menus called Search Ads. If you pay for advertising and have the right ad creatives, you can get high rankings.

The third and lower links without advertisements are the display results of organic search.

To rank high in organic search, you need to rank well on Google .

What is the purpose of doing SEO? What can be gained by implementing

Next, let’s take a look at the benefits of implementing SEO = being displayed at the top of organic searches.

1. You can approach users whose needs have become apparent

Since users search for specific keywords, SEO can approach users whose needs have already become apparent .

Therefore, if you can select keywords appropriately, you can approach your potential customers with pinpoint accuracy.

In order to display high in search results, it is important to select keywords that are likely to be searched by target users, understand the search intentions and needs of users, and create content that responds to them .

2. Reduced advertising costs

In the case of paid search ads, if you spend your money on advertising and create appropriate ad creatives, you can secure a considerable number of impressions.

On the other hand, in the case of organic search, it often takes about 3 to 6 months for your company’s content to be evaluated and displayed at the top, and you won’t know if it can be displayed at the top until you try it.

However, if you can display at the top, you will be able to attract a certain number of customers without advertising expenses.

For example, when it is not possible to obtain a good reputation and organic inflow is not expected, rely on search advertising and work hard on SEO.

If you can gradually lower your advertising costs once you are able to acquire organic inflows, you can keep your advertising costs down while securing the number of inflows.

8 Key Metrics That Affect Google’s Search Rankings

Currently, Google uses various algorithms to evaluate websites and determine search rankings.

Some of these metrics are clearly published by Google as ranking signals, others are declared important. Here are some of those indicators.

In addition, the headline indicates the importance of each metric in SEO that HubSpot considers.

Basically, Google doesn’t give ranking signals superiority or inferiority, but you can refer to them when working on SEO.

1. Search intent and content relevance [Importance: Highest]

When users search on Google (search engine), they have a search intention of “I want to solve this problem.”

Google will display content that is highly relevant to the search intent in the search results as content that helps solve the user’s problem .

In the early days, Google searches simply showed webpages and blog posts with the most frequent occurrences of exact word-for-word matches to the keyword.

However, the accuracy of Google’s algorithm has increased recently, and various factors such as the “user’s search intention” searching for the keyword and the relevance of the content are added to determine the ranking.

For example, consider the example of a garden blog.

If you want to display this blog in search results with the keyword “recommended organic pesticides”, you can find information that users looking for “recommended organic pesticides” want, such as how to choose organic pesticides and the effects of each type. It would be a good idea to introduce organic pesticides and where to buy them.

However, just posting the same information as other sites may not be enough for high ranking.

It is important to have highly specialized and in-depth information, have originality that other sites do not have, and be easy to use for users.

In this way, sites that provide information that matches the user’s search intent will help solve the problems that users face. As a result, for example, users end their search behavior on that site or purchase products within the site.

Google judges that sites with such high user satisfaction are providing appropriate answers to the problems of search users.

Another way to improve the readability of your content is to add different headings and subheadings to help your visitors read and digest your content.

Adding bulleted or numbered lists, supplementing information with images, and citing research findings can improve visitor engagement with your content.

The better your visitors engage with your content, the longer they stay on your website.

As a result, your website will be easier to rank.

2. Quality and number of backlinks [Importance: Highest]

A “backlink” is a link from an external website pointing to a target site or page. Sometimes called “inbound links” or “backlinks”.

Backlinks not only affect your search ranking, but also the number of pages your site appears on.

However, Google determines that “the presence of inbound links from other websites indicates that the content on this site is reliable enough to allow us to link to it”.

Website credibility is very important to Google, and the more credible the linking website is, the more impact your inbound links will have on your search rankings.

In order to get backlinks from other websites, it is important to create useful content that people will want to refer to . For example, measures such as market research within the industry and providing useful downloadable materials are effective.

3. EAT and YMYL [Importance: Highest]

“EAT” and “YMYL” are also important , depending on the topic your website covers .
EAT is a concept described in Google’s search quality evaluation guidelines, and is a term taken from the initials of the following three words.

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

Google focuses on EAT to determine if a site or page is “high quality”.

EAT is particularly important in the area called “YMYL”.

YMYL is an abbreviation for “Your Money or Your Life” and refers to topics that can have a big impact on people’s lives. Google’s search quality rating guidelines define YMYL as follows: (Revised on July 28, 2022)

There are a huge variety of topics on the World Wide Web.

Some of these topics carry significant risks that can seriously affect people’s health, economic stability and safety, or the welfare and well-being of society.

We call these topics “Your Money or Your Life” or “YMYL”.

A page that deals with a topic that “has a great impact on people’s health, etc.” means that the topic itself can have a strong impact on users, such as information on health such as illness and medicine, or information on money such as insurance and taxes. refers to

Expertise, authoritativeness, and credibility are important when it comes to topics that have a big impact on people’s lives .

4. Website structure [Importance: Medium]

The most important thing about website structure is that it is easy for users to use and that they can easily access the information they want to know.

A site that is easy to use for users will be a site that is easy for Google to understand, and as a result it can be said to have a positive impact on SEO.

The directory-type structure of “Large Category>Medium Category>Each article”, which is used on many sites, can be said to be a familiar and easy-to-understand structure for many users.

Also, when your directory structure makes it easy for users to see how your content and categories are related, it helps Google understand your content and the topic of your site as a whole.

Here are some things to keep in mind when designing your site:

  • Organize content on your site by category
  • Prepare a category list page
  • Set up breadcrumbs to show users where they are on your site
  • By appropriately arranging internal links, various navigations and tags, users can smoothly access the information they want to know.

If your site is structured to meet the various needs of users, it will promote navigation within your site, increase engagement, and as a result, your Google rating will also increase.

Organizing the site structure also has the advantage of making it easier for administrators to manage the site.

It will be easier to consider what kind of content is currently available and what content should be created in the future.

In addition, so-called orphan pages that are not linked from anywhere on the site are less likely to occur.

For example, even if the content is substantial, if the page becomes an orphaned page because it cannot be linked from anywhere within the site, Google will not be able to grasp the page and it will not be indexed for a long time. There is a negative effect that it can lead to

5. Core Web Vitals [Importance: Medium]

Core Web Vitals refers to three main metrics that describe page speed.

In 2021, it will be added to one of the page experience signals that evaluate user experience. Although it is not an indicator that has a large impact on search rankings, it may be used to determine rankings when there is content with similar relevance to the search keyword.

Improving the value of core web vitals and improving page display speed will also prevent users from leaving and improve business results such as product purchases and document downloads.

For example, Google has found that most users will leave an unfamiliar site if it takes longer than 2 seconds to display.

In addition, on the “Business Impact of Core Web Vitals” page, we also publish the results of a survey that improving the index of core web vitals increased the time spent on the page or improved the CTR.

Here are some of the reasons why your site may be slow to load:

  • Image data is large
  • JavaScript is implemented in a way that interferes with the initial display of the site
  • JavaScript itself is heavy
  • Loading useless JavaScript
  • Poor server performance
  • Improper use of cache

For example, if your images are large, use a service like compressor.io to compress them before uploading them to your CMS . Some services, like tinypng.com , let you compress multiple images at once.

6. Other Page Experience Signals [Importance: Medium]

Also pay attention to other signals that lead to user experience.

Here, we will take up three of “HTTPS”, “mobile friendly” and “interstitial display”.

HTTP, in the first place, stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, a virtual process for transferring information from a website to a visitor’s browser.

HTTPS is the security enhancement of this protocol, meaning that the information Google indexes is safe for users. As you might guess, the “S” at the end stands for “Secure.”

Being “mobile friendly” is very important these days, as most of our website traffic is from mobile devices. The page should be easy to read on mobile.

You can check if your website is mobile-friendly with Google’s ” Mobile-Friendly Test “.

“Interstitial display” refers to any annoying display that appears when a user browses a page. For example, a popup that suddenly appears while scrolling a page.

It is important that the user has voluntary access to all content on the page without any interstitials.

7. Internal Links [Importance: Medium]

Internal links are important for letting Google know about the content on your site.

Google’s crawlers follow links to find new pages, so proper internal linking will get your page indexed quickly, making your content more accessible to more users.

When creating internal links to related content, the linking text (anchor text) is also important.

Google knows the content from the anchor text as well as the user viewing the page.

In addition, by providing internal links to highly relevant content, it is possible to supplement the information that users need. This makes it easier to match search intent and increases the possibility of improving search rankings.

On the other hand, if the linked pages are not very relevant to each other, the evaluation may go down, so avoid blindly linking.

8. Meta Tags [Importance: Medium]

Meta tags help Google determine the specific purpose of a web page and the role each element of the page plays in relation to the topic and target keywords .

In your page, we recommend adding the following types of meta tags while including your target keyword and content related to that keyword.

title tag

A title tag often represents the main heading of an article and is included in the article’s HTML. A title tag helps your page appear in Google search results as your page title.

However, since the 2021 update, there have been many title rewrites by Google, and the content you put in the title tag may not always appear in search results.

According to Cyrus Shepard’s research, as a way to prevent rewriting as much as possible, it is effective to set the title to an appropriate length (51 to 60 half-width characters), avoid stuffing keywords too much, and use the same title as H1.

image alt text

Google’s crawler uses the alternative text (alt attribute text) placed in the image to understand the content of the image. Therefore, set the alt attribute in the img tag with text that appropriately represents the content of the image.

Images will be more likely to be displayed at the top of image search results, and you can also expect inflows from image search results.

meta description

A meta description is 100-120 characters of text that summarizes the content of the page.

The text you put in your meta description will often, but not always, appear below your site title in search results.

Most CMSs have a dedicated field for entering meta descriptions.

If you want to create an SEO-friendly website, stick to user first

This time, I thoroughly explained the knowledge of Google measures, from why SEO is important to factors that affect search rankings.

With the right SEO measures, you can get access from your target audience while keeping your advertising costs down.

We’ve talked about various SEO tips, but what you should revisit when implementing measures is “Is there useful information for search users?” and “Is the website designed to be comfortable for search users?” .

Google has stated that it puts users first, and its algorithms are updated daily so that Google can also evaluate content that users think is good.

In other words, if you focus on transmitting content that can provide value to users and building a website that can provide good UX, it will naturally become a website that is strong in SEO .

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