Mentioned resources:

  1. Guide to hiring a marketing firm
  2. SEMrush (free 14 day trial here)
  3. Screaming Frog
  4. Ahrefs
  5. Sitebulb


Hey there I’m John Doherty and I’m the founder and CEO of Credo where we help great companies get introduced fast to the best pre-vetted digital marketing firms. 

Today we’re going to talk about the top SEO ranking factors. 

There is SO much talk out in the SEO industry about ranking factors, and unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation. And there are a lot of studies out there that confuse correlation and causation.

Frustrations and challenges

Maybe like me you’re frustrated with these studies because they don’t actually tell you what causes better rankings versus what well ranking sites all have in common (that don’t directly influence rankings). Maybe you’re tired of hearing the ranking-debate-du-jour and yet not actually seeing any results when it’s implemented.

My goal with this video, and my promise to you, is that by the end of this video you’ll have a better understanding of the main top SEO ranking factors to concentrate on in your business. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to learn about these and put them to use in your business.


If you listen to this video and apply what you learn, you will be better able to:

  1. Rank your website better in search engines
  2. Ignore a lot of noise online around SEO because you know better
  3. Spend more time focusing on the things that matter and less on those that don’t

When I started in SEO full time in 2010, working as a link builder for an agency in Philadelphia, I subscribed to so many RSS feeds and made sure to follow as many respected SEOs as I could. And I’m glad I did that, but in retrospect I realize that there was, and still is, a lot of noise and unhelpful information out there.

I’m all about the 80/20, meaning you get 80% of the results from 20% of the effort. I’m even happy to get another 10%, to get to 90% of the results, for a bit more effort. But when it comes down to getting the last 10% of growth for a lot more effort, it’s just not worth it to me, even though I enjoy geeking about SEO just as much as the next person.

So let’s talk about the top SEO ranking factors for you to focus on with your site so you can get the most juice for your squeeze.

They are:

  1. A crawlable website that loads quickly. It used to be really expensive to create and launch and maintain a website, but that’s no longer the case with common and effective platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify.
  2. Keyword targeted pages. By doing keyword research using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, you can identify and then create pages around keywords relevant to your business that can rank and convert visitors to customers or leads.
  3. Links from relevant websites back to your website. Links are still one of the strongest ranking factors.
  4. Solid technical SEO including clean XML sitemaps, minimizing 404 errors on the site especially those with inbound links, and controlling duplicate content issues. 

If you  have done any study into SEO, you’ve probably come across terms like entities, EAT, LSI, and even talk about artificial intelligence.

While the SEO community loves to talk about and debate these things and get into the theory, and I’m happy there are people who do, going deep into those areas isn’t going to help you rank in the short to mid term. 

So to review, what are the top ranking factors for SEO for businesses to focus on?

A crawlable website that loads quickly.

  1. Keyword targeted pages on your site
  2. Links from relevant websites back to y ours
  3. Solid technical SEO foundation to help with crawling and indexing