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5 On-site SEO Factors That Really Matter

What is the difference between SEO factors and ranking factors – and which On-site SEO factors are most important to optimize? When it comes to search optimizations, Google actually considers ranking factors. But not everything we do for SEO is related to ranking.

The difference between SEO factors and ranking factors might seem at first glance just a matter of semantics, but it’s important to remember that SEO is more than just showing up in the top search results in Google.

On-site SEO also means optimizing for user experience. Below you’ll find the 5 on-site SEO factors that really matter and tips on how you can optimize them for the best results. Some factors will help you improve your rankings, others influence the visitor experience on your site, others increase conversions, and more. Each of these should be part of your overall SEO strategy. If you don’t already have one, confidently turn to an SEO agency to provide you with quality SEO optimization services.


One thing is for sure: Content is king! But content alone is not enough to help your site rank for targeted keywords.

According to an Ahrefs study, 91% of online content doesn’t generate any traffic from Google. So what do we know that search engines value when it comes to content?

Relevance of content to user intent

Understanding user intent is the future of search engine development. We’ve already seen some of the benefits this can offer, in the form of answer boxes, knowledge panels, and more diverse search results for broadtail searches.

In fact, the relevance of content to user intent can be argued as the most important ranking factor – because if your content is not relevant to a search, it will be devalued.

User Engagement

Ultimately, we develop websites for both people and search engines. When developing a website for people, it’s always good to look at it and the content from a fresh perspective.

Basically, you need to ask yourself how engaging your content is.

User engagement has long been suspected to be a ranking factor for Google, even indirectly. Regardless, the signals users give you can be a good indicator of what improvements you need to make to your site.

You can't just 'SEO' your website and be done. It's a forever-moving goal post. - Stoney deGeyter

Pages per Session

This metric indicates how many pages a user visits before leaving the site. This, along with the average session duration (the time the user spends on the site) can easily be found in Google Analytics.

What this metric tells us is how interactive and engaging your site is for the user from a navigation perspective. By analyzing this, along with the behavioral flow, you’ll be able to figure out the gaps that are affecting your sales and conversions.

It can also show you how interactive and engaging your bad blog is for users. Usually, if a reader consumes multiple articles in a single session on your site, you’re doing things right.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is another metric that is not a ranking factor but could have a positive or negative influence – depending on how you look at it.

In short, Bounce Rate indicates how satisfied users are with your page or website. High Bounce Rates could indicate that your pages are unattractive and do not satisfy user intent, especially for e-commerce pages. They could also indicate that users are satisfied and got the response they were looking for.

CTR (Click-through Rate)

Your website listing is the first interaction the user has with your website. The CTR is an indicator of whether or not that interaction was successful.

A low CTR may indicate that your posts are not relevant to user searches. It could also indicate that your meta descriptions or title tags are not compelling enough.

Technical structure

Next, you need to consider how technical structure affects user engagement and keyword rankings.

Technical SEO could be considered the foundation of SEO. Without a solid technical foundation, your content “house” will fall apart.


In order to be indexed, your website needs to be crawled. Search engine crawlers only have access to the links provided in the sitemap and those available on the homepage. This makes the practice called “Interlinking” extremely important.


Having an HTTPS secure site is very valuable to ensure the security of transactions on your site. It is also part of the ranking factor called Page Experience.

The number 1 technical error we encounter most often is related to mixed content or HTTP pages. This can occur during an SSL migration and can occur for many reasons.

“Clean” URLs

Equally important, you’ll want to not have content that contains links that link to redirected or empty pages. This can not only affect speed, but it can also affect indexing.

Code issues can naturally arise during a site migration.


This factor is important from several perspectives when it comes to SEO:

  • Crawlability
  • UX and IA
  • Content
  • Link Building

If technical SEO is the foundation of a website, then internal links are the doors that allow you to move from room to room. But as websites age and companies change, maintaining consistency across the site and a solid interlinking structure can be difficult.

Optimizing for mobile

In the age of mobile device indexing, it’s absolutely crucial that your website is mobile-friendly. Mobile-first indexing has become Google’s main ranking index, which means it is updated before desktop indexing.

When developing a site for a mobile user, it’s important to take into account the size of the device itself, as well as various considerations for navigating on a mobile device.

In general, the two most important factors to consider when optimizing a site for mobile include mobile-friendly design and fast page speed.

On-site SEO can be a little confusing, but it’s worth taking the time to understand it. Not only will you improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), but you’ll also make it easier for potential customers to find and navigate your site. 

If you’re looking for help with this aspect of marketing, or if you want a partner that can offer comprehensive digital marketing services in one place, contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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