As hard as it is to assess ANY job candidate’s knowledge, it’s even harder with SEO candidates because there’s so much gray area in the industry. This blog series presents questions you can pose to help you determine a candidate’s level of knowledge.
What are the five most important on-page optimization factors?
Every SEO focuses on different things and has different priorities. You are not looking for a “correct” answer, but rather trying to determine what each candidate finds important. Even though there may be no right answers, that doesn’t mean there are no wrong ones, so keep on the lookout for anything you know to be unimportant. That’s a giant red flag.
Here’s how I would answer:
The top three ranking factors, as recently indicated by Google, are content, links and RankBrain. However, since RankBrain isn’t really a factor that we can optimize for, content itself doesn’t increase rankings, and links are more of an off-page factor than on-page, none of those answers really provide much insight for the question. That means we need to dig a bit deeper to really understand the five most important things the algorithms look for in regards to on-page optimization.
First, I would optimize on a page is the title tag. That is where you get the biggest value for the amount of space provided.
Second, I would run tools to uncover any site architectural issues. I’d be looking for anything that would prevent the search spiders from accessing content, along with over-linking in the navigation.
Third, I’d focus on the content on each page to make sure that every bit of content serves the purpose of the page.
Fourth, I’d look at headings. Whether or not it’s coded as an Hx tag, headings provide strong visual indicators for the reader.
Finally, I would look at usability issues and calls to action for each page.
I get that not all of these are algorithm factors, but they all provide value that that improves page performance, which ultimately, is a factor in the algorithms.
There are a lot of other steps to on-page optimization, but I would say these are the first things I’d dive into.