SEO Ranking Signals: Finding the Right Focus

Every once in a while it makes sense to pause to make sure you’re on the right track. Evaluate your process. Evaluate your progress to your goals. Evaluate the goals themselves.

Bruce Clay on video SEOWhether you’re an SEO ploughing full-speed ahead or a business just starting to rev your SEO engine, a wake-up call from Matt Cutts isn’t a stop sign we recommend blowing past.

Matt Cutts and the Webmaster Help team periodically release videos with advice on search engine marketing and proper technical implementation to aid online businesses. In a recent video, Matt responded to a two-part question to explain the proper focus of search engine optimization. He addressed the questions:

  • Which ranking signals do SEOs worry about too much?
  • What ranking signals should SEOs focus on the most?

Since it’s so important that SEOs remember the objective behind their actions, in a video response Bruce has also tackled the issue of how to approach SEO to see the best marketing and visibility effect.

Here’s the full transcript:

This video is a response to the April 2nd video actually recorded by Matt Cutts that we find in the Webmaster Help video section. It has to do with which ranking signals would you say SEOs worry about too much and what should they focus on the most. Fundamentally when we see things, where people spend most of their time as an SEO is wrongly placed, I think, in external offsite types of activities. We’ve seen a lot of backlash caused by Penguin. The penalties that Google is imposing are severe. I think that we shouldn’t worry about getting links, we should worry about attracting links, and thats a very different kind of thing. We have to focus on content. And when we focus on content we definitely don’t focus on a keyword density analysis because there is no magic keyword density number. Truly it is not 77 percent. It is really something appropriate and natural for each of the sites, each of the keywords. I think that people lose track in the SEO space that our goal is to relate to the visitor and keep them from bouncing. Where we should focus on the most is what can we do to satisfy the visitor to be as natural as we can in a way to minimize bounce rate and to offer information that establishes us as a subject matter expert and that truly attracts involvement and that will result in attracting links. I think that’s what we need to focus on.

In Matt’s own words, hope that helps.

Bonus video! At SMX Sydney this year Bruce was invited to speak about video SEO and the power of video as an engaging web content. His interview with is now up!


  • Videos show up in universal search results. Google’s ranking algorithm factors videos in as highly valuable.
  • Bruce considers video the third-most important element of a website, following text content and inbound links.
  • Bruce expects that every query will return video results within the next few years.
  • Google is almost certainly investing in technology to allow for transcription and searchability of video content.
  • Website owners must remember to use keywords in videos so they can be found by relevant searchers.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (5)
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5 Replies to “SEO Ranking Signals: Finding the Right Focus”

Hey Virginia,

In my 2 years of experience, I see lot’s of people are focus on On-Page or Off Page SEO but people forgot Technical SEO is an important factor for ranking. Such as Mobile Friendly, Page Speed, Schema all things are matter to rank in google.

Please write a blog on Technical SEO.


Paula Allen

Vaibhav: That’s an interesting observation. You’ll find a lot of technical SEO information on our site and in our blog posts. This article from our SEO Guide might contain what you’re looking for: Thanks for reading & commenting!

Hey, @Virginia as i am not the expert & not that much experience but i love to follow what google is experiment as well love to think on direction that what will be the next.

as per my experience i recognized that user experiment on site by any medium whether it could be speed or best experience. According to me, i don’t think so link does work for the ranking in future, totally dependency on signal ranking.

I did work on “effective blog commenting” with in 2 days forms SEO chat url on the site.. does that required to get on rank. There are no Google rules as we can see such as:
link popularity,
quality backlinks
no page value

so, what could be the reason?????

This is great “I think that we shouldn’t worry about getting links, we should worry about attracting links”. We don’t actually about link building if we have great, unique, fresh, attractive content.

I totally agree. If you always remember that search engines’s aims are to satisfy end users. Then it is important to appease end users on websites. People like, pictures and videos so it’s only natural that they are an important for search engines too. The main point, as Bruce said in the video is that the technology is there and more coming that means it will be even more important. I do like nice infographics a lot so I hope people aren’t put off making them still.


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