This is second part of my guide to corporate SEO research and recognition. Many of us forgets many important factors when doing SEO. The most important ones that are lost during campaigns is Website Optimization (major White Hat SEO point) and Website Authority (largely misinterpreted by beginner SEOers). The best way to understand connections between different SEO aspects is to follow 33% rule. SEO is built using 3 factors: 33% of rankings is backlinks 33% of rankings is website optimization 33% of rankings is authority Now - as most of people do the SEO using just backlinks, fix their onsite with plugins and hope for authority to come - they will dance in rankings and will be unable to rank high and fast. Lets go through each aspect: 1) Backlinks Backlinks are responsible for your rankings for exact keywords you desire. You can build anchors to suggest Google what is your target. Google will determine following things when evaluating backlinks: a) Value of backlink (based on authority passed from website it is created on and value of a Page - obl, content of page etc.) b) Relevance of backlink (based on relevance of page where backlink is located to the website) c) Anchor of backlink (what keyword this backlink want to pass on website) d) Type of backlink (for example: no-follow, site-wide, text, .com) Once Google extract all the data about given backlink it will run it through higher tiered system that will evaluate complete backlink profile for a website. This will include: a) Anchor variations b) Link types (hyperlinked picture, regular link, anchor etc...) c) Do-follow/No-follow ratio d) Different pages distribution e) Relevance of backlink profile to the websites/pages theme f) Value of authority passed on website from backlinks g) Backlink creation distribution over the time h) Referring Domains/Tld variety Each website will be checked differently. This will be determined by websites authority. Low authority websites will need less backlinks, less diversity and it will be treated much better than older website to some extent. But while authority increases your new website will need to deal with more and more filters. This is why new websites rank all of sudden top20 with heave backlink blast and disappear in rankings 1-2 weeks later. Older websites (higher authority) will have much easier to maintain rankings short term, but it will be much more difficult long term (more variables to work with). Ratio of backlinks I try to maintain on my websites is: 70% do-follow 95% text 90% Not Sitewide (main page only) 30% 3 Main Anchor, 40% secondary keywords and long tails, 30% organic keywords. 2) Website Optimization Probably the most ignored part by today SEOers. Website optimization is as important as backlinks - especially past Panda. There is no reason to spend $$$ on backlinks if your onsite is of poor quality as you risk penalty, heavy Google dance and unstable rankings. Its not just about adding plugin to WP and letting it fix your issues. Your website need to be well optimized to its keywords, code need to be clean and your % of keywords should be maintained also. The following things you should consider when checking your onsite: -Do your code have extra break lines? (many sites have double break lines on most of the lines which affects your code optimization score) -Is your site having correct meta tags? Are they optimized? -Is your layout user friendly? Will it pass manual review by Google employees? -Your website have related, high quality content? Do you have media and text mixed together? -Is your footer well formatted? -How is your website standing with w3c code checker? -How your website stands comparing to your competition? -How is your uptime, website load time and is your hosting located in country that you want to rank in? -Is your website blacklisted on any of monitoring websites? The priority of website checks should be as follow: a) onsite Optimization check (basic one can be done with WooRank/SeoMoz - follow their steps to fix your onsite SEO) b) code error check c) dead links checker d) uptime monitoring (less than 99,5% can affect rankings) There is of course much more - but those are the basic ones that you should perform. Following all steps will help you to rank faster and higher - even without backlinks. As before - website that gets more authority requires more advanced onsite SEO. 3) Authority With great power comes great responsibility. This quote seems to be perfect explanation of Authority. Authority is both good and bad thing. From one side it secures your rankings, helps you to rank for long tail keywords and gives you amazing ranking power. From the other - it puts more filters on your site, it requires more work on your side and much more commitment. Authority is passed mostly from backlinks (referring domains + backlink numbers + quality of backlinks) and some from website itself (quality of content + website optimization + age of domain + tld + your website platform (custom coded sites are usually ranking better) + type of site (family friendly or not) and many other small factors). It seems that the biggest issue with Penguin was actually de-valuating some points of Authority thus putting bigger weight on Backlinks/Optimization. Without Authority filter you end up empty sites and default WP themes ranking for low quality keywords. Making this simple now: Backlinks + Onpage + Extra Factors = Authority Backlinks + Onpage + Authority = Rankings but Rising Authority = Extra Requirements for Backlinks and Onsite quality So how is possible that website with 30 words and no design is outranking you - quality site? Its simple - their backlinks and authority is very good - thus outranking your overall SEO score. Something that looks good for you - is pain in eyes of Google bot. Remember also that Google is daily checking thousands of websites for quality (manually) - manual review can put an additional filters on your website that will cause your site having issues with ranking and even a penalty. There is much more factors to determine your rankings of course but mentioned here are the main ones. So next time if you will buy one time blast for $30 and you will loose your rankings - there is much more than just few backlinks to rank your website. Whole SEO is very difficult process to understand and our job as a SEO people is to try to understand it, crack the code and use it for our own advantage. If I will see interest in this thread - I will open soon new one about in-depth, corporate like competition and keyword research with live examples.