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November 10, 2022

Textual factors

The content written on a page is how a search engine determines whether a page matches a query, and therefore how to rank it in the search engine. This is where textual factors come in. 

Textual factors refer to the information that we can gain from a piece of written content. From its literal meaning to its subtext. This is how search engines decide on the meaning of content, and therefore how to rank it. 

Why is it important to consider textual factors?

Textual factors do not lose their significance in determining a site's ranking, but they become more complicated every year.

By focusing on these factors, we can create high-quality texts that attract visitors and improve behavioral factors. 

The main textual ranking factors on a site

There are several indicators used to determine the quality and relevance of a piece of text, to a user's query. 

Uniqueness

Your text should be unique to your page and site. Without it, Google will not be able to discern your page's information from another making it harder to compete. For this reason, uniqueness is one of the most important ranking factors. 

How to ensure your text is unique? 

• Copywriting – This means getting a copywriter to write unique content for you. By doing this you can ensure your text is unique to your site. 

• Rewriting – This means rewriting a text that has already been written. You may be taking the general meaning that the text is trying to convey, but it will be in your own words. 

Using software to reproduce a piece of content. This is a riskier means of creating new texts. Whilst it may be quicker and easier, there is a risk that these texts will contain errors and be less readable to a human. For this reason, we recommend that you refine any texts that are created using this method. 

Duplicate content within your site

Identical content on the same site, even slightly modified, can negatively affect the visibility of the site in the SERP. This is because your pages will be competing with one another, giving you less chance of reaching the top 10 in the SERP.

Semantic core

After checking how unique your site's text is search engines will then determine the semantic core of the text. These are the queries (or keywords) present in your text. A higher ranking will be given to sites whose semantic core is most relevant to the keywords that users are using in their searches. 

To save time when forming your page's semantic core, you can use the search engine's services such as Google AdWords, etc. to find a selection of keywords. 

LSI

Search engines use latent semantic indexing to analyze the degree of a site's relevance to a query. Simply put, LSI keywords are words that are semantically related to the main keywords. These can be synonyms or words that are contextually relevant to the main keywords. 

If you were writing an article on 'dog walking', you may also mention 'dog leads', 'dog parks', 'hiking', 'water bowls' etc. 

By using LSI, you are showing to the search engines that your text covers your given subject in a broad and in-depth manner. 

Density, frequency, and weight of the keywords

The density of keywords is the percentage usage of the keywords in relation to the total text. This can be used by search engines to determine a web page's topic. 

Previously, the criterion for matching a web page to a search query was the frequency of the keyword within the text. The more often it was used, the more relevant the content was considered to be. This led to low-quality, unreadable content, as keywords were stuffed into a page as much as possible. 

As a result of this, the relevance of a text began to be determined by the weighting given to the word in the TF-IDF statistics document. This is an analysis technique used to determine how important a word or phrase is to a piece of content when compared to the other more typical words we would expect to find in any text such as 'the' or 'and'. 

Overstuffing a page is now a way of getting penalized, but also not using your keywords enough means that your page will also unlikely be in the top 10. 

BM25 function

The BM25 function (BM stands for 'best match') and its more modern update 'BM25F' is a TF-IDF-like ranking factor. It shows the relevance of a page to a keyword depending on the number and location of keywords in the text (excluding links). 

When analyzing the relevance of a text, search engines use the BM25 ranking function to analyze the exact occurrences of a keyword in a text, and where they occur. For example, the relative location of other words from the keyword in the document, the combination of the title tag with the text of the document, etc. 

Location of keywords

Although not as important as it used to be, the presence of a keyword in the title tag still holds important weight as an SEO signal for page ranking. According to research, title tags starting with a keyword tend to work better than title tags with a keyword at the end. 

Search engines do not use the description meta tag as a ranking signal, however, as this tag is likely what will be seen from the SERP it can still affect the CTR. The CTR is an important SEO factor, therefore time should be spent creating the most attractive meta descriptions. 

The keyword must be present in the H1 header, which, together with the Title tag, is used by search engines to determine the relevance of the page to the keyword.

The appearance of a keyword in the first 100 words has a strong correlation with the sites ranked on the first page in Google search results. For this reason, we recommend always including your keyword in the first 100 words. 

The presence of a keyword in the H2 or H3 subheadings can be another, albeit not a very significant sign of relevance since it helps search engines determine the structure of the page.

Ranking with several keywords

If a page is ranked by several keywords, this can be a sign of quality to the search engines as it shows a broader coverage of a topic. 

Compliance with user Intent

The intent behind a keyword represents the intention of the user. There are three typical types of intent: commercial, informational, and mixed. 

Commercial intent implies the intent to buy a product or service. Whilst informational implies the user simply wants to find out information on a given subject. Mixed is when both intentions are combined. 

Ensuring your text aligns with the intent of the user, and what your page offers, is an important ranking factor. 

The search engines can see whether your text is aligning with what the user has searched for by analyzing user behavior. For example, the page's clickability in the SERP, how long the user spends on the page, and whether the user bounces back from the page quickly (an indication that it did not satisfy the user's needs). 

Ensuring you optimize your text to meet the user's intent is key to ranking well in the SERP. 

Covering a topic completely 

There is some correlation between how 'complete' the coverage of a topic is and how it ranks on Google. Consequently, pages that cover all sides of an issue are likely to have an advantage over pages that only partially cover a topic. 

Text volume

This indicator is important primarily because the number and weight of keywords depend on the text volume. This, in turn, affects the site's ranking.

According to expert opinion, texts from 1000 to 4000 characters are considered optimal. This volume is sufficient to ensure the desired keyword density, at the same time it is not too large and is suitable for quick reading.

When creating commercial text, we advise focusing on the text length and density of keywords that your competitors in the top 10 are using for their pages. 

Table of contents

Using a table of contents that includes links to relevant sections of the text can help search engines better understand the content of your page. It may also lead to additional clicks on links within your site.

Structuring your text 

Don't use large chunks of text, instead break them down into logical sections, using subheadings for each section. This makes the text flow, looks less daunting to the user, and helps them to better understand what they will be reading about in the text by seeing clear headings. 

Bullet points and numbered lists also help to break up the text making it easier for the user to read. 

Punctuation and spelling

Search engines require that the norms and rules of the language being used are followed. Only well-written texts tend to gain those higher positions in the SERP. Incorrect grammar or spelling can be an indicator that the page has not been well thought out and may not be high quality. Not only can this affect a page's reputation in the eyes of the search engine, but also in the eyes of the users too. A user is unlikely to see a page as an authoritative source if it is badly written. 

Easy-to-read fonts

For writing text, it is recommended to choose a font that will be easy and convenient to read.

Updating content

Search engines prefer recently published or updated content, also known as 'fresh content'. This is especially true for keywords with a time factor such as news articles, etc. 

Google even shows the date of the last page update, indicating that this is likely an important factor to them. 

The scale of content updates

The significance of edits made to the text is also considered by search engines. Adding or removing entire sections is more important than changing the order of a few words or correcting a typo.

Useful content

Today, search engines have learned to identify high-quality and useful content for users by using many of the factors we have discussed above to analyze the written text. 

How to evaluate a site's textual factors?

The placement of a unique, optimized, and well-written text is becoming an increasingly important ranking factor.

If you wish to analyze the quality of the text content of your site, you can use Labrika's content tool. It will analyze your page's text according to the main ranking factors we discussed above. It will then offer recommendations on how to improve and compete with your competitors in the top 10 of the SERPs, taking all the guesswork out of it for you.

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