Ranking Factor or Ranking Signal? You Decide

A couple of days ago, I was chatting with a buddy, talking about the difference between ranking signals and ranking factors. It got me started on a train of thought, and as I jotted down a list of a few factors and signals, I started thinking about what the criteria might be that define something as one or the other.

I had a fair good idea of what each variable is, but I found it difficult to nail down a clear definition that would readily classify something. So I went to Google and started doing some digging.

Ranking Factor or Ranking Signal

First, I looked for obvious things like ranking factor versus ranking signal. That came up dry. Seems like nobody in the first four pages had ever clearly defined them, let alone Google (big surprise there, right?)

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Ch. 16 – Takeaways – Critical Thinking

Updated October 16, 2013

Doc Sheldon



You’ll decide which tidbits will be your takeaways from Critical Thinking. But I’m going to offer some notes that you might want to think about, by Chapter:


1.       Learn how to fish

  • Critical Thinking isn’t intended to teach you what to think, but how to think.

2.       Challenges

  • Internet marketing now encompasses more disciplines than in the past.
  • Engagement, client education and awareness play an increasing role in IM.
  • Changes such as the weighting of the link profile, schema.org, increasingly tighter budget constraints, attribution requirements, the every-broadening selection of social media platforms, negative perception of the IM industry and other distractions all make it more difficult to focus efforts where most needed.

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Ch. 15 – Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff


I think this may be the toughest question of the entire batch. Given the burgeoning number of people calling themselves guru, expert and ninja these days, there’s a hell of a lot of chaff and precious little wheat to be found in the SEO industry.

But wheat there is! It’s just finding it that’s challenging.

Early in my SEO self-education, my method was to engage as many people as possible, in as many different venues as possible, and observe how they present their case, and how other people respond to them. As you might imagine, I heard a lot of conflicting points of view, and more than a few instances turned into exchanges of insults.

It didn’t take long to recognize the folks that made reasonable claims in a reasonable fashion. Likewise, I quickly learned to spot those that were as full of crap as a Christmas turkey. With time, my bullshit detection abilities developed sufficiently to spot a lot of the manure-pushers. But those are two different extremes. Like a classic bell-curve, the vast majority fall between the extremes, and those are often harder to classify.

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