Do SEO Scores Work? A Hot Debate
For years, you have likely heard various claims about search engine optimization scores and their impact on rankings. Many tools and metrics are purporting to provide insights into how Google evaluates websites. However, Google has explicitly stated that they do not use any of the scores produced by third-party tools. But despite the company's clarification, confusion and debate persist.
This article will explain what we know about how Google ranks websites to determine which signals truly matter for search rankings.
What Are SEO Scores?
SEO scores are metrics that estimate how well-optimized a web page is for search engines like Google. Higher scores indicate the page is more optimized based on current best practices. It is no surprise that SEO drives 1,000% more traffic than organic social media.
SEO scores consider factors like:
Keyword placement and density
Use your target keywords a reasonable number of times, especially in headings, page titles, meta descriptions, and the first 100 words. Overuse can seem spammy to search engines.
Linking to related content within your site. This helps search engines crawl your site and understand the content structure.
Including alt text, a caption, and relevant keywords for images. This helps search engines understand image content.
Page load speed
Having a fast-loading page, especially on mobile devices. Search engines favor fast, user-friendly pages.
Optimizing content for easy reading and navigation on mobile devices. More searches now happen on mobile, so mobile-friendliness is important.
Using HTTPS instead of HTTP. Search engines give a slight ranking boost to secure sites to encourage web security.
Do SEO Scores Matter?
The debate around whether SEO scores matter or not has been ongoing. Some experts argue that SEO scores are an outdated metric that should be ignored, while others maintain that they still provide value.
Search Engine Ranking
SEO scores were created to estimate how well-optimized a page is for ranking in search engines like Google. The higher your score, the better optimized your page supposedly was. However, as search engines have become more sophisticated, SEO scores have faced criticism.
Search engines now consider hundreds of factors when determining rankings, many of which SEO scores do not measure. Things like page loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and user experience are ranked highly by Google but not reflected in most SEO scores. Because of this, some experts claim that SEO scores have become irrelevant as a ranking metric.
Still Some Value
However, other experts argue that SEO scores still provide benefits. While not perfectly correlated with rankings, pages with higher SEO scores do tend to rank better on average. SEO scores can also help diagnose issues with a page and estimate how it may rank relative to competitors. For smaller sites, in particular, basic on-page optimization measured by SEO scores can still help improve visibility.
For monitoring overall SEO progress, scores and metrics can be useful guides when part of a balanced strategy focused on great content and user experience. The debate around SEO scores will likely continue, but as a digital marketer, the most important score is how well your content ranks in Google to reach your target audience.