In this episode:

  • The problem with calling metrics like word count, time to first byte “ranking factors”
  • Why Jenny believes CTR is NOT a significant ranking factor
  • How to stay focused on what matters in the noisy SEO industry
  • How to think through and solve your own SEO problems
  • Pros and (mostly) cons of AMP
  • A tip for improving product pages, and how to get buy-in
  • Managing scope creep as an SEO consultant

Have you ever wondered if all of these SEO Ranking Factor studies are actually useful? Do they help us as SEOs in the work we do? And further, are they damaging the reputation of our industry? An industry which has had a hard enough time earning respect!

Like myself, maybe you’ve read them – but their conclusions often contradict (some say user metrics are a factor, some don’t etc), they confuse causation with correlation – so it’s frustrating to know if we should pay attention to them… and it’s even more frustrating to think that these studies might be giving SEO a bad name!

In today’s episode, my guest Jenny Halasz shares her thoughts and recommendations on ‘ranking factor studies’.

Listen Now!

Episode Sponsor

Episode Sponsor – We have a special sponsor just for today’s show. You’re a podcast listener, right? So you probably listen to them on headphones, at least sometimes? Check out Sudio Headphones! 

To me, these are luxury headphones without the luxury price tag.

I’ve been using the Vasa Rose Gold Earbuds for 3 months and love them. In fact, when Sudio asked if I would mention their headphones, I told them I would mail the headphones back to them if I didn’t like them because I wouldn’t ever take a sponsor of a product I don’t love.

Obviously, I like them 🙂 Listen to the show for a discount code to get 15% off any product!

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  • Show Introduction [0:22]
  • Jenny’s Introduction [1:04]
  • How did Jenny get the caliber of clients that she has and what does she do for them [1:32]
  • Why does Jenny prefer clients with some existing SEO knowledge [3:02]
  • How many clients does Jenny work with at one time and what is her limit [4:47]
  • How does Jenny deal with scope creep [6:08]
  • Effects of Ranking Factors Studies on the industry [8:14]
    • What is a ranking factor [8:40]
    • Ranking Factor versus Best Practice [11:09]
    • Direct Traffic discussion and why is it a problem to use as a ranking factor [13:04]
    • What does Google mean when they say site speed is a ranking factor for mobile [16:20]
    • Why is word count problematic metric [17:32]
    • Image Use as a Ranking Factor Searchmetrics Study [18:54]
    • Do ranking factor studies mix up causation with correlation? [20:51]
    • Is the problem with these studies the output analysis? [22:45]
    • What is the motivation behind ranking factor studies [26:13]
    • Should the companies conducting the studies be explaining the methodology behind the studies? [28:31]
    • Click- through rate as a ranking factor discussion [31:30]
    • What can the companies running these studies be doing better [35:46]
  • Sponsor Break with discount code [38:32]
  • How does Jenny recommend focusing on the things that matter in the studies and recommendations for new SEOs  [42:18]
    • Quality Raters Guidelines [45:03]
  • How to teach people to think critically about SEO? [46:09]
  • Are there certain core/pillar SEO action items Jenny does for clients [50:11]
  • Jenny’s stance on AMP [53:02]
  • Disavow Files [55:39]
  • What does Jenny recommend for improving the visibility of product pages [58:11]
  • Baidu SEO [1:01:13]
  • Why Jenny is not an Entrepreneur [1:03:01]
  • Where to find Jenny online and where will she be speaking [1:06:43]

Tools Mentioned

Articles, Resources, and Links Mentioned

Find Jenny Online

About Dan Shure

Hi! I'm Dan Shure. I write all of the posts and host all of the podcast episodes you'll find on the Evolving SEO blog. Say hello on Twitter @dan_shure!


  • March 16, 2018 Reply


    Thank you so much! I really appreciate it ? x

  • April 25, 2018 Reply


    Hi Dan, you mention when you onboard a client you do a bit of education.

    What is it that you include in that education session?

    • April 25, 2018 Reply

      Dan Shure

      A lot! Too much to list in a comment – and it depends on the knowledge level of the people/person I am educating. For instance one client I’ll start all the way back at “this is what search console is”, but others I’ll be teaching them advanced things in SEMrush or something like multi-channel attribution – there’s no stock thing I teach!

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