The SEO Periodic Table
Performing high-level, successful search engine optimization is a long-term undertaking that encompasses many different skill sets. Making sense of all of the thousands of factors that can affect SEO (yes, Google has over 10,000 sub-categories in their algorithm) can be a bit overwhelming even for an experienced search engine marketing guru.
It's as much an art as it is a science, and to perfectly illustrate at least the scientific aspect of SEO, the friendly folks at searchengineland.com have put together a clever little illustration they've dubbed "The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors". Much like the venerable periodic table of elements we all had to learn in high school chemistry, this table organizes the various over-arching SEO factors into a beautifully organized listing.
As you can see in the table, each individual "element" is weighted by how influential it is (at least according to them and other SEO experts), and organized vertically into categories like "html", "architecture", and "content". Granted these titles aren't as catchy as, say, "Noble Gases" and "Alkali Metals", but they help keep the SEO chemist focused on what's really important nonetheless.
More helpful still is breaking the table down into 4 general regions, each separated by a corresponding color: On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, Violations, and Blocking. By performing thoughtful, relevant search engine optimization, the first two regions are effective ways to consistently raise organic rankings and social media exposure in the long-term (i.e. white hat methods).
Generally speaking, the red category - Violations - breaks down into some of the more common "black hat" methods that SEO gamers implement. But as search engines get savvier at recognizing and weighing said methods, the perpetrators will not only see their rankings tumble, but they risk getting their sites banned from search engines outright. Plus they're just not nice things to do.
The Blocking "elements" in yellow are more difficult to directly affect because there are any number of reasons that a visitor would block a site from their individual search results, but if a site has good content, this normally wouldn't happen. Of course, this hearkens back to the hydrogen of the SEO Periodic Table - Quality - that which gives structure to the SEO universe.