Google ranking factors you underestimate

| Web design

Google ranking factors you underestimate

With SEO ranking factors going from being really important one day to completely unnecessary or even to harming your websites rankings the next, keeping up with the latest algorithm changes can save your business losing out on traffic and sales.

This is a list of the new or existing ranking factors that are underestimated by many website owners. Ignoring these signals can end up in getting penalised and a drop in rankings.

So what ranking factors have been gaining importance over the past year?

Site speed: Now officially a ranking factor, Google has made it perfectly clear the speed of your website is a big factor on how well you rank.

So what will slow down your website? Huge images, lots of widgets, flash and media that take ages to load.

Usability: Google’s high quality update “Panda” was a direct attack on poor quality website. To avoid being penalised, make sure your website is good for the user experience. This should include good quality unique content, easy navigation and a clear call to action.

Branding: The release of sitelinks proves that branding is important to Google. Branding helps to filter out the generic sites that may rank under your branding name. Generic sites will now be downranked for brand searches.

Readability: Google now measures the level of your content readability. If your website is for the general public using technical lingo constantly will just confuse your readers. Google may rank you down for not writing content with generic terms.

Social Networking Signals: For a while now Twitter and some other social sites have influenced Google’s algorithm. Mentions and retweets from such sites can have a positive effect on your rankings.

Google +1: Google announced that +1 vote will count as a ranking factor, making them crucial to be included in blog posts (as we have below).

Outgoing links: Google encourage website owners to link out to sites with high authority and have included it as a positive ranking factor. Keep in mind that linking to bad websites will have a negative effect on your rankings.

Click through rates:The amount of people who click through to your site from Google can have a positive effect on your SEO. If people are searching for “Estate Agents in (your area)” but seem to skip over your website a lot, you become less valuable and are ranked down. To ensure you get clicks include an enticing Meta description and title tag.  

Page Age: Displaying dates on your articles may not be a direct ranking factor but will have a huge impact on your click through rate. Older articles are less likely to be clicked on.

Link rot: When content gets older, links within the content can end up broken or redirect to other website which may have poor authority or be spammy. Link rot is the term used for links that once were good but aren’t these days.   

Alt text: This is the text you add to describe the images on your website. This helps search engines understand what the images on the website are.

These factors are definitely underestimated and the existing factors like Alt Text seem to have been brushed aside by many SEO’s yet they still carry a lot of weight.

SEO Consultant