Over-estimated Google Ranking factors

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Over-estimated Google Ranking factors


Last week we covered the ranking factors that are usually underestimated, this week we are going to look at the once great ranking factors that these days either have very little effect within Google or ones that can have a negative effect on your ranks.

Many of these ranking factors are still considered as a crucial part of SEO but really have little or no effect on their Google rankings.

What are the most overrated Google ranking factors?

Exact match domains – exact match domains used to be one of the best ways to rank quickly and stay on top for almost any keyword. If you wanted to rank for [Estate agents in London] all you would have to do is buy the domain www.estateagentsinlondon.com but in a way this was obviously cheating. Google now don’t favour exact match domains over other domain URL’s.

Backlink anchor text – this used to work really well but is very easy to manipulate so Google now monitor it. If every site that is linking to you uses the same anchor text (e.g. Websites for Estate Agents) it will seem a little dodgy to the search engines.  

To avoid spammers taking advantage of this strategy, Anchor text from incoming links is monitored more closely, so if you are overdoing it you may even get penalised.

Meta keywords tag – I can’t believe these are still around as no major search engine uses the Meta keyword tag as a ranking factor.

Google announced years ago that Meta Keywords don’t have anything effect on your rankings due to the fact it is very easy for spammers to abuse.

Facebook likes – for a while SEO’s thought that Facebook likes to Business Profiles was having a positive effect for their Google rankings but lately many have started doubting the power of Facebook likes. It has now been disclosed that Facebook likes aren’t a ranking factor within Google’s algorithm.

Quantity of Backlinks – once upon a time link building was all about quantity, the more links you had the better. This was obviously very easy to abuse and Google now measure backlinks on quality rather than quantity.

H1 tags – A few years ago the H1 tag carried a lot of weight and sticking some keywords within your H1 tags would have got you noticed by Google. These days H tags aren’t considered as they once were and are headlines are definitely not a place to stuff keywords.

Top level domains – top level domains are the endings of your domain (e.g. .com, .co.uk, etc). These days any top level domains can rank well but in my opinion .co.uk or .com still look more legitimate for UK based businesses but having a .co.uk over a .me won’t have any effect on your SEO.

Focusing on outdated SEO strategies to try and gain better rankings while ignoring the up and coming factors will harm your Google positioning in the long run. Leave the old ranking factors in the past and keep up with the new, modern SEO tactics.

 By Luke Stanley
SEO Consultant