Google says there are over 200+ ranking factors and these have become a popular cornerstone of SEO. The algorithm puzzles marketers globally and are a complex matrix with thousands of variations. This is why we have highlighted 14 google ranking signals that you should know about when planning ahead in 2016.
Often, the best advice is simple. An example if this would be to build an authentic website with high quality content and to develop a strong brand, instead of spending all of your time thinking about potential ranking signals. This is because Google’s main aim is to provide the person searching with the best information possible and will choose the best websites which reflect their search.
However, once you begin to see good results from following the simple SEO tips you will soon come to realize that there are some essential things you need to consider and get right in order to take your SEO to the next level.
There are a number of widely-known SEO signals, like keywords in titles, but what about the ranking signals that will be important this year?
Signals That Affect Page Ranking
- Be Who You Say You Are. Contact Info must match across all of your info, especially your Who Is info. Authenticity is important as this could confuse Google if it was wrong somewhere.
- Oldies Are Goodies. Backlink age – older links have more power. Poor quality websites linking to your website is not such a good idea though as you should consider getting any removed or disavow them.
- Don’t Scratch Too Many Backs. Do not exchange links excessively – Google does not like a favor for a favor-type link exchange so avoid these where possible.
- Avoid Using Bots To Help You. Google is not a fan of auto-generated content. If you are producing computer created copy as part of your strategy or to save time beware as you may be penalised. Grammar and spelling count too, so keep an eagle-eye on this as well.
- Pop-Ups Are Behind The Times. Pop-up ads are annoying and Google doesn’t like them either. This is seen as a poor user experience and will impact your SEO efforts.
- Google Likes Google. Using Google Local or Google Business for your company will be a positive move. After all, it is Google and they will want you to use their products.
- Internal Links That Have Value. Internal link popularity can be a good signal of usefulness to visitors. Make internal links ones that have genuine value and are relevant to the customer journey to help them find new content.
- Think Stronger Branding. The stronger your brand is, the more likely you will generate relevant traffic, attract the right kind of links and have a generally higher profile in Google’s eyes – which, of course, will be good for your SEO efforts. Whether Google considers social media within its algorithms is still up for debate but it can all contribute to stronger branding online.
- Tag, You’re It. Tags that are assigned to the page may influence how that page ranks.
- From The Highest Authority. Links from domains with restricted access – like .edu. and .gov. are a good for you and your website.
- Keep Them Around. The average time users are spending on a page will be an indicator of whether this is quality content or not. Keep their attention with interesting and usual content like images and videos. However, what’s not so good is slow loading pages, so keep these in check too.
- Manipulation Is Not Cool. If you’re thinking of cloaking your IP address, don’t! Manipulation, deception and hiding who you really are are all no-no’s and will be a hug red flag to Google and other search engines.
- Don’t Sing The Same Tune. Using the same anchor text within any backlinks or images to a page is another red flag to Google, so avoid this.
- I Link, Therefore I Am. Too many links from a single website is something that should be avoided like the plague. This screams ‘spam’ and will more than likely hinder your SEO efforts, rather than help them. Variety is good!
Google wants you to do well, so listen to what their algorithm wants and you will do better from it.
If you have noticed any other useful tip, please do share with me in the comments below. Similarly, if you have seen one of these useful tips working for you, I’d love to hear about it.
Thomas Stocks is an SEO and PPC Manager at UK-based Varn.