28 Sep 20 Questionable Ranking Factors You Should Be Doing Anyway
There are more than 200 ranking factors to optimize a website for online searches, with new factors cropping up or being removed each week. As an online business owner or marketer, it can get very confusing which factors to focus on and which to avoid.
You do however want to maximize your work to get the best possible ROI for your business or client.
In today’s article, I’m going to talk about 20 questionable ranking factors that you should be doing anyway, even if you gain little or no SEO benefits from it.
1. Fixing broken links
Having broken links on your website shows neglect or a business with an abandoned online presence, hurting your social proof and slightly impacting your online search presence.
Broken links can be to internal or external URLs, and should be fixed as it makes your website appear more legitimate.
2. Bullet points and numbered lists
Lists and bullet points help break down content into digestible chunks. With most readers scrolling down a page to view images and videos rather than the actual content itself, this type of formatting helps grab their attention and provides a user friendly experience:
3. Contact Us page
Google states that it likes sites with an appropriate amount of contact information.
A contact page not only helps achieve this, but also allows prospects to interact with your business as many prefer online channels of contact over telecommunications:
4. Site updates
Many SEOers believe that the more often a website is updated, the better it will rank on Google. Whether that’s true or not, you should always be putting out new content as it is the best way to raise awareness and brand yourself in 2016.
5. Using Google Analytics and Google Search Console
There are rumors that the more Google products you use, the better your website will rank. Again, whether that’s true or not, both Google Analytics and Google Search Console are must have tools to manage your business’ online presence.
Both reveal masses of data about your website for free.
6. Number of website comments
Comments should always be enabled for blog posts, as it allows readers to ask questions. Questions asked by readers can be used to update articles in the future, or used to create new topics.
7. Generating Facebook likes
Google admitted that it cannot rank all pages on Facebook as many of them are hidden, but it does crawl pages it can locate. Aside from the questionable SEO advantage, having a large organic following on Facebook can help drive more people to your website and create social proof.
8. Heading tags (2-6)
We all know heading 1 tags carry weight in rankings, but you should also be using heading tags 2-6 when applicable. They allow you to structure content better and provide readers with a better user experience.
9. Grammar and spelling
Poor grammar and spelling costs businesses millions online, as well as making them look unprofessional. Make sure your website’s spelling, grammar, and word usage are correct for the audience you’re targeting (UK/US spelling).
10. Site uptime
Websites that are often down because of host issues may (or may not) be considered a ranking factor. Having a 99.9% or better uptime for any business is critical, as the Internet doesn’t sleep and customers will be looking for you around the clock.
11. Server locations
When starting out, some businesses will use the cheapest host and domain provider they can find. This can often result in servers being located in South America or Asia.
These host providers typically provide a slower service and limited support. Always choose a host that is local to your business as it will increase your website’s speed and provide users with a faster experience.
Remember, 25% of website users will leave a site if it takes 4 seconds or longer to load.
12. YouTube videos
YouTube is owned by Google and list YouTube videos in its search rankings:
With consumers busier than ever, SalesForce estimates that 74% of all Internet traffic in 2017 will be video, start now before it’s too late:
14. Social shares
Social media is now part of everyday life. As a business that wants to create a foothold online you must be producing and sharing content using a number of social media channels.
15. Guest posting
Matt Cutts, head of Google Webspam team said that guest posting for SEO purposes is dead.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t guest post.
Don’t guest post for SEO purposes. Guest post to provide users with value and to drive new people to your website. Guest posting is a great way to reach new audiences and brand your business.
16. Delete unused plugins
If your website is hosted on WordPress, delete all unused plugins from your website. As well as speeding up your site, it will reduce the chances of your website being hacked or infected with malware.
17. User generated content
User generated content is social proof gold for your business.
Asking fans and customers to send images on social media of them using your products may act as a positive brand signal for Google, and gives your business tons of free user generated content to use for marketing purposes.
18. Have an email list
The powers of email marketing for any business is huge, with marketers agreeing that email marketing is the best marketing method out there today:
Having a packed email list ensures customer revisit your website – which some consider to be an SEO factor.
19. Terms of Service and Privacy pages
These pages should be included on every business’ website and be clearly visible on every page (usually in the footer). These pages protect your business from lawsuits and other actions users may take against you.
20. Breadcrumb navigation
Breadcrumb navigation reveals which level of a website a user is on, and allows them to move forward or backwards much easier.
For example, when searching on Curry’s they always offer breadcrumb navigation to go back to each level:
Breadcrumb navigation provides users with a much better user experience, increasing the time spent on your site, and increasing conversions.
The 20 questionable ranking factors above may or may not impact your SEO ranking. Some will make no difference, while others will have a negligible or small impact. But you shouldn’t do them because of SEO, you should do them because they will help all other parts of your business’ online marketing strategy, everything from branding and lead generation, to generating more sales.
The added bonus of implementing these 20 tips is that they may also help your SEO presence as a secondary factor.