6 Important Google Ranking factors that are often ignored
Google has over 200 ranking factors. That is a lot. It is hard to even keep the Google ranking factors at the top of your head. I personally have trouble keeping them all in mind. They are all important. However there are some ranking factors that most of us tend to ignore. Sometimes we even do this unintentionally.
Let us discuss 5 factors that I and many of my colleagues tend to “forget”
Domain registration length
This is a big one. How long you register your domain matters. Think from Google’s perspective. You have several domain names that have been registered. One of them has been registered for a year, the other has been registered for 15 years. Which one of them is the most valuable?
If you need to register something for that long, obviously you feel its valuable. The longer you register your domain, the more “serious” your website appears. It indicates to Google and the rest of the search engines that you are here for the long haul.
So anytime you are renewing a domain name, it is wise to renew it for the maximum number of years you can afford.
Private vs Public Who is?
Who is, is basically a record that identifies who owns a certain web domain and how to get in touch with them. There is an option of having your contact information out there for people to contact you, this is what we refer to as public, and private is the option to keep your contact information private.
The issue with private Whois is that, why don’t you want people to associate and quickly find out who is behind a certain website?
To Google a Private Whois is very shady. What are you hiding?
Why would Google expose your website to the wider world if it is difficult to find the person associated with it? The ranking algorithm tends to favor public Whois, rather than private Whois
Penalized WhoIs owner
Past behavior is generally good indicator of future behavior. If a website owner misbehaves and uses his/her website to harm or scam people then they get penalized, there is a good chance all the websites owned by that person will also get penalized.
This is a big one. This is because, most people’s WhoIs information tends to get filled automatically by the company that is selling you the domain name. Sometimes web development agencies fill out the WhoIs information using their information.
In the example above, if the company that sold you the web domain or the developer gets flagged and penalized, then all the websites that Google thinks they own, will also get penalized.
So if they had their information on your domain, Google is going to think that, it is their domain. And because one of their domains was flagged and penalized, all the domains will also see a negative impact especially on their SEO.
Country TLD extension
This is the unique extension code for your domain. It can be .com .co.ke .ke .ug etc. If you opt to have a localized TLD extension, it can greatly help you rank locally. However this may impact your international rankings.
This is usually a problem when companies choose TLDs not because of their country of origin but rather as part of their brand name. For example a company called Thebake Cookies in the UK may go for the domain theba.ke. This looks nice and falls in line with their brand, however, they will only get an SEO boost in Kenya, the origin country of the TLD. Their international rankings may me slower in coming
Magnitude of content updates
This is something I learnt by observing. You see, many of us SEO people tend to create websites, add content and then run out of content. So we leave it at that. For the most part it works ok. The content age and Google picks up on them for ranking. But our content starts to get outdated and stale. Eventually we lose the traffic to fresher and more up to date content.
This needn’t be the case. You see, updating old content actually improves your freshness score. You don’t have to always publish new content, especially if you already have a ton. All you need to do is to go back and update and improve you old content.
This could be as simple as adding more up to date info or rewriting paragraphs to better address the search intent. It could also include internal linking.
You don’t have to go through the inevitable traffic drop a few years down the line. You can still keep your content fresh and the search engines happy by making frequent updates.
However, remember, removing a typo for example is less powerful than adding or updating entire sections. Make sure the content updates are significant.
Having a keyword appear within the first 100 words of a piece of content is very important. It is an indicator that the piece of content is relevant to the search term. Often times this is correlated to the first page rankings. However it is not a matter of just sprinkling search terms on the page.
They have to relate to the overall theme and topic of the page. Avoid keyword stuffing, this is basically just peppering the page with keyword to the point it is not legible by normal people. This tends to attract Google penalties that will cripple your business.
More on on page SEO here
Like I mentioned above, Google ranking factors are so many and it is hard to pay attention to them all. The best we can do is to just create good website that perform really well and make sure that the website addresses the search intent.
If someone searches for “puppy care tips” and they find themselves on your website, you better have some amazing tips for them. That relevancy to search terms is what will help your website rank.
We also help business rank on Google and other search engines. You can read our services page here and learn more about what we do.