SEO and Google have come a long way in a decade. There have been quite a number of changes and tactics that were once considered best practice are now thought to be black hat methods. One of the main reasons SEO is constantly evolving is due to the changing algorithm of Google.
Google changes their algorithm all the time in order to ensure they keep their users as happy as possible. According to the Australian SEO agency SEO Shark it is essential that you or keep up to date with the changes that Google makes. Even though we can never know for sure what is in their algorithm, we can take educated guesses and Google does offer some hints.
With so many moving parts it is understandable that some ranking factors get forgotten about, or quite simply – neglected. Yes, there are some ranking factors that are more important than others, but it doesn’t mean you can just forget about some.
Have a read below at some of the important ranking factors that you may have forgotten about. If you have indeed forgotten some of the below tactics, make sure you include them in your SEO strategy as soon as possible – you may be missing out on some potential SEO juice!
1. Content Amount
While actual word count is certainly not a ranking factor, it is still essential for you to have in depth content. This is because, based on a number of different studies, the length of your content is correlated with the ranking of the page – i.e. the longer your content the high the ranking (in general).
But this doesn’t mean you can produce absolute rubbish, and a lot of it, then expect a high ranking. Google has said that giving them more information can actually help with your SEO.
So, if you take a look at any of the listings on the first page that have content on them, you will usually see then have about 2,000+ words. While content amount isn’t technically a ranking factor, it is still important enough to take into consideration.
2. Meta Data Length
Your meta data is what is shown up on your listing in search engine results. In many occasions, it will be a users first point of contact with your website and will determine whether or not they click through. Therefore, there should be a high level of priority on your meta data – specifically the length.
The ideal length for your meta title is usually between 50-60 characters. Remember not to make them too long otherwise your title will be cut off. It is also vital that you include the main keyword for the page here as well.
There is more flexibility in the meta description, where the ideal length is about 300 characters. But remember sometimes Google ignores the provided meta description and uses a couple of sentences from your page instead – this is something you can’t really control.
3. Secure Sites
Having a website that is secure is essential, and not just for e-commerce websites anymore, but for all websites because it is good for your SEO. To get a secure website you will need an SSL certificate which will, in simple terms, encrypt all the data on your website and can only be unlocked with a “key”.
This means that even if hackers gain access to the information on your website, it will be useless to them with out the encryption key. In a day and age where there are so many misuses of consumer’s personal data and security breaches, both Google and users are taking security very seriously.
4. Heading Tags
Heading tags are pretty important for both users and Google, because it shows the hierarchy of the content on the page. It also helps to break down the page into different sections and it signifies to Google the sections as well as what is more important than others.
It is important to follow the proper hierarchy of heading tags (i.e. H1, H2, H3 and so on). You should also only have one H1 tag, as this acts as the over arching theme of the page and then H2 acts and the sub sections, with H3 and on acting as the sub sections within those sub sections.
5. Quality Backlinks
Yes, it is important to have backlinks and it makes up an essential component of your SEO (and you probably already know this). But you also need to know that your backlinks actually need to be of a high quality.
You can go out today, engage in some black hat SEO and buy a whole heap of backlinks. But those links wouldn’t be of high quality and Google is getting very good at determining what is quality and what isn’t. More importantly, having your website associated with these poor quality links can get you penalised.