Overlooked SEO Factors
Every now and again I will see a headline boldly proclaiming, “SEO is Dead!” I think to myself, umm— it’s really not. It’s just radically different than it once was. The factors are different and the methods of determining the relevance of each factor and each site are also dramatically different.
Here’s just a couple of the most important ways that building a ranked website is dramatically different.
- Links to a site aren’t nearly as important as they were.
- High quality, relevant back links from high quality websites are far more likeable by the search engines.
- Mounds of content isn’t nearly as important as it was.
- Quality, well written and carefully crafted content on a regular basis is the correct choice.
Once Google showed tons of thin-content, made for Adsense websites in their results pages. This is because black hat SEO tactics were being used to artificially inflate the “seeming” importance of these sites. The website owners or those they employed got thousands and thousands of low quality footer links from other made for Adsense sites and blogs, so the web’s landscape was littered with cheap websites which offered little true value for those that visited. That’s a thing of the past! Those sites are dead and gone.
It’s a shame that in this world of post Penguin and Panda that blogs are still being continually spammed. Ever try managing a bulletin board or community site? Spammers are constantly still trying to get spam links automatically.
I Already Know all That!
Automating tasks are great. In fact back in the days that getting any link was the correct course (Thanks to PR and other SEO factors), I even built a semi-automatic directory submissions software to assist in getting hundreds of links for my own websites. I never spammed anyone for links, but I did submit to thousands of directories, which was a great free solution for getting massive links. At this point, who’s submitting to directories? There are still a few great directories, but directories built on PHP link directory, etc— were wiped out.
The point is that SEO is as far from automatic as it could possibly be right now. Sure you can still ping links when you have new content up. Maybe there’s a few black hat tactics still working, and of course folks are always trying new tactics. They are short-term at best. Google will catch you, Google will de-index you, or whatever they need to do. They are one of the most powerful companies on this planet and one of their main focus points right now is continuously improving the quality of their results—
Shouldn’t you be creating a website that has true value?
Other SEO Factors
Let’s move on to discuss some other important SEO factors that might not be on your radar— These are things I try to be always aware of.
- Social Signals – Such as Twitter Cards, and Open Graph meta tags for Facebook, etc…
- Site Speed – Is your website optimized to be as fast as it can be? Note: It’s difficult! Especially on WordPress-based website builds. If you are unsure you can check with Google Page Insights. Alternately you can use Yslow.
- Microdata / Structured Data – Implementing Microdata Formats on your website if applicable. (Also known as structured data.)
- Telephone Link Protocol – Use then Tel Protocol. You do have a smart phone? I though so. If you aren’t formatting all phone numbers this way you should be! (Hmmm— I probably have some work to do!)
Note: Some phones do not require this to automatically be able to dial a phone number on a website, but many do. This link protocol will allow smart phone to dial automatically when tapping the link.
- Responsive Design – It’s a true pain in the ****, but many searches are coming from tablets smartphones or heck- even refrigerators.
- Domain Age – According to Matt Cutts, this factor is important, but only slightly so— It’s better to have a slight advantage than none. The video is worth a watch!
- Redundant Navigation – I do not have a link for this tip, but just to say that it’s a lot easier after a user gets finished reading an article on your site and is already near the end of the page, that there is a handy navigation structure to quickly skip to other parts of your website.
- Images – Having good quality images on your website, with properly addresses alt tags is highly important. It’s also important to use either public domain images, or images that you have the right to use. Don’t simply Google an image and use it. Consider a great place to license your website images, such as Istock, or similar services. I’m going to give you a great tip here. Ask yourself if your web developer is using names such as, Image1.jpg or Slide1.png? If he is, and claims to really know SEO Strategy, then fire him.
- The NoFollow – There’s always been huge debate about whether this tag really does what is say, but I use it to point to links that I don’t want to personally endorse. For example, I am creating a link to a service or website I do not actually use or have no real experience with. That’s how I use this tag.
Overlooked or Underused?
It is my belief that you can over-optimize your website. Don’t be a super tryhard. You aren’t always going to get 100% on Google page insights, you aren’t going to have the perfect content length to title relevance— blah blah blah. It’s more important to get more quality content out there for consumption than it is to get one or two “perfect” pieces of content out there. Think of it like putting up signs, the more signs you put up, the more potential eyes will see them. Thanks for visiting me on the web. Enjoy!
I’ve probably left out other SEO factors that are overlooked, or under-utilized, but we can always write more, and then link back here. Wait, I should have added, “Don’t write and then forget about your last article…” as an SEO factor that should be used! It is forgotten by pros regularly.