Top Google SEO Ranking Factors for 2014 and Beyond
With Google changing the way it indexes and ranks online content every year, webmasters and online marketers sometimes have a hard time keeping up. There is no doubt that search engine optimization has changed enormously in recent years, with the main emphasis now being on quality and originality.
In spite of this, many people are still clinging to the old ways, in spite of them being ineffective or even entirely counterproductive.
In order to make your efforts continue to pay off in the longer term, it is essential to pay close attention to online marketing trends and how the world’s major search engines rank content.
The following are my thoughts on some of the most important ranking SEO factors of the coming years.
Keywords in Domains and Anchor Text
Keywords have diminished in importance in almost every respect. Those still paying attention to things like keyword density and article marketing are wasting their time, as are those who take extra steps to ensure that their online content is filled with keyword-optimized anchor text. Likewise, placing your chosen keywords in your domain name, while still not a bad thing, is no longer a particularly relevant factor when it comes to Google ranking and indexing your content.
Keyword-optimized anchor text should be used sparingly, since it often leads to Google flagging your site as over-optimized.
Social Media Signals
As has been the case for the past two or three years, social media signals continue to coincide with better rankings and increased visibility. Google wants to provide results to its users based on what people are most likely to be interested in, so if your content has done well through social media shares, then it is likely to do very well in the search engines too.
In fact, social media optimization is often being hailed as the new SEO – the more shares, likes or tweets your content has, the higher its visibility will be in Google. This may even lead your best content to go viral.
When it comes to the new world of SEO, the emphasis has very much shifted to the importance of content designed for human readers. Online marketers can no longer expect to get away with producing huge amounts of low quality keyword-packed content for ridiculously low prices. All this will do is hurt your reputation and damage your standing in the search engines. Instead, produce quality content in smaller amounts rather than junk content in vast amounts.
Get into the habit of keeping your website up-to-date, and if you are running a blog, try to post something at least once per day. Just remember that you are writing for human readers and not for the search engine robots. It has also been suggested that good grammar and spelling may also be a Google ranking factor, but even if it isn’t, it is still essential.
On-page optimization has always been one of the core elements of SEO, and although the intricacies of it have changed somewhat over the years, this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Using keywords sparingly in your page titles, URLs and once or twice in main bodies of text won’t do any harm, as long as they blend in naturally with the content.
However, more important factors of on-page and technical optimization include making your website easily navigable and quick to load. As always, you should avoid using navigational features which cannot be used by the search engines, such as menus and buttons designed using Flash or Java. Using complicated navigation features will also irritate your visitors and cause compatibility issues across different platforms.
Backlinks have long been a dominant element of SEO, but their role has changed a lot in recent years, particularly since the latest Google Penguin update. As is the case with content itself, the emphasis is now on the importance of quality in backlinks.
High quality links include organic ones shared voluntarily by your visitors on their favourite social media sites and links on guest blog posts and authoritative, relevant websites. Attracting high quality links is certainly not easy, but there should be no shortcuts made here.
If you have ever used aggressive link building methods or purchased bulk links before, your site will likely be suffering now as a result.
Please share your thoughts and opinions below. Cheers!