Search engines rely on a complicated set of ranking factors and algorithms that isn’t always clearly visible to the users. And while we can’t always predict how these factors can influence and change the search engines over time, keeping yourself informed is the best way to stay ahead of the competition when gunning for that top spot in the search engine rankings.
We’ve compiled a short list of lesser known SEO ranking factors that have been proven to have small yet significant influence with the SERPs.
Optimizing your site for local searches has seen as one small way to gain small victories across the search engine ranking battlefield. If your business is centralized in a particular state, you may want to target the search engines for those localized keywords. Search engines now do a good job of using geo location to look for localized business in a particular area. If you work in a particularly competitive industry, you may have better luck getting seen on the local searches. Optimizing your pages for these type of searches can help get you some much needed organic traffic for those looking for a nearby solution to their problems.
Update Your Content
Keeping your content fresh doesn’t only look good in the eyes of Google, but to your readers as well. This is especially important if you want to keep everyone engaged with the type of content that you put out. Keeping up with the current events in your industry informs everybody that your content is always relevant, something that the search engines is really into nowadays. You can even update older articles by creating newer, related content that can link them with one another.
Social Media Signals
Social media data has been one of those ranking factors that a lot of people weren’t so sure about. However, it has already been confirmed by Google and Bing that it does make use of links from social media channels like Facebook and Twitter in their algorithms. While its exact weight as a ranking factor can’t be measured, it does give out positive signals to the search engines, especially if a page is being constantly shared across many different users. Having a very active social profile also means that traffic is consistently being funneled via social media posts and shows that the content of the site is always relevant to the users’ interests.
The Google Panda update saw many significant changes in the way that users view a site. Aside from ensuring that good, quality content is being served on websites, smaller factors like site speed also became a factor. Fast loading times on a site’s pages shows that it is optimized and can offer a great user experience when browsing the site. These, in turn, can also increase organic traffic and your rankings as a result.
Google now considers user experience as one of the more subtle ranking factors that site owners should be looking into. While this can’t exactly be measured with one definitive metric, it can be derived from several other factors that can be seen via tools like Google Analytics. Things like bounce rate, time on site and page views all contribute to this and show the ease in which users can browse through your site. Recently, this has also extended into the realm of mobile devices, with Google rewarding sites that are mobile responsive when viewed on mobile phones or other similar devices.
While this doesn’t cover every ranking factor there is, it should give you a good idea of what to optimize when building your site’s pages. Every little bit counts and these are small considerations that you shouldn’t overlook.