This is a gathering of all factors believed to affect the selection and positioning criteria in the Google Serps.
The quality SEO work to obtain results in competitive projects having “limited” resources spawns from creativity, thinking a long-term realistic and clear strategy, guerilla marketing and it finally involves taking the utmost care in all details, which we would be able to control and not rely on 3rd parties.
We’ve seen it plenty of times: a client says he’s staking a lot in the online channel and spends only a meager portion of their resources to the construction and promotion of what I name “your business’ vrtiual extention”.
According to Google sources published in the Webmasters-oriented “Help” section, it’s commented that there are over 200 factors used by the Google algorithm so as to determine the position of an URL in the search results: surely some have a minimal importance compared with top factors but we’ve decided to include them all, without caring if some are rumors or have such lesser relevance which isn’t worth the effort.
Webmasters help extract: “When a user introduces a look-up, our system searches in the pages’ indexes which match that look-up and displays the results which are more relevant for the usuer. The relevance is settled with over 200 factors, one of which is the parameter PageRank of one said page.
This parameter represents the importance which Google assigns to a page according to the links coming from other sites. In other words: each link to a site’s page influences on its own PageRank. Not all links are equal: Google sturggles to improve the service which offers to the users discovering the fraud links and other things which influence negatively in the search results. The best links are those which are based on the site’s content quality.”
The following post is structured according to the factors influencing domain, server, information architecture, contents, interal and external links, elements affecting landing pages, keywords, visitor profile, behavior on the site, penalities, filters & others factors. Some points don’t have a detailed explanation given their simplicity, lack of time or little relevance. All related to Link-building deserves a separate post and I’ll explain further in the near future.
Domain-related Google web positioning factors
– Domain Antiquity
The antiquity or age of the domain is a very important factor which makes possible gainign trust from Google’s eyes. To know the antiquity of a domain you can check it with “Whois”.
– Expiration date
Date in which a domain expires compared to the current date. It can be considered a parameter which affects positioning by the simple fact that a domain which is renewed or bought during a year is not regarded as a long-term project, synonimous with (Google seems to love these words) solidity and trust, which surely brings positive points in the eyes of the king of search engines: others think that it’s fake or totally irrelevant so it’s not worth struggling with that if you’ve got few resources or if you’re going to run for some “risks” in your a title=”SEO Strategy” href=”http://http://www.adrenalina.es/en/seo-strategy/” target=”_blank”>SEO strategy. It must be studied and experimented with.
– Indexing date
A factor which is almost as important as antiquity: if the domain is 10 years old but it hasn’t expired yet then it’s like a virgin for the engine. To check it, apart from using the “whois” system is with a simple search engine which gives you the neeeded info to know when a domain was indexed. You gotta look-up Site:yourdomaininthe3www and, at the end of the URL paste &as_qdr=y20 to get the indexing of pages in the last 20 years, not the latest one but the very first one.
– Geographic and superior level domains (like .com and .es)
The .com given its few numbers and being synonimous with antiquity. Domains which can obtain a better positioning in the geographic zona where they decide to have major audience and objtain a small competitive advantage in SEO.
– Domains & subdomains
The eternal debate in multi-idiom sites: discussions about regional domains, sub-domains, sub-folders and premium dominion for each idiom like in Bodas-net, which staked a lot to achieve multi-idiom SEO using KEM’s premium domains… When you aim to become a monster in contents like an advertising site or a huge project like softonic and, by the use of indexing, you could create more sub-domains where you could build landings/blogs/micro-sites/any other resource using KEM to boost the deep linking via deep anchors and in a fearless manner.
– Latest domain registring (every when does the IP shift)
It’s no good to shift the IP to stuff links to other domains sharing the older IP and if it’s not good by now there’s always the safety that, soon enough…
– Latest domain owners (every when does it shift owner)
Same as above: domains owned by countless users and some which have penalized domains by now as well.
– Keywords in the domain
They say KEM isn’t what it used to be, but when checking the Serps (Search Engine Result Pages) to look for competitive keywords there are lot which have good positioning. What’s obvious is that having the keywords in the domain name still has some importance as SEO factor, but the brand SEO has also risen a lot in importance. The motto “branding’s important” is on the rise in SEO terrains.
– Pages which mention the domain (without linking to it)
We’re not gonna discuss link-building, but a domain receives “strength” with mentions which don’t directly link to the site.
– Neighboorhooding domains IPs which link from the same sever
Blog networks which link all domains with each other and from the same IP: it tends to be efficient but nowadays you must take that into account when it comes to building micro-sites and sub-domains while always tryign to obtain a different C Class IP Address even from within the same server.
– Geolocalization and geographic acting scope
(Google Webmaster Tools)
Google positioning factors related to the server
– Real-world location of the server/s (key to strong projects like international expansion).
– Server reliability, working time and downtime.
Information Architecture positioning factors/h3>
– URL structure
Discovering non-eatable URLs is an aberration to any project which aims to work on its SEO. Always use friendly URLs, you can’t use CMS-based automated URLs generation, at the very least in the landings with business goals.
– Strcture and correction of HTML code
HTML5 and responsive web are part of what’s going to become popular during this year 2013: news about them began to surface back on 2012 but it’s obvious that Google has begun to appreciate anything related to Android app development and mobile marketing so as to set the path for some of the Online Marketing industry towards there, too many mobile users compared to the benefits they’re gaining.
– Semantic structure
Typical stuff: use headers, ID and optimize the structure and elements of the landing page.
– Correct use of canon URLs
It’s not a positioning factor but if you commit errors then you’ll surely regret them for a long time. xD
Positioning factors involving contents
– Speech used to write contents
Clear speech and without abusing of keyword density, it’s a thousand times better to use related terms with the keywords you want to position: there are many tools do that, like the “Related Terms” tool by Google itself which can help us pick terms and make them stand out in a notable manner.
– Unique contents
100% original content: Google has been punishing bad habits in a fierce manner.
– Content quantity compared to HTML code volume
It’s not only important to have good content but, also, by extension, one of the rewarding factors is the text/html ratio.
– Text compared to content (without links, photos, code, etc)
Video, images, infographies, PDFS and all multimedia content is welcome if we correctly optimize the landing at WPO level.
– Current or temporary contents (season searches)
Sometimes we have to advance the game and index strategic contents while also buyind some domain related with the Olympics or a massive event which happens in a regular manner.
– Images with text
A lot of site still forget to optimize images with the alt attribute, a good practice of web accesibility and positioning factor using the goal keywords.
– Malkware content (can be incorporated by hackers)
Be careful with poor safety server: I’ve had fights in Dreamhost which have shadowed those of the first Speed server by Travian.
– Typing error and paragraphs sans punctuation signs.
This aspect can be easily spotted: you can spot complete monsters without any logic made with automated software and highly positioned but logic dictates that sooner or later the typing quality will rise a lot, the punctuation signs and a good content structure.
Positioning factors in search engines affectign landing pages
– Page update frequency
Sites with dynamic contents and more updates are benefitted at Web Positioning by generating new content in a regular manner about the theme you expert at and it improves the content indexing.
– XML web map importance
A bad sitemap can bring down a lot of our SEO work.
Very important so as to increase consumer security in sites which gather data, mails and, also, e-commerce, and you can’t just go ahead and depend on an external pay system (which is only good enough to lower the site’s % conversion rate: 1 in 10 CROs reccomends it). It’s doubtful that this contributes as a positioning factor.
– Site type
You must use different techniques for each site according to its sector, goal target, langugage and country/ies and the most important in their business objectives: it’s not the same a blog which aims to sell ads that an e-commerce site or a social net of adult videos (some are move vicious/repetitive than others).
– Landing page antiquity
When the landing page was indexed in Google.
– Landing page freshness
Every when it was edited and the % of changes in following changes.
– Content fragments duplicity in different internal landings
It’s not a good idea but if you’re moderate with it… It’s like adding salt to food: if we end up eating salt and rice it’ll surely harm us.
– Landing page loading time
– Use of Microformats & Rich Snippets
Google is going to prize more and more the WPO part until it becomes (if it hasn’t already) in a basic pillar for any SEO project.
Factors regarding keyword use and their prominence
The classical debate about target keyword placement or synonims in case of branding or lack of contents which doesn’t let you “fully optimize” a landing page. I list most of the aspects to take heed of:
– Keywords in the landing’s title
– Keywords at the start of the landing’s title
– Keywords in the h1, h2 tags…
– Keywords in the ALT tags
– Keywords in the internal link text (internal text anchor)
– Keywords in outgoing link text
– Keywords in bold and italics
– Keywords in text start
– Keywords in text body
– Synonim use
– Name files with understandable words
– Keywords in the URL
– Don’t simulate that, casually, the keyword is everywhere (domain, file name, title first word, description first line first word, keyword tag…)
– Keywords in the Meta Description.
Instead of insisting in keywords we must improve our meta when it comes to facing CTR and root our CLAIM.
– Don’t abuse of keywords in HTML tags
SEO factors regarding internal links
– Internal links towards business goal landing pages
Doing the link-building correctly via anchor text of the target keywords of our goal.
– Breadcumbs system
It’s aimed not at SEO (it already has it) but towards use.
– Internal link ammount
Careful when splitting the link-juice. You must order and categorize the site in a proper manner. More caution translates into not having too many outgoing links, especially if they’re pages unrelated to yoru thematic.
– Link titles
Let’s not forget to optimize the title, the guy who always gets forgotten in most site, be it out of laziness or bad memory then it’s because the CMS you use gives you trouble and you don’t care because it’s just another factor.
Outgoing internal links
You get told most of the times to not to exceed 20 (magic number) outgoing links per landing page. However, it depends on several factors like the total text ammount, code and the domain authority which can vary the number which signals the point from which summing up outgoing links harms you. We must take care in any SEO project not to abuse of this practice if we don’t want to become a link farm. The relative factors regarding internal links are:
– Number of outgoing links per domain
– Number of outgoing links per landing page
– Outgoing links’ sites’ quality
– Links to penalized domains or themes like gambling and sex
– Links to 404 pages and other errors
– “Hot-linked” images
Backlinks (incoming links)
This section would deserve a post about the same size as this one so I’ll simply list most of the factors to take into account and we’ll go into details on another day ‘cause it’s a topic with a lot of stuff.
– Linking pages’ relevance
– Linking landings’ relevance
– Linking sites’ quality
– Linking landings’ quality
– Level 1 domain authority (extension)
– Linking domain authority
– Link-owning landing’s authority
– Location on the link in the landing (foot, browsing space, body)
– Link’s text (and alt tag of linked images)
– “Title” attribute in a link
– Sites’ networks incoming links
– Similar origins links between several pages
– Variety on link type
– Variety on link texts
– Links from different C Class IPs. Important for Link-wheel and vital when we try to work with blog networks.
– Geographich diversity of incoming links
– Links coming from different domains
– Link origin page’s theme
– Links from different tyeps of pages (blogs, directories, etc)
– Location of links in the origin landing pages (side, foot…)
– Origin’s authority
– Inaddequate page links’ (presence or lack of “back” links in labelled sites)
– Recyprocal links ratio (related to a general ammount)
– Social networks links ratio (links of social media compared to general ammount)
– Evolution of “back” links, trends and patterns.
– Wikipedia quots and Dmoz
– Hisotircal registers’ profile of incoming links (buy/sell …, etc)
– Links from social marketing sites
SEO factors about visitors profile and conduct
– Visits number
– Geographic origin
– Bouncing %
– Visitors’ browsing habits (good ol’ gmail)
– Trends and patterns of visitors (sudden traffic spikes in the pages thanks to season or viral content)
– CTR o click promotion.
Sanctions, filters and manipulation
– Keyword stuffing
– Buy-sell links
– Spam (comments, forums, undesired mail, other types of spam)
– Content cloaking
– Hidden text
– Duplicated content (external content duplication)
– Record of previous domain sanctions
– Record of previous owner sanctions
– Record of previous owner’s domains’ sanctions
– Record of hackers’ attacks
– Chained 301 redirection or redirections leading to 404 errors
– Correctlty upload the Google Webmaster Tools domains
– See if domain appears in Google News
– Domain presence in Google Blog Search
– Domain used in Google AdWords campaigns
– Domain use of Google Anaylytics stats
– Reputation and business name, external pages’ mentions
Conclusions & bibliography
I think that the SEO basis is trail & error and dinenrs and SEO debates<(strong>(the later and the more alcohol the better… XD). One problem derived from this hermetism is settling which parameters Google cares about and which are mere rumors blown away by wind, this article’s main goal.
To do this post I used different resources, one which got published in the SEJ (Search Engine Journal) and an open thread in web forums to discuss the factors and parameters affecting SEO.
I want to thank Víctor Hernández for his correction and collaboration. I’ll print out the sources for those who want to research:
To improve the post and avoid it becoming an outdated thing then I invit comments or emails with suggerences regarding aspects or improvements of it and if they are important they’ll will a link with Anchort Text (if it’s in the context) which you can choose. I hope the info has been useful for those who have invested their time in this article.