Hidden Factors That Affect Your SEO Rank

December 7, 2017

You want prospects to find you easily online. Climbing to the top of SEO rankings, however, isn’t always clear-cut. Google doesn’t publish its search-ranking algorithms or document its evaluation criteria, but tech experts are uncovering some trends.

Jayson DeMers, SEO and online marketing columnist for Forbes.com, says firms trying to increase their search rank often focus on more traditional key areas, like the content itself, the site’s overall structure, and the quantity and quality of inbound links pointing to your site. But DeMers points out several smaller factors that are also contributing to your rankings:

Content updates: Google prioritizes newer content over older content. “If you edit one of your on-site blog posts with some fresh content and a new date, it could rise in search rankings due to its revitalized ‘newness,’” DeMers writes. “However, you might not know that bigger updates are prioritized over smaller ones: Rewriting the entire article takes precedence and can lead to higher rankings than just changing one line.”

Domain age: Google has said that the age of your domain has an impact on its search ranking. After all, the best domains keep going on for years. As such, DeMers says it’s important to stay committed to your domain for the long term.

Social signals: Some studies suggest that social shares and posts could influence your site’s search rankings, DeMers notes. They are secondary in terms of evaluating content quality, but DeMers says they shouldn’t be ignored.

Outbound links: Inbound links are well-known in influencing rankings, but outbound links might have an impact too, DeMers says. “Google looks at the types of sources you point to in your article to verify its credibility,” he notes. “For example, if you point to a handful of strong off-site authorities, it will make your work seem more credible than if you linked to spammy, low-authority sites.”

Dwell time: Google also weighs in the amount of time users spend on a given page too, known as “dwell time.” “For example, if you click a link and spend 5 minutes on that page before returning, you’ll have a high dwell time,” DeMers says. “If you only spend 15 seconds, you’ll have a low dwell time. Sites with higher dwell time tend to have better, more thorough content, so Google tends to rank them higher than their low-dwell-time counterparts.”

View more lesser-known search ranking factors at Forbes.com.

Source: “7 Lesser-Known Factors That Affect Your Search Rankings,” Forbes.com (Dec. 5, 2017)