Although there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of factors that affect rankings from an onsite optimisation point of view, there are of course some that are more important than others. Some of them are in your control via good old hard work and a few of them just require patience, but generally, if you get the big things right you will be rewarded with decent rankings.
It is true to say that opinions will be divided about what “top things” you need to do when it comes to getting good rankings in the search engines, but generally, there are a few that should always be in the top of your list when it comes to things to get right. The top five ranking factors that I have listed below are to me, some of the most important things you need to be thinking about if you want your campaign to not only be a success, but a long standing and rewarding achievement as well.
So, let’s have a look at my top five SEO ranking factors!
Age Of Domain – Often under estimated, the age of your domain name is a big ranking factor when it comes to SEO and getting rankings in the search engines. The reason this is so important is because it shows trust to the search engines, which means that if your domain is a few years old, you can generally be trusted as a site online because many of the spammy sites will buy a new domain name, spam like crazy for a few months then disappear. You have to appreciate that if you have a new domain name then you have a long road in front of you when it comes to getting the right reward for your site, because the age of the domain name is very, very important.
Content – Quality, related and unique content is one of the biggest requirements (and efforts) when it comes to getting rankings in the search engines. The search engines try to deliver the best results for the user for every single search, no matter how diverse or unique the niche is, which means that if your site is packed full of fantastic content, you should get rewarded. Your focus with any website you launch or work on should be the content, making sure that every page offers the right level of quality information for your users.
Hosting Location – Not everyone realises the importance of making sure that if you are trying to target a country like the UK for example, then it is vital your website is hosted with a company that has servers in the UK. The search engines always try to serve the most relevant results, which means that if you tick another box by making sure your site is relevant because its hosted in the target country, this is just another factor that you have taken care of from an SEO point of view.
Links (Inbound and Outbound) – Links are still important to ranking in the search engines, but it is now about how you get them and getting the correct links, rather than just going hell for leather and rapidly expanding your link building via crappy and worthless links and networks. These days you want quality links and you achieve them by releasing quality content that others want to link to, which means that you now have to earn the links rather than just going with anything you can get a link on. Paid links are a massive no no, so concentrate on writing the most amazing content and getting it out there via social media and related groups.
Keyword Optimisation – Every single page of your website has to try and inform the search engines specifically what is about. For example, if you were an online retailer of shoes, every page should be as descriptive as possible about that product, because this is the only way you can tell the search engine what that page contains and therefore what it should be ranking for. You need to make use of your Title Tags, page content, H1 and H2 tags and make sure you have mention of the specific keywords in the URL as well.
By Ian Spencer