For website owners, getting into Google’s page one is serious business. We don’t want to mess up any chance of getting top rankings so we make sure we follow every single SEO rule to a tee. Because everything we do has an impact on our website rankings, right?
Well, truth is, not everything has an impact on your Google search. Some have indirect impact while others have little to no effect at all. We don’t want you to waste so much time and effort on things that barely help your search rankings. So based on our SEO knowledge and insights from key experts, we are rounding up a list of non-ranking factors you should quit spending time on.
Social media shares
So your Facebook page has about 20,000 likes. Good job! But turns out, Google doesn’t care. It does, however, care about the leverage you get out of these social media accounts. If for instance, a Facebook user clicks the link going to your website and ends up buying from your site, then Google surely gives attention to these activities.
2. Your website’s age
There’s the notion that the older your website is, the less chance you get ranked in Google search. But this is not at all true. What Google actually cares about is your content; even if your website was created in 1999 and yet your content is shared so much by people and is linked a lot by several websites (such as when content is used as a source in a blog post), you have greater chance of ranking high in search results. This is the case with 50-year old companies and giant conglomerates. They are always on top of search rankings even generally because of the authority and brand equity they have accumulated throughout those years.
Google doesn’t really care whether your website is on a shared hosting or on a premium hosting service. However, if it affects loading time of your webpages, then this could be a factor. Research shows that 47% of people expect your webpages to load in two seconds. Go beyond that and they will abandon your website without second thought. Speeding up your website is important, not just for the sake of Google rankings but also to keep your conversion rates high.
Using Google apps
Many website owners assume that if they use every single Google software out there, it will give them preferential treatment in search results. But there has never been any kind of evidence whatsoever that proves that having Google Analytics, Adsense, or even Gmail may bump up your site rankings. So if you decide not to use any of these apps, don’t worry, it will not hurt your rankings at all.
There are many factors behind bounce rates—the metric used in measuring the number of people who exit your website. If you’re using Google Analytics and discovered that your bounce rate is high and visitors are spending less time on your site, don’t worry about this affecting your search engine rankings. It could be that your visitors did not actually come from Google search (maybe from a Facebook blog you shared or your email signature from a newsletter you sent earlier). Or that your visitors found the information they want from your site quickly.
Image alt text
If you’re wondering what this alt parameter in the image uploading function of your website is for, it is used to display a description of your image for site visitors whose browsers aren’t loading fast enough to show the full image. So there’s a popular notion that putting your keywords in the alt text of your image will help improve your search rankings. But actually, it doesn’t have a direct effect. Alt texts are important for user experience.
While Google takes into account keywords used in your post’s title tag, mentioning your keywords excessively throughout your content is considered bad SEO practice. It can even get you penalised! Keyword stuffing used to be the norm before, where people would deliberately squeeze keywords in between paragraphs whenever they can. But this should be avoided at all cost.
Google does not, in any way, openly disclose all search ranking factors in its new algorithm. So we think it’s best to direct our focus instead on Google’s ultimate goal: to create and deliver valuable, high-quality content to users.
Do you know any non-ranking factors that many people still spend so much time on? We’d love to see them here!