Page Speed – Google wants to speed up the web, therefore they have introduced page speed as a ranking factor. Have you loaded up your site with massive unoptimized images? Maybe you have a giant slider with multiple images and other fancy features? Or maybe you tried to save money by going with cheap web hosting? Or perhaps you designed your own site with a program that added tons of unnecessary code? Any of these can have a big impact on your page speed. When designing your site, think first about the user experience and how fancy features that slow your site down will affect it.
Thankfully, Google has released a handy tool you can use to check your page speed:
Content Length – We’ve known for a long time that Google likes to see lots of valuable content on a website. However, we didn’t have much of an idea as to what content length they want to see. Thanks to SERP analysis done by sites like SEOMOZ, we have a better idea. In the past, many thought that 300 words or so was the minimum you should have on a page. Nowadays, we know that Google likes long form content. Not 500 or 700 words either, we’re talking 1000 to 2000 words and more. So think about the content on your website. Do you have loads of pages with very few words on them? These pages could very well be hurting your rankings. If you hate to write, no problem. There’s no shortage of writers out there to help you create great content for your website. They used to say “Content is King”, well now it truly is.
Bad Links – Even just 2 or 3 years ago, people were still buying links like crazy. Whether it was buying a sponsored link on a site or buying huge backlink packages from different sellers you might have found on forums and marketplaces. Back then, links of any kind generally helped your site, and it was thought that Google would never punish your website for having links. This all changed just a couple years back thanks to Google’s Penguin update. Now, buying a package of links from a service could literally kill your site’s rankings. See, Google isn’t dumb. Think about it, when you purchase 100 or 1000 links to your website, whether from social bookmarks, web 2.0 sites, or some other type of link, it’s not that hard for Google to see that these links, usually of a certain type, are all of a sudden coming to your site. Therefore, they can see that YOU are trying to impact your rankings.
What Google wants to see is natural links. These are links that are harder to get, links that your site has earned. A good example of a natural link would be a link from someone on a blog talking about your product, service or content. You didn’t ask them to do it and you didn’t pay them. A natural link would also be when someone shares your content on social media. So again, this is where having great content comes into play.
So how do you get rid of all those bad links pointing to your site? You have to ask the webmaster or owner of that site. You can also ask Google to disavow certain links pointing to your website through Google Webmaster Tools. So what’s the best way to build links from this point forward? Don’t buy backlinks, instead invest in great content that will attract people to your site and entice them to share it.