5 Important SEO Ranking Factors that You Can’t Do Much About

If you’re one of the three people who’ve ever read this blog, you may have seen the March 30 post, The Big Damn List of SEO Factors. The worst thing about that list, of course, is that not only is it a big damn list, it’s a big damn list that’s changing all the damn time. For instance, since that post went live, there are at least two new ranking factors for Google that should be included. On the positive side, Google’s +1 flags and on the negative side, Google domain block flags.

Give up now. You’ll never be able to stay completely on top of this stuff. All you can really do is deliver the highest quality content you can manage, and promote it in sensible ways. And hope for the best.

If you insist on fighting against the tide, you still should make an effort to pick your battles. Some things are easily done (and worth it or not), some less easy (and worth it or not), some hard as hell (and worth it! or not).  It’s always seemed to me that the most effective and efficient strategy is to:

  • Do all the easy stuff, regardless of its relative merit
  • Do any of the more difficult stuff that might be worth it
  • Do whatever hard stuff you can manage that is definitely worth it

Which leads to today’s sermon, er, topic. Five ranking factors that you really can’t do much about anyway. Which for most websites mean you can pretty much forget about them.

  1. Domain age. We know that domain age can be a fairly significant factor to ranking, at least in Google. Unless you started your business 10 years ago, or can afford to buy an antique domain, there just isn’t much you can do about it.
  2. Traffic history of backlink sources. True, can try to acquire your links from high-traffic sites, but you really don’t have much (any) control over how much traffic your link sources get, let alone how much traffic they used to get.
  3. Backlink accumulation patterns. This one’s kind of  a gray area. You can influence how many backlinks you get over time by the pattern in which you seek them, but still, you have little control over the timing of backlinks. This is most particularly true in the case of one or another of your content (link bait or other) going viral.
  4. Backlink anchor text. Yes, you can request and/or suggest particular link text. Yes, you can make sure your collateral always has varied link text. You cannot control the link text used by unsolicited backlinks.
  5. Clickthrough-to-impression ration of backlink visits. This one is hard enough to say, let alone exert influence over. Getting backlinks really isn’t the whole story. Getting them from highly authorative sites isn’t enough, either. It also matters how many people see that link, and how many of them click it. Unless you’re really good at mind control, there’s not much you can do about  that.

So, if you insist on trying to succeed in the very complex, frustrating, and occasionally rewarding arena of SEO, at least you uncheck a few items from your to-do list.

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