In light of Google rolling out their latest algorithm update recently, in constant search of more refined, natural listings than SEO manipulated listings, it’s interesting to take note of the factors that are now more important for SEO, as well as the ones that no longer hold the relevance they once did.
Obviously the landscape changes quickly in the world of search engine optimization, but it’s actually pretty stifling to see the speed at which tactics can be rendered useless. This recent update from Google helps illustrate that formerly dominant factors have fallen out of favor. On-page factors were such a strong point of focus number of years ago and over the past few years showed a definitive shift towards off page factors such as back links. Now, new and different factors are having much more significance in the results.
Coming Sooner Than Later… Mobile
Let’s first look at a factor that is growing in importance for very good reasons. This is mobile. Here, a fairly straightforward and obvious factor that’s growth is simply due to the growth and significance of mobile. Mobile is on the verge of tipping the scale to the point where the majority of web browsing is done on a mobile device. It only makes sense that Google give credit to sites that are mobile optimized and mobile-friendly. As website owners it behooves you to have a mobile-friendly website. Google making this consideration for SEO may be a tipping point for some webmasters to ensure that their sites are mobile optimized.
Sometimes Overlooked… Load Time
While load time has been measured for a good amount of time, the importance of this factor — not only for just how Google uses it, but for purposes of traffic and viewership of your website — has never been more dramatic. Again, this is not a new factor. But now this is a factor that has to be front and center. Web surfers will not wait for sites that don’t load extremely quickly in today’s culture of instant gratification.
New Rules Apply… Anchor Text
Lastly, we have anchor text. Matt Cutts and the folks at Google say that anchor text still matters. However, most SEO’s are now skittish to aggressively use keyword anchor text, and with good reason. Keep in mind that anchor text penalties tend to occur when the anchor text resides in known or discovered bad SEO neighborhoods. Link diversification is something to place importance on, and variation of the actual anchor text that is appearing. Both how your anchor text displays, as well as where those links are coming from are huge factors in the current SEO climate.