This post is a response to this post I came across the other day tonight on Twitter about the Google Caffeine Search Engine Ranking factors which claimed to put tips to optimize your website to the new version of Google Search which is reportedly live on some datacenters. I question the source of that article and how the author came to those points.
1. Loading time of your website/blog – This a fairly recent rumour if you ask me. Most webmasters work really hard on reducing load times on their websites. While it is NOT a SEO advantage to do so, it is a BIG user experience factor which is not only appreciated by Google, but by normal users like you and me also.
2. Top level domains do get better precedence in local search engines, but they are not really a factor if your other on page and off page factors are good. I have seen tlds like .me rank for many indian search terms. Plus, lets face it, its not really possible to get a good dotcom these days.
3. Server Location is NOT, was NEVER a factor with SEO. The bandwidth of servers in the US is always cheaper than most countries and almost all webmasters host their sites in the USA. It is not insanely possible to host a website in every country if you plan to target the whole world.
4. Proper structure and Code – If you are a developer or a designer, you know how difficult it is to have a “proper” code working in all major browsers and without any CSS hitches. While not having any junk codes like cloaked text or spammy descriptions will be a good thing, having the perfect code will not get you above the rest.
5. Previous penalty on the site: My website was hit by a penalty within months of launch back in 2005 and I personally know that a lift of a ban set by Google will make the site stronger and more authoritative to Google.
6. Visitors from Search Engines: Wasn’t the idea of this post to get more visitors from search engines?
Posts like these make me think about the plight of those small businesses with the hope of a better visibility online paying dollars off to their developers making their code perfect, paying off more to host their websites in their own country and all that. Next time you see a post like this, I would suggest looking at the source of the news and how the author reached the conclusions he has put up. If that makes sense to you, that’s good advice.
SEO is not just about search engines anymore. It is about external non-search factors like Google Local, Twitter Results, Sidewiki, Google News and new site links which is all about user experience.
Usability and visibility (to Google Bots(Backlinks) and normal users(Social)) of your website is the number one ranking factor. Your thoughts?