One of the reasons why people are perplexed with SEO is the different factors in Google’s search algorithm. They also tend to change whenever Google rolls out their next algorithm update. But if they change a lot, the after-effects can be drastic.

With a little research, it’s easy to spot and handle the on page factors on your site. But are you paying attention to the off page SEO factors? To help you, below are seven of the most important SEO factors outside your site:

1. A Bad Domain

A lot of online entrepreneurs and businesses acquire expired domains from domain auctions to leverage any leftover metrics. However, you should be careful when purchasing aged domains as Google may have already permanently banned them. Most of the time, this is due to using black hat SEO strategies that take an enormous amount of work to get cleaned up.

To avoid this, search for the site’s domain name first (without the .com, .net, etc.) and see if it will come up in the SERP. If not, then that is clearly a red flag. Of course, you can also start over from scratch with a new domain name to avoid this problem.

2. Low-Quality Links

A major reason why a lot of sites get penalized is the presence of bad links from spammy sources such as blog comments and forum profiles in black hat SEO communities. Since black hat SEO practitioners commonly use them, it’s best to avoid having a high percentage of these links. Also, do a manual review of your backlink profile to spot low-quality links.

3. Sudden Influx of Links

Link-building is the bread and butter of SEO, but sometimes it can be overdone and hurt your website’s rankings. But since high-quality links take a considerable amount of time to build, then you shouldn’t worry as long as you’re not purchasing links from private blog networks. However, dirty competitors may spam your site with links from blog comments and other shady sources. But thanks to Google’s hatred of black hat SEO, you can use their Google Disavow Links tool to remove these spammy links and clear your name.

4. Broken Links

Apart from the existence of low-quality links, you should also be on the lookout for broken links to your page. These are links to renamed or deleted content. In the eyes of Google, this is a clear sign of neglect and will also provide an inferior experience to your visitors. To repair broken links, make sure you inform a linking site whenever you change a page’s URL.

5. Link Quality Content

Aside from the linking domain’s relevance and authority, you should also pay attention to the quality of the content. Above all, you should avoid spun, duplicate, or poorly written content for your links. You can refer to this post for more guidelines on quality link-building.

6. Co-Citations

Apart from high-quality links, Google also favors websites with co-citations. These are mentions of your brand without an actual link and are clear indications that your brand is in real conversations and deserve some visibility. To earn co-citations, remember that two different sites must discuss the same, relevant topic and mention your brand.

7. Manual Penalty from Google

You may do everything right in the eyes of Google crawlers – from healthy backlinks to co-citations. But once your site gets to higher ranks in SERPs, then beware the manual penalties imposed by human reviewers. These penalties may demote a site if it doesn’t comply with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.

Conclusion

Overall, SEO can be simplified as “playing by Google’s rules”. If you share Google’s vision of providing a better search engine experience to users, then SEO doesn’t really have to be hard or complicated.