I have been talking about Google wanting to put less importance on links for the past year and news came out earlier this week that Google is looking at making facts a bigger ranking factor. I shared this story earlier this week on social media but wanted to address it now and maybe talk about some other options.
Google has been building their Knowledge Graph for some time and inserting it in to search results with answers tow questions and more. As I have been talking about finding other ranking factors, I must acknowledge facts was not one that was on my radar. Google is now going to use their Knowledge Graph to compare how factual a website is and use that to help determine where it might rank in search results. Even more, if a page isn’t overly fact based, it will look at the overall domain fact authority to help determine the ranking.
Implications for Normal Businesses:
I’m not sure that there is a lot of implication yet except to keep it on your radar that Google is actively trying to find ways to reduce links in importance as a factor. Most business sites are talking about their services and offerings more than sharing facts, so I’m not sure how much this will come in to play in the business world. One thing I could see definitely happening, as everyone overreacts to announcements from Google, is everyone being told they need a facts page about their industry to share facts and definitions of concepts and rules in their industry.
Facts as Duplicate Content?
Another issue that comes to mind since Google has really clamped down on duplicate content in recent years is, if a fact is a fact, how many different ways can you state it and is there any risk of duplicate content issues from everyone suddenly sharing the same facts. I think you are ok if you craft individual statments of facts on your site but if everyone runs out and copies industry glossaries, etc. and just pastes them in to their own site, it could possibly lead to some issues with duplicate content, so if it comes to the point that everyone is adding facts pages the way they once added links pages, be careful to make it unique and original even if it is sharing universally known facts. There has to be a blend. Google wants unique content so I’m sure sharing the same glossary page hundreds of times is not their intent.
Other Possible Factors for Business?
So if facts aren’t always relevant to your business or industry, as I’m sure in most cases they aren’t, what should you be looking at on the horizon as potential factors that could increase in importance in relation to links for your own business. I have talked in the past about some existing factors and subcategory factors that I think will become more important in the future. These are certainly not all inclusive and I’m sure you can think of more, but you should be thinking about these things and how you compare to other businesses in your industry when it comes to these potential factors.
- Online reviews: These already matter but may increase as Google figures out the fake ones
- BBB or other Business Watchdogs: The links from them are already helpful but perhaps scores from some of these sources become more important to rankings moving forward.
- Not Links: Perhaps certain types of links just won’t matter any more.
- Thought Leadership: Social shares of blog posts and concepts
- Tech: Of course mobile friendliness and site speed are already increasing in importance
- Site Unique Page Count: Spurring more original content through blog posts may give more power to size of site in terms of volume of good unique content.
Keep all of these things on your radar going forward and understand that Google is already taking steps to change their algorithm significantly with the more information they have. There could definitely be factors not listed here that become big factors in the future. Facts wasn’t really on my radar and yet here it is. Even if it may not be a big factor for my clients, it is definitely a sign of things to come.