How Google Algorithm Works
SEO has continued to change over the past 15 years, so much that 60% of SEO professionals (from a Twitter poll) find it much harder to do now.
Some things that used to work no longer work. Other things have been deprecated and replaced with new things (like keyword density, replaced by natural language processing).
There are plenty of things that now Google no longer uses, too. Things that used to be helpful up to a few years ago now go entirely ignored.
In this post, we’re going to tell you about 13 things that Google ignores about your website and what you can do with these things instead, so they won’t go completely to waste.
13 Things That Google Ignores About Your Website
1. Low Quality Pingbacks
Google ignores low quality pingbacks to your blog.
That means both good and bad news: the good news is that a bunch of spammy blog pingbacks won’t hurt your site in Google and won’t lead to a manual action. The bad news is that Google will see even good quality pingbacks as worthless. In fact, Gary Illyes said on Reddit that “it’s very very likely those pingbacks are marked worthless (meaning they’re ignored) on Google’s end”.
What to do with pingbacks
While Google ignores these links and therefore they have no SEO value, try can still have traffic value. So we believe the best course of action is to monitor the few good ones you got for referral traffic.
2. Forum Profile Links
That means trying to acquire tons of profile links won’t get you any SEO benefits and it might only make you appear spammy.
What to do with forum profile links
When you register to a forum of your interest, the website field in your profile makes for a great opportunity to drive traffic to your website. But how to leverage that? The best way to drive people to your profile and then to your website is to be an active member of the forum, engage in discussions and give great advice whenever a forum poster requests any. Your good reputation will be the number one traffic factor.
3. Links from UGC (User-Generated Content)
That means any links you place in comments and forum replies will not have an SEO benefit.
What to do with UGC
Comment links are still helpful for their referral traffic value. For example, your website link in Website URL field or any links in the body of the comment that the blog owner approves, but even the links you place in Quora and forum replies. These are all links that can bring interested visitors to your website, so while you can’t go after these for SEO value, you can definitely leverage them for traffic value.
4. Guest Post Links
What to do with guest posts
The fact that Google now ignores links from guest posts doesn’t meant that engaging in guest post activity is a bad thing. Actually, guest posting is a powerful tool for growing brand visibility, thought leadership and inbound (relevant) traffic.
It’s time to run glorious guest posting campaigns — just not for SEO.
5. Meta Description in Search
According to a 2020 study from Ahrefs, Google often ignores your meta description in search, returning other portions of text that deems more relevant instead.
What to do with meta description
Although only shown 37% of the time in search (still according to Ahrefs’s study), writing your own meta description is not a waste of time because it can encourage clicks whenever it’s shown. Your meta description is an exercise in good copywriting.
6. Capitalization in HTML Tags
John Mueller said on Twitter that Google ignores capitalization in HTML attribute names.
What to do with capitalization in HTML tags
Nothing to do here. Just try to be consistent with your capitalization, as Mueller suggests.
7. Keywords Meta Tag
The reason is that this meta tag was abused decades ago, with website owners and SEOs stuffing irrelevant keywords in an attempt to manipulate web search.
What to do with Keywords meta tag
Unless you use tools and search engines that still use this meta tag to extract information about your website, you can completely disregard it and leave it empty in your website HTML code.
8. Links from Spammy Domains
John Mueller said on Twitter that Google ignores unnatural links from spammy domains.
That means that you shouldn’t worry about any blatantly bad links your website might get.
What to do about links from spammy domains
Unless they’re causing you harm (e.g. getting you a bad reputation with influencers or sending you spam traffic), in which case you may want to ask for link removal, you can ignore these links altogether and instead focus on getting good links.
9. Nofollow Links
What to do with nofollow links
Getting nofollow links won’t hurt rankings but they may not even help them. They’re still good links for getting traffic anyway.
On your website, use nofollow at your discretion, especially when you don’t want to treat your links as a vote of trust.
10. Affiliate Links
Google treats affiliate links as nofollow links even without the rel=nofollow or rel=sponsored attribute.
What to do with affiliate links
Use them normally as you would any other link, but we recommend that you use a rel=nofollow on them to help Google better identify them as affiliate links. There is no real reason to make these links pass PageRank anyway.
11. Length of Title Tags
Well, Google doesn’t exactly ignore them — they truncate them in search results, but what they still do is reading your title beyond what’s displayed, and you can still benefit from any keywords there SEO-wise.
What to do with title tag length
Making your title 60 characters long is still a best practice, but it’s not always applicable (e.g. the title of the post you’re reading), so don’t worry about it and make sure your title attracts clicks instead.
With rel=prev / rel=next now deprecated, Google is leaving it up to webmasters to handle pagination, deeming it more a UX issue than an indexing one.
What to do with pagination
Keep handling it the way you’ve always been handling it. If you make changes, make them based on UX not SEO.
13. The Position of rel= Attributes
Google ignores the position of rel= attributes in the HTML format of an URL.
So whether you have, for instance, rel=nofollow before or after ahref=, it does not matter to Google.
What to do with rel= attributes
It’s up to you. Just keep some consistency with the location of these attributes.
BUT Google Does NOT Ignore Sitewide Links
Neil Patel’s study shows that, albeit less effective than in-content links, sidebar and footer links still help rankings.
That means that obtaining sitewide links is still effective and you don’t need to remove these links because they won’t hurt you (unless they’re clearly spammy).
Conclusions: Don’t Spend Too Much Time and Money on Things Google Ignores
The takeaway from this post is that spending too much time and money on things that Google ignores is not worth it, unless you have a UX and traffic benefit from it.
Some things like guest posts can still be used as a tool for brand visibility even though they might no longer carry value as a link building tactic.
The rule of thumb is that, if your main goal is to optimize for Google, focusing on what Google incentivizes in the SERPs is a much better idea.
Have you been focusing on things that Google ignores?
We hope that this post was helpful to you! Let us know in the comments if you found anything else that Google ignores about your website.
Here’s to your success!