Do links, shares & other factors make your site a trusted authority?
Having quality backlinks to your site are influential in your ranking. Shares and likes can be considered backlinks because they link to your website from another source. Obtaining quality links from trusted sources will signal the search engines that you are also a trusted and quality source. This can come from setting up multiple business profiles on any and all available websites, reaching out to other websites and getting involved in creating content for blog websites, news agencies or magazines.
Do visitors spend time reading or "bounce" away quickly?
Are the visitors to your website actually reading your content or are they getting frustrated and leaving. When visitors leave after reading your content - that's normal. When visitors come to your site and then leave within seconds, that's considered a bounce and that's not good. It tells the search engines that users come to your site - see what you have to offer and it doesn't meet their needs. Search engines interpret that as your site not providing the proper content for what the users have searched for.
Has your site or its domain been around a long time, operating in the same way?
The history of your domain is a very small factor in any SEO ranking - but when it comes to the competitive markets every bit counts. Make sure that when you're deciding the domain name you want for your site - that you spend enough time researching the perfect one so that you don't change it later down the road. Decide on one primary domain that fits your organization and establish the history through consistency and longevity.
Does your site use means to verify its identity & that of its authors?
Identity and authorship is a touchy subject because Google tried to implement a system to help with this - but it was a complete failure. It's very difficult to determine if someone is the genuine and original author to content. This is a ranking factor but at this time it's not one that we recommend wasting any time on. Until better direction is given on this topic we don't concern ourselves with addressing it.
If you have a blog or news section, ensure your website has a way to determine within itself who the author is, published date etc and leave it at that. Assign your blog and news content to the specific authors and then let the search engines figure it out beyond that. If this changes - we will certainly give an update.
Has your site been flagged for hosting pirated content?
Some of you will read this and think "well that's just dumb - they deserve to be penalized for that". Understand that this doesn't always happen intentionally or have any part to do with the website. If your site isn't secure - hackers can access your site and upload content to use your server space as a host for pirating software.
Now - with that being said - if you are knowingly supporting pirated operations then you absolutely deserve every penalty the search engines dish out to your site and or domain. Supporting piracy is also a crime - so unless you want to follow in the footsteps of ThePirateBay I suggest to stop immediately.
Is your content ad-heavy, especially "above-the-fold"?
Ads are a part of nearly every website anymore. It's an easy way to market other products or services while generating revenue for your organization. Unless you're a major website such as CNN or Washington Post - we don't recommend trying to gain revenue from ads. Without large volumes of traffic the revenue generated from ads won't outweigh the negative effects that it has on your visitors.