Google Ranking Factors

Search engine optimization is a very important strategy to deliver the best results and returns. Best practice SEO improves the organic ranking of your website and helps to appear on top of the search engine result pages.

So what do you need to look out for and what are the most important ranking factors for search engines?

Most Important Ranking Factors, According to SEO Industry Studies


Content is one of the most important Google ranking factors, according to search engine optimisation experts. This shouldn’t be news — content has been an important ranking factor for a while — but in recent years, we’ve seen a shift away from keyword-focused content towards more relevant content written in natural language.


Backlinks remain an important Google ranking factor, but over the years, Google has learned to weed out the bad links from the good. More links will still result in a higher score, but only if they’re from a number of diverse and authoritative domains.

Mobile User Experience

One of the biggest changes we saw in 2016 was Google’s shift towards mobile-first indexing. This means that Google’s index will now primarily crawl the mobile version of websites as opposed to the desktop version.

Mobile optimization is an extremely important ranking factor. All of the top 100 most visible domains have mobile-friendly solutions, according to Search Metrics.

Technical Factors

These include, encryption (HTTPS), correct use of headlines H1 and H2, anchor text (clickable text in a hyperlink) and emphasis on mobile first.

Google RankBrain algorithm

Google's using a machine learning technology called RankBrain to help deliver its search results. RankBrain is part of Google’s overall search “algorithm,” a computer program that’s used to sort through the billions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries.

SEO Quick Tips:

  • Switch to HTTPS encryption.
  • Correct use of headings H1, H2, H3, ...
  • Remove all intrusive interstitials from your mobile website.
  • Share your content in social media
  • Optimise your title tags
  • Optimise your images, file name, file size and alt tags
  • Content: Write for humans first
  • Keep blogging

Difference between On Page, Off Page, Site and domain factors.

SEO techniques can be classified into groups.

On page factors

On page SEO deals with aspects on your website that can be optimized for search engines.

  • Keyword in URL
  • Keyword in the title tag.
  • Keyword in meta description tag.
  • Keyword in H1 tag.
  • Correct use of headline hierarchy
  • Using keywords in the pages copy.
  • The length of the content. (Long and useful)
  • Duplicate content. - This can hurt your ranking!
  • Canonical tag. (Helping search engines identify which is the original page in relation to duplicated content)
  • Image Optimization (File size, file name, alt tag, caption and description)
  • Content Updates
  • Outbound links (Linking to authoritative pages sends trust signals)
  • Internal links

Off page factors

Off page SEO involves aspects on other websites on the internet that can be optimized to improve the ranking of your website on leading search engines.

  • The number of quality and trusted linking domains.
  • The number of linking pages.
  • Domain Authority of linking page
  • Authority of linking domain
  • Link relevancy (related to content and keywords)
  • Links from a homepage
  • The diversity of link types (too many links of one type might hurt your ranking)
  • Contextual links
  • Link anchor

Site factors

There are certain site-wide factors that can affect your site’s search visibility as well.

  • Domain trust (sites that Google trusts)
  • Domain name (Keyword in name)
  • Server location
  • Mobile optimised site
  • Google search console integration
  • Use of HTTPS

Domain factors

Lastly, your domain can affect your rankings as well. Some of the domain signals aren’t as strong as they used to be, there are few things worth paying attention to.

  • Domain registration length
  • Domain history
  • Country TLD extension

List of Google's 200+ ranking factors

Google probably uses 200 factors in their search algorithm. Some of them are proven, some are controversial and some are only speculation.

Also be aware that some are more significant than others. But in case you are interested please find the extensive list below.


  • Domain Age
  • Usage of Keywords in Domain
  • Use Keyword as First Word of Domain
  • Domain Registration Length
  • Keyword in Sub-domain
  • Importance of Domain History
  • EMD (Exact Match Domains)
  • Battle of the Titans – Public vs Private WhoIs
  • Penalty for WhoIs Owner
  • Country Code TLD

On-page optimisation

  • Keywords in Title
  • Title Tag Starting with Keyword
  • Keywords in Description
  • Keyword in H1 Tag
  • Frequently Used Keyword in Phrase Document
  • Length of Content
  • Keyword Density Factor
  • LSI Keywords in Content
  • LSI Keywords in Title and Meta Description
  • Duplicate Content
  • Page Loading Scheme with HTML
  • Page Loading Scheme via Chrome
  • Canonical = Rel
  • Optimization of Images
  • Recent Updated Content
  • Magnitude of Content Updates
  • Historical and Page Updates
  • Prominence of Keywords
  • Keywords in H2 and H3 Tags
  • Order of Keywords
  • Outbound Link Quality
  • Outbound for Link Theme
  • Grammar and Spelling Check
  • Syndicated Content
  • Supplementary Content that Helps
  • Multimedia with Content
  • Number of Outbound Links
  • The Number of Internal Links on a Page
  • Quality of Internal Links of the Page
  • Broken Links
  • Readability Score
  • Links that are Affiliated
  • HTML Errors
  • Domain Authority for Page Hosts
  • Page Rank of the Page
  • URL Length
  • URL Path
  • Human Editing
  • Page Category Matters
  • WordPress Tags
  • Keyword Usage in URL
  • URL Strings
  • Siting References and Source Links
  • Bulleted Pointers
  • Page Priority in Sitemap
  • Excess Outbound Links
  • Page Age
  • Quantity of Other Keywords for Page Ranks
  • User Friendly Layouts
  • Parked Domains
  • Helpful Content

Site Level Factors

  • Quality-rich, Unique Content
  • The Most Important Page – Contact Us
  • Domain Trust
  • Website Architecture
  • Website Updates
  • Limiting the Number of Pages
  • Importance of Sitemap
  • Site Uptime
  • Location of Server
  • The SSL Certificate
  • Service Terms and Privacy Pages
  • Duplicate On-site Meta Information
  • The Breadcrumb Navigation
  • Mobile Optimization
  • YouTube
  • Site Usability
  • Usage of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
  • Reviews and Feedback


  • Backlinks from Aged Domains
  • Linking Root Domains
  • Linking from Separate C-Class IPs
  • Page Links
  • Image Links
  • Use Links from edu or gov Domains
  • Page Authority
  • Domain Authority
  • Get your Competitors’ Links
  • 9 Social Shares for Related Pages
  • Links from Bad Neighbours
  • Guest Posting
  • Linking to a Domain Homepage that Page Sits On
  • The List of Don’ts for Link Building
  • Diversity in Link Types
  • Sponsored Links or Other Words Around the Link
  • The Powerful Contextual Links
  • Excessive 301 Redirecting to the Page
  • The Backlink of Anchor Text
  • “Internal Link Anchor Text”
  • Attribution of Link Title
  • The Country TLD for Referring Domain
  • Content Link Location
  • Page Link Location
  • Linking Domain Relevancy
  • Page Level Relevancy
  • Text Around Link
  • Keyword Used in Title
  • Positive Link Velocity
  • Negative Link Velocity
  • “Hub” Page Links
  • Links from Authority Sites
  • Links used as Wikipedia Source
  • Backlink Age
  • Co-occurrences
  • Real site link VS Splogs
  • Reciprocal Links
  • Natural Link Profile
  • Content Links – User Generated
  • Links from 301
  • org Micro formats
  • DMOZ Listed
  • The Trust Rank of Linking Site
  • The Number of Outbound Links on Page
  • Profile Links in Forum
  • Word Count in Linking Content
  • The Quality of Linking Content
  • Site wide Links

Google User Interaction Factors

  • The Organic CTR for a Keyword
  • The Organic CTR for all Keywords
  • Bounce Rate
  • Direct Traffic
  • Repeat Traffic
  • Sites that are Blocked!
  • Chrome Bookmarks
  • Google’s Toolbar Data
  • The Number of Comments
  • “Dwell Time”

The Algorithm

  • QDF (Query Deserves Freshness)
  • Query Deserves Diversity
  • Browsing History
  • Using Search History
  • Geo Targeting
  • Google+ Circles
  • DMC Complaints
  • Safety Filter (Safe Search)
  • Domain Diversity
  • Transactional Searches
  • Local Searches
  • Google News Box
  • Brand Preference
  • Shopping Results
  • Image Results
  • Easter Egg Results
  • Single Site Results from Brands

Social Media

  • Number of Tweets
  • Twitter Authority in User Accounts
  • Facebook Likes
  • Facebook Shares
  • Facebook Authority in User Accounts
  • Pinterest Pins
  • Voting for Social Sharing Sites
  • Number of Google+1s
  • Google+ User Accounts Authority
  • Known Authorship
  • Social Media and its Relevance
  • Website Level Social Signals

Brand Names

  • Brand Name in Anchor Text
  • Branded Search
  • Website Having Facebook Pages and Likes
  • Websites Having Twitter Profile with Followers
  • The LinkedIn Company Page
  • Employees Listed in LinkedIn
  • Social Media Accounts and its Legitimacy
  • Brand Name in New Site
  • Co-Citations
  • RSS Subscribers
  • Office Location with Google+ Local Listing
  • Website also, is Tax-Paying Business

Web Spam Factors

  • The Panda Penalty
  • Linking to Bad Neighbors
  • Redirecting
  • Popups and other ads
  • Over Optimization of Site
  • Page Over-Optimization
  • Advertisements Above the Fold
  • Affiliated Sites
  • Hiding Affiliate Links
  • Auto-generated Content
  • Excess of Page Rank Sculpting
  • IP Address Spam
  • Meta Tag Spamming

Off page spamming

  • Influx of Phony Links
  • Penguin Penalty
  • Link Profile with Highest Number of Low-Quality Links
  • Linking Domain Relevancy
  • Unnatural Links (A Warning)
  • Links from same class C IP
  • Manual Penalty
  • Poison Anchor Text
  • Selling Links
  • Google Sandbox
  • Disavow Tool
  • Google Dance
  • Reconsideration Request
  • Temporary Link Schemes – A Big “NO”

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