Is it a myth that ranking your website on Google’s SERP depends solely on 200 SEO ranking factors? Well, this question is still debatable and the SEO nerds all around the globe have always tried to search for this answer and come up with different speculations based on the hint that Google has provided over a couple of years.
Although Google has never directly said anything about this issue. The reason is very much obvious because if everyone knows about all the tricks of ranking their site in SERP, the spammer will manipulate this in favor of them. As a consequence of it, the actual searchers (people) will be misguided. Even people will be deprived of getting the real intent from the search result against their query. So still, this remains a mystery. Since I have practically used and personally applied those factors in my journey of B2B and B2C SEO services to rank several websites, I will roughly try to decode those 200 ranking factors according to my research based on the guidelines given by Google itself.
Do you want to explore what actually are the Google Ranking Factors? Let’s dive in..!
Ranking factors are something that is used to help a website rank in the search engines. In other words, the ranking factor is a factor that affects the ranking in Google’s algorithm. This algorithm decides which websites to show up in search results.
There are a lot of ranking factors that are used in order to help a website rank. For example, if a website has a lot of high-quality specific content regarding a certain topic, it is more likely to rank in the search engines. But there are a few factors that are the most important to consider such as Click-through Rate (CTR), Page Speed, Depth of Content, E-A-T in your published content, User Experience, Search intent, HTTPS, Using of Keywords, Mobile-friendliness, User Engagement, etc.
A Complete (known) List of Google’s 200 Ranking Factors !!!!
Arguably, Ranking Factors have been categorized mainly into the following parts although it is hard to believe that Google may take all of them into their consideration, but let us just see what are those factors below:
Special Google Algorithm Rules
On-site webspam Factors
Off-site webspam Factors
Again the categories mentioned above have over 200 ranking factors. Let’s explore them one by one in the segment below.
I recommend that you give a bird’s-eye view if the below list seems way too long to read. But If you want an easy way out to explore all these, I have listed down our special top 10 ranking factors at the very end of this long list.
- Domain Age
- Keywords in your domain
- Keywords as the first word in your domain
- Domain registration length
- Keywords in your sub-domain
- Domain history
- Server Location
- Penalize whois owner
- Public vs Private WhoIs
- Exact Match Domain
- Country TLD Extension
- Concise URL
- URL String
- Domain flagged as spam
- Keywords in the title tag
- Having the keyword at the beginning of the title tag
- Keyword in your meta description tag
- Keyword appears in H1 Tag
- Keyword appears in H2 and H3 Tag
- Exact keywords vs. partial keywords
- Keyword Density
- Table of contents
- LSI in content
- LSI keywords in title tags, and in description
- Presence of keywords in the first 100 words
- in-depth quality content
- Page age
- Page categorization
- Grammer and Spelling
- Page optimized for mobile
- Hidden content on mobile
- The originality of the page’s content
- The theme of outbound link
- Mobile usability and optimization
- Entity match
- Holistic content
- Number of outbound links
- The quality of outbound links
- Multimedia presence
- Bounce rate
- Helpful supplementary content presence
- Quality of the internal links
- The reading level of the content on a page
- Presence of broken links
- Number of internal links pointing to the page
- Affiliate links
- Presence of multiple HTML errors
- Authority / Trust-level of the domain
- Authority / Trust-level of the page
- URL length
- Keywords in URL
- Closeness of URL to homepage
- UX signals from a site ranking for related keywords
- Citing references and sources
- Content user-friendliness and readability
- Use of user-friendly layout
- Popups and distracting ads
- Page loading speed
- URL string in Google search result
- WordPress tags
- YouTube optimization
- Google Panda and content quality
- Content recency
- Age of linking domain
- Number of referring domains
- Number of links from separate c-class IPs
- Number of referring pages
- Anchor text of backlinks
- ALT tag of image links
- Number of links from .edu and .gov domains
- Trust factor of linking page
- Trust factor of linking domain
- Presence of links from competitors
- Number of links from expected sites in your industry
- Links from bad neighborhoods
- Number of links from ads
- Presence of nofollow links
- Diversity of link profile
- Links inside the main content
- Presence of more follow links than sponsored or UGC
- Lots of backlinks to URL with 301 redirects
- The text that appears when you hover over a link
- Link location in content
- Links from relevant domains
- Links from relevant pages
- Presence of your page’s keyword in the title of the linking page
- Natural rate of growth in the number of links
- Spiky and unnatural rate of growth in the number of link
- Links from top resources on a certain topic or hubs
- Number of links from sites that are considered authority sites
- Linked as a source in a Wikipedia article
- Words around your backlinks
- Backlink age
- Links from real sites vs fake blogs
- Natural link profile
- Excessive reciprocal links
- Links in real content vs. UGC
- Backlinks from a page with a 301 redirect
- TrustRank of linking site
- Fewer outbound links on the linking page
- Links in real content vs links in forums
- Word count of linking content
- Quality of linking content
- Sitewide links = one link
- Internal link anchor text
- Structured Data
- “Contact Us” page
- Content on site provides value or new insights
- Website updates for freshness factor:
- Site architecture:
- Presence of a sitemap
- Long-term site downtime
- Location of server
- HTTPS/SSL certificate
- Unique metadata
- Use of breadcrumb markup
- Site-wide mobile optimization
- User-friendliness (usability and interactiveness)
- User reviews
- Site reputation
- The organic click-through rate for the exact keyword
- Organic click-through rates for all ranking keywords
- Dwell time
- Total direct traffic
- Percentage of repeat visitors
- Blocked sites
- Pogo sticking
- Page frequently bookmarked by Chrome users
- The number of comments on a page
Special Google Algorithm Rules
- Need for diversity in the SERP
- Need for freshness in the SERP
- Browsing History of a user
- Search History of a user
- Featured snippets:
- Safe Search
- YMYL keywords
- Legitimate DMCA complaints
- Need for domain diversity in SERP
- Transactional searches
- Local search results
- Top Stories box
- Presence of big brands with relevant content
- Results optimized for Google Shopping
- Image results
- Branded search
- Easter eggs
- Spammy queries
- Branded anchor text
- Brand searches
- Brand + keyword searches
- Facebook page with likes
- Twitter profile with lots of followers
- An official LinkedIn company page
- Known authorship
- Real social media accounts:
- Top Stories brand mentions:
- Unlinked brand mentions
- Physical store locations
On-site webspam Factors
- Low-quality content:
- Links to bad neighborhoods
- Multiple or sneaky redirects
- Distracting ads and pop-ups:
- Interstitial pop-ups:
- Doorway pages
- Above-the-fold ads
- Cloaked affiliate links
- Low-value content sites
- Affiliate sites
- Auto-generated content
- Nofollowing all outbound links
- Keyword stuffing in meta tags
- IP addresses flagged as spam
Off-site webspam Factors
- Hacked site
- An unnatural influx of links
- Penguin penalty
- Lots of low-quality links
- Links from irrelevant sites
- Unnatural links warning
- Widget links
- Links from sites with the same server IP
- Using “poison” in your anchor text
- Unnatural link spike
- Links from articles and press releases
- Manual actions
- Selling links
- Google Sandbox
- Google Dance
- Disavow tool
- Reconsideration request
- Temporary link schemes
Phew! This is not just the end, I have personally listed down the topmost ranking factors in easy words for your quick understanding. If you follow those, chances are that you might get a boom in SEO ranking. I do NOT GUARANTEE but still, you can have a quick read!
My special picks that you Should NOT ignore of the “Top 10 Google Ranking Factors”
1. Organic Click-Through Rates (CTR)
One of the most crucial parts of ranking your website is primarily dependent upon the CTR of your website. Generally, people would like to click the most catchy title tag and notice your meta description with utmost interest. The more people click your content, the more chance is that you get more traffic to your site. And thus your website may get that BOOM! Then Google can decide that your site has the real essence of the intent search through RankBrain. So make sure you have the elements of CTR in your content.
2. Having the presence of Expertise-Authority-Trust ( E-A-T)
The presence of Expertise-Authority-Trust is just NOT directly the fact that your website will rank high. Google may give you the chance of ranking higher if your niche has that expertise and Google can certainly rely on it to bring in the SERPs. Even the opposite is also true when your site publishes good quality content but gets no sufficient result if the domain authority is low.
If you know all the aspects of SEO, and your SEO is performing really well, it is no wonder that you have strengthened your backlink profile and increased your Authority and Trust. Current Keyword Ranking, the quality of the backlinks, and the quality of the referring domains are some of the factors which determine the E-A-T in terms of ranking your website. Still, it is not the ONLY factor because there are several other factors working behind that process altogether.
3. Website Security
Undoubtedly having the Valid SSL Certificate or TLS Certificate from the Certificate Authorities is a plus point for you to be in the rank. Ask me, Why? It is because Google can trust you which has a direct connection to your site that probably can rank in SERPs. Google never recommends those sites which are harmful to the users. So you should take it as a priority that you have installed the SSL Certificate on your website.
4. Page Speed
If your site is too slow to interact with, Google may down the site from its rank. Since it is directly connected to user experience, Google considers it among the top ranking factors. Core Web Vitals is a part of page speed and was very recently added to the Google Search Console since Google checks it to detect the performance of the site and user experience.
5. Content Quality
Do we all know how does actually a good Content Quality look like? In the eyes of Google, the characteristics of unique and a piece of good content are its QUALITY, USABILITY, RELEVANCY, and CONTENT FRESHNESS. Surely, good content is one of the top Google ranking factors, and here below are our seven (7) outstanding tips that really work on ranking your content :
- Researching Topic/ Keyword thoroughly
- Researching Competitors
- Analyzing Search-intent
- Creating and Optimizing “Primary & LSI” keywords
- Structuring the content orderly, and increasing Readability
- During the time you write content, keep in mind that you MUST use Natural Language Processing (NLP).
- Publishing consistently the “high quality and relevant content” in your niche.
Sounds GOOD? Try it out to increase the chance of ranking because these aspects really help.
6. Backlink Profile
Let me ask you a question: how can Google detect that a particular website is good or bad if It is not suggested or referred to by a popular or authentic site in the same niche or industry? The answer is obviously the relevancy of that same “niche expertise” which refers to its authenticity.
Let me clarify it more with another example. How can we understand whether a particular person is good or bad? Obviously from the other person who knows him PERSONALLY and with close PROXIMITY. Likewise in Backlink Profile, it is an important factor and a dominant part of ranking in off-page SEO. A strong backlink profile depends on many factors such as-
- Number of backlinks
- Quality of backlinks
- Quality of referring domains
- Number of referring domains
But there are also some good tactics by which you can build good backlinks, for instance-
- Creating infographics and distributing with links in the description.
- Link reclamation
- Guest posting on the authoritative websites
- Expert roundup participation and interview
- Use Skyscraper
- Directory listing or citation
- Quora answers, etc.
7. Use of Keywords & Optimization
If “content_the king” is your first concern in ranking, “keyword optimization_the queen” should be your second most important factor to consider.
Including your keyword in H1 can have a positive impact on the SEO factors since it indicates the subject or topic of your content, and this helps Google to easily understand what the content is all about. But whenever including the keyword in your content, you have to be very tactful otherwise it will seem that you are doing keyword stuffing which is surely a bad indication for your site.
Make sure you avoid it and spice up your content differently without altering the meaning or context of your keyword in your content. That means you can use supportive keywords throughout the content that supports the relevancy of your topic.
There are basically two aspects of keyword optimization which include the following:
- Keyword placement: if you want that your site comes in high rank on Google search result, place your main keyword in Meta Description, H1 tags along with H2 & H3 tags, First 100 words of the content, in the Image alt text, name, in the description, URL and throughout the content.
- Keyword density: if you want to make your content stand in rank, keyword density throughout the content is another factor to consider. You should avoid the excessive use of keywords. And forget the rule that there is a term called “percentage or the percentage of the keyword density” So, Take a NOTE!
8. Mobile Friendliness
In today’s time, the majority of the traffic (approx 90%), visits several websites through mobile devices. And that is a huge number you cannot ignore. So, Google rewards those sites which have mobile friendliness and are accessed by all types of devices. If you want to score points with Google, then make sure that users are accessing your site with mobile. Otherwise, Google may punish your sites or penalize you.
9. User Engagement
Google considers user engagement in your site as the most crucial factor. Since Google has several metrics to detect this issue, it generally observes the number of comments from the users, total time spent on the site, and the bounce rate of the user means how many users are making exits in the running session, etc. Even the total number of comments on a post determines the worth of your content and the relevancy of your site. So, user engagement plays a vital role that you should keep in mind.
10. Technical SEO
Technical SEO means creating and optimizing your website with the technical elements so that it becomes easier for search engine spiders to crawl, index and rank well in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
It is very much important to make sure that your site is easy to navigate and completely free from any technical faults. As a result, it will help your site to be understood by Google or any other search engines and rank you organically in the SERPs. So you should do technical SEO to attract organic traffic and turn that traffic into your customer.
I have discussed the below part about why you should implement technical SEO
Since it plays a very crucial role in your organic traffic, you must not ignore doing the technical SEO of your website. Your content might be useful, full of insights, and well-written, but if a search engine cannot crawl it, there is a chance that very little traffic will ever see your content. So you need to do technical SEO.
Let me give you a checklist below so that you know exactly what to do:
- Identify crawl errors
- Find out how Google views your page
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly
- Fix broken links
- Identify and fix 301 or redirect issues
- Secure your site with HTTPS
- Check your site’s loading speed.
- Fixing duplicate and thin content (if you have any)
- Use Canonical URLs (It helps Google to store in their index when there are multiple versions of the same page)
- Schema Markup ( This is nothing but the code that helps Google or any other search engines understand your content better and make your site stand out from the rest in SERPs)
In fine, we cannot be so rigid to rank our site by applying ONLY these sorts of google ranking factors because google itself uses more than 200 ranking SEO algorithms which are still UNKNOWN to us.
But suffice it to say that, a website can come to a high rank if those top 10 factors applied that we have sorted out for you based on our practical use. Side by side, you need to produce QUALITY content that can genuinely and easily be understood by its readers. This will provide a fantastic and satisfying user experience. Undoubtedly it will be worth their time and meet up the demand against their query on Google search.
Moreover, it can surely give them a hook to come back for the information to grab next time on that particular site. Isn’t it so rewarding?
Share below your thoughts now with me!