Google Ranking Factors: Updated 2018
Ranking Factors in SEO: 50 Checkpoints
You must have heard about the influence of the ranking factors on the position of the Search Engine Result Page.
What are these SEO ranking factors?
There are more than 100 SEO ranking factors that push your website’s ranking towards top. Search engines like Google follows an algorithm with the combination of certain factors for ranking positions.
The term “Ranking Factors” labels the standards functional by search engines when assessing web pages in order to accumulate the rankings of their search results.
Most important Google’s SEO Ranking Factors
In this post we have listed almost all the important SEO factors that contribute to the search engine ranking factors.
1. How old is your domain.
This is still debatable.
But it is believed that the age of a domain does have an impact on Google’s search ranking factors.
2. Keywords in the domain.
When the targeted keyword is placed in the beginning of a domain it becomes a quality on-page SEO ranking factor for most search engines, especially Google.
3. Exact Match Domain or EMD impact on Google Search Rankings
Google’s EMD update made it very clear that sites which were initially ranking just because of their exact match of keyword in their domain will no longer happen.
The site has to be a quality site in order to rank in Google’s search results page.
4. Increase Google Page Rank with Country TLD extension
If you aim to improve your search engine ranking for a particular country then Top Level Domain extensions like .ca, .pt, .cn are great.
You will not reach a higher ranking globally by opting for Country TLD extensions.
5. Keywords are an important SEO ranking factor
Keywords are still one of the most important quality ranking factors in SEO. It is essential to include and more importantly begin the “title tags” with keywords.
Because the more far it gets from the beginning, higher are the chances of losing the weightage in ranking position.
Send more relevancy signals to the search engines by including the keywords in the header tags <h1> and <h2>.
6. The longer the content, the better you rank
Content that is longer in words tends to rank higher in SERPs than the short ones. It is well explained in this article here.
7. Distribute LSI Keywords in the content
Latent Semantic Indexing keywords help search engines to extract a more clear meaning for Homonym (similar sounding words with different meaning; break-brake) words.
Their presence can accelerate the SEO rankings.
8. Page Speed affects Google rankings
Page speed load time is an important Google SEO ranking factor. If your page load time is more than 5 seconds then you are losing out on rankings.
9. Duplicity in Content
This is one of the well-known yet poorly followed search engine optimization tips. If you publish similar content on the same website then you can come in Google’s radar.
So it’s better to avoid duplicate or faintly brushed up content on your website to increase search engine visibility.
10. Use Rel=Canonical properly
You can prevent Google from marking your pages duplicate by using the tag rel=canonical in an appropriate manner.
11. Optimize your Images
It is very important for website owners to optimize the images used on the site’s pages. Make sure to include the title, alt-text, description and caption.
Because Google cannot read the image as such, but can read the text associated with it.
12. Content Updates
For time-based searches (like month or year), Google Caffeine turns towards recently updated relevant content on the web.
Adding new information or removing an outdated one from the content adds a fresh essence to the content and makes it more reliable too. A regularly updated content has more thumbs-up than a non-updated page for search engine optimization rankings.
13. Outbound Linking
As per Moz, when you link to a relevant quality website then you are sending trust signals to the search engines about the relevancy of the content on your site.
Although multiple dofollow outbound links can harm SEO ranking of your website.
To illustrate more:
…if you have a page about “apple” and you are linking to other webpages related to “health”. Then Google will understand it to be a fruit and not a technology brand.
14. Internal Linking
The number of internal links on a website’s page shows the importance of that page over other less internally linked pages on the same domain.
Internal links support in spreading link juice a powerful SEO ranking factor about websites.
15. Original Content
If your content is copied from an already indexed page then it will not rank high in the Google’s SERP. Rather it will be placed in the supplemental index of Google rather than main index.
Calculate the supplemental index here.
However useful supplementary content like language translators, metrics converters, interest calculators, and more such supplements are an indicator of a webpage’s quality. And thus a Google ranking factor.
16. Multimedia adds value to ranking factors
Multimedia essentials like images, videos etc. act as a quality indication for Google which can positively impact your search engine rankings.
17. Don’t ignore broken links
If you have too many broken links on your website then Google will assume either you are not active on website or your website is not updated since long.
This can seriously harm your website’s ranking in search engines.
18. Keep the vocabulary simple
Write your content for the masses in an easy to read and understand manner. By doing this you increase your chances of ranking higher in the search queries.
Use bullet points and numbers in your content to make it easy to read. Google pays more attention to such content.
19. Be careful of HTML errors and W3C validation errors
If your site has too many coding errors and is poorly validated on W3C then you might be in a risk zone. As it send a weak signal to Google about the site’s poor quality which in turn harm your ranking on Google.
20. Domain Authority
If we assume all the ranking factors to be balanced, then a page on higher DA will be ranked high in comparison to a page on lower DA.
It is advisable to increase your page’s domain authority for a hike in your page’s rank on search engines.
21. URL Structure
Keep the length of the URL short as a long URL can negatively impact the site’s visibility.
…place the URL’s you would like to rank higher, close to the homepage. By doing this you can increase the page’s authority.
22. Categories and Tags
These are very important ranking factors of search engine optimization. The category and tags on a page are a sign of relevancy which in turn is a ranking factor.
Always place the page/post in the related and relevant category and tag.
23. Sitemap Influences SEO Rankings
Websites which have many pages with multiple levels, a sitemap helps Google to crawl through the most important URLs marked by their priority values in the sitemap.
24. Parked Domains
The search visibility of Parked domains in Google is not much. Thus these domains do not get a preference in search engine rankings.
25. Valuable Quality Content
Content was, is and will always be the King.
If the content on the website offers no valuable information, or is exactly a copy-paste, or a thin affiliate site, then such webpages get negatively affected in terms of Google search rankings.
Regularly update your site’s content with fresh original information to secure a top position in Google SERPs.
26. Include a “Contact” Page
According to the General Guidelines for ranking by Google, it gives more value to websites which have a “Contact us” page.
27. TrustRank: important SEO ranking factor
You have to gain Google’s trust for your website if you want to rank higher in the search results page. You can get high TrustRank gaining more backlinks from high authoritative trust sites.
28. Site Architecture
A pyramid-shaped site structure is an ideal approach to head for SEO rankings. As it becomes easier for Google to crawl through your website’s main pages you, and hence rank them in SERPs.
29. Number of Web Pages
The higher the number of pages a website has, the lesser are its chances of being a thin affiliate site. It is not an authority factor alone, but a useful one.
30. Sitemap is a must
Sitemaps are very important to increase your site’s visibility as Google indexes your web pages easy and comprehensively through sitemaps.
31. Keep down the Downtime of your website
Downtime of your website (even for some hours) can negatively impact your site’s ranking. Ensure the up and running status of your website for a better search engine optimization.
32. Location of your site’s server
The location of your server can impact the geographical rankings of your website. Particularly for location specific searches.
33. SSL Certificate
Google uses SSL certification and HTTPS lock on a website as a ranking factor for SEO.
35. Duplicate Meta tags
Duplicate content in a site’s meta title and meta description can do serious damage by bringing down the visibility of your site’s pages.
36. Breadcrumb Navigation
For a user friendly site it is important that your site has a proper breadcrumb navigation (see above image). So that the user and the search engine are aware of their location on the site.
37. Responsive Websites
Responsive websites get an edge over non-responsive sites in Google. Not only this Google has also started penalizing sites that are not mobile-friendly.
38. YouTube Videos
The videos on YouTube are given more weight-age in search engine results pages, may be because it is owned by Google.
Reviews on authoritative sites like Yelp.com are one of the most significant ranking factors of Google’s SEO. As per Google, being bad to your customers in bad to your business.
40. Number of Linking Domains and Linking Pages
This is a one of most impact ranking factors in SEO, as evident from Moz’s chart below. The higher, the better.
The authority of the linking domain and linking pages is another factor for SEO rankings. Links from .edu, .org and .gov domains carry more value.
41. Social Sharing
Social sharing of a particular page induces the ranking of that page in search engines.
42. Dwell Time
Google pays special consideration to the Dwell Time of a website. If users find the content on your website useful and spend more time there then there are very good chances of higher rank of that page.
43. Likes, Shares and Authority of Social Accounts
The number of likes and shares from authoritative social accounts are likely to give a boost to the visibility and ranking of your business website.
Social sharing coming from popular websites will have more value than the profile with less followers.
44. Pop-up Ads
A site which has disturbing pop-up ads is considered a low value site and will hence rank low in search results.
45. Keyword Stuffing
As per Google’s guidelines overloading a web page with keywords for the purpose of diverting the SERPs is a negative practice and can result in penalizing your website.
A classic example of keyword stuffing would be:
We are an office furniture selling shop. Our office furniture quality is very strong. If you plan to buy office furniture then buy the office furniture from our office furniture selling shop.
46. Hidden links
Some webmasters play smart with Google by hiding the text and links in the content to increase the Google’s search rankings.
But, you cannot act smart with Google.
If you try to hide links by
- making it of same color as that of background
- or, by linking only a single letter
- or, by making it of a zero font
Then you are at loss for violating Google’s general guidelines for ranking factors.
47. Foul Redirects
If the reason for redirecting is genuine, like your website moved to a new address or if you merged multiple pages into one. Then there is no need to worry.
The reason is fishy like, redirecting users to a completely different page than what was shown to the user in the search results page. Then my friend Google can get as harsh as de-indexing your website.
48. Toxic Links
Toxic links are negative ranking factors for Google SEO. If you have tried removing the toxic links manually and you have not succeeded yet.
Then you can use the Google’s disavow tool to remove the penalty on the victim sites.
49. Auto generated content
Google does not favor auto generated content. The content on your website has to hold value and meaningful information to rank in search engines.
But there are no short cuts to it.
You cannot create quality content by some software or by changing it to synonyms or any other similar activity.
50. Sudden Influx of links
Certain new websites that suddenly get huge number of links can get in the circle of Google Sandbox. Which can negatively influence the search visibility of your website.
The above Google ranking factors for SEO should be followed if you aim to reach for a higher rank in the SERPs.
Contact a professional SEO company who follows white hat SEO techniques, which may take longer to show results. But guarantees of following Google guidelines.